Vol 197 No 22 £2.90 €5.50* Exclusions apply A week in the life of the world | 3-9 November 2017 Spain’s crisis heads for courts rts Catalan leaders face charges Re Revolutionary interrogation in Modern ways of M making you talk m Return to the Gilded Age Value of world’ d’s super-rich soars ars A year of living dangerously Before last November’s election, Donald Trump predicted an FBI probe into Hillary Clinton would provoke a constitutional crisis. Right lesson, wrong person, writes Richard Wolﬀe BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/GETTY I ndictments do strange things inside a White House. They twist the minds of an already neurotic nest of frenemies, turning suspicions into paranoia, press leaks into prosecutorial intelligence and financial concerns into colossal legal bills. Normal life ceases for everyone from the president down, as the indictments grow in number, the grand juries call ever more witnesses, and impeachment looms ever closer. Welcome to the first year of the Trump presidency, in which our protagonists have already proved themselves wholly incompetent in a succession of crises. There may be Black Sea ferries that leak as much as the Trump White House, but they still run a tighter ship than this gang. Lest we forget, this is a president who wanted Anthony “the Mooch” Scaramucci to run his clean-up operation. So who cleans up now that the Trump campaign is the subject of so many investigations? The indictments of Paul Manafort and Rick Gates, along with the guilty plea of George Papadopoulos, have now taken the whole Russia scandal from phony war to heavy shelling. It turns out that “mistakes” on legal disclosure forms, “misremembering” facts in front of federal agents, and distracting “stories” on Fox News do not constitute much of a legal case against the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and its former director Robert Mueller, who now enjoys the title of special counsel. Maybe, just maybe, it wasn’t such a great idea to try to stop the Russia investigation by firing the FBI director who succeeded Mueller. Across the street from the White House, at FBI headquarters, they might consider that obstruction of justice. But first, the facts we learned on Monday. Papadopoulos is not a janitor-like figure in this enterprise, even though we barely knew his name. Here’s one Donald J Trump describing his foreign policy aide, at the point in his campaign when unkind souls were suggesting he didn’t have any foreign policy aides. “George Papadopoulos, he’s an energy and oil consultant, excellent guy,” Trump told the Washington Post editorial board. This excellent guy 4→ Abu Dhabi AED14.50 Bahrain BHD1.90 *Cyprus €2.50 Czech Rep CZK145 Denmark DKK39 Dubai AED14.50 Egypt EGP49 *Greece €3.95 Hong Kong HKD52 Hungary HUF950 *Republic of Ireland €3.30 Japan JPY900 Jordan JOD2.90 Kuwait KWD1.45 Latvia €5.50 Lebanon LBP6000 *Malta €2.20 Norway NOK52 Oman OMR1.65 Pakistan PKR385 Poland PLN14 Qatar QAR14.50 Saudi Arabia SAR15.50 Singapore SGD8 South Africa ZAR49.90 Sweden SEK55 Switzerland CHF9 Turkey TRY14.50 2 The Guardian Weekly 03.11.17 World roundup FBI warned of death threat to Oswald Centre-right lose majority in Iceland 1 4 The publication of nearly 3,000 previously classified files relating to the assassination of John F Kennedy in 1963 reveals that the FBI had warned Dallas police about a threat to kill Lee Harvey Oswald, and claims that Soviet officials feared an “irresponsible” US general could launch a missile strike in the wake of the crisis. The US government released 2,891 documents last Thursday, but Donald Trump delayed the release of others, saying he had “no choice” but to consider national security concerns. One of the documents unearthed was a memo that said the FBI had warned of a potential death threat to Oswald, who was then in police custody. Jonathan Freedland, pages 18-19 Iceland’s ruling centre-right parties have lost their majority after an election that could usher in only the second centre-left government in the country’s history as an independent republic. With all votes counted after the Nordic island’s second snap poll in a year, the conservative Independence party of the scandal-plagued outgoing prime minister, Bjarni Benediktsson, was on course to remain parliament’s largest. But it lost five of its 21 seats in the 63-member Althing, potentially paving the way for the Left-Green Movement to form a left-leaning coalition. More Europe news, page 6 → Weather cuts global wine production 6 The International Organisation of Vine and Wine (OIV) expects an 8% decrease in global wine production to 247m hectolitres for 2017. The international producer group’s forecast foretells the worst global harvest since 1961, with the weather to blame, after vines in key wine-producing countries such as Italy and France were affected by extremely hot and cold weather. The fall in output predicted by the OIV equates to about 2.9bn fewer bottles in 2017. → 4 Barbuda PM looks to Britain for help 5 1 2 Independent islands in the Caribbean are fearful their infrastructure will be left in ruins after Hurricane Irma, as countries such as the UK focus relief and aid efforts on their own overseas territories. Gaston Browne, prime minister of Antigua 2 and Barbuda, said his country was being overlooked because it is independent and has a higher per capita income than some Caribbean countries. “Technically, the Queen is still our head of state, which means there should be some empathy,” he said. Fernández de Kirchner denies cover-up 3 Argentina’s former president, Cristina Fernández de Kirchner, has appeared in court, where she denied covering up for Iranians accused of involvement in a 1994 bombing at a Buenos Aires Jewish centre that left 85 people dead. Calling the case an “absurdity”, Fernández de Kirchner, who held office from 2007 until 2015, attacked the judge overseeing the case, which is based on charges first levelled two years ago by a federal prosecutor who was found dead in his home shortly before he was due to present his allegations publicly. The ex-president is facing accusations of treason and plotting a cover-up for signing a 2012 pact with Iran that would have allowed senior Iranian officials accused of the attack to be investigated in their own country, rather than in Argentina. More Americas news, page 10 → Global atmospheric CO2 levels soar 5 The concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere increased at record speed last year to hit a level not seen for more than 3m years, the UN has warned. The new report has raised alarm among scientists and prompted calls for nations to xconsider more drastic emissions reductions at the forthcoming climate negotiations in Bonn, Germany. “Globally averaged concentrations of CO2 reached 403.3 parts per million (ppm) in 2016, up from 400.00ppm in 2015 because of a combination of human activities and a strong El Niño event,” according to the Greenhouse Gas Bulletin, the UN weather agency’s annual report. This acceleration occurred despite a slowdown – and perhaps even a plateauing – of emissions because El Niño intensified droughts and weakened the ability of vegetation to absorb carbon dioxide. As the planet warms, El Niños are expected to become more frequent. The increase of 3.3ppm is considerably higher than both the 2.3ppm rise of the previous 12 months and the average annual increase over the past decade of 2.08ppm. It is also well above the previous big El Niño year of 1998, when the rise was 2.7ppm. The study, which uses monitoring ships, aircraft and stations on the land to track emissions trends since 1750, said carbon dioxide in the atmosphere is now increasing 100 times faster than at the end of the last ice age. More environment news, page 11 → 3 Mogadishu hotel gunmen had ID cards 7 Attackers who stormed a hotel in Mogadishu, killing at least 29 people and wounding more than 30 last Saturday, used identity cards from the country’s intelligence service to gain access to the building. The five gunmen, from the Islamist al-Shabaab group, were dressed in intelligence service uniforms and did not draw suspicion as they entered the hotel in the centre of the Somali capital after a truck bomb demolished a front entrance. The gunmen held off security forces for more than 12 hours, and went from room to room shooting guests. Al-Shabaab claimed responsibility online 55 minutes after the initial bombing. More Africa news, page 7 → The Guardian Weekly 03.11.17 3 Eyewitnessed The week’s events in pictures → Centre pages 24-25 Burundi leaves ‘weapon of west’ ICC 8 Burundi last Friday became the first nation ever to leave the international criminal court, set up 15 years ago to prosecute those behind the world’s worst atrocities. The government hailed it as a “historic” day and called on people to celebrate. The move comes a year to the day after the administration Kazakhstan switches to Latin alphabet 10 in Bujumbura officially notified the UN that it was quitting the world’s only permanent war crimes tribunal. “The ICC has shown itself to be a political instrument and weapon used by the west to enslave other states,” said presidential office spokesman Willy Nyamitwe. Kazakhstan is to change its official alphabet for the third time in less than 100 years in what is seen in part as a symbolic move to underline its independence. President Nursultan Nazarbayev ordered his office to prepare for a switch to a Latin-based alphabet from a Cyrillic one, distancing itself from Russia. The oil-rich former Soviet republic has close ties with Moscow, but is wary of Russia’s ambitions to maintain political influence. Part of the latest switch also relates to modern technology. The Cyrillic alphabet has 42 symbols, making it cumbersome to use with digital devices. More central Asia news, page 9 → 10 6 11 13 8 9 13 12 14 Kenyan president wins disputed rerun 9 said. With his victory never in doubt, attention has focused on the 38% turnout. That figure will undermine the credibility of any mandate Kenyatta may claim for a second five-year term and will be seen as a victory by the opposition. Polls were not held in four western constituencies, all opposition strongholds, for security reasons, election officials said. Fears of further violence remain high. 12 Two explosions and a subsequent blaze at a fireworks factory on the western outskirts of Indonesia’s capital have killed at least 47 people and injured dozens more, officials have said. TV news channels broadcast images of thick plumes of dark smoke billowing from a warehouse in the Tangerang district of Jakarta, an industrial and manufacturing hub on the island of Java. “There are 47 bodies,” police spokesman Argo Xi Jinping to step up war on corruption A Swedish bookseller who spent more than two years in custody after his suspected abduction by Chinese agents is now “half free”, a friend has claimed, amid suspicions he is still being held under guard by security officials in eastern China. Gui Minhai, a Hong Kong-based publisher 11 government. The moves will be made during China’s annual meeting of parliament next year, the central commission for discipline inspection said in a report. More regional news, page 12 → who specialised in books about China’s political elite, mysteriously vanished from his Thai holiday home in October 2015. His disappearance – and that of four other booksellers, including one British citizen – was seen as part of a wider crackdown on Communist party opponents. Foreign buyer ban in NZ housing crisis 14 China aims to pass a national supervision law and set up a new commission to oversee an expansion of President Xi Jinping’s campaign to fight corruption in the ruling Communist party and Yuwono told Metro Television. “From the manifest we obtained, there were 103 workers.” Of this latter figure, 46 were injured in the explosion, he said, adding that they were being treated at three nearby hospitals. Witnesses told local media there were two explosions, one at about 10am and another about three hours later, both of which could be heard kilometres away. Authorities confirmed that the fire began near the front door and quickly spread. Bookseller held in China now ‘half free’ 7 Kenya’s president, Uhuru Kenyatta, has been declared the winner in the country’s second general election in three months, amid fears of prolonged political turmoil. The rerun of presidential polls, controversially ordered by the supreme court, was marred by clashes between security forces and an opposition boycott. Kenyatta, 55, won 98% of the vote, the election commission Jakarta fireworks factory blaze kills 47 New Zealand is planning to ban foreign buyers from purchasing existing homes, in an attempt to tackle a housing crisis by halting a trend among the world’s wealthy to snap up property in the country. The restrictions announced by the new prime minister, Jacinda Ardern, are likely to be closely watched by other countries around the world also facing housing shortages and price rises driven by foreign investors. New Zealand has become a destination for Chinese, Australian and Asian buyers and has gained a reputation as a bolt-hole for the world’s wealthy, who view it as a safe haven from a potential nuclear conflict and the rise of terrorism. It has also become a hotspot for wealthy Americans seeking an escape from political upheaval. More regional news, page 13 → 4 The Guardian Weekly 03.11.17 International news Trump-Russia inquiry yields first results Special counsel Mueller issues indictments for three presidential aides Julian Borger Lauren Gambino Washington Shaun Walker Moscow The US investigation into Russian e l e c t i o n m e dd l i ng c l o s e d i n dramatically on Donald Trump this week, as it emerged that a former foreign policy adviser had pleaded guilty to perjury over contacts with Russians linked to the Kremlin, and the president’s former campaign manager and an aide faced charges of money laundering. On Monday George Papadopoulos, the former foreign policy adviser, was revealed to have pleaded guilty last month to lying to FBI investigators over his contacts last year with two people with apparently close ties to the Russian government. One was an unnamed professor who offered “dirt” on Hillary Clinton in the form of “thousands of emails”. Another was a woman who portrayed herself as “Putin’s niece”. Meanwhile, in a federal courthouse in central Washington, Trump’s former campaign manager, Paul Manafort, and a business associate, Rick Gates, pleaded not guilty to an indictment for money-laundering, tax evasion, failure to register as agents for foreign interests and conspiracy to defraud the US government. The indictments were the first issued by Robert Mueller since he was appointed special counsel in May, with broad powers to investigate Russian interference in the 2016 election and possible collusion by members of the Trump campaign. After the indictment of Manafort and Gates was revealed on Monday, Trump tweeted: “Sorry, but this is years ago, before Paul Manafort was part of the Trump campaign. But why aren’t Crooked Hillary & the Dems the focus?????” He added: “…Also, there is NO COLLUSION!” Later, the White House press secretary, Sarah Huckabee Sanders, insisted there was no connection between the three men and the Trump campaign. She said of Manafort and Gates’s indictment: “Today’s announcement has nothing to do with the president, presidential campaigns or any campaign activity.” She also insisted Papadopoulos’s lies to the FBI about his contacts with Russia on behalf of the Trump campaign had “nothing to do with the activities of the campaign”, and dismissed Papadopoulos as “a volunteer member on an advisory council”. However, Trump announced Papadopoulos’s appointment as a foreign policy adviser in March 2016, describing him as “an excellent guy”. The charges that Papadopoulos accepted as accurate as part of his plea said Trump was present at a meeting of national security advisers where Papadopoulos boasted of Russian connections and said he could help Man in the middle … indicted former campaign aide Paul Manafort, standing between Donald and Ivanka Trump Rick Wilking/Reuters organise a meeting with Vladimir Putin. It was unclear from the charges, to which Papadopoulos pleaded guilty on 5 October, whether the unnamed woman he was in contact with really was related to Putin. But Papadopoulos’s contacts led to extensive contacts with Russian officials regarding a Putin-Trump meeting and other high-level exchanges. Papadopoulos pleaded guilty to making false statements to FBI agents President’s prophecy turns bizarrely true ← Continued from page 1 was, according to his guilty plea, tasked with improving US-Russia relations. With that mission in mind, he pursued meetings with a Kremlin-connected professor in London, who promised that Russia had “dirt” on Hillary Clinton via “thousands of emails”. Over several months, Papadopoulos was diligent in working his Russian contacts, including the Kremlin’s ministry of foreign affairs, as he tried to organise a meeting between the Trump campaign and the Russian government. Within a month of Trump calling him an excellent guy, Papadopoulos was emailing not just his fellow Trump aides but also a “high-ranking campaign official” with a very kind offer for Trump himself. To wit: “Putin wanting to host him and the team when the time is right.” A few months later came an alternative offer: if a trip was too difficult, perhaps “a campaign rep” could make a meeting? If not, Papadopoulos kindly offered to make the trip himself in an “off the record” capacity. His unnamed “campaign supervisor” told him he should go ahead, George Papadopoulos lied to the FBI about the nature of his communications with Russians about his contacts with Russians, and about his awareness of their links to the Kremlin. His indictment alleges: “The professor told Papadopoulos about the Russians possessing ‘dirt’ on then-candidate Clinton in late April 2016, more than a month after defendant Papadopoulos had joined the campaign.” Manafort and Gates pleaded not guilty to 12 counts. The first was “conspiracy against the United States”, an but the trip never happened. For some reason, Papadopoulos lied to FBI agents about the “extent, timing and the nature of his communications” with the Russians, according to his guilty plea. Now, instead of a five-year prison term and a $250,000 fine, Papadopoulos is looking at less than six months in prison and less than $9,500 in fines. Trump attempted to claim that the news about Manafort and Gates was so much blah blah “before Paul Manafort was part of the Trump campaign”. Nice try, Mr President. Let’s set aside the 12 counts of the indictments, including “conspiracy The Guardian Weekly 03.11.17 5 Web of intrigue Contacts, conspiracies and diversions → Comment, pages 18-19 Fake election news ‘seen by 126 million on Facebook’ Olivia Solon San Francisco Sabrina Siddiqui Washington overall charge that refers to a failure to inform the government of foreign income, and failing to register lobbying work for foreign interests. The indictment focuses on the business activities of the two men before Manafort joined Trump’s campaign, in March 2016, and Gates became a senior fundraiser. The charges allege the two men worked extensively for political figures and parties in Ukraine and laundered millions of dollars in payment for that work by channelling it through a web of companies. The charges were approved by a grand jury last Friday. Although the indictment says the two men’s moneymaking activities lasted until at least 2016, the charges do not mention their campaign role. Trump’s lawyer, Ty Cobb, said there was “no angst at the White House”. Manafort had been warned to expect an indictment and Cobb recently told the New York Times he was confident Manafort had no damaging information on the president. However, the Mueller investigation is expected to produce further indictments. against the United States,” moneylaundering, tax evasion and failing to register as a foreign agent. Let’s set aside the alleged $75m in payments through offshore accounts, laundered by Manafort into property to hide the income. Let’s even ignore the fact that Manafort ran the Trump campaign as its chairman, for no salary. For now, let’s just focus on the essential promise of the Trump campaign. Trump talked endlessly about his corrupt opponent. He trashed Clinton at every turn for her emails, warning gravely that her presidency would be crippled by FBI investigations. “Lock her up” was the rallying cry of his entire general election, based on this FBI inquiry. Only now, the shackles are on the other foot. Now Trump can serve out the remainder of this presidency living the life he predicted for Hillary Clinton. Making his final case to the voters, Trump said the FBI investigations would trigger “an unprecedented and protracted constitutional crisis” because of “a criminal massive enterprise and cover-ups like probably nobody ever before.” He’s rarely been so right and so wrong at the same time. Russian-backed content reached as many as 126 million Americans on Facebook during and after the presidential election, according to the company’s prepared testimony submitted to the Senate judiciary committee ahead of planned hearings this week. One hundred and twenty fake Russian-backed pages created 80,000 posts that were received by 29 million Americans directly but then amplified to a much bigger potential audience by users sharing, liking and following the posts. The company planned to disclose the numbers to the committee on Tuesday, according to a person familiar with the testimony, who declined to be named. After appearing before the committee, representatives for Facebook, Google and Twitter were expected to testify before the Senate and House intelligence committees. Both panels are conducting separate inquiries into Russian meddling in the US election. Although 126 million people is about half of Americans eligible to vote, Facebook was expected to downplay the significance at the hearings. “Our best estimate is that approximately 126 million people may have been served one of their stories at some point during the twoyear period. This equals about fourthousandths of (0.004%) of content in News Feed, or about one out of 23,000 pieces of content,” said Colin Stretch, a lawyer for Facebook in written testimony, obtained by news outlets. The discovery of Russian interference has, according to Stretch’s testimony, “opened a new battleground for our company, our industry and our society”. Facebook closed the accounts and reported malicious actors tied to Russia to US law enforcement. Such “organic” posts are distinct from more than 3,000 advertisements also linked to Russia’s Internet Research Agency. These ads, disclosed in early October, were viewed by up to 10 million Facebook users. Twitter and Google found similar activity on their own platforms. Twitter and Google have also submitted testimony. Google, which has not previously commented on its internal investigation, said it discovered $4,700 worth of ads with suspicious Russian ties as well as 18 YouTube channels linked to the Kremlin’s disinformation campaign. It also discovered Gmail addresses used to open accounts on other platforms. Twitter has found 2,752 accounts linked to Russian operatives – more than 10 times greater than it had previously informed lawmakers. Facebook and Twitter, though not Google, have publicly outlined steps they are taking to give the public more information about who buys and who sees political advertising on their site. Their actions appear to pre-empt regulation. A bill unveiled last month would require social media companies to keep public files of election ads and require companies to “make reasonable efforts” to make sure that foreign individuals or entities are not purchasing political advertisements in order to influence Americans. Trump and Russia: a brief explainer How serious are the allegations? A sitting president or his campaign is suspected of having coordinated with a foreign country to manipulate a US election. The stakes for Trump could not be higher. What are the key questions? Did Trump’s presidential campaign collude at any level with Russian operatives to sway the 2016 US presidential election? And did Trump or others break the law to throw investigators off the trail? What are the implications for Trump? The affair has the potential to eject Trump from office. It is believed that prosecutors are investigating whether Trump committed an obstruction of justice. Both Richard Nixon and Bill Clinton – the only presidents to face impeachment proceedings in the last century – were accused of obstruction of justice. But Trump’s fate is probably up to the voters. Even if strong evidence of wrongdoing emerged, a Republican congressional majority would probably block any action to remove him from office. What has happened so far? Former foreign policy adviser George Papadopoulos pleaded guilty to perjury over his contacts with Russians linked to the Kremlin, and Trump’s former campaign manager Paul Manafort and another aide face charges of money laundering. When will the inquiry end? The investigations have an open timeline. Guardian reporters 6 The Guardian Weekly 03.11.17 International news Elections won’t resolve Spain’s woes Analysis Giles Tremlett Showing their colours … opponents of the region’s independence rally in Barcelona Santi Palacios/AP Catalan leaders face charges Members of cabinet could go to jail over independence push Sam Jones Barcelona Catalonia’s ousted president and several members of his deposed cabinet fled to Belgium hours before Spain’s attorney general asked for charges of rebellion, sedition and misuse of public funds to be brought against them over their decision to declare independence last week. Shortly after the likely charges were announced on Monday, Spanish and Catalan government officials confirmed Carles Puigdemont, pictured below, was in Brussels. It appeared Puigdemont and five of his former ministers had driven to Marseilles and then caught a flight to Brussels. There was speculation they could be intending to set up a government in exile or claim asylum. In an apparent reference to Josep Tarradellas, las, the Catalan leader who lived in exile in Paris during the Franco dictatorship, orship, a spokeswoman for Puigdemont’s nt’s Catalan Democratic party (PDeCat) PDeCat) said: “We had presidents ts in this country who were nott able to be here during Franco’s o’s time and they were still the president of the Catalan government.” rnment.” Last weekend, kend, Belgium’s immigration migration minister suggested ggested that Puigdemont ont could be offered asylum ylum in the country. “It’s not unrealistic, looking at the current nt situation,” Theo Francken, a member of the Flemish separatist N-VA VA party, told the Flemish-language h-language broadcaster VTM. VTM. “Looking at the repression by Madrid and the jail sentences that are being proposed, the question can be asked whether he still has the chance for an honest court hearing.” Belgium’s prime minister, Charles Michel, later clarified that an asylum request from Puigdemont was “absolutely not on the agenda”. Spain’s prime minister, Mariano Rajoy, took the unprecedented step last Friday of using article 155 of the constitution to sack Puigdemont and his government and impose direct rule on Catalonia after the regional parliament voted to declare independence. As well as taking control of the region’s civil service, police and finances, Rajoy has used the article to call elections in Catalonia to be held on 21 December. On Monday, Spain’s attorney general, José Manuel Maza, announced that he would ask the national court to bring the charges against 14 members of Puidgdemont’s administration for pushing ahead with independence in defiance of Spain’s constitution and constitutional court. They include Pui Puigdemont, his Junqueras, the admindeputy, Oriol Junque istration’s foreign minister, Raül Romeva, and th the government spokesman, Jordi Turull. The supreme court, meanwhile, will investigate inves possible action a against Carme Forcade Forcadell, the speaker of the C Catalan parliament, and other parliame liamentary officials for tthe part they played in paving the playe way for the vote. Maza said the Ma charges were being charg sought “because their actions over the past two years have produced an institut institutional crisis that culminated with the uniculminate lateral declaration of independence made with total contempt for our constitution on 27 October”. Under Spain’s legal system, his request will now go before judges for consideration. The independence leaders could be called to testify if charges are brought. The crime of rebellion carries a maximum sentence of 30 years’ imprisonment, while sedition carries a 15-year penalty. Misuse of public funds is punishable with a six-year jail term. Puigdemont and Junqueras have both attacked the Spanish government’s response to the declaration. Puigdemont has urged Catalans to resist “repression and threats, without ever abandoning, at any time, civic and peaceful conduct”, while Junqueras described Madrid’s reaction as a “coup d’état against Catalonia”. Despite fears that many of Catalonia’s 200,000 civil servants would refuse to follow direct rule from Madrid, they returned to work on Monday. Spain’s interior ministry named a new chief of the regional force, the Mossos d’Esquadra, and reminded all officers stationed in Catalonia that they have a duty to “obey orders, guarantee the rights of all, and fulfil the mandates” of the Spanish constitution and the region’s statute. The two main parties in Puigdemont’s coalition said they intended to run in the regional polls one way or another. A spokeswoman for PDeCat said: “Mr Rajoy, we will see you at the ballot boxes,” while a spokesman for Junqueras’s Catalan Republican Left party said: “We will find a way to participate on 21 December. [It] could be one more opportunity to consolidate the republic.” According to a recent poll for El Mundo, the elections could be very close, with anti-independence parties being supported by 43.4% , with pro-independence parties on 42.5%. Matthew d’Ancona, page 21 → When Catalans vote for a new regional government on 21 December, truncheon-wielding riot police should be absent and the results will clearly be valid. But Spanish prime minister Mariano Rajoy’s decision to call a snap election, combined with the imposition of direct rule, does not magically resolve the problem. Much can go wrong before then. It is still not clear that all separatist parties will stand. If they do, they look unlikely to maintain the unity that has turned them into such a formidable force. Conservatives and anti-capitalists were always a strange, and strained, alliance. Oriol Junqueras, sacked as deputy prime minister with the rest of the Catalan government last Friday, looks set to become the independence movement’s leader as his Catalan Republican Left (ERC) party storms past more moderate rivals. His warning last Sunday that the movement must now take “decisions that will be difficult to understand” reveals a terrible dilemma. If his party stands, it will be accused of backtracking on claims that Catalonia is now an independent republic. But if it does not stand, it will be accused of cowardice. Rajoy’s government has challenged the deposed Catalan prime minister, Carles Puigdemont, to stand so that voters can “judge” his behaviour. Yet Puigdemont will reportedly step back. His conservative Catalan European Democratic party – a recent convert to separatism – has clearly lost its position as the region’s dominant party. In many ways, this is the best possible moment for the separatists to go into elections. With some of its leaders now remanded in jail (but able to run as candidates) while Puigdemont and others face longrunning court cases, sympathy is running high. The memory of police violence during the chaotic 1 October referendum remains fresh. A unionist victory would be humiliating for the separatists. Yet Rajoy is taking a risk, since a clear victory by the independence movement would help win it the support it lacks among EU governments. It might also oblige his conservative People’s party to accept that the constitution Spaniards, and Catalans, approved so massively in 1978 is overdue for a rewrite. The Guardian Weekly 03.11.17 7 International news Kicker here like this Then a short description here like this → Then Section and Page XX Libyan path to Europe now a dead end How crisis was pushed back across the Mediterranean New EU strategies have left migrants despairing on Africa’s north coast Francesco Semprini Tripoli Jacob Svendsen Tunis In the humanitarian horror that Libya has become, the migrant detention centre at Abu Salim is by no means the worst. Migrant centres here, packed with thousands of people seized on the trafficking routes that criss-cross Libya, have become renowned for forced labour, beatings, torture and rape. But in southern Tripoli, Abu Salim offers something close to respite for people who have been on the road for weeks or months. Run by the interior ministry, it’s one of the few detention sites in Libya that journalists can safely visit. There’s a health clinic, a kitchen, dormitories and mattresses, spaces for prayer. But there is little hope. The 150 or so migrants stuck here have made perilous journeys from Mali, Niger, Nigeria, Ivory Coast, Burkina Faso, the Gambia, Guinea and Senegal, but Abu Salim is likely to be the closest they will get to Europe. The next stage of their journey will be home again. Since the EU intensified efforts this year to prevent African migrants from travelling north in their thousands, Libya, once a funnel to Europe, has largely become a dead end. Diplomatic deals have made the authorities beef up their efforts; many of the smuggling gangs too have been co-opted, for now. Ali, a 24-year-old Nigerian who has been here for weeks, is resigned to going back. “There was plenty of work at home, but we were poor. My mother died and I wanted to go to Italy or Europe to ensure a better future for my dad and brothers,” he says. He and his brother Mokhtar travelled first to Agadez in Niger, the west African hub of clandestine migration and people trafficking. They paid €300 ($350) each to cross deserts and mountains, a tortuous route towards an uncertain destination. In Misrata, in north-west Libya, they paid another €300 for a berth in a Chinese-made dingy that was supposed to be leaving from Garabouli, east of Tripoli. But the boat trip never happened. They were arrested by local militias and brought to Abu Salim. Detainees usually stay in the camp for two to three months before being returned to their country of origin. UNHCR, the UN’s refugee agency, estimates there are about 30 government-run detention centres, but that doesn’t include clandestine facilities Key traﬃcking routes Atlantic Ocean Spain 13,597 Italy 110,329 Algiers Tarifa Hoceima Tunisia Morocco Zarzis Greece 22,105 Samos Mediterranean Sea Tripoli Road’s end … migrants receive food at a detention centre in Libya Hani Amara/ Reuters Algeria Libya Tamanrasset Niger Land routes Agadez Saba Niamey Gambia Sea routes Arrivals by sea in 2017 SOURCE: INTERNATIONAL ORGANISATION FOR MIGRATION run by traffickers and militias. There are thought to be several hundred thousand migrants in the country. “In general, conditions are really bad in these detention centres,” says the UNHCR’s Libya chief, Roberto Mignone. “At best, they are more or less functional, but serious human rights violations and sexual assaults are committed there.” UNHCR is trying to help migrants move out of the illicit detention centres and into facilities that it manages. But the agency’s freedom to operate is limited by a parlous security situation: Mignone and his staff operate out of neighbouring Tunisia, with the help of a few dozen Libyan associates. “The security situation is very complicated and it is frustrating not to have free access to all in need. We have no overview of the militias’ or traffickers’ detention centres or prisons,” he says. Since Muammar Gaddafi was ousted in 2011, Libya has been a magnet for migrants desperate to get to Europe. After record-breaking numbers reached Italy in 2016 and unprecedented numbers dying in the Mediterranean over the past two years, the EU signalled a determination to halt the migration through a series of deals with Libya. One part of the strategy involved the south of the country – where more than 2,500km of desert borders with Algeria, Chad, Niger and Sudan provide multiple channels north. Italy has helped to secure the border, offered infrastructure and electricity, and Something happened to the deadly migrant trail into Europe in 2017. It dried up. Not completely, but palpably. In the high summer, peak time for traffic across the Mediterranean, numbers fell by as much as 70%. This was no random occurrence. European policymakers have been desperately seeking solutions that would not just deal with those already here, but prevent more from coming. European leaders have sought to send the problem back to where it came from: principally north Africa. The means have included disrupting rescue missions in the Mediterranean and offering aid to countries that promise to stem the flow of people. The upshot has been to bottleneck the migration crisis in a part of the world not equipped to cope with it. Separately, the European commission has signed migration deals with five African countries: Niger, Mali, Nigeria, Senegal and Ethiopia. These migration “compacts” tie development aid, trade and other EU policies to the EU’s agenda on returning unwanted migrants from Europe. Detractors say the EU is “bribing” poorer countries to do Europe’s border management. Too much money is said to go to regimes people are fleeing from, such as Sudan. To find out more about the ramifications of this new EU approach, six European newspapers – Politiken, Der Spiegel, Le Monde, El País, La Stampa and the Guardian – have teamed up to report from the region. Mark Rice-Oxley pledged to help improve employment prospects for young people. Further north, the emphasis has been on a new Italian mission to support the Libyan coastguard in the Mediterranean. There has also been an “under the radar” deal between Italians and leading figures who control the coastline and the trafficking there. Boats no longer leave the shore. But nothing is straightforward in a country with two antagonistic governments, many fiefdoms and strongmen, and myriad trafficking groups jostling for status, territory and business. Francesco Semprini works for the Italian newspaper La Stampa; Jacob Svendsen works for the Danish newspaper Politiken 8 The Guardian Weekly 03.11.17 International news MEPs aim for Saudi arms ban Letter urges EU embargo in response to kingdom’s Yemen campaign Jennifer Rankin Brussels The European Union is under mounting pressure from MEPs to ban arms sales to Saudi Arabia in response to the Gulf state’s bombing campaign in Yemen. The leaders of four political groups in the European parliament have urged the foreign policy chief, Federica Mogherini, to propose an EU arms embargo on Saudi Arabia, because of the devastating war in Yemen that has left nearly 20 million people in need of humanitarian aid. In a letter to Mogherini, seen by the Guardian, the MEP leaders accuse the EU of flouting its own rules, by selling weapons to Saudi Arabia in defiance of a 2008 common code on military exports. Mogherini has the right to propose an arms embargo, but would need to win the backing of member states, including the UK, one of the biggest arms exporters to the kingdom. The latest call for a ban would run into immediate opposition from the British defence secretary, Michael Fallon, who urged MPs last week not to criticise Saudi Arabia in the interests of a fighter jet deal. The EU code on arms exports lists eight grounds for turning down an arms export licence, including respect for the obligations of international organisations, such as the UN. In particular, EU member states must show “special caution and vigilance” when issuing licences to countries where serious violations of human rights have been established by the UN or other bodies. The UN has described Yemen as the world’s largest humanitarian crisis: in September it agreed to send war crimes investigators to the devastated country Decision time … EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini to examine alleged human-rights violations committed by both sides during the two-and-a-half year civil war. After Saudi Arabia launched a bombing campaign against the Houthi rebels in March 2015, at least 10,000 people were killed in the first 22 months of the conflict, the UN humanitarian office said, almost double other estimates. At least 2,100 people have died from cholera, while thousands more are being infected with the disease every week following the collapse of water supplies and sanitation. Bodil Valero, a Swedish Green party MEP, said the EU could not continue to sell arms to Saudi Arabia when faced with “the biggest humanitarian crisis in the world”. “We have our common European values, we have a common position [on arms sales], we shouldn’t sell arms to a country that doesn’t respect humanitarian law or human rights,” said Valero, who drafts the parliament’s annual arms control resolution. France, followed by the UK, issued the most valuable arms-export licences to Saudi Arabia in 2015, according to the latest EU arms export report, which shows that 17 EU member states sold arms to the Gulf state. The UK issued licences to Saudi Arabia worth €3.3bn ($3.8bn), but did not reveal the value of weapons shipped to the country that year. France issued licences worth €16.9bn, but the value of shipments was €899m. EU member states refused seven arms export licences to Saudi Arabia, but the report does not name the country or countries that did so, or why. The letter to Mogherini states: “It is our view that any such [arms] exports to Saudi Arabia are in direct violation of at least criterion two of the common position in regard to the country’s involvement in grave breaches of humanitarian law as established by competent UN authorities.” It is signed by the leaders of the Socialists, the Liberals, the European United Left and the Greens, who together have 48% of MEPs in the European parliament. The parliament passed a symbolic resolution in favour of an arms embargo in February 2016, but member states, which hold the levers of EU foreign policy, have so far ignored calls for action. Nesrine Malik, page 20 → Qatar to improve migrant workers’ rights David Conn The International Trade Union Confederation claims to have secured the agreement of the government in Qatar to significantly improve the physical and employment situation of 2 million migrant workers, including ending the kafala system, which the ITUC has described as modern slavery. Human rights abuses such as kafala, by which workers are tied to a single employer; low pay; labouring in dangerous heat and hundreds of unexplained deaths, have been subjected to global scrutiny and criticism since 2010 when Fifa voted for Qatar to host the 2022 football World Cup. The government concessions, reported by state media, were announced just before the International Labour Organisation was due to decide last week whether to hold a commission of inquiry into the conditions for migrant workers building Qatar’s infrastructure programme and 2022 stadiums. Sharan Burrow, the ITUC general secretary, said, following the agreements, she will recommend that formal complaints made against Qatar be withdrawn, meaning there will be no ILO commission of inquiry. Nicholas McGeehan, an expert on migrant workers’ issues in the Gulf, sounded a note of caution. “All we have today are promises, and promises have been broken before,” he said. “I feel we need to put expressions of optimism on hold until we see full details, changes in the law where necessary, and a time frame for promised reforms to be implemented.” Iraqi Kurdish leader to step down Martin Chulov Masoud Barzani is to step down as Kurdish president after the contentious independence referendum he called backfired spectacularly, with the Kurds of northern Iraq stripped of a third of their territory and facing continuing attacks by Baghdad. The veteran Kurdish leader told a parliamentary sitting in Erbil last Sunday that he would not re-contest the presidency, and asked for his powers to be dispersed. His decision comes six weeks after the poll, which returned a 93% yes vote but immediately prompted recriminations from neighbouring states and a rival political bloc. The move had been expected following the ballot, which rather than strengthen the Kurdish hold on northern Iraq has left it splintered, with officials scrambling to avert the loss of their last remaining revenue streams – border crossings to Syria and Turkey through which oil is exported. Barzani said his position would become vacant on 1 November, after which parliament will redistribute his powers. The Kurdish prime minister, Nechirvan Barzani, is expected to be handed some of the presidency’s duties, with the rest to be contested among senior officials. After the poll, Iraqi Kurdistan lost oilrich Kirkuk to forces sent by Baghdad, which had been angered by the referendum’s inclusion of the contested city and other disputed territories. Officials in the Iraqi capital saw the move as an annexation of Kirkuk, the fate of which has been contested over centuries. Military units and allied militias quickly seized oilfields and other strategic sites, turning off overnight more than half the Kurdish region’s revenues and leaving it with little hand to play in negotiations. Since then, central government forces have pushed further into disputed areas, reverting the boundaries of the Kurdish north to those it held in 2003, and sharply exposing both its military and political limitations as it calls for internationally brokered dialogue to end the crisis. The Iraqi military and Shia-led units have continued to stalk two border crossings that account for almost all of the region’s revenues. Talks between Erbil and Baghdad last weekend centred on the central government taking control of the border posts, which would mean all revenues from the oil trade being centrally marketed with Erbil taking a cut. The Guardian Weekly 03.11.17 9 Monument Kicker heremalaise like this Hindu roundhere on Taj Mahal Then anationalists short description like this → International news, page Then Section and Page XX12 International news Search for Mongolia’s past falls victim to economic downturn – and looters Darkhad Valley diary William Taylor I t’s a sunny, late summer day in northern Mongolia’s Darkhad Basin – a large glacial lake nestled against the country’s Russian border. To the south stretch the grasslands of the Eastern Eurasian Steppe; to the north, the Siberian boreal forest. We stand – almost precisely – at the place they meet, at the forest’s edge overlooking a large, grassy valley in the administrative district of Ulaan Uul. We’ve come to this site, known locally as Khorigiin Am, in response to reports from local herders of bones and artefacts lying on the ground. What we find is shocking – scraps of silk, hastily scattered pieces of wooden artefacts – and bone, human bone, everywhere. My companion, Dr J Bayarsaikhan, finishes a tally of the looted burial craters that dot the hillside. “More than 40,” he tells me, surveying the scene in front of us with dismay. We work through the evening to salvage what we can from the dozens of looted burial mounds, which, from the fragmented artefacts we find, appear to date to the time of the Great Mongol Empire – around 800 years ago. Mongolia’s cold, dry climate can sometimes result in incredible archaeological discoveries, preserving organic materials that might otherwise have disintegrated. However, looting makes short work of these rare finds. “[Organic artefacts] are more unstable than some other kinds of artefacts, like stone or metal,” says Sandra Vanderwarf, a cultural heritage preservation fellow at the American Center for Mongolian Studies (ACMS), who works at the National Museum of Mongolia. When materials such as skin, sinew or seeds are recovered from archaeological sites, researchers get a rare glimpse of how an object was made, what kinds of animals and plants were used to produce it or where these animals and plants came from. Over time, these bits of rare archaeological data help us understand processes like migration, globalisation and human responses to climate change. Looters sell or destroy these rare objects, exposing whatever may be left to the elements, where they quickly disintegrate through Salvage job ... an archaeology student gathers artefacts from a looted site in Khoriigin Am William Taylor exposure to weather, sun, animals and people. It’s difficult to say how long the scraps of decorated silk or finely incised bone and bark we recover may have sat at the surface, decomposing – but the looting appears to have been recent. Nonetheless, much has already been lost. Sadly, the story of our day at Khorigiin Am is far from unique. As Mongolia struggles its way through a prolonged economic downturn, opportunistic looters are destroying the nation’s cultural heritage. Although looting has always taken place to some degree, artefacts are now sold in the capital, Ulaanbaatar, or increasingly – with the rise of social Historical artefacts are now sold in the capital, Ulaanbaatar, or – increasingly – to buyers on Facebook media – to buyers on Facebook. From there, much of these artefacts will be sent overseas. As one of the world’s largest countries by geographic area, but smallest by population density, Mongolia poses overwhelming logistical challenges to protecting archaeological sites. “Because to date there have been no monitoring efforts, we can’t say just how bad it has become,” says Dr Julia Clark, an archaeologist and the cultural heritage director at ACMS. Clark has also noticed that research projects can actually guide looters, who might have left sites undisturbed. “Unfortunately,” she says, “people sometimes think that we’re stealing gold and treasure, and want to get some for themselves.” With few resources for anti-looting efforts, anonymity is the only defence for many archaeological sites. “To most [foreign] people, Mongolia is Genghis Khan,” says Dr Bryan Miller, a postdoctoral research fellow at Oxford University specialising in Mongolian and Chinese history. “But he’s seen as this kind of spark. He didn’t just come out of nowhere.” To understand the Mongol empire, Miller says, we need to protect the region’s history. The situation, though bleak, is far from hopeless. In a televised speech in the Ikh Khural (national assembly), representative G Munkhtsetseg acknowledged the struggle facing those working to protect cultural heritage. For Mongolia’s beleaguered professionals in the field, the words were a welcome change. In recent years, Mongolia has also managed to pass legislation mandating an archaeological survey for mining projects, and instituted harsh penalties for those convicted of looting or trafficking in antiquities. Cultural heritage protection is not just Mongolia’s problem. As the United States’ recent withdrawal from Unesco demonstrates, it is a global issue. For archaeology to stay relevant, researchers and authorities alike must demonstrate its value in the public eye. “It’s a fight that we are never going to stop fighting,” says Miller. William Taylor is a postdoctoral research fellow at the Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History in Jena, Germany 10 The Guardian Weekly 03.11.17 International news Mexican anger over corruption deepens Outrage over oﬃcial ﬁring of top electoral crimes prosecutor Analysis David Agren Over the past year, Mexico’s ruling party has been embroiled in a string of scandals, including accusations of wild overspending in regional election campaigns, systematic malfeasance by state governors and an attempt to gut a newly created national mechanism to fight corruption. So the announcement that the Institutional Revolutionary party (PRI) had fired the country’s top electoral crimes prosecutor for discussing an investigation with the media has been greeted with scepticism and incredulity. Santiago Nieto – whose investigations had put the PRI on the defensive – was fired last week for unspecified “code of conduct” violations. His office had been investigating allegations that the disgraced Brazilian construction company Odebrecht improperly pumped money into the PRI’s 2012 election campaign. In an interview with the newspaper Reforma, Nieto said the campaign’s point man for international relations, Emilio Lozoya, had asked the prosecutor to publicly pronounce his innocence in the affair. Lozoya also reminded Nieto that his father was a prominent former PRI cabinet member, the prosecutor said. Shortly after the article appeared, Nieto was forced out. His dismissal – less than a year before presidential elections – has sparked outrage in Mexico, where politicians have seemed unmoved by growing frustration with corruption. Throughout the administration of president Enrique Peña Nieto (no relation to the prosecutor), accusations of political corruption have hit the headlines with disturbing regularity. Yet prominent politicians appear keen to downplay the issue. Peña Nieto recently suggested Mexicans blame corruption any time they have a problem, while the country’s comptroller, Arely Gómez, suggested that perceptions of corruption were exaggerated by social media. Ordinary people consistently cite corruption as a major problem in their lives, however. Mexico ranks 123rd on Transparency International’s most recent corruption perceptions index – tied with Sierra Leone and Moldova, and 12 spots worse than its rank the previous year. The senate, where the PRI and its allies hold 62 of the 128 seats, has missed the deadline to name a specialised anti-corruption prosecutor, meaning that campaigns for the 1 July 2018 election will begin with an interim attorney and no anti-corruption or electoral crimes prosecutors. Government loyalists have said Nieto was fired for discussing an active investigation. Legal experts say that could technically be justified, but sensitive criminal investigations are commonly tried in the media, and bureaucratic incompetence and violations of “codes of conduct” are seldom punished. Last year, the country introduced a new National Anti-Corruption system after investigative journalists found Peña Nieto, his wife and his finance minister had purchased properties from crony contractors. Activists, however, say the system is hobbled by the senate’s refusal to name an anti-corruption prosecutor. Among the most high-profile corruption cases that have been held up is the investigation into Odebrecht, which has been accused of funding political corruption across Latin America. Brazil’s unpopular president avoids corruption trial Brazilian president Michel Temer survived a key vote last Wednesday on whether he should be tried on corruption charges, mustering support in the lower house of congress despite abysmal approval ratings. To avoid being suspended and put on trial for charges of obstruction of justice and leading a criminal organisation, the president needed the support of at least a third of the 513 deputies in the Chamber of Deputies. He reached the threshold of 171 about two hours into the voting. The final tally was 251 in support of Temer and 233 against. The rest were abstentions and absences. Temer survived a similar vote in August on a separate bribery charge. “This accusation is fragile, inept and worse than the first one,” legislator Celso Russomanno said while voting in favour of Temer. The opposition, which spent much of the day manoeuvring to postpone the vote, criticised Temer. “I vote with more than 90% of Brazilians who have already convicted Temer’s corrupted administration,” said lawmaker Luiza Erundina. While it was a clear win for the president, he has become so weakened by repeated scandals that it remains to be seen whether he can muster support for key reforms. Temer took over last year after Dilma Rousseff was impeached and removed from office. His term goes until 31 December 2018. Many feel the administration lacks legitimacy because of how Temer came to power. Temer’s approval rating is about 3%, according to recent polls. Associated Press Step up … a bus tour of scandal-related Mexico City sites Yuri Cortez/Getty Maduro cements control as the opposition fractures Anthony Faiola and Rachelle Krygier Caracas Washington Post Despite international sanctions and widespread discontent at home, the Venezuelan president, Nicolás Maduro, appears to have consolidated his grip on power, outmanoeuvring the opposition and leaving it fractured, weakened, even disgraced. Maduro, the anointed successor of the late Hugo Chávez, has emerged as one of the highest-profile foreign adversaries of President Donald Trump, who has repeatedly called Venezuela a dictatorship. The bus driver-turned-president still faces serious challenges, as his oil-producing country seeks to avert further international sanctions and a debt default that could deepen a withering economic crisis. Yet analysts increasingly see Maduro as having neutralised one of his biggest threats: his domestic political opposition. Formed in 2008 to present a united front against Chávez, the Democratic Unity Roundtable (MUD), amounted to a confederation of antigovernment parties. Earlier this year, the MUD helped fuel months of antigovernment protests. Some of its major figures, including leading dissident Leopoldo Lopez, have been in detention on what critics call spurious charges. But those who could speak out were embraced in Washington and European capitals as the voices of democracy in Venezuela. To a significant extent, they still are. Yet in recent days, the MUD’s be- hind-the-scenes infighting has spilled out into the open, apparently playing right into Maduro’s hands. “The alliance of the opposition is now crumbling,” said Dimitris Pantoulas, a political analyst based in Caracas. Leaders in the MUD always had differences. Those rifts, however, have turned into gulfs in the aftermath of state elections on 15 October, sapping the opposition’s momentum. The new divisions come as some factions appear willing to play by Maduro’s rules. The Guardian Weekly 03.11.17 11 International news Kicker here like this Then a short description here like this → Then Section and Page XX World’s super-rich are now worth $6tn Social unrest fears amid highest concentration of wealth since Rockefeller Rupert Neate The world’s super-rich are holding the greatest concentration of wealth since the US Gilded Age at the turn of the 20th century, when families such as the Carnegies, Rockefellers and Vanderbilts controlled vast fortunes. Billionaires inc reased their combined global wealth by almost a fifth last year to $6tn. There are 1,542 dollar billionaires across the world, after the wealth of 145 multimillionaires ticked over into nine-zero fortunes last year, according to the UBS/PwC Billionaires report. Josef Stadler, the report’s lead author and UBS’s head of global ultra high net worth, said his billionaire clients were concerned rising inequality could lead to a “strike back”. “We’re at an inflection point,” he said. “Wealth concentration is as high as in 1905, this is something billionaires are concerned about. The problem is the power of interest on interest – that makes big money bigger. The question is to what extent is that sustainable and at what point will society intervene and strike back?” He added: “We are now two years into the peak of the second Gilded Age.” He said the “$1bn question” was how society would react to the concentration of so much money in the hands of so few. Anger at so-called robber baron families who built vast fortunes from monopolies in US railroads, oil, steel and banking in the late 19th century, led to President Theodore Roosevelt breaking up companies and trusts and increasing taxes in the early 1900s. “Will there be similarities in the way Rich pickings … luxury yachts in Monaco Chris Ratcliffe/Bloomberg/Getty society reacts to this gilded age?” Stadler asked. “Will the second age end or will it proceed?” The International Monetary Fund recently said western governments should force the top 1% of earners to pay more tax to try to reduce dangerous levels of inequality. Stadler said media coverage of inequality and the super-rich suggested there would be an “inflection point”, but “the perception that billionaires make money for themselves at the expense of the wider population” was incorrect. He said that 98% of billionaires’ Oil giants pay billions less tax in Canada than elsewhere Canada taxes its oil and gas companies at a fraction of the rate they are taxed abroad, including by countries ranked among the world’s most corrupt, according to an analysis of public data by the Guardian. The low rate represents billions of dollars in potential revenue lost, which an industry expert says is a worrying sign that Canada may be “a kind of tax haven for our own companies”. The countries where oil companies paid higher rates of taxes, royalties and fees per barrel in 2016 include Nigeria, Indonesia, Ivory Coast and the UK. “I think it will come as a surprise to most Canadians, including a lot of politicians, that Canada is giving oil companies a cut-rate deal relative to other countries,” said Keith Stewart, an energy analyst with Greenpeace. Companies like Chevron Canada paid almost three times as much to Nigeria and almost seven times as much to Indonesia as it did to Canadian, provincial and municipal governments. Martin Lukacs wealth found its way back into wider society, adding that the world’s super-rich employed 27.7 million people – nearly the number of people in the UK workforce. Billionaires’ fortunes increased by 17% on average last year thanks to the strong performance of their companies and investments, particularly in technology and commodities. The billionaires’ average return was double that achieved by the world’s stock markets and far more than the average interest rates of 0.35% offered by UK instant-access high street bank accounts. Stadler said that the super-rich’s concerns over perceptions that they were getting wealthier at the expense of the wider population had led them to make greater philanthropic gifts and spend more on art galleries and sports teams. “You could say it is about ego and wanting to show off,” he said. “But it is also about giving back.” The report says billionaires account for 72 of the world’s 200 top collectors of art, up from 28 in 1995. The report says 140 of the world’s top sports teams are owned by 109 billionaires, with two-thirds of the US National Basketball Association and National Football League teams in their ownership. In the UK, nine of the 20 Premier League teams have billionaire owners, including Chelsea’s Roman Abramovich and Manchester City, which is part of Sheikh Mansour’s global sports empire. “There is an acceleration of these transactions as we speak, with major buyers coming from China,” said Stadler. One billionaire said he bought sports teams because it got “stars, sheikhs, famous businessmen and regular guys from around the world, all in the same room, all talking only about the ball”. One-metre sea rise ‘unless coal power ends by 2050’ Michael Slezak Coastal cities around the world could be devastated by 1.3 metres of sea level rise this century unless coalgenerated electricity is virtually eliminated by 2050, according to a paper that combines the latest understanding of Antarctica’s contribution to sea level rise and the latest emissions projection scenarios. It confirms again that significant sea level rise is inevitable and requires rapid adaptation. But, on a more positive note, the work reveals the majority of that rise – driven by newly recognised processes on Antarctica – could be avoided if the world fulfils its commitment made in Paris to keep global warming to “well below 2C”. In 2016, Robert DeConto from the University of Massachusetts Amherst revealed that Antarctica could contribute to massive sea level rise much earlier than thought, suggesting ice sheet collapse would occur sooner and identifying a new process where huge ice cliffs would disintegrate. But that paper only examined the impact of Antarctica on sea level rise, ignoring other contributions, and didn’t examine the details of what measures society needed to take to avoid those impacts. The new paper by the University of Melbourne’s Alexander Nauels and colleagues uses simplified physical models that allowed them to explore all known contributions to sea level rise, and pair them with the new generation of emissions scenarios which the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) will use in the next set of reports. They found that if nothing is done to limit carbon pollution, then global sea levels will rise by an estimated 1.32 metres. That is 50% more than was previously thought, with the IPCC’s AR5 report suggesting 85cm was possible by the end of the century. But the extra contribution from Antarctica would not kick in if warming was kept at less than 1.9C above preindustrial levels, the researchers found. 12 The Guardian Weekly 03.11.17 International news Rakhine crisis fuels fear of junta return Backlash against Aung San Suu Kyi could push her closer to army Poppy McPherson Yangon Observer On the top floor of the Myanmar Traditional Artists and Artisans Association in Yangon, its vice-president stands behind his latest creation. It is a towering portrait of Aung San Suu Kyi, a concerned expression on her face. “If Oxford University takes down one portrait of her, we want to create 2,000 more,” says the painter, who goes by the name K Kyaw. Days earlier he had joined dozens of others at the gallery to protest against the decision of St Hugh’s college to take down a painting of Myanmar’s leader by making their own. The college, where Aung San Suu Kyi studied in the 1960s, is among several British institutions to have stripped the Nobel laureate of honours as the world reacts to the brutal violence meted out against stateless Rohingya Muslims in the country she leads. More than 600,000 Rohingya have fled Rakhine state since August, trekking to refugee camps in Bangladesh and bringing stories of gang rape, killing and arson by soldiers and Buddhists. The United Nations has said the violence is ethnic cleansing. Others call it genocide. In Myanmar, the condemnations are being met with both indignation and pleas for patience. It has been less than two years since Aung San Suu Kyi’s National League for Democracy swept to power in a landslide election, ending half a century of junta rule. Democracy activists fear a return to isolation and military dominance. Oxford defied … young supporters hold portraits of Aung San Suu Kyi “The Rohingya crisis has put Myanmar’s reform process on a knife edge,” says a former senior diplomat based in the country, who like others interviewed asked to remain anonymous. “The country and its business people are pulled in two directions: openness, and a desire for international standards, clean government and human rights – but with the attendant accountability and scrutiny – or nationalism … and a reliance on support from China. The lack of government capacity and the poorly educated population heightens the risk that the military, still the only truly functioning institution, will return, and even be welcomed in some quarters.” For decades, Aung San Suu Kyi has been the embodiment of Myanmar’s democratic aspirations. The 72-yearold enjoys unparalleled adoration. Personal attacks by Oxford and others have led to rallies around the country with crowds chanting her name. Views of the situation inside Myanmar – where the Rohingya are widely reviled as illegal immigrants and terrorists – and outside the country are diametrically opposed. Both publicly and privately, the state counsellor is said to have echoed army rhetoric. Observers say she does not like to admit the military is not under her control. With the EU due to make decisions on Myanmar this week, an unnamed adviser claiming to speak with Aung San Suu Kyi’s authority briefed foreign reporters on the creation of a civilianled body to distribute international aid to the Rohingya, saying that the state counsellor felt under threat of being overthrown by the army. The army has intermittently reminded the public of the constitutional clause that allows it to take back power. “Myanmar’s transition is much more fragile than people assume, and the government’s freedom to move much narrower than supposed as a consequence,” says Sean Turnell, an economic adviser to the state counsellor. Myat San, a confidant of the state counsellor whom he calls “the Lady”, like many in Myanmar, says she does not want to antagonise the military. “She believes only dialogue and practising peaceful efforts can solve the political crisis,” he says .“In the current situation, what the international community are doing is not supporting this government, what they are doing is putting the country back into the hands of authoritarian rule. They are pushing the Lady and the military closer and closer.” Taj Mahal reviled Hindus condemn ‘a blot’ Times are tough for India’s monument to love. Air pollution is turning its marble surface yellow. Restoration work is obscuring its minarets. Tens of millions of tourists flock to Agra each year, but numbers are reportedly waning. The Taj Mahal’s critics are growing increasingly bold. In past months religious nationalists in the Hindumajority country have stepped up a campaign to push the four-centuryold Mughal monument to the margins of Indian history. One legislator kicked up a national storm when he labelled the tomb “a blot”. Resentment that India’s most recognisable monument was built by a Muslim emperor has always existed on the fringes of the Hindu right. But those fringes have never been so powerful. Attacks on the monument, a lifeline for its home state of Uttar Pradesh, have grown so loud that last week the state chief minister – himself a critic of the Taj – was forced into “a day-long exercise in damage control”, one newspaper said. Yogi Adityanath paid an elaborate official visit to Agra last Thursday to issue assurances that the Taj was a “unique gem” that his government was committed to protect. Many Hindu nationalists believe the hundreds of years in which north India was ruled by Muslim kings was a period of “slavery” like the British Raj. Fuelling the controversy are the writings of a fringe historian, PN Oak, who claims that the English language is a dialect of Sanskrit, and that Westminster Abbey is, in reality, a temple to the deity Shiva. The Taj, too, he argued, was a Shiva temple. Michael Safi Delhi Photograph: Pawan Sharma/AP Scholars tackle Xi Thought Tom Phillips Beijing Earnestly, resolutely, purposefully, consciously, conscientiously and, above all, constantly. That is how China’s 89 million Communist party members are expected to study and implement the thoughts of Xi Jinping, after his political ponderings were enshrined in its constitution last week. According to reports in China’s party-run media, two university departments dedicated to the examination of Xi Jinping Thought have been created while “study groups” are being promoted across the country as officials scramble to follow what Xi has dubbed his “new era”. The first and most prominent of the Xi-related departments will be at Beijing’s Renmin or People’s University, one of China’s top institutions. The Beijing Daily newspaper reported that the university had tasked top scholars with inquiring into what is officially called Xi Jinping Thought on Socialism with Chinese Characteristics in the New Era. They include Ai Silin, president of the School of Marxism at Tsinghua University, Xi’s alma mater, and Han Qingxiang, a senior academic from the Communist party’s school. Liu Wei, the university’s head, said: “The establishment of Xi Jinping Thought … is of epoch-making significance.” The Guardian Weekly 03.11.17 13 International news Kicker here like this Then a short description here like this → Then Section and Page XX Manus Island detention centre closes Doors shut on symbol of Australia’s infamous immigration regime Helen Davidson A chapter of Australia’s controversial and much-criticised immigration policy came to an end this week, with the scheduled closure of the Manus Island detention centre. Detainees on Tuesday launched a last-minute legal action over the facility’s closure, claiming their human rights protected by Papua New Guinea’s constitution are being breached by the removal of basic services including water and electricity. The centre’s closure threatens to be as fraught as its existence. Since it was reopened in 2012 by Julia Gillard’s Labor government, the facility has seen controversy after controversy, from the poor state of its basic infrastructure to allegations of torture and mismanagement, astonishing rates of trauma and mental illness, and six deaths, including one murder. Ultimately its existence was ruled illegal by Papua New Guinea’s supreme court, but that sparked a crisis about what the Australian and PNG authorities would do with the more than 700 men – the majority of whom were refugees – who could not return home, who were banned from Australia, and not very welcome in PNG. “We feel as if the Australian government will simply dust its hands of us and dump us here for ever,” wrote Imran Mohammad, a Rohingya refugee, in the Saturday Paper. “We will become the headache of Papua New Guinea, where we know we are not wanted. We will not even be allowed to leave Manus, to travel to the mainland. It feels as if we will be pushed beyond our limit to survive here.” The handling of the detention centre’s expected closure has attracted as much concern and condemnation as any of the numerous incidents in the history of immigration detention on Manus Island. Alongside a sister centre in the Pacific Island nation of Nauru, Manus’s multicompound facility – housed inside a PNG naval base – forms the bedrock of Australia’s offshore processing regime. At the heart of the policy is a single goal – to get asylum seekers to stop travelling to Australia by boat. Thousands have died trying. But as successive governments became so wedded to this outcome that a single arrival or resettlement would dash the entire policy as a failure, its implementation grew increasingly harsh. In July 2013 Australia’s then-prime minister, Kevin Rudd, declared no man, woman or child who sought asylum in Australia by boat would ever be allowed to settle in the country, regardless of whether they had family here. By late 2017 it was proposed they should also be banned for life. In between the government also felt compelled to deny family reunions and medical transfers, the latter policy implicated in at least one death, when Hamid Kehazaei died in 2014 from a treatable bacterial infection that developed into septicaemia after medical care was delayed. Six months before Kehazei’s death 23-year-old Reza Barati was murdered by centre employees in a deadly riot. Four others have also died, including two reported suicides in recent months. The deaths punctuated the interminable suffering reported by detainees: high rates of mental illness, self-harm, physical and sexual abuse, neglect and indefinite confinement. In 2015 more than 500 men began Stranded … refugees and asylum seekers at the detention centre Getty a two-week hunger strike in protest against conditions on the island. Others self-harmed and strikers who fell ill were removed from the centre. In May this year documents revealed the Australian government had engineered a year-long campaign to make conditions inside the detention centre more punitive to encourage refugees to leave, confirming suspicions of detainees and advocates. Last month Human Rights Watch detailed frequent and escalating attacks and violent robberies by armed locals, including three recent incidents that resulted in medical evacuations. The United Nations, Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, the Human Rights Law Centre and a number of other Australian and international groups have repeatedly condemned Australia’s immigration policies. Other countries have also lined up to criticise at successive UN periodic reviews. None of it led to change in Australia’s policy. Before the centre’s scheduled closure detainees were told to “consider their options” as basic services including water and electricity would be shut down around them. The plan forced detainees from compound to compound, and eventually – authorities hoped – out into the community. Detainees, advocates and human rights organisations fear a humanitarian crisis will now ensue. They say the situation around the Australianrun centre is too dangerous to resettle people in the Papua New Guinean community outside the compound. Observers say the situation is critical. Whatever happens next, the mark left by Australia’s infamous immigration regime will remain. Ardern sworn in as PM Eleanor Ainge Roy Dunedin Jacinda Ardern has officially been sworn in as the prime minister of New Zealand, promising to tackle climate change, eradicate child poverty and improve the lives of the country’s most vulnerable people. Ardern received a round of applause from her cabinet, friends and family who had gathered at government house last Thursday for the event. In her first comments as prime minister, Ardern promised to form an “active” government that would be “focused, empathetic and strong”. A number of Ardern’s cabinet chose to take their oath to the crown in Te Reo (Māori language), including corrections minister and deputy Labour leader Kelvin Davis, minister for Māori development Nanaia Mahuta, and women’s minister and Greens MP Julie Anne Genter, who is originally from the US. Genter’s effort was singled out for praise by her colleagues and the New Zealand public. After the swearing-in ceremony a crowd of around 1,000 people gathered on the lawn of parliament house to greet Ardern. “We vow that regardless of who you voted for, regardless of where in Aotearoa [the Māori name for New Zealand] you live, this will be a government for all,” she said. Leader comment, page 22 → International Tender Announcement t(Ref: CWW-ICT-2017-001) Concern Worldwide is an international humanitarian organization dedicated to reducing suffering and ending extreme poverty. Concern invites tenderers to bid for the establishment of a framework agreement for the supply and delivery of ICT equipment to our Dublin head ofﬁce Item speciﬁcations are detailed in the Tender Documents, available from: Web: www.concern.net/about/supplies/tenders Deadline for submission is: 1600 hours GMT Nov 17th, 2017 14 The Guardian Weekly 03.11.17 Finance in brief Finance • The US economy shook off the impact of two major hurricanes in the third quarter, growing at a robust 3%, the commerce department reported last Friday. Steady spending from consumers and businesses over the quarter helped the economy to beat economic forecasts. The hurricanes caused massive damage in Texas and Florida during August and September and were cited by the labour department as a major factor in the US economy losing 33,000 jobs in September. The stock markets have continued to hit record highs. Job done ... the last car made at the Elizabeth plant in Adelaide, a VFII SSV Redline Commodore Getty Last Holden rolls oﬀ the line Australian carmaker packs up after end to government subsidies Calla Wahlquist At 5.45am on Thursday 19 October, three generations of the Grant family piled into a Holden Commodore and pulled out of their driveway in the western Melbourne suburb of Sunbury and turned toward Adelaide. It was the second time in six days they had made the 700km trip. The first, a few days earlier, was a two-car convoy: Daniel Grant and his 16-yearold son, Jacob, in the 2006 red VZ SS Commodore and Grant’s father, Ross, in his new white SS Commodore. That trip was a celebration, a gathering of 25,000 people in 1,200 vehicles – all Holdens – making a slow lap around Adelaide’s northern suburbs, past the Holden manufacturing plant at Elizabeth, where a photographer waited to capture each car as it sat beneath the lion-and-stone emblem. “This next trip’s more like going to a funeral,” Grant said. “When they said years ago that they were going to [close the plant] I said I’ve got to be there on the day they build their last car. To pay my respects, I suppose.” The last Holden to be fully manufactured in Australia, a red VFII SSV Redline Commodore sedan, rolled off the production line on 20 October. It wound its way through the factory under the supervision of the remaining 950 production workers, who were also completing farewell models of the Caprice V, a luxury sedan used as a police car in the US, as well as a V6 Commodore Calais station wagon and an SS Commodore utility vehicle. This was no ordinary factory closure. It was the end of an era for Holden and for car manufacturing in Australia. Toyota rolled its last car off the line in Geelong on 3 October and Ford closed its manufacturing plants at Geelong and Broadmeadows in October last year. Mitsubishi, often the forgotten cousin of Australian mass car manufacturing, closed its plant in Adelaide’s southern suburbs in 2008. Paul Bastian, national secretary of the Australian Manufacturing Workers Union, pinpoints the closure of the Holden and Toyota manufacturing facilities to 2.08pm on 10 December 2013, when then treasurer Joe Hockey stepped up to the dispatch box in Parliament House and demanded Holden “come clean with the Australian people about their intentions”. “We want them to be honest about it – we want them to be fair dinkum – because, if I was running a business and I was committed to that business in Australia, I would not be saying that I have not made any decision about Australia,” Hockey said. “Either you are here or you are not.” The federal government had been in discussion with Holden’s parent company, General Motors, for several months about the company’s request for A$150m ($115m) a year to offset Hardcore fans ... Holden enthusiasts gather at the plant in Elizabeth the cost of production, which had ballooned as the mining boom drove the Australian dollar to record highs. Without that assistance, GM said, it was not sure it could keep manufacturing in Australia. Holden received $1.8bn in government support between 2001 and 2012, Hockey said. The automotive manufacturing industry received $30bn in financial assistance between 1997 and 2012, according to a 2014 Productivity Commission report. Hockey’s comments, which were followed by similar remarks from National party leader Warren Truss, splashed across newspaper front pages the next day under headlines saying the treasurer had dared Holden to leave. GM had made the decision to pull production before the first editions were printed, and Holden managing director Mike Devereux made the formal announcement to staff the following day. The plant had been in operation since 1965. Toyota followed suit on 10 February 2014. Ford had announced its intention to move offshore in May 2013, two months before the federal election. “It was clearly a decision of this government to dare the auto sector to leave,” Bastian said. “It was a disgraceful performance by a government, I’ve never seen anything like it before and I hope I never see anything like it again.” For Holden fans, the loss is less economic than psychological. It does not matter to them that Holden will continue to sell a version of the Commodore, which was Australia’s bestselling car from 1996 to 2000 and is a fixture on every suburban Australian street. The car will no longer be built in Australia. The 2018 Commodore model is a German-built Opel Insignia, rebadged as a Holden and sized up to a V6 for the Australian market. • The chief executive of Germany’s stock exchange has resigned following allegations he was involved in insider dealing. The Frankfurt-based Deutsche Börse announced Carsten Kengeter would leave at the end of the year just days after a court refused to back a settlement over the allegations under which he had agreed to a €500,000 ($580,000) penalty and the Börse €10.5m. The allegations stem from 2015 when he bought Deutsche Börse shares worth about €4.5m. Two months later, in February 2016, Deutsche Börse and the London Stock Exchange unveiled merger plans, an announcement that sent their share prices soaring. Those merger plans have since been abandoned. • Saudi Arabia will plough around $1bn into Sir Richard Branson’s Virgin space companies. The cash injection will be made to Virgin Galactic, The Spaceship Company and Virgin Orbit – with the option of $480m of extra investment. The Virgin Group founder said it would also open up the possibility of creating a “space-centric” entertainment industry in Saudi Arabia. Foreign exchanges Sterling rates Australia Canada Denmark Euro Hong Kong Japan New Zealand Norway Singapore Sweden Switzerland USA 30 Oct 1.71 1.68 8.41 1.13 10.26 149.45 1.92 10.72 1.79 10.97 1.31 1.32 23 Oct 1.70 1.67 8.35 1.12 10.30 149.98 1.90 10.56 1.80 10.81 1.30 1.32 The Guardian Weekly 03.11.17 15 UK news Time finish the job Kickertohere like this UK abortion needs strengthening Then a short law description here like this → Leader comment, page XX 22 Then Section and Page May gets tough as allegations of MPs’ sleazy behaviour grow Government beefs up procedures after series of sexual misconduct claims Cleaning up … Theresa May moved quickly after allegations about the behaviour of UK politicians PA Heather Stewart and Peter Walker Theresa May said she was determined to take tough action to protect Westminster staff against sexual harassment following a series of sleaze allegations against MPs from several UK political parties. On Monday May sat beside Andrea Leadsom, who promised MPs that she will establish a dedicated support team in parliament to enable staff and researchers to report incidents of sexual harassment. The leader of the House of Commons said the team would refer complaints where appropriate to the police, in response to an urgent question from the Labour MP Harriet Harman about a series of allegations that emerged last week. “No one should have to work in a toxic atmosphere of sleazy, sexist or homophobic banter. No MP, let alone a minister, should think it is something to make jokes about,” Harman said. The urgent question came after it had emerged over the weekend that trade minister Mark Garnier admitted encouraging an assistant to buy sex toys, and the former work and pensions secretary Stephen Crabb confessed to engaging in “sexual chatter” with a 19-year-old who had applied for a job in his office. Leadsom said an independent helpline that already exists would be given more resources, would help victims to report their experiences and would provide pastoral care. “It is absolutely right that the house must address the urgent issue of alleged mistreatment of staff by members of parliament. These allegations make clear that there is a vital need to provide better support and protection for the thousands of staff working in Westminster and in constituency offices across the country,” she said. Leadsom said the new policies should apply to interns and civil servants as well as MPs’ staff – and made clear that sanctions could include ministers losing their jobs, or MPs losing their party whip. “Everyone in this house must be clear that whenever a serious allegation is made, the individual should go to the police, and be supported in doing so,” she said. “Your age, gender or job title should have no bearing on the way you are treated in a modern workforce, and no one should be an exception to that.” Earlier, the Speaker, John Bercow, put the onus on May and the other party leaders, rather than House of Commons authorities, to crack down on sexual harassment. The prime minister wrote to Bercow last Sunday urging him to coordinate efforts to introduce a contractually binding grievance procedure to cover MPs’ staff. But the Speaker said it was up to political parties to make changes. ‘No one should have to work in a toxic atmosphere of sexist banter’ Like Leadsom, Bercow said the police should be involved where an allegation of assault has been made. “Let me make it clear: there must be zero tolerance of sexual harassment or bullying, here at Westminster or elsewhere,” he said. May’s official spokesman had said she was “deeply concerned” by allegations of sexual misconduct. The spokesman pointedly declined to confirm that May had full confidence in Garnier, who was this week the subject of an internal government inquiry. But amid reports of several dozen Tory MPs and ministers being named as behaving in a sexually inappropriate way on a list drawn up by party aides, May’s spokesman declined to say whether she had sought information on potential wrongdoing. The spokesman denied that May had seen an alleged dossier compiled by party whips on MPs’ behaviour, saying: “There is no dossier and therefore the prime minister hasn’t seen one.” He said he did not know of any allegations of wrongdoing beyond that connected to Garnier. Claims about the behaviour of senior UK politicians emerged last week, after the scandal surrounding the Hollywood film producer Harvey Weinstein encouraged women in other professions to share their experiences. Crabb apologised for his “sexual chatter” with a job applicant, while the trade minister Mark Garnier admitted asking a former assistant to buy sex toys and calling her “sugar tits”. Labour MPs also believe more allegations will emerge on their side. The Sheffield Hallam MP Jared O’Mara was suspended from the party last week for misogynistic and homophobic remarks on social media. “We’re not going to be immune from it,” said the Manchester Central MP, Lucy Powell. “It’s the attitudes and the power inequalities, whether it’s Hollywood, the BBC or Westminster.” Separately, MPs were sharing stories last Sunday about a Conservative MP who allegedly takes pictures of young men in compromising positions and uses them to extract sexual favours. The Sunday Times reported that an unnamed senior cabinet minister had grabbed a woman’s thigh and said: “God, I love those tits.” One former Tory minister said: “The whole culture needs to change.” Downing Street flatly denied reports that the prime minister receives regular updates from the whips about the sexual behaviour of her MPs. Instead, they said she had requested last Friday to see the chief whip, Gavin Williamson, and her chief of staff, Gavin Barwell, to ask if more should be done about sexual harassment. Katie Perrior, formerly May’s head of communications, said such information was often “kept away from the prime minister” but used by whips to enforce party discipline. Ben Jennings cartoon, page 21 → 16 The Guardian Weekly 03.11.17 UK news Alarm sounds as high-street sales crash Survey shows spending dropping at fastest rate since 2009 recession Zoe Wood, Phillip Inman and Sarah Butler High-street sales are falling at their fastest rate since the height of the recession in 2009 as pressured households put the brakes on spending, according to a survey that is a grim omen for struggling retailers this Christmas. The Confederation of British Industry’s survey recorded a “steep drop” in retail sales in October. The slump sent shockwaves through the high street, with the CBI’s chief economist, Rain Newton-Smith, warning of a “softening” of demand as inflation ate into spending power. Department stores and specialist food and drink outlets bore the brunt of the slowdown. “It’s clear retailers are beginning to really feel the pinch from higher inflation,” said Newton-Smith. “While retail sales can be volatile from month to month, the steep drop in sales in October echoes other recent data pointing to a marked softening in consumer demand.” The bleak snapshot of high-street trading provided by the CBI – which also reported that orders placed with suppliers had dropped at the fastest rate since the spring of 2009 – came as the Asda supermarket’s income tracker documented a slump in the spending power of average households. Kay Neufeld, an economist at the Cebr consultancy, which conducted the study, said: “We have seen family spending power decline in five out of the last six months, underlining the mounting pressures on households’ budgets.” London was the winner in the race for higher disposable incomes, Neu- Slowdown … rising inflation has begun to damage retail business feld said, after household income in the capital rose by 2.4% compared with a national fall of 0.5%. But in all regions incomes failed to rise by more than the current inflation rate of 3%. The findings chimed with official figures for the year to April 2017 that showed London’s income growth outstripping other regions, though the biggest gains were in inner London boroughs. Wages in outer London suburbs increased by 1.2%, compared with 4.4% in the centre, according to data from the Office for National Statistics. The east Midlands and East Anglia were the only other regions where wages rose by more than the inflation rate in April, which stood at 2.6%. Further evidence of an income squeeze was provided by research from Lloyds Bank, which found that women and families across the UK were “feeling the strain” of rising living costs. Based on a sample of its current account data, Lloyds said consumers’ essential spend – a figure that includes rent, bills, food and fuel costs – had increased by 2% in September versus a year ago. This was the 16th consecutive month of year-on-year growth. “When paying more for everyday items like food and fuel, people are faced with tricky decisions on where to cut back in other areas,” said Robin Bulloch, the managing director of Lloyds Bank, who said there was evidence of Britons staying away from the shops to avoid impulse purchases and cutting down on nights out. The CBI said 50% of retailers polled for its survey suffered declining sales in October, while only 15% benefited from an increase, leaving a rounded balance of -36%, the lowest since March 2009. The CBI survey added to the mixed economic signals to be considered by the Bank of England this week when it was due to decide whether to increase interest rates for the first time in more than a decade. A rise could help keep inflation in check and strengthen the pound, but household borrowing costs would also grow. Uncertainty surrounding the outcome of the UK’s Brexit negotiations has also preyed on consumer confidence, which has declined sharply over the past 18 months and depressed spending. Average UK debt now stands at £8,000 per person More than 6 million Britons don’t believe they will ever be debt free, according to new research that has also found the average person in the UK owes £8,000 ($10,550) – on top of any mortgage debt. Almost a quarter of all Britons said they are struggling to make ends meet, while 62% said they were often worried about their levels of personal debt, according to research for comparethemarket.com. Last month the price comparison website asked 2,000 adults detailed questions about their personal finances. They found that 10% of respondents had “maxed out” on a credit card, while a similar number said they had been overdrawn within the past 12 months. A third of those interviewed told researchers that they were already planning on taking on additional debt – in the form of credit cards, loans car finance and mortgages – in the next year. More than a third said they could not see themselves ever being in a financial position to help younger family members, breaking the tradition of the “bank of mum and dad”. The results chime with a recent study by the Financial Conduct Authority, which found that 4.1 million people are already in serious financial difficulty. The survey concluded that half of the UK population are financially vulnerable, with 25- to 34-year-olds the most over-indebted. Last week the ratings agency Standard & Poor’s warned that the rapid rise in UK consumer debt to £200bn is unsustainable and should raise “red flags” for the major lenders. Miles Brignall ‘Postcode lottery’ for children’s mental health services Jessica Elgot Children needing mental health care are forced to endure waits of up to 18 months for treatment while four in 10 psychiatric services for young people are failing, according to the health service regulator. The Care Quality Commission (CQC), after surveying mental health care for children in England, said that in one case young people were forced to wait as long as 493 days for treatment and 610 days for family therapy. Elsewhere, services were setting their own targets for how quickly children should be seen, CQC said, which varied depending on a postcode lottery. Dr Paul Lelliott, lead for mental health at the CQC, praised the dedication of NHS mental health care staff, but added: “We must also address those times when a child or young person feels let down or not listened to and make sure the same level of support is available to each and every one of them.” Labour said the report showed an “abject failure of children and young people” who were in urgent need. The Department of Health said it was investing in improving the services, but said it recognised that more work was needed. The research found that crisis care for suicidal young people or those with severe mental health problems was sometimes available only between 9am and 5pm, with night-time care provided by adult psychiatrists who lacked expertise in children’s mental health. Some children and young people were “waiting an extremely long time to access the specialist care and support they need”, it said. In one part of the country, a child would be seen within 35 days, but could have a wait of 18 weeks in another area. “The demand for inpatient beds outstrips availability in some parts of the country where fewer beds are available,” the report found. “As a result, some children and young people are being admitted to adult wards as there are no beds available in wards for people their age.” The Guardian Weekly 03.11.17 17 De Vere, or not De Vere? Sonnet code ‘reveals Shakespeare secret’ William Shakespeare was in fact Edward de Vere, the 17th Earl of Oxford, and is buried in Westminster Abbey, not the Holy Trinity Church in Stratford-upon-Avon, according to a scholar who is the grandson of the novelist Evelyn Waugh. Alexander Waugh says he has deciphered encryptions in Aspley’s edition of Shakespeare’s sonnets of 1609 that reveal the bard’s final resting place. He presented his evidence at a conference at the Globe theatre in London last Sunday, where the audience included the actors Sir Derek Jacobi and Mark Rylance, who are fellow anti-Stratfordians – longstanding doubters that Shakespeare wrote the plays and poetry that bear his name, and whose preferred authorship candidates include De Vere. Waugh showed hidden geometries, grid patterns and other clues that he said revealed that Shakespeare’s final resting place is underneath his 1740 monument in Poets’ Corner at Westminster Abbey and that they spell out the words “Edward de Vere lies here”. He said he had “finally decoded the mysterious dedication” to the sonnets. “Stratfordians and antiStratfordians have said that this dedication page must be encrypted, because it doesn’t seem to make any sense. It’s got those funny dots all over the place and there’s something very weird about it. I’ve finally cracked it.” The sonnets’ dedication, like the text on the Shakespeare monument, is “gibberish” until one deciphers its hidden messages, he said. Westminster Abbey’s website states that Shakespeare was buried in Stratford: “Shortly after Shakespeare’s death there was some talk about removing his remains … to Westminster Abbey, but the idea was soon abandoned.” Waugh argues that Ben Jonson described Shakespeare in 1623 as “without a tombe”. De Vere died in 1604 and was buried in Hackney, east London, but his first cousin noted – in a manuscript in the British Library – that he now lay buried in Westminster. Waugh added that the Stratfordians would have loved this discovery. “But it tells you that it’s De Vere, so they’re going to hate it.” Since the 1850s, dozens of candidates have been suggested as the likely author of Shakespeare’s writings. In 2013 leading academics contributed to a major publication, Shakespeare Beyond Doubt, to prove he really did write his own plays and poems, apart from his collaborations. Dalya Alberge Photo: Ricardo Rafael Alvarez/Alamy Cambridge looks to ‘decolonise’ syllabus Maev Kennedy A group of academics at the University of Cambridge is considering how to implement a call from undergraduates to “decolonise” its English literature syllabus by taking in more black and minority ethnic writers, and bringing postcolonial thought to its existing curriculum. The debate is being followed closely by other universities. “I think it will grow and I think it will spread – and rightly. It is a good thing that there should be healthy dialogue between university academics and their students, and that their views should be taken seriously,” said Bethan Marshall, a senior lecturer in English education at King’s College London. A statement from Cambridge university said that, while the academics had no decision-making powers, discussions on how postcolonial literature is taught were ongoing. The statement also condemned “the related harassment directed towards our students on social media as a result of the recent coverage”, as a Twitter storm broke on the issue – with accusations both of racist thinking, and of the university giving in to student demands. The discussion was begun last spring by a small group of students taking English who were concerned that their reading list elevated white, male authors at the expense of all others. Their thoughts were formalised by Lola Olufemi, women’s officer in the Cambridge students’ union, in an open letter signed by hundreds and forwarded to the teaching forum, which met last month. Dr Priyamvada Gopal, a teaching fellow of Churchill college and member of the forum, with a specialist interest in postcolonial literature and theory, said no white writers would be affected by the proposed changes. “Broadening the syllabus means putting different writers and texts in conversation with each other, not ‘downgrading’ or even eliminating a single writer. It’s a request, as I understand it, for more representation of ethnic minority and postcolonial writers, but for the purposes of thinking about these works alongside the existing texts.” News in brief UK news • The maximum stake on fixed-odds betting terminals is to be cut after the government admitted the current level of regulation on the machines, which allow gamblers to bet up to £300 ($395) a minute, is inappropriate. In a long-awaited review, the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport minister Tracey Crouch said the government would cut the maximum bet on the machines from £100 to between £2 and £50. She said the government hoped to protect vulnerable people “exposed by the current weaknesses in protections”. • David Davis was forced to issue a statement clarifying his own remarks last Wednesday, after he appeared to suggest parliament may not get a vote on the final Brexit deal until after Britain has left the EU. A spokesman for the Brexit secretary said the government “expects and intends” to let parliament have its say before Britain leaves, apparently contradicting comments he made earlier. In parliament last week, Theresa May had said: “I’m confident … that we will be able to achieve that deal in time for parliament to have the vote that we committed to.” • A million more patients could face waits of more than four hours in NHS A&E wards in England by 201920 in the absence of urgent action to address rising demand, the British Medical Association has said. Analysis by the doctors’ union, shared exclusively with the Guardian, projects that the number of people attending emergency wards and waiting more than four hours to be treated could reach 3.7 million in three years’ time, up from 2.6 million in the year ending September 2017. • The UK population is set to pass 70 million before the end of the next decade, according to official figures. Demographers project that the population will rise by 3.6 million, or 5.5%, over the next 10 years, rising from an estimated 65.6 million last year to 69.2 million in mid-2026. The Office for National Statistics said the population was projected to pass 70 million by mid-2029, reaching 72.9 million in 2041. 18 The Guardian Weekly 03.11.17 Comment&Debate Bound together in an unholy alliance Carole Cadwalladr Observer Trump, Assange, Farage, Bannon – why aren’t questions being asked about the connections? Dangerous diversions Jonathan Freedland Conspiracy theories such as who killed JFK only distract us from the real threats we face L ast Wednesday, 11 months into Donald Trump’s new world order, in the first year of normalisation, a sudden unblurring of lines took place. A shift. A door of perception swung open. Because that was the day that the dramatis personae of two separate Trump-Russia scandals smashed headlong into one another. A high-speed news car crash between Cambridge Analytica and WikiLeaks, the two organisations that arguably had the most impact on 2016, coming together in one head-spinning scoop. That day, we learned that Alexander Nix, the CEO of Cambridge Analytica, the controversial data firm that helped Trump to power, had contacted Julian Assange to ask him if he wanted “help” with WikiLeaks’s stash of stolen emails. That’s the stash that had such a devastating impact on Hillary Clinton in the last months of the US election campaign. And this story brought WikiLeaks, which the head of the CIA describes as a “hostile intelligence service”, directly together with the Trump campaign for which Cambridge Analytica worked. This is an amazing plot twist for the company owned by US billionaire Robert Mercer, which is already the subject of investigations by the House intelligence committee, the Senate intelligence committee, the FBI and, it was announced last Friday night, the Senate judiciary committee. So far, so American. These are US scandals involving US politics and the news made the headlines in US bulletins across US networks. But it’s also Cambridge Analytica, the data analytics company that has its headquarters in central London and that, following a series of articles about its role in Brexit in the Guardian and the Observer, is also being investigated, by the Electoral Commission and the Information Commissioner’s Office. The company that was spun out of a British military contractor is headed by an old Etonian and that responded to our stories earlier this year by threatening to sue us. It’s our Cambridge it’s named after, not the American one, and it was here that it processed the voter files of 240 million US citizens. It’s also here that this “hostile intelligence service” – WikiLeaks – is based. The Ecuadorian embassy is just a few kilometres, as the crow flies, from Cambridge Analytica’s head office. Because this is not just about America. It’s about Britain, too. This is transatlantic. It’s not possible to separate Britain and the US in this whole sorry mess – and I say this as someone who has spent months trying. Where we see this most clearly is in that other weird WikiLeaks connection: Nigel Farage. Because that moment in March when Farage was caught tripping down the steps of the Ecuadorian embassy was the last moment the lines suddenly became visible. That the ideological overlaps between WikiLeaks and Trump and Brexit were revealed to be not just lines, but a channel of communication. Because if there’s one person who’s in the middle of all of this, but who has escaped any proper scrutiny, it’s Nigel Farage. That’s Nigel Farage, who led the Leave.EU campaign, which is being investigated by the Electoral Commission alongside Cambridge Analytica, about uefully, and rightly as it turned out, one lifelong investigator of the Kennedy assassination predicted that there “won’t be any smoking gun” in the cache of nearly 3,000 JFK-related documents released last Thursday. It was a suitably ironic choice of phrase by Jefferson Morley, the editor of the JFKfacts website. Because this, of course, is a rare case where there was very much both smoke and a gun, in the form of the 6.5mm Carcano rifle used by Lee Harvey Oswald to shoot John F Kennedy on 22 November 1963. It’s just not the smoking gun Morley’s readers were looking for, the one that would prove a vast conspiracy to murder the 35th president of the United States. There were plenty of juicy titbits in the papers all the same. Conspiracy theorists will seize on the CIA memo that reports that Oswald, while in Mexico in September 1963, spoke to a Russian diplomat identified as a KGB officer and member of Department 13, a unit “responsible for sabotage and assassination”. Others will delight in the ambiguous words of the FBI director, J Edgar Hoover, who two days after the killing wrote of the urgent need to “convince the public that Oswald is the real assassin”. My personal favourite is the mysterious phone call to a British local paper – the Cambridge Evening News – 25 minutes before the shot rang out in Dallas, instructing a reporter to call the US embassy in London to hear “some big news”. All of which is intriguing, but not what the conspiracy-mongers wanted to hear. They hoped this windfall of papers might include the document that would prove, once and for all, what they’ve said all along: that JFK was killed by the Russians, the mafia, the Cubans, the other Cubans, the FBI, the CIA, or some combination of all of them. What they never feared, by the way, was a document that might point in the other direction, a text that would settle beyond all doubt that Oswald alone was the murderer. Such a document could not exist, for it is in the nature of conspiracy theory that any contrary evidence can be brushed aside. An incongruent letter or photograph can and will be dismissed as a fake, forged by the hidden conspirators and therefore providing further proof of their wickedness, ingenuity and willingness to stop at nothing. The temptation is great to laugh off such thinking as the province of cranks whose tightly spaced letters could once safely be filed in the dustbin. But conspiracism – of which the JFK industry was the early exemplar – matters. It has become a defining, and dangerous, feature of the world we live in now. R YAY Media AS/Alamy The Guardian Weekly 03.11.17 19 whether the latter made an “impermissible donation” of services to the leave campaign. Nigel Farage who visited Donald Trump and then Julian Assange. Who is friends with Steve Bannon and Robert Mercer. Who headed an organisation – Ukip – that has multiple, public, visible but almost entirely unreported Russian connections. Who is paid by the Russian state via the broadcaster RT, which was banned last week from Twitter. And who appears on British television without any word of this. This is a power network that involves WikiLeaks and Farage, and Cambridge Analytica and Farage, and Robert Mercer and Farage. Steve Bannon, former vice-president of Cambridge Analytica, and Farage. Of course, there were conspiracy theories before the murder in Dealey Plaza. But JFK provided the template for the modern-day version of the form. Whether it’s the microscopic analysis of photographs and film footage, or the casual assumption that governments could enlist many hundreds, if not thousands, of officials to collaborate in a murderous lie, all of them taking their secret to the grave, the pattern was set with the Kennedy assassination – redeployed to cast doubt on everything from 9/11 to the death of Princess Diana, from the shooting of very young children at Sandy Hook to last month’s mass slaughter in Las Vegas. Again, there was a time when you might have dismissed such talk as the derangement of the bug-eyed, irrelevant fringe, but that’s no longer so easy. Not now that we live in the era of fake news and post-truth. Those terms are used to describe a trend that is pervasive and indeed mainstream, that in the US has captured the highest office in the land. The man who sits in Kennedy’s chair today is himself a conspiracy theorist, responsible for spreading one of the most malicious inventions: the wholly debunked claim that Barack Obama was not born in the US. Some of the best analysis of conspiracy theory and its enduring, apparently increasing, appeal strikes an It’s Nigel Farage and Brexit and Trump and Cambridge Analytica and WikiLeaks … and, if the Senate intelligence committee and the House intelligence committee and the FBI are on to anything at all, somewhere in the middle of all that, Russia. T ry to follow this on a daily basis and it’s one long headspin: a spider’s web of relationships and networks of power and patronage and alliances that spans the Atlantic and embraces data firms, thinktanks and media outlets. That it’s eye-wateringly complicated and geographically diffuse is not a coincidence. Confusion is the charlatan’s friend, noise its accessory. The babble on Twitter is a convenient cloak of darkness. Yet it’s also quite simple. In a well-functioning democracy, a well-functioning press and a well-functioning parliament would help a well-functioning judiciary do its job. Britain is not that country. There is a vacuum where questions should be. What was Nigel Farage doing in the Ecuadorian embassy? More to the point: why has no public official asked him? Why is he giving speeches – for money – in the US? Who’s paying him? I know this because my weirdest new hobby of 2017 is to harry Arron Banks, the Bristol businessman who was Ukip and Leave.EU’s main funder, and Andy Wigmore, Leave.EU’s comms man and Belize’s trade attache to the US, across the internet late at night. Wigmore told me about this new US venture – an offshore-based political consultancy working on Steve Bannon-related projects – in a series of tweets. Is it true? Who knows? Leave.EU has learned from its Trumpian friends that black is white and white is black and these half-facts are a convenient way of diffusing scandal and obscuring truth. What on earth was Farage doing advancing Calexit – California Brexit? And why did I find a photo of him hanging out with Dana Rohrabacher, the Californian known in the US press as “Putin’s favourite congressman”? The same man who’s met with Donald Trump Jr’s Russian lawyer and also visited Julian Assange in the Ecuadorian embassy. And who is interceding on his behalf to obtain a pardon from Donald Trump Jr’s dad. In these post-truth times, journalists are fighting the equivalent of a firestorm with a bottle of water and a wet hankie. We need parliament to step up and start asking proper questions. There may be innocent answers to all these questions. Let’s please just ask them. unexpectedly compassionate tone. It argues that the imagined conspiracy is a necessary refuge for those unable to face the world as it truly is: messy, arbitrary and full of pain. David Aaronovitch, whose Voodoo Histories debunks the key conspiracy myths of our time, writes that many Americans simply could not accept that a giant like Kennedy had been taken from them by “a little man” like Oswald: “Oswald represents chaos, the rule of nothing, the indifference of fate. Real Oswald is more intolerable than the notion of the establishment plot.” B ut conspiracy thinking is no longer harmless idiosyncrasy, if it ever was. Not when it leads to the bereaved parents of Sandy Hook or the wounded of Las Vegas being bombarded with death threats and online abuse, branding them “crisis actors” paid by the government to help stage a hoax. But there is a deeper danger too. All this energy spent trying to find the hidden hands that secretly plot our destruction is energy not spent looking for the truly hidden hand – which does not belong to one shadowy individual, or even a group, but rather to the much more complicated forces of politics, economics and history that are shaping us every day. A spider’s web of relationships and networks of power spans the Atlantic and embraces data firms, thinktanks and media Conspiracism has become a defining feature of our world 20 The Guardian Weekly 03.11.17 Comment&Debate House of Saud is still in denial over unrest Nesrine Malik Daniel Pudles Despite crown prince Mohammed’s pledge of reform, there is no real acknowledgement yet of what lies behind Saudi Arabia’s malaise S omething is definitely afoot in Saudi Arabia this time. For decades, the ruling Saud family has followed a policy of promise but never deliver. They make the right noises in an attempt to polish the country’s much-tarnished global image – and yet when it comes down to it, they rarely come up with the goods. But perhaps this time is different. In an interview with the Guardian, Saudi crown prince Mohammed bin Salman made statements that would make even the most hardened cynic take note. He addressed “what happened”, saying that the Iranian revolution triggered copycat religious regimes across the region, and that now it was time to “get rid of it” in Saudi Arabia. “We are simply reverting to what we followed – a moderate Islam open to the world and all religions. Seventy per cent of Saudis are younger than 30. Honestly, we won’t waste 30 years of our life combating extremist thoughts, we will destroy them now and immediately.” The crown prince is a masterful marketer, beloved of the western media. He has presented himself as the pivot around which the country’s long-awaited transformation would take place. For a while, it seemed that he had become just that: an expectation. But these recent comments, combined with the lifting of the ban on women driving, suggest that Prince Mohammed, and a number of the royal establishment, are serious. His public position is being echoed by senior figures: this is not a one-man initiative. It is not only the apparent millennial sincerity of the young prince that is the driving force. Crucially, there is an economic underpinning to this as well. The regime’s mistake has been to think only in terms of preserving its own power, extending generous subsidies to citizens and protecting itself from the wrath of the religious establishment by giving it extensive freedoms. During the years I lived in the country in the late 1990s and 2000s, terrorist activity on Saudi soil was reaching its peak. It was always frustrating to see the religious police harass and intimidate the public, enforcing the strictest of religious laws while the government scrambled to combat the rise of extremism, failing to make the link between the two. But the powerful publicorder vigilantes who dragged men to prayer and told women to cover their faces have been weakened. Perhaps the most astonishing statement from the House of Saud was about the boredom of Saudi youth. Prince Mohammed has been big on social transformation, insisting that without striking a new deal between citizen and state, economic rehabilitation would fail. “This is about giving kids a social life,” said a senior Saudi royal figure. “Entertainment needs to be an option for them. They are bored and resentful. A woman needs to be able to drive herself to work. Without that we are all doomed. Everyone knows that – except the people in small towns. But they will learn.” Such a public suggestion of a schism between Saudis “in the small towns” and the ruling regime indicates the government is beginning to get over its fear of alienating religious traditionalists in their old feud with the royal family and elite – who the hardliners see as under the influence of the corrupt, ungodly west. Inevitably, there is still some denial at play. The history of extremism in Saudi Arabia was the result of a cynical use of religion that meant hardline clerics had a free hand. For the royal family, this appeased a religious establishment that, if alienated, could foment discord. Yet there is still no honest reckoning over what lies at the heart of the Saudi malaise. It’s not anything as trite as a lack of democracy; it is the failure to confront the fact that expropriating religion for political purposes will always backfire. Things look promising, but only once that lesson is learned will there be real hope. More at theguardian.com/opinion Opinion In brief The daily routine is a form of tyranny Mental illness and work can coexist There is a part of me that thinks I am sufficiently complex to not need something so mundane as a routine. And there’s a more real part of me that happily kowtows to its tyranny. Take this morning. Like every weekday, I got up at 7.15am, rubbed my face with coconut oil, washed it off, went downstairs, slipped on the penultimate step, steadied myself, went into the kitchen to make various hot drinks, flicked through Instagram, checked my emails, saw there was no bread, panicked, checked my emails again and put three eggs on to boil. On reflection, my whole day is a routine. I pretend it’s not because I am not unhappy with it, but it’s certainly a tyranny. I hadn’t really thought about until I came across the morning routine of Princess Margaret, which was doing the rounds on Twitter last week. It The Thriving at Work report has found that many of us are not, in fact, thriving at work. About 300,000 of us with long-term mental health problems lose their job each year in the UK. We have been saying this for a long time. We the people who know. The people with mental illness; the mental health professionals; the experts and charity heads; and in some cases, the employers. It’s a positive step that Theresa May, the prime minister, commissioned this report. It’s a travesty it took so long. Let me tell you about working with a severe, long-term mental illness (in my case, bipolar disorder). Bipolar disorder is a cyclical illness. Those cycles will vary, according to the illness’s subsets, from rapid cycling disorder to episodes that happen with years in between. For me, my condition is “managed” by medi- included the following: “breakfast in bed”, “two hours in bed listening to the radio”, and “a vodka pick-meup” at 12.30pm, which carried HRH giddily into the afternoon. Imagine, I thought, doing the same thing over and over because you lacked the imagination to do anything else! There is definite method in having a routine. Get big stuff out of the way first thing and your mind is clearer, or as Mark Twain suggests: “Eat a live frog first thing in the morning, and nothing worse will happen to you the rest of the day.” And a routine can be helpful, even essential, following the seismic impact of, say, a job loss, or even a death in the family. I can, of course, allow for some variables – sometimes I’ll put a wash on, and today, for example, I quartered and ate a pear. I’m not a total psychopath. Morwenna Ferrier cation and mental health services. For a big chunk of each year I’ll probably spend time off. In the past couple of years that has meant stints in hospital, sometimes writing on zero sleep. Then, the long walks to recuperate, the nurturing back to health. Then the return to work. But I’m one of the lucky ones. When I joined the Guardian, a care plan was set up. It was distributed to my managers so they could notice any signs of impending episodes. All of this is the kind of thing employers should be doing as standard, and is numbered among the 40 recommendations made in the Thriving at Work report. Unfortunately, some people will be too unwell to work. For those with mental health problems who are able to work, we must do more to retain them. That way everyone benefits. Hannah Jane Parkinson The Guardian Weekly 03.11.17 21 Comment&Debate In praise of ... robot reassurance UK prime minister Theresa May promised tough action amid allegations of sexual harassment in Westminster Force won’t kill dream of Catalans Matthew d’Ancona Secession from Spain would be unwise. But in an age of hectic change, the search for identity cannot be dismissed I t’s remarkable what you can learn in Slovenia. At a conference on politics, security and development in Bled earlier this year, I was lucky enough to chat to the Catalan delegates, proudly representing the interests and wisdom of their ancient principality. With considerable poise and dignity, they seemed to me to be channelling Pericles on the Athenians: we do not imitate, but are a model to others. So I am not surprised that Madrid is as frightened as it evidently is by Catalonia’s unilateral declaration of independence. This is not a tinpot province threatening to secede as a means of squeezing a bridge or two out of central government. Recognised as a distinct political entity since the 12th century, it has always treasured its autonomy – lost under Franco and recovered after his death in 1975. Since last Friday its separation from Spain to become a fully functioning sovereign state, though still improbable, is quite conceivable. This alone represents a terrible defeat for Mariano Rajoy, the Spanish prime minister, whose response was to order the sacking of the entire Catalan government, the closure of Barcelona’s ministries, the dismissal of Catalonia’s police chief and the dissolution of its regional parliament. Though Madrid has generously declared that Carles Puigdemont, the deposed Catalan president, is welcome to run in the snap election on 21 December, he remains, confusingly, at risk of arrest for rebellion. Madrid – aided by Brussels – appears determined to inflame separatist emotions rather than seek a diplomatic solution to the crisis. The independence referendum held on 1 October may have been technically illegal, as Spain’s constitutional court asserted, but the often brutal manner in which the poll was obstructed by the national police and Guardia Civil made such appeals to the rule of law seem like a preposterous fig leaf for street-level authoritarianism. Because of Spain’s history, the integrity of the nation has special significance. In a country governed by a military dictator between 1939 and 1975, the threat of disaggregation and lawlessness is especially vivid. But in an age of hectic change such as ours, history must be The robots are coming. They’re going to take your job and destroy your life – and there’s nothing you can do. That’s the hype: we are facing a dystopian future in which human labour will be rendered obsolete. It’s true that we are going through a period of intense technological change. Yes, there is a chance that all these changes will end up making our lives worse. That future generations will inhabit a surveillance society in which humans are controlled by jailers they have bought – smartphones – while an army of slave robots maintains a narrow elite in extravagant luxury. But it does not have to be that way. There are choices to be made, and we can make them well – if, instead of running scared, we face up to the responsibilities of this new era. If we can build the right system of rules and responsibilities around technology, we can rise with the robots, not fall below them. Chi Onwurah granted a vote rather than a veto. Bad memories may explain present errors, but they do not excuse them. And Rajoy is proving himself unequal to the moment. Simply asserting that the rules have been broken and will be enforced is a pitiful approach to a hugely complex cultural dilemma. Take a step back: if the early 21st century has a unifying theme, it is that the rules-based order that seemed triumphant in 1989 faces a series of fundamental challenges. Prime among them is a burgeoning of the secessionist impulse, of tribalism and populist resistance to distant elites. In this era of disruption, nomadism and technological revolution, the appeal of place and space has returned. A longing for what Heidegger called wohnen – “dwelling” – is suddenly resurgent. In some instances, as in Charlottesville, this takes the form of a despicable blood-and-soil nativism. But the instinct is not always reprehensible. For Catalans to crave their own nation is not intrinsically wrong, whatever its impracticalities and inconveniences. Those of us who still value rules-based internationalism have to acknowledge that not everyone is at ease on the rollercoaster of modernity. That much was made clear by last year’s EU referendum and the election of Donald Trump. The notion that politics is simply a branch of economics is no longer sustainable (if, indeed, it ever was). The issue of identity has assumed a fresh importance that we ignore at our peril. I am deeply suspicious of the populism that offers easy solutions to complex problems: secession, like hostility to immigration, cannot possibly be the panacea that its champions typically claim. I still believe in the liberal order, viable nation-states and the supranational agreements that make possible global collaboration between them. But it is idle to pretend in 2017 that this order is in especially good shape. If the Catalan crisis has a lesson to date, it is that Madrid’s answer is no answer at all. Saying the same, only louder, will not preserve the integrity of Spain or of anything else. In the unfolding of history, the greatest mistake is to believe there is a script. 22 The Guardian Weekly 03.11.17 theguardianweekly Comment 50 years of legal abortion Let’s finish the work It was 50 years last Friday since David Steel’s abortion act became law in Great Britain (but not Northern Ireland). It did not come into force until the following April. In those six months, it is likely that around 70 women died from sepsis or some other cause resulting from illegal abortion: in the previous decade, it claimed at least 150 lives a year, the biggest single cause of maternal mortality. Activists toasted victory with champagne. But one veteran, who had undergone an illegal abortion herself, dampened the celebrations. They should be drinking half-glasses, she said, for the job was only half done. Nonetheless, in the past 50 years millions of women have benefited from access to safe abortion. It has transformed the future for many girls and women – young women in particular, for the peak age for abortion is 19; it is also disproportionately in demand in poorer parts of England and Wales. There are now around 200,000 abortions recorded each year, but almost all of them – 92% – take place in the first trimester of pregnancy. No one likes carrying out an abortion, says the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists, but the alternative – illegal, unsafe abortion – is worse. Yet reforming the law does remain a job half done. The Abortion Act 1967 did not decriminalise termination; it merely introduced a very narrow set of exemptions from the criminal law, a tiny window where abortion was legal, restricted by the requirement that two doctors agree that carrying a pregnancy to term would be a greater risk than termination, or that the unborn child had such physical or mental abnormalities that it would be seriously handicapped. Over time, these rules have been interpreted much less restrictively. But even if practice has changed, they are still in force, and abortion remains a criminal offence both for the woman and for medical practitioners. Every doctor is aware that he or she remains open to prosecution. An adult woman still does not have the autonomy to make one of the most fundamental decisions about her body and her life. And for all those involved – women and health practitioners – the climate around abortion remains punitive. For the first time, the British Medical Association, the Royal College of Midwives and the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists all now support decriminalisation. The professionals who are most closely involved in reproductive health, trained and qualified people devoted to securing and protecting healthy lives for women and babies, believe that it is necessary to change the law to reflect the way the world has changed since 1967. Experience in Canada and parts of Australia where decriminalisation has been introduced shows it has not led to a surge in abortion. Abortion has always been polarising. But this is a job half done, and it’s time to complete it. New Zealand’s new PM Managing an uncomfortable alliance Jacinda Ardern, New Zealand’s new prime minister, has brought Labour back to power after nearly a decade in the wilderness. Now she has been sworn in, the country’s youngest prime minister in 150 years and its third female leader since 1997. Labour campaigned to reduce child poverty, build more affordable homes, make university free and every river swimmable: so far, so Labour. But she also committed to slow the rate of immigration from 50,000 to 30,000 a year and ensure that employers looked for New Zealand workers before they brought in migrants – even though employment rates are high and unemployment low. Her first move in power was equally populist: she announced plans to ban foreigners from buying existing homes. New Zealand real estate has become a priority item on the global super-rich’s shopping list. But it is not obvious that banning foreign buyers will do much to free up housing for New Zealanders at the affordable end of the market. Gestures to popular opinion may be necessary. But, as the new prime minister acknowledges, this is a country where, for all its tourist allure and its green potential, one in three children is growing up in a poverty that disproportionately affects Maori and Pasifika families. Last month, Unicef described the country’s levels of inequality and deprivation as “deeply concerning”. Ms Ardern, who has said that she will be the first minister for child poverty reduction, promises to introduce a payment to assist families raising young children, increasing rent support and extending paid parental leave from 18 to 26 weeks. The new prime minister may be only 37, but she has served a long political apprenticeship, working for both the former New Zealand Labour prime minister Helen Clark, and then for Tony Blair. Yet despite the kind of background that is now often disparaged, she has managed to combine a degree of pragmatism with a vote-winning authenticity. Holding it all together will require all her skills. Don’t let Google run a city without being elected Jathan Sadowski Alphabet, the parent company of Google, does not suffer from a lack of ambition. It has decided it will plan, build and run a city – well, part of a city. And a major city is happily handing Alphabet a neighbourhood of prime real estate to call their own. The project announced last month is a partnership between Sidewalk Labs, an Alphabet subsidiary focused on urban technology, and Toronto. Sidewalk Labs will be in charge of redeveloping a waterfront district called Quayside. With this district, Alphabet will have its own “urban living laboratory” where it can experiment with new smart systems and planning techniques. It can study how these systems work in the real world and how people are affected. If the Toronto development goes as planned, it will be one of the largest examples of a smart city project in North America. Mayors and tech executives exalt urban labs as sites of disruptive innovation and economic growth. However, this model of creating our urban future is also an insidious way of handing more control to profitdriven, power-hungry corporations. In an era of intense competition between cities for resources, many cities are focused on achieving constant growth, large returns and public-private partnerships. They coax tech companies by offering benefits like looser regulation and lower taxes. Digital districts are the next-level version of these lures. Why settle for tax breaks when you can lay claim to an entire neighbourhood? But cities are not machines that can be optimised. Cities are real places with real people who have a right not to live with whatever “smart solutions” an engineer or executive decides to unleash. Nobody elected Alphabet or Uber or any other company with its sights set on privatising city governance. Building the smart urban future cannot also mean paving the way for tech billionaires to rule over cities. If it does, that’s not a future we should want to live in. Jathan Sadowski is a visiting lecturer in ethics of technology at Delft University of Technology, the Netherlands The Guardian Weekly 03.11.17 23 Reply Briefly The continuing rise of China to global dominance through the rest of this century seems inevitable under the “iron grip” of chairman Xi Jinping and his successors (20 October). The matter of Chinese dominance in regard to soft power internally and externally is, however, more problematic, leaving a degree of openness in regard to both human rights and forms of democracy as well as future structures for global and regional governance. Important as these matters are, they are dwarfed by two more fundamental questions in regard to the future of capitalism. First, can capitalism be reformed to ensure planetary survival and turn around economic and social inequalities? If not, can capitalism be replaced with an economic and social system that offers a better prospect for the planet, and the many – not just the few? Can we both fulfil the Chinese dream and other dreams while avoiding a planetary nightmare? Stewart Sweeney Adelaide, South Australia • Katherine Norbury’s lovely review (20 October) of The Lost Words, in which Robert Macfarlane and Jackie Morris direct our attention to conserving the vocabulary of the natural world, reminded me of Alasdair Maclean’s reflections about names and places in his memoir Night Falls on Ardnamurchan: “Civilisation begins with names and must end when they end … Without names for ourselves and our possessions and places we return to the void.” Alastair Hulbert Edinburgh, UK Farming is not the answer George Monbiot is correct in saying that grazing ruminants are less efficient producers of food (13 October). However, much of the world’s land area is not suitable for growing crops; its natural ecosystem is one of perennial deep-rooted grasses that were maintained by large herds of ruminants. Farming this land has in general been an ecological disaster: witness the US dust bowl or the so-called virgin lands campaign under Khrushchev. With careful management to mimic the herds of yesteryear, these fragile lands can be successfully grazed to produce highquality protein. Land in less arid regions, such as New Zealand, which is too steep for crops, can also be sustainably managed with ruminants. We should not be destroying virgin ecosystems to grow ruminant protein, but neither should we do the same to grow soya beans. We have large areas of land that have been grazed for generations. Replacing all the protein produced on this land with soy would still require Letters for publication firstname.lastname@example.org Please include a full postal address and a reference to the article. We may edit letters. Submission and publication of all letters is subject to our terms and conditions, see: gu.com/letters-terms Editorial Acting editor: Graham Snowdon Guardian Weekly, Kings Place, 90 York Way, London N1 9GU, UK Gary Kempston China’s rise to dominance a sizable area of land, and where is this land to be found? There is a place in the world for sustainable production of grass-fed meat: on land not suitable for cultivation. Dave Read Wairoa, New Zealand The population problem We would all love to preserve the remaining wild places in the world and get rid of all the cities and farms that have replaced so much of our planet’s ecosystem. Or would we? How many of us are prepared to give up our creature comforts for the life of a hunter-gatherer facing all the challenges of nature in the raw? And if we aren’t prepared to, what right have we to deny others the opportunity to have better lives in order to make us feel good about the environment? A rapid route to destruction? (6 October) deplores the development of dams, farms and hydropower in the Amazon basin while choosing to either ignore or discount the reasons for the development: the ever-growing demands of an ever-growing human population. We are faced with a stark choice: curb our population or reduce the wildlife that competes for the same resources. Campaigns to prevent development are futile misdirections of resources that would be better employed in addressing the reasons why such development occurs. Or is that too sophisticated an approach for environmental activists? David Barker Bunbury, Western Australia To contact the editor directly: email@example.com On social media facebook.com/guardianweekly Twitter: @guardianweekly Subscriptions You can subscribe at subscribe.theguardian.com/weekly Or manage your subscription at subscribe.theguardian.com/manage • Oliver Burkeman’s column nearly always gives me a strange feeling that whatever part of the human race he is a member of, it is not the part that I belong to (20 October). I suspect that his group is the one my nephew also belongs to: he seems to find it incomprehensible that I don’t go rushing out to get an updated iPhone or other e-gadget. I find it difficult to believe that people can take these things seriously; they usually end up giving me the same sort of look that I’m giving them. Namely: “Are you living on the same planet as me?” Michael Barton Gamle Fredrikstad, Norway • Gary Younge’s utopia is naively imagined (We should value people more than money, 20 October). I have travelled the world for more than 20 years and in almost every country I have visited, hordes of people have asked me: “Can you please help me come to Australia?” Rarely is this due to do with a “wellfounded fear of persecution”, but rather a desire for our lifestyle. Should we just let them all come? How many billions of people should Australia have? Unfortunately, it is far from a realistic option to fix the arbitrary lottery of life. Richard Abram Sydney, Australia • In her story about the newly opened airport on St Helena (20 October), how come Emma Weaver has omitted the main attraction of the island: Napoleon? Marguerite Laboulle Hastière-Lavaux, Belgium Or contact: UK, Europe and Rest of World firstname.lastname@example.org +44 (0) 330 333 6767 USA and Canada: email@example.com Toll Free: +1-844-632-2010 Direct line: +1-917-900-4663 Australia/New Zealand: firstname.lastname@example.org Toll Free: 1 800 773 766 Direct line: +61 (0)2 8076 8599 From the archive 3 November 1982 Trendy enough to make teeth peel Can you do anagrams? Do you want an hour of news in depth? Are you sexually liberated, socially aware and politically concerned? Do you wear leg warmers? No? Then take your sticky hands off my nice new, shiny channel. I began to feel deeply inadequate when Olga Hubicka and Paul Cola were telling me about forthcoming Channel 4 programmes in Preview 4. Trendy enough to make your teeth peel, sitting on white furniture and drinking iced white wine I shouldn’t wonder. A back-up team called Keith Harrison and David Stranks, whose names evidently didn’t measure up, were sitting somewhere crummier looking keenly at computers. Channel 4, I can see, will take a bit of living up to. Jeremy Isaacs, the chief executive, says in TV Times, that it’s entertaining, marvellous, hilarious, exciting, intelligent, gritty, provocative, thoughtful and splendidly varied. He also says in the Listener that he is not one to boast. By their soap operas ye shall know them. Brookside is a Liverpool Knott’s Landing, a private housing estate inhabited by, let’s say, the Harrods, the Habitats, and a warm and lovable working class family, the Hooligans. The first episode turned on whether the Hooligans had stolen the Harrods’ lavatory. It was not a night when anyone was going to be allowed to drop off in their socks. Apart from the fine film Walter about a mentally handicapped man there was an Enid Blyton spoof, Five Go Mad in Dorset. The fresh-faced four and their intermittently dead dog bowled along on their bicycles bossily doing good and, I fear, irritating the nicer elements. Nancy Banks-Smith Corrections and Clarifications • Due to an editing error, a 13 October piece commented on “the decision to reward the physics prize to an American trio whose careers had been devoted to fruit fly research”. As we correctly pointed out in Dispatches, that prize was for medicine. The Guardian Weekly’s policy is to correct significant errors as soon as possible. Please give the date, page or web link: guardian.readers@ theguardian.com or The readers’ editor, Kings Place, 90 York Way, London N1 9GU, United Kingdom. 24 The Guardian Weekly 03.11.17 Eyewitnessed Royal doctors take part in the funeral procession for the late Thai king Bhumibol Adulyadej in Bangkok. After a seven-decade reign the king died on 13 October 2016, leading to a year-long peri South Africa’s Mike Schlebach rides in the barrel of a wave at an offshore reef outside Cape Town as part of the Big Wave Surfing Rebel Sessions 2017 Nic Bothma/EPA The Trevi fountain was dyed red by artist Graziano Cecchini as a protest against Rome's corruption and filth. He had previously dyed the fountain in 2007 Marco Ravagli/Barcroft Images The Guardian Weekly 03.11.17 25 od of national mourning Anthony Wallace/Getty A group of squirrel monkeys investigate a carved pumpkin during a Halloween event at London Zoo Mary Turner/Reuters A farmer dries out persimmons in China’s Shandong province during the harvest season for the fruit, which is popular across much of east Asia Zhao Dongshan/Xinhua/Barcroft Images Özlem Dalkıran of the Citizens’ Assembly, one of eight Turkish human rights activists released on bail from jail near Istanbul, is greeted by her supporters Yasin Akgulyasin Akgul/Getty 26 The Guardian Weekly 03.11.17 We have ways of making you talk The Guardian Weekly 03.11.17 27 I Expert interrogators know torture doesn’t work – but until now, no one could prove it. By analysing top-secret interviews with terror suspects, two British scientists have revolutionised the art of extracting the truth, explains Ian Leslie n 2013, a British man was arrested for planning to kidnap and murder a soldier. The suspect, who had a criminal history, had posted messages on social media in support of violent jihad. In a search of his residence, the police had found a bag containing a hammer, a kitchen knife and a map with the location of a nearby army barracks. Shortly after his arrest, the suspect was interviewed by a counter-terrorist police officer. The interviewer wanted him to provide an account of his plan, and to reveal with whom, if anyone, he has been conspiring. But the detainee – we will call him Diola – refused to divulge any information. Instead, he expounded on the evils of the British state for 42 minutes, with little interruption. When the interviewer attempted questions, Diola responded with scornful, finger-jabbing accusations of ignorance, naivety and moral weakness: “You don’t know how corrupt your own government is – and if you don’t care, then a curse upon you.” Watching a video of this encounter, it is possible to discern Diola’s desire, beneath his ranting, to tell what he knows. In front of him, a copy of the Qur’an lies open. He says he was acting for the good of the British people, and that he is willing to talk to the police because, as a man of God, he wants to prevent future atrocities. But he will not answer questions until he is sure that his questioner cares about Britain as much as he does: “The purpose of the interview is not to go through your little checklist so you can get a pat on the head. If I find you are a jobsworth, we are done talking, so be sincere.” Even distanced by years from the events in question, it is impossible to watch the encounter without feeling tense. Periodically, Diola turns away from the interviewer and goes silent, or gets up and leaves the room, having taken offence at something said or not said. Each time he returns, Diola’s solicitor advises him not to speak. Diola ignores him, though in a sense he takes the advice: despite the verbiage, he tells his interviewer nothing. Diola: “Tell me why I should tell you. What is the reason behind you asking me this question?” Interviewer: “I am asking you these questions because I need to investigate what has happened and know what your role was in these events.” Diola: “No, that’s your job – not your reason. I’m asking you why it matters to you.” The interviewer, who has remained heroically calm in the face of Diola’s verbal barrage, is not able to move the encounter out of stalemate, and eventually his bosses replace him. When the new interviewer takes a seat, Diola repeats his promise to talk “openly and honestly” to the right person, and resumes his inquisitorial stance. “Why are you asking me these questions?” he says. “Think carefully about your reasons.” The interviewer does not answer directly, but something about his opening speech triggers a change in Diola. “On the day we arrested you,” he began, “I believe that you had the intention of killing a British soldier or police officer. I don’t know the details of what happened, why you may have felt it needed to happen, or what you wanted to achieve by doing this. Only you know these things Diola. If you are willing, you’ll tell me, and if you’re not, you won’t. I can’t force you to tell me – I don’t want to force you. I’d like you to help me understand. Would you tell me about what happened?” The interviewer opens up his notebook, and shows Diola the empty pages. “You see? I don’t even have a list of questions.” “That is beautiful,” Diola says. “Because you have treated me with consideration and respect, yes I will Fear and xenophobia The rise of anti-immigrant fervour → Books, page 34 tell you now. But only to help you understand what is happening in this country.” For years, any debate over what constitutes effective interrogation has been dominated by a pervasive belief in coercion. From NYPD Blue to Zero Dark Thirty, we are trained in the idea that interrogators get the job done by intimidating, demoralising and brutalising their subjects. Steven Kleinman, a former army colonel and one of the US military’s most experienced interrogators, told me it is not just the public that is influenced by popular narratives: “Politicians, policymakers, senior military officers – people who have never conducted interrogations are somehow just convinced they know what works.” In 2003, Kleinman tried to stop his fellow soldiers from conducting abusive interrogations of Iraqi insurgents; he later became the first military officer to speak out against such practices. He did so not just because he thought they were wrong, but because he thought they were stupid. Kleinman believes that coercion is counterproductive, because it destroys the trust that underpins a successful interview. Most specialist practitioners agree, as do the scientists who study interrogation. But conventional wisdom in military and law enforcement circles has been very hard to shift. This is because it is difficult to prove what works. High-stakes interrogations take place in secret, and have rarely been available to objective researchers. In place of cool analysis, colourful but unreliable stories of vital secrets wrenched from fearful ‘I call this one the Hannibal Lecter interview. He wants a piece of the interviewer’ suspects have prevailed. In reality, well-run interrogations are rarely dramatic: drama thrives on conflict – something interrogators strive to avoid. A body of scientific literature supports Kleinman’s view, but most of it is based on laboratory experiments, in which students are asked to pretend they have just robbed a bank and interrogators are asked to believe them. The virtue of these experiments is that they allow for controlled trials of specific interrogation techniques; the drawback is that they are easily dismissed by practitioners as academic game-playing. Now, two British researchers are quietly revolutionising the study and practice of interrogation. Earlier this year, in a meeting room at the University of Liverpool, I watched a video of the Diola interview alongside Laurence Alison, the university’s chair of forensic psychology, and Emily Alison, a counsellor. My permission to view the tape was negotiated with the counter-terrorist police, who are understandably wary of allowing outsiders access to such material. Details of the interview have been changed to protect the identity of the officers involved, though the quotes are verbatim. The Alisons, husband and wife, have done something no scholars of interrogation have been able to do before. Working in close cooperation with the police, who allowed them access to more than 1,000 hours of tapes, they have observed and analysed hundreds of real-world interviews with terrorists suspected of serious crimes. No researcher in the world has ever laid hands on such a haul of data before. Based on this research, they have constructed the world’s first Continued on page 28 → 28 The Guardian Weekly 03.11.17 Weekly review ← Continued from page 27 empirically grounded and comprehensive model of interrogation tactics. The Alisons’ findings are changing the way law enforcement agencies approach the delicate task of gathering human intelligence. “I get very little pushback from practitioners when I present the Alisons’ work,” said Kleinman, who now teaches interrogation tactics to military and police officers. The Alisons have done more than strengthen the hand of advocates of non-coercive interviewing: they have provided an unprecedentedly authoritative account of what works and what does not, rooted in a profound understanding of human relations. That they have been able to do so is testament to a joint preoccupation with police interviews that stretches back more than 20 years. Pausing the Diola video, Emily Alison grimaced. “I call this one ‘the Hannibal Lecter interview’,” she said. “He wants a piece of the interviewer. When I watched this tape the first time I had to switch it off and walk away. “You need to remember what your purpose in that room is,” said Emily. “You’re seeking information. You’re not there to speak on behalf of the victims or the police. You might feel better for getting angry, but down that road is retribution. You become the inquisitioner. That’s not why you’re there. If you find yourself having a go at someone, ask yourself: ‘What am I achieving by this?’ Because they will stop talking to you.” With us on the day we watched the video was an officer in Britain’s counter-terrorist police force with whom the Alisons have been working closely to train interviewers. “A big thing we talk about is leaving your ego at the door,” he said. “But that’s tough, because cops are used to being in control.” Emily met Laurence at the University of Liverpool in 1996, shortly after arriving in the UK from her home in Wisconsin. She had applied to join the Madison police force, as a stepping stone to the FBI, but opted at the last minute to take a masters in “investigative psychology” – the application of psychology to police work (Liverpool was then one of the few institutions in the world to offer it). “This wasn’t long after Silence of the Lambs,” said Emily. “I wanted to be the new Clarice Starling.” Laurence was a PhD student in the department of forensic psychology, and already a rising star after his contribution to a high-profile public inquiry. In 1993, Colin Stagg was wrongfully accused of the rape and murder of a young mother called Rachel Nickell on Wimbledon Common, London. Despite an absence of forensic evidence linking Stagg to the murder, the police made Stagg their prime suspect after deciding that he matched an “offender profile” created by a psychologist. ogist. A covert operation ion was designed to entrap Stagg, gg, involving an undercover female ale police officer feigning romantic ntic interest. After the case was thrown hrown out and the police had acknowledged owledged their mistake, Laurence assisted the subsequent inquiry quiry by exposing the pseudoudoscience on which the profile was based. Historic ally, the he British police have ve Keep talking … psychologists Emily y and Laurence Alison n have a unique insight ht Christopher Thomond nd called on outside experts to help with investigations, but have sometimes ended up listening to quacks. After the Stagg inquiry, however, a list of accredited consultants was drawn up, and Laurence Alison was on it. Every couple of months or so he would get a call, and a question. “It might be, can you help us with this rape in Bath, or a murder in West Mercia,” Laurence said. The police often wanted to know the best way to interview a particular suspect or witness, usually after an initial attempt had gone badly. Laurence would ask for assistance from Emily, who knew a lot about interviewing difficult people, thanks to her background in counselling. The Alisons would read transcripts, watch video footage, and sometimes monitor interviews in real time, assessing the dynamics of the encounter, searching for a way to get the interviewee to open up. They gained a reputation for offering useful advice. In 2010, Laurence was contacted by a US government agency that was commissioning research into interrogation. The High-Value Detainee Interrogation Group, or HIG, was set up in 2009 by President Obama, keen to signal a clean break from the Bush administration, which had sanctioned abusive interrogations in Iraq and Afghanistan. Housed within the FBI, the HIG’s purpose is to ground interrogation in science. The HIG’s chief researchers were particularly interested in Britain, whose counter-terrorist police have earned a reputation for being sophisticated interviewers, partly because the opposite was once true. In 1992, after public inquiries into two miscarriages of justice involving IRA attacks had revealed abusive interrogation practices, parliament passed laws stipulating all interviews be recorded, and making it an automatic right to have a solicitor present. With the option of coercion effectively removed, the British police were forced to think harder about the best way to obtain information. In a minor but significant change they stopped using the word “interrogation”, with its confrontational overtone, and replaced it with “interview”. The HIG invited Laurence to apply to them for research funding. “I said, ‘I don’t want to do research on students. I want to look at the real thing and extract, from observation, what works.’” He set his sights on an audacious goal: persuading the national counter-terrorism unit to give him access to video of its interviews with terrorist suspects. Two years later, following a negotiation over terms, he was granted access to 181 interviews, a total of 878 hours of tape. They included Irish paramilitaries, al-Qaida operatives, far-right extremists, incompetent bunglers caught up in something they didn’t understand, and highly dangerous operatives. The tapes were housed in the UK in a secure police fac facility in Alisons were Yorkshire, and the Alison not permitted to move them. They took turns to visit visit, often asaccompanied by a research resea sistant, Stamatis Elntib. The police officer assigned to monitor them th that day meet them would mee door, then at the doo sit with tthem in the small viewas they ing room a w at atcc h e d h o u r s of video. After Aft a full day of this, whichever Aliso Alison was on duty would The Guardian Weekly 03.11.17 29 Kicker here like this Then a short description here like this → Then Section and page XX check into the nearby hotel, sleep and return to the facility in the morning for another day’s work. Each interview had to be minutely analysed according to an intricate taxonomy of behaviours, developed by the Alisons. Every aspect of the interaction between interviewee and interviewer was classified and scored. They included the counterinterrogation tactics employed by the suspects (complete silence? humming?), the manner in which the interviewer asked questions (confrontational? authoritative? passive?), the demeanour of the interviewee (dominating? disengaged?), and the amount and quality of information yielded. Data was gathered on 150 different variables in all. Watching and coding all the interviews took eight months. When the process was complete, Laurence passed on the data to Paul Christiansen, a colleague at Liverpool University, who performed a statistical analysis of the results. The most important relationship he measured was between “yield” – information elicited from the suspect – and “rapport” – the quality of the relationship between interviewer and interviewee. For the first time, a secure, empirical basis was established for what had, until then, been something between a hypothesis and an insider secret: rapport is the closest thing interrogators have to a truth serum. ‘I don’t care if they are lying, I just want them to talk’ Vetta/Getty I n 1943, Major Sherwood Moran, of the US Marines, published a memorandum on the interrogation of prisoners of war, and distributed it to troops throughout the Pacific theatre. Moran was a missionary who had raised a family in Tokyo before the war. When the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor in 1941, he was 56, and living in Boston. Realising that his fluency in Japanese language and culture might be helpful to the American war effort, he joined the Marines. Moran soon became known as an unusually effective interrogator of Japanese soldiers, who were famously resistant interviewees. Like Islamist terrorists today, the Japanese were fanatically, suicidally, committed to their cause, and deeply hostile to Americans. In his memo, Moran explained why he eschewed the bullying methods used by other interrogators. He believed that if the prisoner was forcibly reminded he was facing his conqueror, he would be placed “in a psychological position of being on the defensive”. Moran did not believe in making the prisoner feel scared or powerless. Stripping a prisoner of his dignity merely reinforced his determination not to speak. The aim should be to get into his mind and heart – to achieve “intellectual and spiritual rapport”. Today, most experienced interrogators agree. In 2012 the psychologist Melissa Russano asked 42 US interrogators what they believed made for successful interviews. The participants, who responded anonymously, had performed interrogations in Afghanistan and Iraq, with some of the most resistant interviewees in the world. These are some of their responses: “Being nice is far and away more fruitful than being an asshole. I could scare the crap out of you in the next 10 seconds, if I really wanted to. But, you know, what is that going to do?” “You have to present a very empathetic environment.” “Rapport is what we do. I was trying to think of why I’ve had success, or we as a team have had success with these guys, and I think, in some respect, that they are interested to tell their story – they’re interested to tell the ‘why’. So I think talking to them in a way that is non-judgmental [gets results].” Despite its reputation among elite practitioners, “rapport” has been vaguely defined and poorly understood. It is often conflated with simply being nice – Laurence Alison refers to this, derisively, as the “cappuccinos and hugs” theory. In fact, he observes, interviewers can fail because they are too nice, acquiescing to the demands of a suspect, or neglecting to pursue a line of purposeful questioning at a vital moment. The best interviewers are versatile: they know when to be sympathetic, when to be direct and forthright. What they rarely do is impose their will on the interviewee, either overtly, through aggression, or covertly, through the use of “tricks” – techniques of unconscious manipulation, which make the interviewer feel smart but are often seen through by interviewees. Above all, rapport, in the sense used by the Alisons, describes an authentic human connection. “You’ve got to mean it,” is one of Laurence’s refrains. The Alisons named their research project Orbit (Observing Rapport-based Interpersonal Techniques). Part of its purpose is to provide an anatomy of rapport, the better to understand what creates and destroys it. At the heart of the Alisons’ model is an insight from a neighbouring field. During the years when she worked on police cases with Laurence, Emily Alison had come to see interrogation as a close relation of addiction counselling. Both involve getting someone who does not want to be in the same room as you to talk about something they do not want to talk about. Around two decades ago, the practice of addiction counselling was transformed by the application of a simple principle: patients should feel responsible for their choices. Emily wondered if it wasn’t time for interrogation to catch up. In 1980, a 23-year-old South African called Stephen Rollnick started work as a nurse’s aid in a rehabilitation centre for alcoholics. The clinicians shared a confrontational approach. They believed their clients were lying to themselves, and others, about the severity of their problem. Before setting the patient on the road to recovery, the clinician needed to challenge the patient on their dishonesty and strip away their illusions – to break their resistance. This clinic was hardly atypical. The postwar medical consen sus on addiction treatment regarded patients as wayward children who needed to be taught how to behave. The counsellor’s job was to tell the addict the truth about their condition, and, if they denied it, to do so again more forcefully until they accepted it. To Rollnick, this seemed bound to poison the relationship. In the coffee room, he observed that the off-duty conversations of the counsellors were imbued with disdain for their patients. One of the clients under Rollnick’s care was an alcoholic called Anthony, who would leave group sessions having barely said a word. One day, he walked out for the last time. Rollnick discovered the next morning that Anthony had shot his wife and then himself in front of their young children. Shattered, Rollnick resigned from the centre, left South Africa, and settled in the UK, where he embarked on a course in clinical psychology at Cardiff University. A couple of years in, Rollnick came across a paper written by a young American psychologist called William Miller, and was startled by how much he agreed with it. Miller argued that the more we feel someone trying to persuade us to do something, the more we dwell on the reasons we should not. Miller argued that counsellors should focus on building a relationship of trust and mutual understanding, enabling the patient to Continued on page 30 → 30 The Guardian Weekly 03.11.17 Weekly review ← Continued from page 29 talk through his experiences without feeling the need to defend himself. Eventually, and with the counsellor gently shaping the dialogue, the part of the patient that wanted to get better would overcome the part that did not, and he would make the arguments for change himself. Having done so, he would be motivated to follow through on them. Miller called this approach “motivational interviewing” (MI). Rollnick used Miller’s method in his clinical practice, with good results. On meeting Miller at a conference, he told him about his enthusiasm for MI. The two men wrote a book together. Motivational Interviewing revolutionised the field of counselling and therapy, and its techniques became widely practised. Empirical studies found MI to be a far more effective treatment than traditional methods. Implicit in Miller and Rollnick’s critique was the uncomfortable suggestion that counsellors should turn their professional gaze upon themselves and question their own instinct to dominate. Instead of thinking of himself as an expert sitting in judgment, the counsellor needed to adopt the more humble position of co-investigator. As Miller put it to me, “The premise is not ‘I have you what you need, let me give it to you.’ It’s ‘You have what you need and we’ll find it.’ The patient must feel ‘autonomous’ – the author of their own actions.” Emily Alison, who had trained in MI while working for the probation service in Wisconsin, noticed that interrogations failed or succeeded for similar reasons as therapeutic sessions. Interrogators who made an adversary out of their subject left the room empty-handed; those who made them a partner yielded information. She concluded that the detainee, like the addict, wants to feel free, despite or rather because of their confinement, and that the interviewer should help them do so. The Alisons’ analysis of the terrorist tapes confirmed this. One of their most striking findings is that suspects are likelier to talk when the interviewer emphasises their right not to. “The more pressure you put on a person, the less likely they are to speak to you. You need to make them feel responsible for their choices,” said Laurence. “You can’t bullshit, you’ve got to mean it.” He slips into character. “Ian, you don’t have to speak to me today. Whether you do or not isn’t up to me. It isn’t up to your solicitor. It’s up to you. “These are powerful tools to get inside someone’s head, but they’re not tricks. You have to be curious. There’s a reason this person has ended up opposite you, and it’s not just because they’re evil. If you’re not interested in what that is, you’re not going to be a good interrogator.” W ithin a two-week stretch early in the summer of this year, Manchester and London were struck by terrorist attacks. In the days that followed there was an urgent push to uncover any networks in which the perpetrators – now dead – were enmeshed. Anyone who had been in contact with them needed to be wrung for information. The burden of that task fell to a select group of specialist interviewers, drawn from counter-terrorist units across the country. Something they had in common is that they were all alumni of the Alcyone course, ‘People who have never conducted interrogations are somehow convinced they know what works’ an intensive six-day workshop designed by the Alisons in partnership with the police. More than 150 officers have now taken the course, which a counter-terrorist officer told me was by far the best interrogation training the police have ever had. At the heart of the course is a series of role-play exercises. Actors take the parts of inter viewees. The roles might include a gang boss with ties to terrorists, or a young woman who has been sharing extremist propaganda on social media. The attendees are sent into the room with instructions to elicit specific information. They are told something about the “suspect”, but they don’t know what kind of character they are about to interview. It might be someone belligerent or charming but evasive. Take a seat … rapport is the closest thing interrogators have to a truth serum Joshua Bright The simulations are intended to be as testing as possible. “We wanted to create something harder than the real world,” says Laurence. The actors are expert at needling, provoking or eluding their inquisitors. As soon as an encounter begins, its fictional nature is almost completely forgotten; even veteran interviewers can be pushed to the edge of self-control. “Sometimes we design a character that will press the buttons of that particular person,” says Laurence. “We want to see if they can emotionally self-regulate under pressure.” Simply put, can they stop themselves losing it? Studies of interrogation are often preoccupied with how to detect deception, but even a lie is information; the hard problem for an interrogator is a suspect who says nothing. As one counter-terrorist officer who worked with the Alisons told Laurence: “I don’t care if they’re lying. I just want them to talk.” Some suspects give monosyllabic answers, or stick to scripted responses, or simply turn their chair around, presenting the interviewer with the back of their head. Islamist militants are prone to long ideological rants. All such tactics have the potential to be doubly effective, because they get under the skin of the interviewer, throwing him off his plan by goading him into anger. On the opening day of the Alcyone course, Laurence gives a crash course in “interpersonal psychology”, which is concerned with communication and how it breaks down. An interviewee exerts an emotional force on the interviewer that is hard to resist. Skilled interrogators are adept at managing their own automatic responses. The premise of interpersonal psychology is that in any conversation, the participants are asking for status – to feel respected and listened to – and communion – to feel liked and understood. “Power, love,” says Laurence. “The fundamental elements of all human behaviour.” Conversations only go well when both parties feel they are getting their fair share of each. A father who opens the door to his daughter when she comes home late might adopt a confrontational style. But his daughter pushes back, which provokes her father’s anger. A power struggle ensues, until the conversation terminates with one or both stomping off. If the father had emphasised his love for his daughter, a conversation about acceptable norms might have developed. But doing so isn’t easy, partly because children know which buttons to press. “I tell [the police], if you can deal with teenagers you can deal with terrorists,” says Laurence. As we were talking, Laurence stepped into role, pointing at my notepad. “Can I have that?” I shook my head. “Why not? Give me a couple of sheets of paper.” I declined. Laurence raised his voice: “Oh come on, are you fucking joking?” I was unable to think of a reason not to give him paper but unwilling to back down. Giving it to him felt like a small humiliation. “It’s a classic test of autonomy,” explained Lawrence. “People don’t like being controlled, and sometimes they put something in the room, like, ‘I want a notebook’, to disrupt the balance of power. If you don’t deal with it, it becomes a roadblock. So either give him the paper or explain why you won’t.” An interview fails when it becomes a struggle for dominance, in which the interviewee’s way of asserting himself is to say nothing. “In a tug of war, the harder you pull, the harder they pull,” says Laurence. “My suggestion is, let go of the rope.” I thought back to how Diola’s second interviewer had opened him up: “Only you know these things Diola. If you are willing, you’ll tell me, and if you’re not, you won’t. I can’t force you to tell me – I don’t want to force you. I’d like you to help me understand. Would you tell me about what happened?” The Guardian Weekly 03.11.17 31 Weekly review Kicker here like this Then a short description here like this → Then Section and page XX Running gains pace in Shanghai Facial-recognition smart tracks and marathons now hold mass appeal, finds Helen Roxburgh O n a clear, balmy night in Shanghai, a group of runners stretch their hamstrings in the city’s Xuhui district, sporting an array of headphones, water bottles and Fitbits. The group, known as RunnersHai, are meeting for their weekly training – half are practising for a marathon, others are just in it for the exercise. “Running in Shanghai initially seemed like an impossible challenge – even walking the streets is dangerous because of cars and other vehicles,” says Wang Hui, 26, from Anhui. “But with other runners, we can find better locations together for running.” Tonight the group is running on the West Bund, a former industrial site by the river that has been newly converted to host art galleries, restaurants and public space for sports, including a running track, basketball hoops and climbing wall. The pleasant riverside stretch is popular among runners – a rapidly expanding group in the city – and Hui, who has a knee injury, prefers the soft surface of the track to hard city pavements. “The riverside is my favourite, favourite place to run in the city,” says Grace Guan, 30, an experienced runner who last year took part in eight different events, and has already secured a place for this year’s Shanghai International Marathon. The state-organised Shanghai Marathon launched in 1996 with 5,000 runners; by 2016 there were 38,000. Now, demand outstrips supply – many of the RunnersHai group tried unsuccessfully to get a place in the lottery-allocated system. As well as the marathon, the city also organises a half-marathon, which recently attracted 20,000 runners, a 10k run that drew 8,000 and a mini-run of 5,000 people. To accommodate Shanghai’s army of runners, the government has extended the West Bund in the last few months, turning a 3km track into a 15km loop, with amenities along the way such as toilets, signage and water pitstops. The city’s Century Park has a new 5km public running track that was completed this year, lined with leafy trees and bright lighting. And on the city’s Chongming Island, an 8km smart running track was tested this year, equipped with devices such as facial recognition, which can calculate a runner’s average speed over certain distances, plus heart rate monitors to gauge health levels. Picturesque spots on the outskirts of Shanghai are being promoted as running sites, including Dishui Lake. Runs designed to fit with the city’s urban fabric include a charity Vertical Run to the 57th floor of the Shanghai IFC building. Shanghai is not unique in seeing exponential growth in the number of runners. In 2011, China had 22 marathons or other running events, according to Xinhua, but there will be more than 400 this year. By 2020, the target is more than 800 marathons and races nationally, with more than 10 million participants to “promote a healthier China”, says Du Zhaocai of the China Athletics Association. However, runners in Shanghai have plenty to contend with, including the city’s large numbers of humans and cars. Many resort to running in cycle lanes – which is far from ideal. Buses and taxis frequently pull across lanes to deposit commuters, while dog walkers, wheelchair users, parents with prams and general amblers frequent the space – plus a ballooning number of cyclists, following the introduction of hugely popular bike-share schemes. Aside from temperatures as high as 40C, runners also have to deal with high levels of air pollution In a blur … more running-focused infrastructure is being built in Shanghai to accommodate fast-growing interest in the activity STR/Getty Even the new running space at the West Bund is often crowded, already popular with the city’s elderly, young families and students. And with 10 new 30-storey apartment blocks under construction opposite, the area looks set to become significantly more crowded in the near future. Other problems include the city’s physical size. Both the West Bund and Century Park are outside the city centre, prompting logistical problems for downtown joggers who use the routes, necessitating sweaty metro or taxi journeys home. Aside from temperatures that can reach as high as 40C, runners also have to contend with high levels of air pollution. Many people cancel runs when the pollution gets too high, but scientists are divided over the long-term detriments of jogging in polluted air. Research into the damage of exercising in pollution is still evolving. A 2012 review published in the New England Journal of Medicine estimated daily bicycle trips in polluted cities took up to 40 days from a person’s average lifespan, but the additional exercise lengthened it by three to 14 months. “Increasingly, we are starting to understand that even low levels of pollution may contribute to serious health impacts beyond the acute reactions that we normally think of like respiratory and cardiovascular problems,” says Sieren Ernst, founder of environmental consultancy Ethics & Environment. “So is it safe to exercise in air pollution? We know air pollution is bad for human health, and exercise increases exposure. In general, it’s not safe to breathe air pollution, and so no – it’s not safe to exercise in it. “That said, there is a lot of anxiety among public health officials about saying these things, because of course there are benefits to exercise, but we really don’t have enough of a grip about the total impacts of air pollution to making strong statements about these tradeoffs.” 32 The Guardian Weekly 03.11.17 Discovery Miracle drugs from poisonous dragons As resistance to antibiotics grows, the Komodo oﬀers hope for humans, writes Adam Popescu F or thousands of years, Komodo dragons have thrived on an isolated chain of rocky Indonesian islands despite competing with other venomous reptiles, hunting deer and buffalo capable of crushing bone with a single kick and dealing with annual monsoons, tsunamis and drought. The reason for their success may be that the bite of these giant lizards – they sometimes weigh more than 130kg and grow more than two metres long – is so poisonous that even a nip can kill. They have more than 50 varieties of bacteria in their mouths, yet rarely fall ill. They’re also immune to the bites of other dragons. Scientists say that’s because the blood of Komodo dragons is filled with proteins called antimicrobial peptides, AMPs, an all-purpose infection defence produced by all living creatures, that one day may be used in drugs to protect humans. That would be a welcome development at a time when some antibiotics are losing their effectiveness as bacteria develop resistance to the drugs. “Komodo peptides are unlike any others. The animals have bacteria in their mouth in the wild and they live in a challenging environment and they survive,” says Barney Bishop, a George Mason University chemist who co-discovered the unusual characteristics of the peptides in the dragons’ blood in 2013. “If we can find out why they’re able to fight bacteria and what makes them so successful, we can use that knowledge to develop antibiotics.” Bishop and his team have identified more than 200 peptides in Komodo blood that hadn’t been seen before, using a process he calls bioprospecting. There has been at least one major find. One of the dragon peptides was used to design a synthetic substance, called DRGN-1, that breaks down the layer of bacteria that attaches to the surface of a wound and can impede healing. When DRGN-1 was tested on living bacteria and on wounds infected with bacteria, the results were startling: the wounds healed significantly faster than if left untreated. Microbiologist Monique van Hoek, who worked with Bishop on the project, described DRGN-1 as “a new approach to potentially defeat bacteria that have grown resistant to conventional antibiotics. The antimicrobial peptides we’re tapping into represent millions of years of evolution in protecting immune systems from dangerous infections.” Finding these peptides and testing them isn’t simple. DRGN-1 was developed after a mass spectrometer identified dragon-blood peptides with the potential to attack antibiotic-resistant bacteria. If a peptide shows strong microbial activity in lab testing, Bishop says, “we can look at it for other applications. If we’re lucky, it’s a new candidate right there. Odds are, we’ll have to tweak the sequence and structure.” The researchers hope to find other potential drugs based on Komodo blood – as well as in the blood of crocodiles and alligators – and then persuade a drug company to help bring their discoveries to market. So far, they’ve identified 48 potential AMPs in Komodo blood that have never been seen before. He says these discoveries might lead to applications to curb everyday problems such as acne and pneumonia and to counteract biological weapons such as anthrax. Infections of antibiotic-resistant bacteria kill as many as 700,000 people a year, according to the World Health Organization, a number that it projects could rise to 10 million a year by 2050. Bishop and Van Hoek are testing dragon blood AMPs against a panel of bacteria that includes those related to highly resistant bacteria labelled priority pathogens by the WHO. Even after four years focused on Komodos, Bishop remains unsure as to why their peptides are unlike any others. Is it their environment, or does Disease-fighters … Komodos in East Nusa Tenggara, Indonesia, above, and at the London Zoo, right Peter Macdiarmid/Getty Images it have something to do with their evolution? “Are these peptides unique to Komodos?” he wonders. It’s tough to study an animal that is difficult to capture, both because of its remoteness and its poisonous bite. Bishop has been using samples from Tujah, a Komodo at the St Augustine Alligator Farm Zoological Park in Florida. Bishop’s Komodo dragon project began in 2012, with ith a $7.6m Defense Department grant to analyse species that thrive Dinosaurs liked to snuggle up as well as attack Robin McKie The three young dinosaurs had snuggled together to sleep when disaster struck. A thick layer of ash or soil, probably from a volcanic eruption or sand storm, poured over them and the animals, each the size of a large dog, died within minutes. For 70m years they lay entombed, cradled beside each other within a slab of rock, until US scientists uncovered their remains earlier this year. Subsequent analysis of the fossilised bones – which come from the Gobi desert – reveal the first known example of roosting among dinosaurs. The discovery, outlined at the recent Society of Vertebrate Palaeontology meeting in Calgary, has caused considerable excitement among scientists because communal roosting is exhibited by many modern species, including crows and bats. Yet in the middle of the Jurassic period dinosaurs were already exhibiting such social interactions. Far from being solo, lumbering beasts, evidence now indicates they acted in sophisticated ways. This is stressed by Alberta University’s Greg Funston, who led the team that analysed the three fossilised dinosaurs. “The trio had quite a close bond,” he said in the journal Nature. “They were living together at the time of death.” The dinosaurs in the rock have not yet been named but are described as having domed crests on their heir heads. They walked on two legs and looked like a cassowary, the giant flightless ghtless bird found today in northern Australia ustralia and New Guinea. “This is a spectacular discovery very for it shows these were animals that at were living together in flocks like birds do today,” said Stephen Brusatte of Edinburgh h University. “They probably had feathers, although h they could not fly. However, they were undoubtedly ly social creatures.” Scientists have now established blished that birds evolved from a group of dinosaurs saurs that include velociraptors, the deadly socialised killers Dispatches The Guardian Weekly 03.11.17 33 Stephen Hawking’s PhD thesis crashes website Stephen Hawking’s 1966 doctoral thesis has broken the internet after becoming available to the general public for the first time. Demand for the thesis, entitled Properties of Expanding Universes, was so great that it caused Cambridge University’s repository site to go down on Monday. The “historic and compelling” thesis had swiftly become the mostrequested item in Cambridge’s open access repository, Apollo. A University of Cambridge spokesperson said: “We have had a huge response to Prof Hawking’s decision to make his PhD thesis publicly available to download, with almost 60,000 downloads in less than 24 hours.” Genetic cancer variants Common inherited genetic variants that together increase the risk of breast cancer by about a fifth have been identified by scientists. A huge team of researchers, the OncoArray Consortium project, uncovered 65 new variants. On their own, they contribute around 4% of the heightened risk of women with a strong family history of breast cancer developing the disease. Adding these variants to the list of 180 already known is thought to account for an estimated 18% of the familial risk. Drugs fight dementia despite major environmental challenges and interaction with pathogenic bacteria. In addition to the dragons, Bishop has been studying Chinese alligators and saltwater crocodiles, which have shown strong immunity against disease despite eating bacteria-infested animals and living in bacteriarich environments and even surviving loss of limbs without getting infections. Bishop knows that if he’s going to turn Komodo blood into a wonder drug, he needs more blood. “Much more blood,” he laments. “We need a larger number of animals to study.” Tujah is Bishop’s lone sample, and he thinks wild dragons probably Birds of a feather … fossils suggest that dinosaurs may have been very social have more curative peptides flowing through their veins than his 13-year-old captive source, because living in the wild forces immune systems to function at their highest. Bishop has never seen a Komodo in the wild, and he knows it’s unlikely that he’ll get out into the field. It’s costly to travel to the small island chain where Komodos live. Luckily, the giants have a long life span in captivity, about 25 years. Drug discovery is a long haul, yet he’s confident. “I’ve got a seven-year-old daughter who sleeps on a stuffed Komodo,” he h says. “I’d like her to grow up in a world with effective antibiotics.” Washington Post ect made famous by the th Jurassic Park film. “In addition, it has been shown dinosaurs were warm-blooded unlike other reptiles,” reptil said Professor Mike Benton of Bristol Universi University. “They also had feathers, not to help them fly but to keep them warm and help them display at each other, the equivalent of the male pea peacock tail that signals a bird’s biological fitness tne to potential mates – a crucial ability for a social animal It was only later in Earth’s history h that feathers were used as aids that co could help birds become airborne.” It is also likely li the three animals were siblings, a point put forward by David Varricchio of Montana State St University. “Juvenile ravens and seagulls stick together t to begin with when they leave their parents parents’ nests and this could well have been a similar group grou of siblings who were huddling together when the they were struck down.” Observer Blood-thinning drugs could protect against dementia and stroke in people with an irregular heartbeat, research suggests. A study found that patients being treated for atrial fibrillation (AF) were 48% less likely to develop dementia if they were taking anticoagulants. Scientists analysed health record data from more than 444,000 Swedish AF patients. While the findings could not prove cause and effect, they “strongly suggested” blood-thinning pills protect against dementia in patients with the condition, the team said. Fracking health risks Pollutants released during fracking processes could pose a health risk to infants and children, according to researchers studying chemicals involved in shale gas operations. The team focused on five major groups of pollutants including heavy metals, chemicals that disrupt hormone systems and particulates. These substances have been linked to effects ranging from memory, learning and IQ deficits to disorders including anxiety and schizophrenia, as well as behavioural problems including hyperactivity and aggression. The research was conducted by the Center for Environmental Health, a US-based non-profit organisation. 34 The Guardian Weekly 03.11.17 Books How xenophobia captured politics A timely analysis of the rise of anti-immigrant fervour raises questions for Carlos Lozada Go Back to Where You Came From: The Backlash Against Immigration and the Fate of Western Democracy by Sasha Polakow-Suransky Nation Books, 358pp It was either a penis or a middle finger. Either way, it was meant to offend. The crude drawing scrawled on the garage door greeted my family when we returned from a night out. Toilet paper was strewn everywhere. My parents rushed us inside, trying to keep us from looking. But of course we did, and today my sister and I still can’t agree on the image. It was 1980, the nation was riveted by the hostage crisis in Tehran, and apparently someone in our quaint northern California town didn’t want this immigrant family feeling too welcome. It’s funny how certain vantage points stay with you – whenever immigrants become targets in national politics. That night always reminds me that animus against outsiders long predates the Trump presidency and that, as frightening and disorienting as it felt to a child, things can always get far worse. In Go Back to Where You Came From, Sasha Polakow-Suransky describes the turn toward antiimmigrant, anti-refugee and anti-Islam fervour in Europe, dwelling on the Netherlands, Denmark and France, though he always seems to be glancing across the Atlantic. He compares Marine Le Pen voters in France to Donald Trump voters in Michigan; he suggests that Trump and rightwing Dutch politician Geert Wilders are both faux economic populists; and he worries that, in Europe and the US, democracies are threatened by popular fear of immigrants. “What if, in reaction to the challenges of mass migration, liberal democracies abandon their constitutional principles and adopt exclusionary policies that erode their longstanding commitment to human rights?” he asks. “There could come a day when, even in wealthy western nations, liberal democracy ceases to be the only game in town.” Polakow-Suransky, a fellow with the Open Society Foundations and a former opinion editor at the New York Times, has reported from across the globe for this book, providing dispatches from refugee camps and interviewing politicians, activists and immigrants on all sides of this debate. He captures social and political transformations in simple, memorable lines. “Holland [the Netherlands] is famed as a tolerant society … but in recent years, the overwhelming force in society has been fear,” he explains. “Public debate has branded all Muslim immigrants as guilty.” He chronicles anti-immigration sentiment in unexpected places (South Africa) and explains how immigration policy in Australia (yes, Australia) has been “a beacon for Europe’s new right”, because it intercepts incoming refugees before they reach Australian shores, sending them back or offshoring them to obscure Pacific islands. ‘The combination of fear and xenophobia can be a dangerous and destructive force’ Coping with migration … refugees cross from Croatia into Slovenia in 2015 as European states struggle to adapt to the newcomers Getty At its heart, however, this is a book less about migrants and policies than about thinkers and politics. Polakow-Suransky is intrigued by the “intellectual enablers” of Europe’s anti-immigrant passions. He dwells on the influence of Michel Houellebecq, the author of Submission, a novel that imagines an Islamist takeover of France, Éric Zemmour ( The French Suicide), Thilo Sarrazin (Germany Abolishes Itself ) and Alain Finkielkraut (The Unhappy Identity), stressing that “all these writers presented the idea of a relentless Islamic tsunami engulfing Europe culturally and demographically”. Lurking in the background is Jean Raspail, whose 1973 novel The Camp of the Saints depicted, in racist and apocalyptic terms, the arrival of boatloads of Hindus on French shores. Former White House political strategist Steve Bannon has praised the work, and Polakow-Suransky’s final chapter concludes with an interview in Raspail’s Paris apartment. “We are a country, a civilisation, a language, a way of life,” Raspail, now in his 90s, tells him. “If we blend it with something that does not correspond at all to who we are, it won’t work, and we’ll be lost.” There are many reasons such views have gained renewed currency in Europe. The author recalls how the reaction to a Danish newspaper’s 2005 publication of cartoons of the prophet Muhammad boosted support for the rightwing DPP party. “The Danish cartoon controversy matters because it accelerated the political shift toward the right,” he The Guardian Weekly 03.11.17 35 writes. “Danes who may never have contemplated voting for the DPP now saw their embassies on fire … and death threats against some of their bestknown journalists. Suddenly, the DPP’s platform was making sense.” And high-profile mass terror attacks, such as the Charlie Hebdo attack in France in 2015 or the killings at a Berlin Christmas market last year, galvanise hatreds and suspicions. “The combination of fear and xenophobia can be a dangerous and destructive force,” Polakow-Suransky writes. The author also lays plenty of blame on the European left, which he says allowed an opening for resurgent rightwing populism. Even in the midst of economic turmoil and heightened security fears, “the focus of activism on the left shifted dramatically from economic equality to identity”, he writes, weakening leftist appeal among some longtime supporters. Polakow-Suransky criticises Europe’s left and centre-left parties for abandoning their “commitment to universal values and embracing multiculturalism by focusing on people as members of communities rather than as fellow citizens”. The European right, he essentially argues, has been smarter. Far-right parties “have deftly coopted the causes, policies, and rhetoric of their opponents, seeking to outflank the left by blending a nativist economic policy – more welfare, but only for us – and tough anti-immigration and border security measures”, Polakow-Suransky explains. “By painting themselves as the protectors of social benefits that are threatened by an influx of freeloading migrants, they appeal to both economic anxiety and fear of terrorism.” In France, even the political tradition of laïcité, or state secularism, long a cause of the left, has been taken up by the right, which deploys it as a weapon to claim high ground on matters from Muslim attire to halal meat. “The populist right did not come out of nowhere,” Polakow-Suransky writes. “It recognised an underserved niche in the political market … and has never let go.” Books like these often feature a dutiful list of recommendations, but Polakow-Suransky largely resists this temptation. It’s good, because his strengths fall more in reporting and analysis than in policy specifics. When he posits how leftist politicians can reach out to erstwhile supporters who have veered away, he sounds correct but unhelpful. “The challenge for today’s left is to acknowledge these voters’ fears and offer policies that help address their grievances without making the sort of moral concessions that lead toward reactionary illiberal policies … Only by listening to and understanding marginalised voters’ rage can activists and mainstream politicians hope to win them back.” “Mainstream” – it’s a comforting but dangerously elastic notion. Whoever vandalised my childhood home was certainly not in the mainstream of my neighbourhood or my town. The occasional incident aside, we lived happily there for a few more years. But vantage points shift quickly, and what one day seems fringe soon appears commonplace. Today, disdain for outsiders is growing more overt, and Polakow-Suransky worries that liberal democracies may prove especially susceptible. “If they fail to deal with these challenges and allow xenophobic populists to hijack the public debate,” he warns, “then the votes of frustrated and disaffected citizens will increasingly go to the antiimmigrant right, societies will become less open, nativist parties will grow more powerful, and racist rhetoric that promotes a narrow and exclusionary sense of national identity will be legitimised.” It will be mainstream. Washington Post Ruled by the gods in a far-oﬀ magical Africa Wake Me When I’m Gone by Odafe Atogun Canongate, 208pp Helon Habila Odafe Atogun’s second novel is set in a Nigerian village that could almost be described as magical. It is ruled by a despotic king and his council of priests; their worldview is, not surprisingly, patriarchal and ultra-conservative. Any form of dissent or innovation is punished with banishment, or death. Widows must marry within a prescribed period after losing their husbands; if they don’t, their children are taken away to live with their uncles, or in extreme cases exiled to the town limits and left there to forage or beg for their food. It is a cruel system crying out to be challenged, if someone is willing to pay the steep price that accompanies such defiance. An unlikely challenger emerges in the form of the beautiful and kindly Ese. Ese has just lost her husband and must now face the brunt of the king’s merciless decree: she stands to lose her only son, Noah. Meanwhile, the precocious Noah has forged a strong bond with the town’s homeless orphans and convinced his mother that they must care for these children, even if it means facing the king’s wrath. It is a strong and eventful opening, and the stakes continue to rise. The king, it transpires, is hopelessly in love with Ese – he has always been, even before she married her late husband, Tanto. Marrying the king would offer Noah better odds of survival, even though the king’s many wives sometimes kill off each other’s male children to improve their own sons’ chances. But Ese will only marry a man she loves, and she is not in love with the king. As in his first novel, Taduno’s Song, Atogun has combined folkloric elements with a strong central character to create a haunting and unusual narrative. His style is redolent of earlier African authors such as Amos Tutuola, Flora Nwapa and Gabriel Okara, who wrote what were loosely called “novels of local colour”, where the author pretends the colonial encounter never happened, and modernity is a distant phenomenon in the faraway city. The Africa of such narratives is made up of hermetically sealed societies and plotlines are often influenced by the intervention of the supernatural. The main characters’ greatest opposition is usually tradition and taboo, and those who use them to control and exploit the masses. Clearly the gods love Ese. When she escapes her home village and arrives in another village with a younger, wiser king, an older woman tells her she has been waiting for her arrival for many years; the gods had foretold Ese’s arrival. Would she have been able to effect her changes to society without her newfound riches and influence, or would she have been another victim of tradition and patriarchy? The critic James Wood, writing about David Mitchell’s The Bone Clocks, cautioned against introducing the supernatural into modern narratives. He claims that such devices relegate the characters to secondary status, robbing them of agency and turning them into mere vehicles for the whims and wishes of the gods. The human should always be at the centre of events; characters must stand or fall by their ingenuity alone, not by arbitrary divine intervention. However, in Atogun’s defence, he is clearly not trying to write a modern tale. His story could be said to be an allegory about the endless contest between good and bad, and how the universe sometimes – but not always – sides with the good against the bad. It is a stark, almost puritanical worldview, but one whose severity is modified by this author’s beautiful imagery and evocative language. Back to the land A Wood of One’s Own by Ruth Pavey Duckworth Overlook, 256pp Kate Kellaway Observer “Sometimes you have to check,” writes Ruth Pavey, “just in case life means you to do a somersault.” Her own modest upheaval was to buy a piece of land, at auction, on the Somerset Levels, with a view to turning it into a wood. At the time she was a teacher living in London (she is still gardening correspondent on Hampstead’s Ham & High newspaper), and the four acres of scrub woodland was not even the lot she’d had her eye on – that went to a higher bidder. This was the consolation prize. From the start of this captivating book, it is clear Pavey’s plot has its own plot. And grounded though she might sound – her prose is supple but never runaway lyrical – you swiftly realise she is willing to be blown on many a rogue breeze in pursuit of neighbourly narratives. The world, for the curious, is full of clues. She introduces us to Somerset locals, outsized lawnmowers, sheep with a pushy disdain for fencing, and lets us into the idiosyncratic evolution of her wood. Visiting the old couple who previously owned the land, in a nearby care home, she worries that she will seem an unhinged Londoner, and so emphasises her family roots in Somerset. The old man does the talking until his wife pipes up to comment that the spring water running into a pond on Pavey’s land never dries up. Just as suddenly, she then dries up herself. If this book was not as much a pleasure to write as it is to read, I’ll eat my hat and gardening glove. A visiting friend asks what her wood is for, a question that throws her at first. But one is able to answer on her behalf. Reading is the equivalent of being in her wood – of being quiet, released from care, able to look and think. It is a treat not because an idyll is being described, more because it shows that beauty can embrace (even be enhanced by) imperfections. And there are imperfections galore. I particularly enjoyed the description of the secondhand Rollalong caravan bought from her neighbour, farmer Ted. Its romance is qualified by the problems of trying to paint it (observing the blood of the squashed insects caught in the whitewash) and of trying to sleep in it on freezing winter nights. She had, she admits, a “rather gothic conversation” with her brother about health and safety. As a gardener and as a writer, she is more free associator than purist. She responds to the “genius of place”, but without being Continued on page 36 → 36 The Guardian Weekly 03.11.17 Books ← Continued from page 35 slavish. She has planted 150 trees, her planting not always indigenous (although she has manfully resisted the temptation of peonies). In one chapter, her gaze strays beyond her plot to consider her 18th-century neighbour, prime minister William Pitt the Elder, and reflect that he would have sorted her patch at speed, “had the spring tapped, built a hermitage, opened up vistas, replanted orchards”. She adds that she admires “that bravura approach to life without at all being able to emulate it”. The non-bravura style makes this book – illustrated with Pavey’s black-and-white sketches – a winner. Pavey is a sympathetic companion, never a hectoring expert. She lets you know grafting can be hard graft. Pretty soon, she gives up sleeping in the Rollalong, caves in, and buys a ruined cottage in nearby Langport. Her book is about how taking root and accepting impermanence work together – a sustaining contradiction. And it is a wonderful reminder of how often the best things in life – the beautiful moments in the wood – are unplanned. A hint of uncertainty Leonardo da Vinci – the Biography by Walter Isaacson Simon & Schuster, 624pp Alexander C Kafka Washington Post Would you hire this guy? The candidate is hopeless with deadlines and alternates between undisciplined meandering and grandiose hyperactivity. When he isn’t sketching birds, he’s making fruitless plans to reroute rivers, build cities or create absurd flying machines. When he does focus on a project, it’s with a febrile intensity, drawing, say, page after page of triangles or sadistic war machines. More disturbing, he habitually dissects corpses – humans, pigs, whatever’s at hand. He’s restless, moving with proteges and hangers-on from one town to another, leaving contractual agreements unfulfilled. A risky prospect at best, this mercurial Leonardo from Vinci. Then again, he did create arguably the two most iconic works of art in western history: the Last Supper and the Mona Lisa. His drawing of Vitruvian Man is the classic representation of the Renaissance spirit. And if it weren’t for those thousands of pages of forward-thinking sketches on geology, geometry, light, anatomy, astronomy, biblical history, military strategy, hydrodynamics, flight, neuropsychology, ophthalmology and countless other topics, his few surviving paintings wouldn’t be the masterworks that they are. Nor would we know so much about this peculiar, haunted, wonderful man who was, in so many ways, centuries ahead of his time. He comes to life in all his remarkable brilliance and oddity in Walter Isaacson’s ambitious new biography. Isaacson’s previous biographical subjects include Benjamin Franklin, Albert Einstein and Steve Jobs – restless, driven men who, like Leonardo, had bisected personalities: one half solitary pioneer, the other half inspirational team leader. For all of them, the unifying element was an insatiable, lifelong appetite for knowledge. He hauled the Mona Lisa around with him, sometimes strapped to a mule, for 14 years, adding a minute speck of new paint here or there until the 30-some layers of brush strokes over a special lead white undercoat on wood vanished into that spookily three-dimensional visage with eyes that follow and a suppressed smile that teases and taunts. Make no mistake: Isaacson knows his stuff, crowdsourcing, with extreme diligence, an array of art, historical, medical and other experts to arrive at a vigorous, insightful portrait of the world’s most famous portraitist. Leonardo groupies won’t find startling revelations here. Isaacson’s purpose is a thorough synthesis, which he achieves with flair. He seems drawn to Leonardo’s own reportorial instincts. The artist often carried a notebook tied to his belt for his observational sketches as well as his questions, lists, fantasies and jokes. He moved easily among not just artists and musicians (he played the lyre and the flute) but scientists, doctors and engineers, peppering them with questions and sometimes collaborating with them. If Leonardo’s life reads like a widescreen epic, that hasn’t escaped Hollywood’s attention. Paramount has bought the rights for a movie adaptation of Isaacson’s book with Leonardo DiCaprio playing his namesake. Here is Machiavelli (oh, please let it be Joaquin Phoenix), lip muscles of his own in full enigmatic, conniving overtime, working his connections with Cesare Borgia and Leonardo. Here’s Francis I, king of France (Russell Crowe or Hugh Jackman?), finally offering to the artist in his final years the no-strings-attached patronage he’s always sought, and cradling Leonardo’s grey-bearded head as he expires. Or not. But it’s a good story, and Ingres couldn’t resist it in his Death of Leonardo. Where the historical record is a little scant, the imagination kicks in – and Leonardo wouldn’t have had it any other way. Enjoying his own reportorial sfumato, Isaacson writes: “As always with Leonardo, in his art and in his life, in his birthplace and now even in his death, there is a veil of mystery. … As he knew, the outlines of reality are inevitably blurry, leaving a hint of uncertainty that we should embrace.” Leonardo’s Vitruvian Man … the classic representation of the Renaissance spirit Wrapped up Christmas: a Biography by Judith Flanders Picador, 256pp Lucy Hughes-Hallett Observer One Christmas Day in the 1780s a London woman was murdered. Her husband testified that he had not the smallest recollection of where he had been that day because “he was so much in liquor”. Nothing unusual in that. It is a persistent fallacy, suggests Judith Flanders, that Christmas has only recently been rendered tawdry by commerce. As she repeatedly demonstrates in this exhaustive history, what a medieval cleric called “swilling and riot” accompanied, and often eclipsed, piety from the very start. Flanders covers every aspect of Christmas – from mistletoe to the invention of Sellotape (essential for wrapping presents), from the knockabout violence of mummers’ plays to the 1914 Christmas truce (this first world war respite, she notes, was used not so much for friendly football as for retrieving the corpses putrefying in no man’s land). She moves briskly over what is traditionally deemed to be the core of Christmas. Religion is a surprisingly small element. She is interested in nativity plays, not for their biblical content but for the way they illustrate her theory that modern Christmas is essentially performative. People “do” Christmas – lighting candles, cooking special meals, exchanging presents. The performance has always been rowdy. Since the mid-19th century the revelry has tended to take place indoors, around a decorated hearth, but medieval Christmases were public. Every region of Europe had its local traditions. Flanders describes an infinite variety of processions, fairs, miracle plays and dancing in the streets. These rituals turned the world upside down. King Edward I inserted himself into the story by offering the church a Twelfth Night gift of gold and myrrh and frankincense – but more often Christmas celebrated, not temporal power, but a vision of its overturn. Flanders describes lords of misrule and abbots of unreason, boy-bishops, costumed wild men and feasts of fools during which the powerless could play at power. This topsy-turvydom often involved cross-dressing – priests and clerks dressed as women. For a man to lay aside his male prerogative was to disrupt social hierarchy in the most radical way possible. Food is essential to Christmas. Flanders writes about prodigious pies and boars’ heads, and about songs celebrating feasts when “there was fire to curb the cold, and meat for great and small”. The idea of the groaning board was something to sing about, whether in the Boar’s Head Carol or in numerous ditties about figgy pudding and roasted apples and mince pies. Flanders’s previous book, on the concept of home, was analytical and illuminating, using clues from social history and architectural imagery to tease out ideas about the psychological value of living spaces. This one is more of a catalogue of colourful information, as much of a ragbag of cultural references as Christmas itself, and as surprising an assortment of items as any you might find heaped up under a tree. The Guardian Weekly 03.11.17 37 Books Interview Is Ulysses S Grant going to make it to Broadway? After Hamilton, Ron Chernow turned to the flawed civil war general, writes Karen Heller R on Chernow’s timing is exquisite, even if it took six years and 25,000 index cards to get to this moment. As Americans debate the continued reverence for Confederate general Robert E Lee in the wake of the Charlottesville, Virginia, protests, the biographer of Hamilton – the “Hamilton” who inspired the theatrical juggernaut – delivers his latest brick of a book, Grant, to help rescue the Union commander and 18th president from the ash heap of history. Ulysses S Grant, you may recall, won the civil war. He was the military architect who triumphed on multiple battlefields and vanquished Lee in Virginia after six other Union generals failed. Yet after the South’s defeat, “Lee was puffed up to almost godlike proportions, not only as a great general, but as a perfect Christian gentleman, this noble and exemplary figure and an aristocratic example,” says Chernow, 68, sitting in his sun-splashed kitchen on the top floor of the 19th-century Brooklyn Heights brownstone where he rents two stories. “The glorification of Lee and the denigration of Grant are two sides of the same coin. We’ve created our own mythology of what happened.” Grant is Chernow’s second successive book about an American general who became president, following the Pulitzer prize-winning Washington (2010). It is also his first volume since Chernow became a household name – a claim few scholarly biographers can make. Lin-Manuel Miranda’s little play helped sell more than a million copies of Alexander Hamilton, making Chernow the rare historian of 900-page, footnote-saturated tomes who can claim that “teenagers all over the country want to take selfies with me”. Now, he’s moved from the founding fathers on the $1 and $10 bills to the civil war victor on the $50, a man adored by Walt Whitman and Mark Twain. Yet, “I’m giving you every reason not to buy this book,” he admits, gesturing at the door stopper by his elbow. “It’s $40. It’s more than 1,000 pages.” It’s 1,074 pages, to be exact. But he’s grateful. “To my loyal readers, who have soldiered on through my lengthy sagas,” the dedication reads. “This is a story unlike any that I have written, maybe one more people can identify with,” says Chernow, who has also written biographies of John D Rockefeller (the masterful Titan), JP Morgan and the Warburg banking family. Those previous subjects, he says, “were built for success. They had a focus, a drive, an intelligence, and an ambition that when you begin the story, you know they’re going to succeed.” Like a second family … Ron Chernow with the cast of Hamilton, the show his book inspired Grant “goes through more failure and hardship and degradation I think than anyone else in American history who becomes president”. He notes, “I was so moved by the pathos of the story, of a bright, hard-working and fundamentally decent man who again and again is defeated by circumstance and seems destined to a life of complete obscurity.” Grant “becomes a hero despite himself”. Grant’s grand ambition was to be a maths professor – an assistant maths professor – at the US military academy, from which he graduated in the middle of his class. He was plagued by money woes until the end, fleeced by the Bernie Madoff of his day. Grant’s wife, Julia, the daughter of an unrepentant slave owner, had a pronounced taste for status. “The psychological portrait is at the centre of all these books,” says Chernow, a New York native with English degrees from Yale and Cambridge, who began his career as a freelance journalist. Most of his subjects had “an impossible parent”. Grant was doubly cursed, with an impossible father and father-in-law, both of whom lived well into old age. “This man who had been a clerk in a leather goods store in Galena, Illinois, a man who was almost 40 years old,” Chernow says, a man no one marked for success. “And four years later, he’s a general with a million soldiers under his command. Is there a more startling transformation in American history?” Grant is remembered as a heavy drinker, a president riddled by scandal, scoundrels and nepotism, all of which Chernow addresses. ‘I’m giving you every reason not to buy this book, It’s $40. It’s more than 1,000 pages’ “It was always Grant, the drunkard. I felt they got it wrong,” he says, describing the general as opposing two enemies during the war, the Confederacy and liquor. “He was Grant, the alcoholic.” As recently as 1996, a poll of historians ranked Grant as an abject failure, scraping the bottom of the presidential barrel along with Warren G Harding, Richard Nixon and James Buchanan. That assessment has begun to change. Grant was the two-term president of the Reconstruction, an era of extraordinary if fleeting gains for African Americans. It was also a time of relentless violence fomented by the Ku Klux Klan and other hate groups, which Chernow deems “the largest outbreak of domestic terrorism in American history, where thousands of people were killed”. The Department of Justice, established during Grant’s presidency, brought 3,000 indictments against Klan members and other agitators. For many American students, the war stops cold with Lee’s surrender at Appomattox and Lincoln’s assassination days later, on 15 April 1865. “We historians, in the wake of the controversy over Confederate monuments, we have to use this as a teachable moment,” Chernow says. “Reconstruction is the great black hole that remains to be filled. Even experts on the civil war don’t really understand its full significance.” Nine years ago, Miranda prophetically purchased Chernow’s Hamilton before going on vacation and envisioned – what else? – a hip-hop musical about the nation’s first treasury secretary. He enlisted the biographer as the show’s historical adviser. Chernow asked to experience the musical fully, to be as involved as he could be, to attend one performance seated in the orchestra pit and to sit in on the album recording. He estimates that he has seen the show “dozens of times”. the young cast becoming a second family. (The widowed Chernow has no children.) He spent his days with Grant, his nights with Hamilton. He’s listed in the show’s playbill and, though he demurs on the subject – “I don’t go there” – he has a reported 1%royalty of the show’s adjusted grosses, which amounted to an estimated $900,000 in 2016. This year, with three additional productions, his return is substantially larger. After the musical’s first week, Chernow called his longtime editor Ann Godoff and said, “Print up a lot of copies of Hamilton. Everyone’s coming up to the theatre and saying, ‘Mr Chernow, I loved the show. I was embarrassed to realise how little I knew about the history of the country.’” Godoff, Penguin Press president and editor in chief, says, “I remember thinking, ‘Ha ha ha.’ Then we went to the Public Theater, and there were a lot of people crying, and I was crying for my author. What this meant, watching his whole career and life, was knowing that I was experiencing this transformative experience.” “Grant,” Godoff says, is an entirely different biography. “You feel his vulnerability, as well as his successes. He feels a figure much more capable of our empathy.” Chernow hopes that with his book, people will reassess the hero of the civil war and his presidency. “There have been other good books on Grant, but in terms of dramatising and humanising this character, and making the character vividly come alive on the page, I feel that’s my comparative advantage,” Chernow says. He only has to point to Hamilton to prove his point. Washington Post Grant is published by Penguin 38 The Guardian Weekly 03.11.17 Culture Devotees of Dylan ﬁnd a shrine in an unlikely spot Oklahoma philanthropist funds acquisition of Tulsa trove of all things Bob, says Karen Heller R obert Zimmerman was born in northern Minnesota, made a name for himself – specifically, Bob Dylan – in Greenwich Village and lives on a Malibu spread when not on perpetual tour. Oklahoma barely figures in his life’s narrative or his work. But Tulsa, the state’s second-largest city, brimming with art deco buildings from its glory days as the nation’s oil capital, is now the polestar of Dylanalia, home to a massive trove of artefacts related to the artist, plus 84,000 items (and growing) in a digital archive of audio, video, film and photography. Curator Michael Chaiken pulls gems from the temperature-controlled archives at Tulsa’s art museum: a pristine leather jacket, packed in tissue like a grandmother’s wedding gown, that Dylan donned for his historic 1965 Newport Folk Festival appearance; the scarred, scratched and yellowed Turkish frame drum that sparked Mr Tambourine Man; spiral pocket notebooks crammed – in microscopic, tidy schoolboy scrawl – with the seismic lyrics to Blood on the Tracks. In an antiseptic reading room lined with long tables, Chaiken produces Dylan’s wallet from 1965, Otis Redding’s business card (Dylan wanted the soul singer to record Just Like a Woman; it didn’t happen), a piece of graph paper scribbled with Johnny Cash’s phone number (865-1550), a trio of harmonica holders (no Dylan costume is complete without one), a solitary acoustic guitar. The collection ction of 6,000 objects includes his written versions ions of many songs – 20 pages off lyrics for Dignity nity alone, versions of Visions of Johanna and Like a Rolling Stone (many lines excised, such as “all your frowns turned ed out to be just method actors all in drag”). rag”). On a set off computers with a secure server, it’s t’s possible to listen to take after studio udio take of Tangled Up in Blue. It is a feast east of Bob. And a very big deal, for fans and for Tulsa. Dylan, 76, the only musician to win the e Nobel prize in literature, cautioned utioned “don’t look back”, the he title of DA Pennebaker’ss 1965-filmed documentary y on the artist, yet his camp mp has assiduously guarded uarded his writings and recordings so that other people will soon be able to. “You don’t often get a Nobel prize winner with this sort of breadth of a career, which makes this archive something special, like Graceland in Memphis,” says Rice University historian Douglas Brinkley, who is friends with the musician and has visited the archives. Housed at the Helmerich Center for American Research at the Gilcrease Museum, the collection was officially made available to scholars and biographers last month. The bulk of the ma terial, much of it stored on those secure computer files, will remain at the museum. But many of the objects, plus audio and video highlights, will move to the planned Bob Dylan Center in a former paper warehouse. The search for an architect is under way, and the doors are expected to open to the public in 2019. It can’t be soon enough for the singer’s legions of fans and chroniclers, many of whom border on the obsessive. The need to understand and document Dylan is apparently incessant: a crusade. There are more than 1,000 books about the artist, says associate archivist Mitch Blank, a noted collector of Dylanology, though “very, very few reveal very much”. Author Clinton Heylin isn’t certain how many books he’s written on Dylan. “Let’s say a nice round dozen,” he says from his home in London. “The thing about Dylan is he keeps changing. I’ve revised one Dylan biography three times,” Heylin says, then pauses. “I think I’ll have to revise it again.” Dylanologists debate major events the way war buffs refer to battles: 17 May 1966, the “JuEngland; 29 July das” concert in Manchester, England 1966, Dylan’s Triumph motorcycle mo accident in Woodstock, N New York (a Friday, sunny). “Dylan’s furtive,” says Princeton P University historian Sean Wilen Wilentz, an adhim every viser to the archive. “Yet you hear h day. He’s miasmic. He’s everywhere.” ever The arrival of the m musician’s make this archive is bound to m city of 400,000 a primary Bob Land. destination in Bo make Tulsa Actually, it will m a musical mecca mecca. The city is already home hom to the Woody Guthrie Center, a museum and archive folk singer devoted to the fo (and also hou housing the archive of prote protest singer Phil Ochs). Fan faves … photos, lyric sheets and a custom-made stage outfit; far left, Bob Dylan Shane Bevel/Washington Post Tulsa isn’t finished. The heirs of Johnny Cash, a frequent Dylan collaborator, are reportedly in discussions about basing the country music singer’s archives in Oklahoma as well. All of which, says Brinkley, who is writing a book on Dylan’s 1970s recordings, “is going to make Tulsa the headquarters of Americana music”. The Dylan collection is improbably located in this city of verdant hills on the banks of the Arkansas river largely because of two men: Guthrie and Tulsa billionaire George Kaiser, who is only a nominal Dylan admirer. Guthrie was an Okie, albeit an ambivalent one, who fled nearby Okemah almost as soon as he could hop a freight train. Six years ago, the George Kaiser Family Foundation purchased the seminal folk singer’s archive for about $3m with the blessing of the singer’s daughter Nora. The handsome Woody Guthrie Center opened in 2013. When New York rare books and archives dealer Glenn Horowitz, who handled the Guthrie sale, was offered the Dylan collection, he emailed the Kaiser foundation’s executive director, Ken Levit, in the autumn of 2014. He thought that Dylan’s material might be right at home down the street from the Guthrie collection, Bob back again near Woody, rather than buried in a university library stuffed with other important archives. Dylan thought so, too. Though he rails against being worshipped himself, Dylan idolises Guthrie. “Tore everything in his path to pieces. For me it was an epiphany, like some heavy anchor had just plunged into the waters of the harbor,” Dylan wrote of Guthrie in his memoir, Chronicles: Volume One. When the roughly $20m purchase of his archive by the George Kaiser Family Foundation and the University of Tulsa was announced, Dylan issued a statement: “I’m glad that my archives, which have been collected all these years, have finally found a home and are to be included with the works of Woody Guthrie and especially alongside all the valuable artefacts from the Native American Nations. To me, it makes a lot of sense and it’s a great honor.” Kaiser is among the nation’s top philanthropists. Also, among the more candid, a man who openly speaks of “guilt” and “dumb luck” when it comes to his wealth. Forbes estimates his wealth at $7.7bn, derived from oil, gas and the Bank of Oklahoma. “My one indulgence is pocket squares,” he says. That’s not quite accurate. His other indulgence is Tulsa. Through his $3.4bn foundation, Kaiser has single-handedly done more than anyone else to revive this once-vibrant city. He donated $200m to help build a 40-hectare park along the banks ks of the Arkansas River to provide “a central gathering hering spot where we’re no longer as divided as most cities by geography, by race or by class”, he says. As an enthusiastic booster of his city, Kaiser aiser sees the benefit in spending millions on Dylan ylan if it helps Tulsa “become more energized, a draw raw for talented younger people, the next cool city”. y”. Dylanologists believe there’s no question ion that Tulsa could be all that – and more. Just as Europe urope is home to museums devoted to important tant visual artists, the United States may eventutually be a landscape of destinations devoted ed to great musical artists, who are among our ur most significant exports. “So many people will be going to Tulsa,” a,” says Brinkley. “Eventually, this will be one e of the most important 20th-century literary and musical archives anywhere.” Washington Post On Music The Guardian Weekly 03.11.17 39 Fats Domino played key role in rock’n’roll Alexis Petridis Y ou could argue for the rest of your life about what constitutes the first rock’n’roll record, but Fats Domino’s 1949 single The Fat Man has a stronger claim than most – a pounding, unchanging backbeat and an insistent bass pulse; Domino on piano, playing in a style noticeably more aggressively than that of his peers. It sold a million copies and transformed Domino, who has died aged 89, from the pianist in Billy Diamond’s Solid Senders, a local New Orleans band, into a star. Elvis Presley later proclaimed him “the real king of rock’n’roll”, but in truth, Domino was an exemplar of boogie-woogie. Nevertheless, The Fat Man’s stripped-back potency had something of the future about it. Transitioned into a rock’n’roller, he released a peerless run of singles, all deeply rooted in the jazz and R&B of New Orleans, but sufficiently in tune with new musical developments to make the US Hot 100. They included Ain’t That a Shame, I’m Walkin’ and Blueberry Hill, the latter a jazz standard previously recorded by Glenn Miller that became Domino’s signature song. His influence proved vast, not least on the Beatles. Ain’t That a Shame was the first song John Lennon learned to play, Paul McCartney’s Lady Madonna was created in Domino’s image, but ironically, by the time the Beatles appeared, Domino’s star had fallen. That didn’t stop huge stars noting his importance: a 2007 tribute album featured Elton John, Neil Young, Paul McCartney and Robert Plant. Yet it was the presence of Toots and the Maytals that highlighted Domino’s other great musical feat. His records were regulars on Jamaican sound systems in the 1950s, and his accentuation of the offbeat in his playing is one of the roots of ska, the music Jamaicans started to make when the supply of suitable US R&B records dried up. Listen to the rhythm of his 1959 single Be My Guest and hear what they were trying to imitate. 40 The Guardian Weekly 03.11.17 Culture London’s pitch-perfect future Oliver Wainwright meets the self-styled provocateurs planning the UK capital’s new concert hall “ W e’ve never stopped being rebellious,” says Liz Diller, founding partner of Diller Scofidio + Renfro, the New York firm of architects selected to design London’s new concert hall, the £250m ($330m) Centre for Music. “But now we are operating in a stealthier way. Rather than trying to kick the establishment walls down, we’re walking in through the front door.” To reach the hallowed entrance of London’s cultural establishment, they skipped past fellow competitors Norman Foster, Frank Gehry, Renzo Piano and a host of other ageing purveyors of big-budget arts buildings – an unadventurous shortlist, on which the Americans clearly stood out as the most interesting thinkers of the bunch. This will be their first project in the UK, and the stakes are high for the self-styled provocateurs. Most famous for their transformation of a redundant Manhattan railway line into the High Line park, which now attracts 8 million visitors a year, DS+R are almost accidental architects. They have recently completed a string of major arts buildings, from the faceted coral rock of the Broad museum in Los Angeles, to the silvery cyclopean slug of the Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive, but for the first two decades of their practice they barely built anything at all. “I never thought I was going to be an architect in the conventional sense,” says Diller, 63, who met her then tutor Ricardo Scofidio, now 82, while studying at the Cooper Union in New York in the 1970s. They were invited to make something for the project space at the Museum of Modern Art, and took the opportunity to critique the power of the institution, fitting out the room with surveillance cameras and screens to monitor visitors’ behaviour. Twenty-five years later, having been elevated from rebels to royalty in the interim, they unveiled a $450m masterplan to transform the very same museum, only to be met with furious opposition. Their expansion project was slammed by artists and museum-goers as representing the “death knell” of MoMA, seen as the e greedy institution selling out to commercial interests and trampling one of its neighbours, the beloved American Folk Art Museum, in the process. The venom seems to have subsided for now: the first phase of the renovation project opened this year to general approval, their surgical interventions seen en to be fixing some of the practical flaws aws of the rambling warren. DS+R’s shift from fringe radicals to powerful players in New York’s cultural scene hasn’t been an easy one. The High Line has also been subjected to a backlash, mainly due to its phenomenal success. ‘Cultural institutions have to do much more than house art or music. They have to play a social role’ While the project began as a bottom-up activist initiative, it has been identified as the culprit for the super-gentrification of the surrounding Meatpacking District, spawning a cluster of luxury towers along its fringes. It has become the template for mayors around the world looking to drive up land values in their cities with a little green garnish. “The High Line is pushing people out,” says Diller, frankly, speaking from her office nearby. “And it will soon drive us out of the area too.” She is rueful about the consequences, but says she wouldn’t have done anything differently. “There’s no way that anyone could have predicted how successful it was going to be. You don’t want to do unsuccessful projects, but Too successful? New York City’s High Line park has spawned a wave of ‘super-gentrification’ Alamy success breeds speculation and development. It’s a weird cycle.” As for their concert hall credentials, the architects have won plaudits for their decadelong work on the Lincoln Center. “We strongly felt that it had to be turned inside-out to make good of its public spaces, to on the ‘publicness’ ‘p attract new audiences,” says Diller, picattrac tured. “Today’s cultural institutions ture have to do much more than house hav art or music. They have to play a social and educational role in the comcia munity and engage everyone with or mu without a ticket to a performance.” with It is a theme they are exploring to extremes in their latest project, the Shed, extrem for the performing arts, dea $500m centre c signed with Rockwell Group and i d in i collaboration ll b currently under construction at the northern end of the High Line. Looking something like a transparent Chanel handbag on wheels, it will house a vast transformable performance space, with a piazza that can be covered by the extension of the movable outer shell, clad with an inflatable skin of quilted pneumatic cushions. “Both the Shed and London’s Centre for Music are 21st-century institutions that force the question, ‘What are artists going to be doing in the next 15 years, 30 years and beyond?’” says Diller. “The answer is simply, ‘We do not know.’ Our response for the Shed was to make an architecture of infrastructure with enough variable space, loading capacity and electrical power to support any use.” The main challenge will be to make sure it doesn’t feel like a corporate events hall, given that the space will be regularly rented out for fashion shows, product launches and other commercial bonanzas, to help subsidise the artistic programme. Some have scoffed that it is merely a cultural bauble to decorate Hudson Yards, the biggest private real estate development in US history, and it is unfortunate that the Shed will now be plugged into the base of a 70-storey tower of luxury apartments, also designed by DS+R. “It’s our deal with the devil,” says Diller. “It allows us to get an extra 10 storeys of back-of-house space. We never imagined in a million years that we would be doing a commercial tower. But we like to do everything once.” The architects land in London on equally rocky ground. Many have questioned the need for the project, which is to be shoehorned on to a tricky site currently occupied by the Museum of London. The entire argument for the building, which will be home to the London Symphony Orchestra under the leadership of Sir Simon Rattle, rests on the claim that the acoustics of the Barbican and Royal Festival Hall are not good enough, as Rattle has bewailed. To justify its existence, DS+R’s auditorium will have to sound pitch-perfect to even the most supersonic ears. When UK arts funding is so unbalanced – a 2014 report found that Arts Council spending amounted to £68.99 per head of population in London and £4.58 in the rest of England – critics have questioned if this is something the capital really needs. The government withdrew funding last year, so a private fundraising plan is under way, for which DS+R’s design will have to serve as the crucial bait. Whatever the outcome, with Diller at the helm it is likely to confound all expectations of what a concert hall might be. The Guardian Weekly 03.11.17 41 Culture Reviews Kicker here like this Then a short description here like this → Then Section and page XX Rock & pop The Breeders Film For Ahkeem T he story told in For Ahkeem, a stark documentary portrait of a troubled teenager struggling to redirect her life, unfolds in the months before and after the 2014 police killing of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri. Set in an insular and run-down pocket of nearby St Louis, the film watches its subjects as they watch news reports about the shooting, and the subsequent protests, with a combined sense of grief and resignation. That backdrop is just a blip in a series of bad news for the film’s subjects: 17-year-old Daje Shelton and her boyfriend, Antonio. As the film opens, Daje, pictured, is in trouble for fighting, and has to attend a school set up to keep minors out of jail. But while she’s excited about the prospect of going to college, Daje is keenly aware of the obstacles that lie in front of her and the systemic oppression that surrounds her. In a subtly heartbreaking moment, Daje walks home with friends, alternately singing and humming the theme from Dawson’s Creek – which includes the line “I don’t want to wait for our lives to be over”. Antonio – who first catches Daje’s eye while swaggering through the school’s metal detector – sees boundless potential in her, while predicting that his own life will be short. Exhibition Alina Szapocznikow J ulie Christie’s pink mouth blooms in a glowg stem. s e . These ese ing orb atop an elegant curving Illuminated Lips, a 1966 series of lamp sculptures by the Polish artist Alina Szapocolyester znikow, repeat in coloured polyester resin, varying from flesh tones es to ice white against black. There e are ed also lit-up nipples and rumpled amber-hued planes that resemble mble s, art nouveau glass light shades, petals and skin. When Szapocznikow was making strial these forays into pliable industrial materials in her adopted city Paris, her work was frequently dismissed ed as simply Last Resort Doc/Transient Pictures L With a couple of exceptions, film-makers Landon Van Soest and Jeremy S Levine shoot in a cinéma-vérité style, including several closeups that call attention to their proximity to the film’s subjects and voiceover narration by Daje – a technique more commonly seen in fiction than nonfiction – that acts as a kind of audio diary, lending the film a bleak, poetic beauty. Yet the events the film depicts with such intimacy, which include Daje’s pregnancy (the title For Ahkeem refers to Daje’s child) and Antonio’s arrest (while a passenger in a car that turns out to be stolen), occur with frustrating predictability, reinforcing destructive stereotypes. Could the film-makers, both savvy Emmy winners, not have posted Antonio’s $500 bond, or at least warned him against pleading guilty to a felony, which would – even without jail time – affect his employment prospects? In a powerful subsequent scene, Antonio is rejected from a training programme that would have helped him get a construction job, because he’s now a felon. The story that is told here, with such heartbreaking clarity, is an important one, but it is hard to watch. For Ahkeem comes uncomfortably close at times to crossing the line between shining a light on a problem and exploiting one. Christopher Kompanek Washington Post For Ahkeem is on limited release in selected North American cities sexy and narcissistic. After the artist’s death from breast cancer in 1973, the art historian Urszula Czartoryska wrote how, after seeing an early sculpture of her shapely leg, “we thought of the pe ec o o e anatomy, a ao perfection of the of flirtatiousness”. Szapocznikow was clear clearly setting her sights on sex and commodity, an update of the surrealist fetish object for the consumer age. Seen today to however, in the context of th the Hepworth Wakefield’s revelator revelatory survey of her longoverlooked, searching, experimenoverlooke tal output output, even the artist’s most pop creations creatio take on a darker tone. Rewind to tthe mid-1950s and things look comple completely different. Emerging from the sanctioned sanct style of Soviet socialist realism, sshe started making huge ittle has changed in the Electric Ballroom, this grungey north London venue, since the 90s. Even before they play the quiet but skewering No Aloha, you can just about see from the acute angle of the three guitar necks that this is the Breeders, a leading outfit of the altrock era, in attack formation. Women are strung across the stage. The two Deal twins stand centre and left, with British bassist Josephine Wiggs in a beanie on the right; at the back is drummer Jim Macpherson. It is difficult to understate the importance of singing guitar hero Kim Deal, pictured – bassist in the Pixies, analogue noise nerd and independent rock auteur. Tonight she is in charming form, eye-rolling about sobriety and ticking the sound man off about the quality of the reverb. This gig is a crash course in how Deal’s oddball fusions of surf guitar, Ramones-y bubblegum, vocal distortion (“awhoo-ooh!”) and heavy, avant-garde structures can sound fresh and deep this far along from source. Even better, her new songs are in the same class. Before coming on stage, Kelley Deal (the older identical twin by 11 minutes) receives a Gibson Les Paul guitar award from Q magazine – she holds it up with amused pride. Kelley could not play when she was drafted in as the Breeders’ guitarist, so the recognition is resonant. For a while, the point of this show seems to be to throw out the most 90s sounds possible. This lineup made Last Splash, the Breeders’ hit 1993 album. The four put aside caring responsibilities (Kim looks after their mother, who has Alzheimer’s disease), carpentry (Macpherson), their own work (Wiggs) and some measure of calm to tour that album for its 20th anniversary, four years ago. The encore features Gigantic, which Kurt Cobain famously held to be the best Pixies song bar none. Kim Deal is known, superficially, for having the e gru grunge era’s best pop ear. Butt he her strange songs defy physics, sics, cs holding together with no obvious screws or glues. You can only assume more wizardry is in the works. Kitty Empire Observer The Breeders tour the US until 13 November semi-abstract bronzes. Like other postwar artists, she has an acute awareness of the vulnerability of bodies, depicting them in fragments, half-formed and beset by change. As a teenager, she survived the Ghetto, Auschwitz and Bergen-Belsen, as well as TB. While she never spoke of these experiences, it’s hard, once you know the history, not to see them in her art. Even the sassy lamps start to conjure Nazi horror stories, like the ashtrays made from Jewish skin. Recalling the broken statuary of fallen civilisations, Tumours Personified (1971) is the artist’s attempt to own the illness. Such works become urgent reminders of the closeness of death and what we leave behind. Skye Sherwin Human Landscapes is at the Hepworth, Wakefield, UK, until 28 January 42 The Guardian Weekly 03.11.17 Diversions Notes & Queries Nature watch Cressbrook Dale For a few days, no problem. All the time? Absolutely not America, the answer clearly is: NO! Philip Stigger, Burnaby, British Columbia, Canada Wouldn’t we rather be children again, living with our parents? Parental homes, like many other places, may be good to visit, but you certainly wouldn’t want to live there. Lawrie Bradly, Surrey Hills, Victoria, Australia • Nearly always, if those others belong to the same club. Rhys Winterburn, Perth, Western Australia • In a word – no. Noel Bird, Boreen Point, Queensland, Australia • If we live long enough, we will be merry children again. RM Fransson, Wheat Ridge, Colorado, US • No way! They wouldn’t let me have a mobile phone or iPad. Marilyn Hamilton, Perth, Western Australia • No. Our parents are of an age where they’d rather like to live with us. Pat Phillips, Adelaide, South Australia • And you really thought that your parents sold up house and embarked on a 20-year circumnavigation of the globe simply for pleasure? David Tucker, Halle, Germany • Sure, but would “we” still be “we”? John Geffroy, Las Vegas, New Mexico, US • No. They wouldn’t be able to afford it. Richard Orlando, Westmount, Quebec, Canada • Depends on which version of my parents. On last viewing, I’ll give it a miss, thanks! John Benseman, Auckland, New Zealand • No. As it is one’s upbringing that ultimately determines how one behave towards others. R De Braganza, Kilifi, Kenya Second childhood … back at home • No, but occasionally I’d like to be a parent living with my children again, as I miss them lots now that they have flown the nest! Margaret Wilkes, Perth, Western Australia • Not if our parents were children who were living with our grandparents. David Isaacs, Sydney, Australia • Exchange choice, sex and knowledge for security, playdates and fairytales? No thanks! Charlie Pearson, Portland, Oregon, US If you are all in the same club Do people who believe in an afterlife behave better towards others? Only the true adherents to a faith. Charlie Bamforth, Davis, California, US • On the evidence stemming from both the Middle East and North Treasure is all around us Do childhood thrills like riding escalators wear off ? If you have lost the thrill I urge you to find it again. I get a shiver of excitement when I see the blue flash of a kingfisher, when I climb a tree, when I breathe deeply from a garden flower. There’s treasure everywhere. Leo du Feu, Burntisland, UK More Notes & Queries See additional answers online bit.ly/notesandqueries Any answers? What most useful skill could be acquired and serve well when carried into old age? William Emigh, Victoria, British Columbia, Canada When does opinion qualify as news? R De Braganza, Kilifi, Kenya Send answers to weekly.nandq@ theguardian.com or Guardian Weekly, Kings Place, 90 York Way, London N1 9GU, UK Good to meet you Lavinia Moore For several decades, the Guardian Weekly has been the only newspaper I depend on for quality news reporting, book reviews and assorted delights such as Nature watch. However, it is the international news that I have relied on when Australian newspapers have failed to provide me with detail that I seek. In 2001 I went to Woomera with a group of human rights activists. A desert gulag had been established where asylum seekers were placed as far as possible out of sight of ordinary Australians. I started a group of activists at work to lobby for the rights of these people. That same year the courageous captain of the Tampa stood against the government of Australia. And then there was 9/11, and the invasion of Iraq. I remember a colleague at this time who could not cope with all of the horror and decided to avoid I find it strange to read in Oliver Rackham’s wonderful Trees and Woodland in the British Landscape that sycamores were probably introduced to the UK in the 16th century, but only went native in the 18th. It seems odd, because it is hard to imagine this restless beast of a tree settling for domestic imprisonment for 200 years. My experience is that its whirling helicopter-like “keys”, aided only by the slightest breeze, can unpick any attempt to block their escape into the wild. In our Norfolk village I am also astonished how quickly those seeds put down roots and I’ve even taken to using mole grips to wrestle with the saplings’ iron-like purchase on our garden soil. Yet as you travel around the Peak District national park, especially in a triangle defined by Buxton, Ashford and Hartington, Acer pseudoplatanus has a more benign presence. Look across those folded plains of limestone-walled all media mentions of what was happening. I made a decision to do just the opposite: to read and listen to as much as I could possibly find. It was then that I began the habit of getting the Weekly. And I have continued to do so ever since. I am now retired, but as an elder I reserve the right to speak out, especially regarding equality and human rights. I think that I owe this trait to my lovely mother – a Lancashire lass – who always advised me to help others whenever I was able. If you would like to appear in this space, send a brief note to email@example.com pasture and it’s often the only tree species visible. On a recent walk during an October downpour I also discovered another act of kindness by this often despised “foreigner”. The broad palms of the sycamore’s hand-like leaves make the canopy a natural umbrella. At this season they may not produce the same intense colour of late beech or horse chestnut, but sycamores certainly add to the sense of slow-smoking afterglow that is such a glorious part of Derbyshire woods in autumn rain. They also make other major contributions to the atmosphere in and around the Wye Valley. In Chee Dale, for instance, sycamores are often entirely smothered to their twig ends in an overcoat of almost fluorescent moss, so that they generate an aura of ongoing life even in midwinter. Here in Cressbrook Dale they were thickly clothed in moss and ivy and then wreathed with epiphytic polypody ferns. For now no “rook-delighting heaven” could find any route into this sub-canopy scene and that enclosed world of infinite greens had the monochrome mood and character of temperate rainforest. Mark Cocker Read more Nature watch online bit.ly/naturewatch The Guardian Weekly 03.11.17 43 Quick crossword 1 Cryptic crossword by Boatman 2 3 4 Across 5 6 7 8 10 9 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 Across 1 7 8 10 11 13 15 17 18 21 22 23 Completely dark (5-5) Coarse jute fabric (7) Lacking originality (5) Irish county (4) Charon’s occupation on the River Styx (8) Of limited size (6) Edible shellfish (6) Lawbreaker (8) Middle Eastern country (4) Imbibe (5) 1960s’ Liverpool rock group (7) Sin (10) Down 1 Self-assertive (5) 2 Work hard — hard work (4) 3 One chasing — type of watch (6) 4 Poisonous flowering shrub — run album (anag) (8) 5 Where films are shown (7) 6 Hangdog (10) 9 Desolation (10) 12 14 16 19 Laid low (8) Louder (7) Compulsive talker (6) Turns over — luxury car (abbr) (5) 20 Manufacture — brand (4) D I G I C U O O M A R I N P G F S H E L L A A K G D E S I R U E A R E C I T E U I S C R O O S E N A M P A E M U L A T E R T C K I T C H E E O E L L A T O N C H O A B L E S A S I G H A L W H L O O K O U G E R U T I D D L E M E A N I E T U T O R Last week’s solution, No 14,787 First published in the Guardian 4 October 2017, No 14,792 Down 1 Bug home to cover religious order (6) 2 Have no effect on unions rising in case of emergency (3,2,3) 3 Slow boat unloaded in river (6) 4 Clears leader of Unionville, NC to cut trees all over the south (7) 5 Make a priest or old monk take one in (6) Futoshiki Easy Fill in the grid so that every row and column contains the numbers 1-5. The “greater than” or “less than” signs indicate where a number is larger or smaller than its neighbour. 2 < 3 < ∧ 2 < 3 < 4 1 ∨ 5 2 3 < 4 > ∧ 3 < 4 1 5 ∧ 4 1 5 2 < ©Clarity Media Ltd 1 5 Last week’s solution 4 ∧ 5 2 3 4 5 7 8 9 10 6 11 12 13 16 17 18 14 19 15 20 21 22 23 24 25 27 28 29 30 6 Father John, perhaps an alternative minister (6) 11 Cleric rejecting company of cleric (4) 14 Regularly in retreat? It’s common now (3) 15 Take action against head of abbey as prior goes missing (3) 16 Mature household, female only? (3) 17 Nude photo taken (3) 18 Cunning head of abbey concealed butcher (4) 20 Minister starting heretical actions in cloisters (8) 21 Play sports here, on the right parson’s place (7) 23 Reprobate changing second name to George (Boy George?) (6) First published in the Guardian 10 October 2017, No 27,324 26 24 Call signs cause damage within Daesh (6) 25 Wash up under care of one of same 14 or 16 (6) 26 See 10 V I N C L A G Y E T R G A C H E T M A T V E C O M T E M M O C U E P I L L G L A R A T E P L S H O U S S E A U N M R B O A C R L P O D O N I S M C C M R K A N T O N E I N R D I C T A I L L I O N N E C P O P P E R L R A A T O O N S Y S I R E L A X R O N Y M I C N A E X H U M E E E B Y G R I N E E S D U L A T E Last week’s solution, No 27,318 Sudoku classic Hard < > 2 < 3 1 ∨ > > 1 2 ∧ 3 1 7 Money received in report by corrupt priest? (9) 8 Religious instruction accepted by distant monk (5) 9 Boatman saved from abuse in holy order, shockingly (9) 10,26 Minister, right sort at heart, one who accepts the whip? (5,6) 12 Corrupt priest often seen with Candy (6) 13 They follow the harvest, less abundant in source of comic operas (8) 16 One doubts God is involved in robbery (7) 19 Revive cannibal’s victim, as Spooner might ’ave said (7) 22 Revealed by priest: I’m a tease of dubious value (8) 25 Reject primate — that’s just for starters (6) 27,29 Broken-hearted nun at bottom (10) 28 Free to neutralise leader fleeing in disgrace (2,7) 29 See 27 30 Neighbour to plough for us around mid-afternoon or after morning in (4,5) < 4 < 8 ∧ ∨ ∨ 4 5 9 Free puzzles at theguardian.com/sudoku 7 3 > < 8 6 1 4 2 9 Fill in the grid so that every row, every column and every 3x3 box contains the numbers 1 to 9. We will publish the solution next week. 3 1 6 7 1 7 4 8 2 7 8 5 9 1 1 8 9 6 4 3 2 5 7 4 5 3 9 2 7 8 1 6 7 2 6 5 8 1 4 9 3 5 4 2 8 9 6 3 7 1 3 7 8 2 1 5 6 4 9 6 9 1 7 3 4 5 8 2 Last week’s solution 8 1 5 3 6 9 7 2 4 9 3 7 4 5 2 1 6 8 2 6 4 1 7 8 9 3 5 44 The Guardian Weekly 03.11.17 Diversions Shortcuts Montreal man ﬁned for belting out a song France’s ﬁrst dog says wee-wee in meeting Taoufik Moalla was in his car, belting out his favourite song – a 1990s dance hit – when he suddenly found himself surrounded by four Montreal police officers. The issue, it seemed, wasn’t his driving. Instead it was his passionate rendition of C+C Music Factory’s smash hit Gonna Make You Sweat (Everybody Dance Now). “They asked me if I was screaming. I said, ‘No, I was singing,’” the 38-year-old told the Montreal Gazette. “I was singing the refrain ‘Everybody Dance Now’, but it wasn’t loud enough to disturb anyone.” The police demanded his licence and registration and – after checking the inside of his car – handed him a C$149 ($117) ticket for “screaming in a public place”. The infraction, based on a Montreal bylaw aimed at protecting peace and tranquillity, made little sense to Moalla. He had left his home just minutes earlier and his windows had been mostly rolled up along the way, he said. “I don’t know if my voice was very bad and that’s why I got the ticket, but I was very shocked,” he told CTV News. “I understand if they are doing their job, they are allowed to check if everything’s OK, if I kidnapped someone or if there’s danger inside, but I would never expect they would give me a ticket for that.” While he was left reeling from the incident, he said his wife had not been as surprised. “She told me, ‘If it was for singing, I’d have given you a ticket for $300.’” Ashifa Kassam Like other French presidents before him, Emmanuel Macron knows the value of a photogenic dog at the Élysée Palace. His black labrador-griffon cross, Nemo, is the first French presidential pet to come from a rescue centre, and since his arrival this summer he has been photographed in the gardens and even standing to attention on the palace steps to welcome come Niger’s president, Mahamadou Issoufou. But two-year-old ear-old Nemo brought a whole hole new meaning to the term rm presidential leaks when he cocked his leg for a long g and abundant wee against an ornamental fireplace in Macron’s gilded office during a filmed meeting ing between the president esident and junior ministers. In the footage tage for the channel nel TF1, three junior ministers are in Macron’s acron’s ornate office when Nemo relieves es himself behind them. m. Macron and the ministers sters look on helpless less until the dog g finishes. “I wondered ndered what that noise ise was,” says the he junior minister for ecology, Brune Poirson, on, who had been talking king when the dog g began relieving itself. elf. “Does thatt happen often?” asks Julien Denormandie, mandie, a junior minister and longterm Macron aide. Macron laughs, stays in his seat and continues with the meeting. “You have sparked a totally unusual behaviour in my dog,” he says. The film does not show who clears up the mess. Angelique Chrisafis DM’s Lite appealed to “customers who wore Dr Martens when they were a kid or teenager, but they are also appealing a lot to younger consumers who’ve been brought up on lighter trainers or shoes”. Dr Martens is expanding particularly in Japan and South Korea. He added: “Japan is going very well for us. Tokyo can be seen as a global fashion hub.” Julia Kollewe British boot puts stamp on east Asian market Bear has surgery to remove huge tongue Demand for Dr Ma Martens boots is booming, b ooming, helped by a craze in Asia and new, lighter v versions of the traditional yellow-stitched yello boots. The compan company, which is owned by private equ equity firm Permira, opened 18 stores stor last year, including two in JJapan. It plans to open a furthe further 20 to 25 shops this year in Jap Japan, continental Europe, the UK and the US. Dr Martens said revenue rose by a quarter to £291m ($382m) in the year to 31 March. The firm sells abo about 6m pairs of shoes a year, most of which are manufac manufactured outside of the UK, although alth 60,000 are still made a at its factory in Northampt Northamptonshire. Last year the company also so sold 200,000 pairs of its new DM’s Lite, range modelled on a ran light lighter “athleisure” soles but that resemble the tra traditional Doc welted black or oxblood yellow stitchboots with w ing. The The firm has also introduc introduced new colours, and patterns. designs a Jon Mortimore, Mo the nancial officer, said chief fina A bear in Myanmar had emergency surgery to remove its tongue after it became so heavy that it lolled out of his mouth and dragged along the floor. Vets believe that the bizarre swelling, which weighed 3kg, was without precedent. “I’ve worked with bears for more than 10 years and I’ve never seen anything like it,” said Heather Bacon from the University of Edinburgh’s royal school of veterinary studies. “It’s pretty astonishing.” Nyan htoo, an Asiatic black bear – more commonly known as a moon bear because of a golden crescent on the chest – was rescued by monks after he had been taken away from his mother by traffickers to send to China, where there is huge demand for bile from bears’ gall bladders to use in traditional medicine. The monks contacted a local vet who had studied in Sheffield who, in turn, alerted Bacon. Along with several other specialist vets, she travelled to a monastery rescue centre in rural Myanmar, about four hours from Yangon, where they performed the surgery. Mattha Busby Wordplay Same Difference Wordpool Identify the two words, the spelling of which differs only in the letters shown … ****** (fit to consume?) INCR****** (fantastic!) Maslanka puzzles 1 When I heard raging within Pedanticus’s bolthole and the smashing of a DAB radio, I wondered: was he put out by radio minions saying Northern Ireland as Northern Island? Or ger-lobal for global? Or gamboling for gambling? I stuck a curious ear through the letterbox (he has no dog) and heard him crying “Sixth! Sixth! Sixth!” What the devil had got into him? 2 Andy has noticed that any twodigit multiple of 11 has digits that sum to an even number. “This pattern continues into the threedigit numbers, too,” he told Candy. “Look: 132 — digit sum = 6; or 165 — digit sum = 12.” But Candy wasn’t sure. Which of them is right? 3 Garabaggio’s latest is a semicircle housing a square and at the top in the middle there fits a circle. Find the radius, r, of the small circle in terms of the radius, R, of the semicircle. 4 Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are presented with an urn, into which have been placed (unobserved) two balls identical except as to colour, each with a probability of being white or black. Rosencrantz withdraws a ball. It is white. He replaces it and jiggles the urn. Again he withdraws a white. He repeats this n times. To get a drink he needs a black ball. How do his chances of a drink diminish with each white ball withdrawn? Twitter: @ChrisMaslanka Find the correct definition: BARDO a) French film star(let) b) lock-in c) troubadour d) interliminal state E pluribus unum Rearrange the letters of INDICATORY to make another word. Dropouts Fill in the asterisks to make a word: *T*O*P*E*E Missing Links Find a word to follows the first word in the clue and precede the second, in each case making a fresh word or phrase. Eg the answer to fish mix could be cake (fishcake & cake mix) ... a) bad sauce b) Westminster gum c) driven flake d) old people’s planet e) poison board f) as pants ©CMM2017. For solutions see page 47 46 The Guardian Weekly 03.11.17 Sport Hamilton takes his toughest title Season pushed him to perform at his best, and end was nerve-racking Formula One Giles Richards Mexico City High drama, incident, excitement and a nail-biting finale – it is unlikely Lewis Hamilton would have imagined that securing his fourth Formula One championship would prove such an extraordinary business. But at the end of it all, with a ninth-place finish at the Mexican Grand Prix, he did indeed emerge as champion. There was joy from the 32-year-old at his remarkable achievement in becoming Britain’s most successful racing driver and not a little relief after a race that had the driver, his team and fans on the edge of their seats. “It was a horrible way to do it,” he said after a run of five wins from the last six races meant he clinched the title with his lowest finish of the season. He ended down the field after a clash with his championship rival, Sebastian Vettel, at the start put the British driver into last place. The race was won by Max Verstappen, his second victory of the season in the Red Bull, but Vettel’s recovery from 19th to fourth was insufficient to continue his challenge. Vettel’s fightback was determined but Hamilton had a 66-point advantage going into the race and it proved enough for him to take his place in the history books. After a season that has pushed him to perform at his very best, the end was nerve-racking but the championship deserved. Hamilton had wanted to seal it with a win in style at the Autódromo Her- manos Rodríguez but that was almost out of his hands after the opening-lap incident. Hamilton took a puncture and the subsequent pit stop put him a full minute off the lead; damage to the diffuser meant he had lost performance, making any fightback even harder, while Vettel was also forced to visit the pits for a new nose. “Did he hit me deliberately?” asked Hamilton, but the stewards took no further action after what did appear to be a racing incident. Although both drivers came back through the pack, the German had too much to do. This fourth title, after winning for McLaren in 2008 and for Mercedes in 2014 and 2015, is one more than Sir Jackie Stewart achieved in 1973. It is one more than Hamilton’s hero Ayrton Senna and puts him level with Alain Prost and Vettel. Only two drivers have more – Juan Manuel Fangio on five and Michael Schumacher with seven. It is a remarkable achievement given how hard he has been pushed by Vettel. The German knew his only chance of staying in the fight here was to win or finish second because the championship had already swung decisively in Hamilton’s favour over the course of three races in the second half of the season. Ferrari proved to have an extremely competitive car this season – it was arguably better than the Mercedes. It made the fight between the pair very tight as punch and counter-punch across meetings left little to choose between them. Reaching the point of being able to take the title in Mexico had been far from plain sailing. Hamilton had difficulty with the car in Russia, Monaco and Hungary and took a grid penalty in Austria. Vettel’s barge on him in Baku was a flashpoint but it was a loose headrest that ultimately cost him the win in Azerbaijan. Crucially, however, he made the most of these difficult weekends to stay in touch with the German. When he had the pace he exploited it, with wins in China, Spain and Canada and a dominant display Where Hamilton ranks Most world titles 7 Michael Schumacher 5 Juan Manuel Fangio 4 Lewis Hamilton 4 Alain Prost 4 Sebastian Vettel 3 Jack Brabham 3 Jackie Stewart 3 Niki Lauda 3 Nelson Piquet 3 Ayrton Senna Germany Argentina Great Britain France Germany Australia Great Britain Austria Brazil Brazil at Silverstone. But by the summer break after Hungary he was still 14 points behind Vettel. What followed was a virtuoso performance that was concluded in Mexico. Wins at Spa and Monza were sealed and the fight looked to be going to the wire, but Vettel’s hopes disappeared with two DNFs at Singapore and Japan and only fourth in Malaysia. After his win at last month’s US GP, Hamilton was 66 points ahead. This race seemed almost certain to be host to the denouement of the season but was not expected to be quite as dramatic as it proved. After a strong start, with the front runners Vettel, Hamilton and Verstappen heading into turn one together, Vettel and Verstappen touched through turn two with the Dutch driver taking the lead and Hamilton having to go round the outside of them both into turn three. Root ready to prove critics wrong as England arrive for Ashes Inside sport Allan Innes J oe Root, the first-time Ashes captain, led the team off the plane in Australia. “We are very confident we can win,” the Yorkshireman told the local press, stressing: “We are a completely different side from the one that was here last time.” In 2013-14, of course, England lost 5-0. “We have a good strong squad with experienced players who have been here and won before, and some very young, exciting players,” said Root, who would not be drawn on whether his side are underdogs, as many pundits believe they are. The main line of questioning, inevitably, was the absence of Ben Stokes. Reports last month appeared to make an appearance from Stokes more likely but Root said that would not change England’s preparation: they are planning for a series without their talismanic all-rounder. An internal England and Wales Cricket Board investigation will naturally follow the criminal investigation, he said. “We don’t know what’s going on with that and we have to let the police get on with it,” Root said. “Hopefully it can be good news for Ben … In terms of the reality of it all, we have to wait and see, we have to plan as if he’s not going to be here. “Ben’s been a massive part of this team for a long time now … We have a strong squad and have plenty of other all-rounders, and guys who can come in who are keen to prove a point and step up. The great thing about playing here in Australia is that you have an opportunity to earn a huge amount of respect from around the world if you perform well here.” The form of Australia’s pace spearhead Mitchell Starc at the Adelaide Oval, the venue of the day/night second Test, will not have pleased Root. The Guardian Weekly 03.11.17 47 Sport in brief • England’s next generation of footballers came from two goals down to trounce Spain 5-2 and win the country’s first under-17 World Cup final in Kolkata, India. Spain raced into a two-goal lead before England halved the deficit by half-time before a crowd of more than 66,000. In a storming second half, England then scored four more goals to add the under-17 title to the world under-20 won this year in South Korea. It was England’s first appearance in the under-17 final, and Spain’s fourth. England striker Rhian Brewster finished as the tournament’s leading goalscorer with eight, while Phil Foden, on Manchester City’s books, was named player of the tournament having scored twice in the final. He had passed Vettel in doing so but the pair just clipped each other; Hamilton was blameless but took a puncture to his right rear and Vettel damage to the front wing. Both had to come into the pits at the end of the lap. In the end Hamilton’s points advantage had been enough. He already had the numbers that made the difference, including 12 podiums, 11 poles, seven fastest laps and nine wins this season to Vettel’s four. The title was the objective and, while Hamilton may not like to look back on how it was closed out, it will in no way diminish the pleasure that he takes from winning one of the most demanding championships of his career. In the pink-ball round of Sheffield Shield matches, he took career-best first-class figures of eight for 73 to dismantle South Australia and carry New South Wales to a six-wicket victory. Steve Smith, however, scored only 12 runs across two innings for NSW. There were also warning signs for the tourists at the Waca (where they play the third Test). Western Australia’s fast bowlers got Tasmania out for 63, their lowest-ever Shield total, on a lightning-fast wicket. Young guns … England celebrate gust. The British boxer earned a 20th straight win, likely to set him up for a unification fight in 2018 with Joseph Parker or Deontay Wilder. Takam had been a replacement for the injured mandatory challenger, Kubrat Pulev. • Caroline Wozniacki claimed her biggest tennis title after staving off a Venus Williams fightback to win the WTA Finals title 6-4, 6-4 in Singapore. The former world No 1 entered the contest having lost against Williams seven times in Chess Leonard Barden Autumn for competitive chess players marks the start of a new season. Britain’s club amateurs are enrolling in teams, brushing up their opening repertoire and looking to achieve a higher grade or rating. National leagues are also getting under way. England’s 4NCL stages its opening weekend on 11-12 November. Some important national leagues, like those of France and Russia, play the entire season’s matches over a single week. The most important league that uses the 4NCL model is Germany’s Bundesliga, which kicked off its season last month. White’s 6 Nb3!? below is a pragmatic psychological approach. The Sicilian Najdorf 5...a6 intends e7-e5 attacking the d4 knight, so moving this piece away first can provoke mental confusion. The simplest answer is still e7-e5. Here Black prefers e7-e6,and the game follows a well-known pattern with castling on opposite sides. Visually Black seems under pressure, but the computer is unimpressed with White’s attack until 21...Ne7? when 21...exd5 22 Bxd5 is level. Two moves later, Black can still hold his • It was a case of different day, same result as England’s 22-year hoodoo against Australia continued with an 18-4 defeat in the opening match of the 2017 Rugby League World Cup in Melbourne. But England took the game to Australia for long periods and Josh Dugan’s late interception try put a favourable gloss on the score for the hosts. The two sides are tipped to meet again in the tournament final on 2 December. •Europe’s golfers got an early boost for next year’s Ryder Cup after Paul Casey made himself eligible for selection again. Casey, based in Arizona, sat out the USA’s comprehensive win at Hazeltine in 2016, having refused to rejoin the European Tour because of family commitments. But now Casey, the world No 15 and sixth-highest ranked European, will look to make himself an automatic selection for Thomas Bjorn’s team for Le Golf National in France. Maslanka solutions 3518 Mateusz Bartel v Robert Kempinski, Bundesliga 2017. White to move and win. own by 23...dxe5 24 Qxg6+ Kf8, but castling followed by 24...dxe5? set up White’s smart win in the puzzle diagram. Mateusz Bartel v Robert Kempinski, Bundesliga 2017 1 e4 c5 2 Nf3 d6 3 d4 cxd4 4 Nxd4 Nf6 5 Nc3 a6 6 Nb3!? Nc6 7 Be3 e6 8 g4 h6 9 Bg2?! Ne5 10 h3 Nc4 11 Qe2 Qc7 12 O-O-O Bd7 13 f4 Rc8 14 Rd3 b5 15 a3 a5 16 Nd4 Qb8 17 b3 Nxa3 18 g5 b4 19 Nd5 Ng8 20 g6 fxg6 21 e5 Ne7? 22 Nxe7 Bxe7 23 Qg4 O-O? 24 Qxg6 dxe5? (see diagram) 3518 5 Be4! Bf6 26 Nc6! 1-0 If Bxc6 27 Qh7+ Kf7 28 Bg6+ Ke7 29 Bc5+ wins the queen. Speed king … Lewis Hamilton celebrates his title win in Mexico City Clive Mason/Getty • Anthony Joshua was taken to the 10th round before stopping the durable Carlos Takam and retaining his World Boxing Association and International Boxing Federation heavyweight titles in front of an estimated 75,000 fans in Cardiff last Saturday. The referee stopped the fight after Joshua caught Takam with a hook-uppercut combination and was moving in to land more blows. The Frenchman shook his head in dis- seven matches, but served and retrieved brilliantly. Wozniacki raced to a one-set and 5-0 lead but Williams reeled off four games in a row before the Dane could finally lift the title in her fifth appearance. 1 Increasingly the word sixth is being pronounced “sickth” by folk who are either lazy, too modern or insufficiently skilled in their consonantal clusters. That presumably also accounts for gerlobal. Two stabilising factors in pronunciation are teachers (or parents) correcting ugly and sloppy speech – and dictionaries, both of which have gone largely by the board. In the old days there were a few authorities who laid down the law on good usage; dictionaries were prescriptive. But nowadays experts and authorities are out of fashion and, besides, they disagree, so how are we to choose among them? At what point this baby pronunciation will be endorsed by the dictionary-mongers in some dark basement I don’t know, for that moderating feedback loop has been removed in favour of describing (as if, for what you choose to include and exclude are also forms of prescription). But then we also hear “reguly” (for regularly) and “Febry” for February. 2 If it’s false, there must be a first multiple of 11 for which this fails. I leave you to find it. (It’s digit sum is 11). But the number that follows it has an even digit sum. So how exceptional is it? Do most multiples of 11 have odd digit sums? 3 If the side of the square is a, we have R2 = a2 + a2/4 = 5a2/4; that is: a = 2R/√5. Meanwhile a + 2r R = R; so that r = ½(R – a a+2r a) = R(1/2 – 1/√5). 4 The chances of a a/2 R black ball after an uninterrupted run of 1, 2, 3, 4 … white balls is: 1/4, 1/6, 1/10, 1/18 … In terms of n this is: [1/(2 + 2n)]. Wordpool d). EPU DICTIONARY. Dropouts ATMOSPHERE. Same Difference EDIBLE, INCREDIBLE. Missing Links a) bad/ apple/sauce b) Westminster/bubble/gum c) driven/snow/flake d) old people’s/home/ planet e) poison/dart/board f) as/under/pants Copyright © 2017 GNM Ltd. Published weekly by GNM Ltd, Kings Place, 90 York Way, London N1 9GU, UK and printed in the US by Evergreen Printing Co. Acting editor: Graham Snowdon. ISSN: 0958-9996. US/Canada office: The Guardian, PO Box 868, Chesterfield, MO 63006-9943, USA Annual subscription rates (in local currencies): UK £120; Europe €196; Rest of World £152; US $240; Canada $240; Australia $312; NZ $392 Quarterly subscription rates: UK £30; Europe €49; Rest of World £38; US $60; Canada $60; Australia $78; NZ $98 To subscribe visit gu.com/subscribe/weekly Reptilian rejuvenation Could Komodo dragons hold a key to the next miracle drug? Discovery, pages 32-33 Rhiannon Lucy Cosslett No one needs libraries? What rubbish. These sanctuaries enrich our lives in so many ways. Without their magical world, I would never have become a writer W hat does the library mean to you? It’s a question I have been mulling over lately, since I bought a secondhand book online and found guiltily that it was, in actual fact, a library book. I assumed that someone had stolen it, or taken it out and then died. Then it struck me that perhaps the library had closed, so I’ve been trying to find out. Meanwhile, the UK journalist and former Conservative party aide Andre Walker wrote on Twitter. “Nobody goes to libraries anymore. Close the public ones and put the books in schools.” What a privileged position to take, I thought, this assumption that these vital public spaces are not needed. Spoken like someone who has always been able to afford books and magazines (or else, I suspect, doesn’t read), who can pay for an internet connection, who doesn’t need help filling in government forms. Spoken like someone who doesn’t require shelter from the storm, isn’t lonely or trying to escape a chaotic home life, isn’t a new parent wondering what to do with a small, helpless being for a few hours, because it’s raining and you’re knackered. Spoken like someone who, because of money, selfishness, or political ideals, doesn’t need or want to feel part of a community that, for others, gives life depth, and variety, and meaning. Now, I don’t usually make a habit of writing columns about something controversial that someone has said on Twitter; life is far too short. But this time, more than 100,000 people have replied to Walker’s tweet, rendering it somewhat newsworthy. I’m also addressing it because of the context in which it appears: because of cuts to local authorities, libraries in Britain are closing at a rate that – despite the passionate commitment of librarians and activists – has begun to feel heartbreakingly inevitable. As I write, £10m ($13m) worth of cuts mean that 21 libraries in Northamptonshire are at risk. Alan Moore, the writer of the graphic novels Watchmen and V for Vendetta, grew up in a working-class family in Northampton. Without library access, he told the Northampton Chronicle & Echo, he would not have become a writer. The same is true of me. Throughout my childhood, I withdrew eight books (the maximum allowed) every few weeks from my local library. We could never have afforded to buy them. They gave me a passion for reading that was indiscriminate – I would devour anything, whether age appropriate or not. You could throw anything at me, from the Brontës or the Sweet Valley Twins, it didn’t matter. Growing up in a rural area, I had a planet of ideas and experiences opened up by the library. Next year my first novel will be published. Without the libraries of my childhood, it would never have been written. I feel emotional almost to the point of tears about libraries. In wanting to examine why, it Growing up in a rural area, I had a planet of ideas and experiences opened up by the library occurred to me that for many of us library lovers, a library is an extension of home – a big, cosy living room into which everyone is invited. And just as the interior architecture of a childhood home becomes enmeshed with the interior architecture of our minds, so does the library’s. Many of us, if blindfolded and transported back to the library door, would know it from the smell alone, could navigate our way to our favourite stacks with no effort, could draw the posters from memory. Libraries are witnesses to formative experiences regardless of age or maturity, places where you may have sat and been transported telepathically into the mind of another: the universe that they have created, the feelings they have projected. And so, of course, we feel protective of them. The books we read make us, and often save us. As I was writing this, I was inundated with stories of what libraries mean to people, in various ways: to some they are sanctuaries from abusive home lives, or even homelessness. They are places to revise and learn and use technology, to rent films and records and CDs, when doing so elsewhere is impossible. They are the backdrop for bonding rituals with parents and aunts and grandparents – one young woman, Dawn Powell, told me that her mother had loved her library so much, a bench had been placed there in her honour after she died. Relationships with librarians were also important. They pointed out books that changed readers’ lives for ever, and offered guidance, sympathy, tissues, a friendly face. One child even had birthday cakes baked. Libraries may be needed more by poor people but many comfortably off people use them too. Regardless of class background, libraries plug us into our communities, reminding us that there is life beyond our living rooms, that there’s more to our daily existences than work and coming home, and the same again tomorrow. We are not all atomised in front of our glowing screens. Libraries don’t just mean us, they mean other people too. No wonder we fiercely protective of them. They are priceless. Maybe that’s why they are so busy. Guardian News & Media Ltd. All rights reserved. Published by Guardian News & Media Ltd., Kings Place, 90 York Way, London N1 9GU, UK. Acting editor: Graham Snowdon. Printed by GPC. Registered as a newspaper at the Post Office. Annual subscription rates (in local currencies): UK £120; Europe €196; Rest of World £192; US $240; Canada $240; Australia $312; NZ $392 Quarterly subscription rates: UK £30; Europe €49; Rest of World £48; US $60; Canada $60; Australia $78; NZ $98 To subscribe visit gu.com/subscribe/weekly Reptilian rejuvenation Could Komodo dragons hold a key to the next miracle drug? Discovery, pages 32-33 Rhiannon Lucy Cosslett No one needs libraries? What rubbish. These sanctuaries enrich our lives in so many ways. Without their magical world, I would never have become a writer W hat does the library mean to you? It’s a question I have been mulling over lately, since I bought a secondhand book online and found guiltily that it was, in actual fact, a library book. I assumed that someone had stolen it, or taken it out and then died. Then it struck me that perhaps the library had closed, so I’ve been trying to find out. Meanwhile, the UK journalist and former Conservative party aide Andre Walker wrote on Twitter. “Nobody goes to libraries anymore. Close the public ones and put the books in schools.” What a privileged position to take, I thought, this assumption that these vital public spaces are not needed. Spoken like someone who has always been able to afford books and magazines (or else, I suspect, doesn’t read), who can pay for an internet connection, who doesn’t need help filling in government forms. Spoken like someone who doesn’t require shelter from the storm, isn’t lonely or trying to escape a chaotic home life, isn’t a new parent wondering what to do with a small, helpless being for a few hours, because it’s raining and you’re knackered. Spoken like someone who, because of money, selfishness, or political ideals, doesn’t need or want to feel part of a community that, for others, gives life depth, and variety, and meaning. Now, I don’t usually make a habit of writing columns about something controversial that someone has said on Twitter; life is far too short. But this time, more than 100,000 people have replied to Walker’s tweet, rendering it somewhat newsworthy. I’m also addressing it because of the context in which it appears: because of cuts to local authorities, libraries in Britain are closing at a rate that – despite the passionate commitment of librarians and activists – has begun to feel heartbreakingly inevitable. As I write, £10m ($13m) worth of cuts mean that 21 libraries in Northamptonshire are at risk. Alan Moore, the writer of the graphic novels Watchmen and V for Vendetta, grew up in a working-class family in Northampton. Without library access, he told the Northampton Chronicle & Echo, he would not have become a writer. The same is true of me. Throughout my childhood, I withdrew eight books (the maximum allowed) every few weeks from my local library. We could never have afforded to buy them. They gave me a passion for reading that was indiscriminate – I would devour anything, whether age appropriate or not. You could throw anything at me, from the Brontës or the Sweet Valley Twins, it didn’t matter. Growing up in a rural area, I had a planet of ideas and experiences opened up by the library. Next year my first novel will be published. Without the libraries of my childhood, it would never have been written. I feel emotional almost to the point of tears about libraries. In wanting to examine why, it Growing up in a rural area, I had a planet of ideas and experiences opened up by the library occurred to me that for many of us library lovers, a library is an extension of home – a big, cosy living room into which everyone is invited. And just as the interior architecture of a childhood home becomes enmeshed with the interior architecture of our minds, so does the library’s. Many of us, if blindfolded and transported back to the library door, would know it from the smell alone, could navigate our way to our favourite stacks with no effort, could draw the posters from memory. Libraries are witnesses to formative experiences regardless of age or maturity, places where you may have sat and been transported telepathically into the mind of another: the universe that they have created, the feelings they have projected. And so, of course, we feel protective of them. The books we read make us, and often save us. As I was writing this, I was inundated with stories of what libraries mean to people, in various ways: to some they are sanctuaries from abusive home lives, or even homelessness. They are places to revise and learn and use technology, to rent films and records and CDs, when doing so elsewhere is impossible. They are the backdrop for bonding rituals with parents and aunts and grandparents – one young woman, Dawn Powell, told me that her mother had loved her library so much, a bench had been placed there in her honour after she died. Relationships with librarians were also important. They pointed out books that changed readers’ lives for ever, and offered guidance, sympathy, tissues, a friendly face. One child even had birthday cakes baked. Libraries may be needed more by poor people but many comfortably off people use them too. Regardless of class background, libraries plug us into our communities, reminding us that there is life beyond our living rooms, that there’s more to our daily existences than work and coming home, and the same again tomorrow. We are not all atomised in front of our glowing screens. Libraries don’t just mean us, they mean other people too. No wonder we fiercely protective of them. They are priceless. Maybe that’s why they are so busy. Copyright © 2017 GNM Ltd. Published weekly by GNM Ltd, Kings Place, 90 York Way, London N1 9GU, UK and printed in the US by Evergreen Printing Co. Acting editor: Graham Snowdon. ISSN: 0959-3608. US/Canada office: The Guardian, PO Box 868, Chesterfield, MO 63006-9943, USA Annual subscription rates (in local currencies): UK £120; Europe €196; Rest of World £152; US $240; Canada $240; Australia $312; NZ $392 Quarterly subscription rates: UK £30; Europe €49; Rest of World £38; US $60; Canada $60; Australia $78; NZ $98 To subscribe visit gu.com/subscribe/weekly Reptilian rejuvenation Could Komodo dragons hold a key to the next miracle drug? Discovery, pages 32-33 Rhiannon Lucy Cosslett No one needs libraries? What rubbish. These sanctuaries enrich our lives in so many ways. Without their magical world, I would never have become a writer W hat does the library mean to you? It’s a question I have been mulling over lately, since I bought a secondhand book online and found guiltily that it was, in actual fact, a library book. I assumed that someone had stolen it, or taken it out and then died. Then it struck me that perhaps the library had closed, so I’ve been trying to find out. Meanwhile, the UK journalist and former Conservative party aide Andre Walker wrote on Twitter. “Nobody goes to libraries anymore. Close the public ones and put the books in schools.” What a privileged position to take, I thought, this assumption that these vital public spaces are not needed. Spoken like someone who has always been able to afford books and magazines (or else, I suspect, doesn’t read), who can pay for an internet connection, who doesn’t need help filling in government forms. Spoken like someone who doesn’t require shelter from the storm, isn’t lonely or trying to escape a chaotic home life, isn’t a new parent wondering what to do with a small, helpless being for a few hours, because it’s raining and you’re knackered. Spoken like someone who, because of money, selfishness, or political ideals, doesn’t need or want to feel part of a community that, for others, gives life depth, and variety, and meaning. Now, I don’t usually make a habit of writing columns about something controversial that someone has said on Twitter; life is far too short. But this time, more than 100,000 people have replied to Walker’s tweet, rendering it somewhat newsworthy. I’m also addressing it because of the context in which it appears: because of cuts to local authorities, libraries in Britain are closing at a rate that – despite the passionate commitment of librarians and activists – has begun to feel heartbreakingly inevitable. As I write, £10m ($13m) worth of cuts mean that 21 libraries in Northamptonshire are at risk. Alan Moore, the writer of the graphic novels Watchmen and V for Vendetta, grew up in a working-class family in Northampton. Without library access, he told the Northampton Chronicle & Echo, he would not have become a writer. The same is true of me. Throughout my childhood, I withdrew eight books (the maximum allowed) every few weeks from my local library. We could never have afforded to buy them. They gave me a passion for reading that was indiscriminate – I would devour anything, whether age appropriate or not. You could throw anything at me, from the Brontës or the Sweet Valley Twins, it didn’t matter. Growing up in a rural area, I had a planet of ideas and experiences opened up by the library. Next year my first novel will be published. Without the libraries of my childhood, it would never have been written. I feel emotional almost to the point of tears about libraries. In wanting to examine why, it Growing up in a rural area, I had a planet of ideas and experiences opened up by the library occurred to me that for many of us library lovers, a library is an extension of home – a big, cosy living room into which everyone is invited. And just as the interior architecture of a childhood home becomes enmeshed with the interior architecture of our minds, so does the library’s. Many of us, if blindfolded and transported back to the library door, would know it from the smell alone, could navigate our way to our favourite stacks with no effort, could draw the posters from memory. Libraries are witnesses to formative experiences regardless of age or maturity, places where you may have sat and been transported telepathically into the mind of another: the universe that they have created, the feelings they have projected. And so, of course, we feel protective of them. The books we read make us, and often save us. As I was writing this, I was inundated with stories of what libraries mean to people, in various ways: to some they are sanctuaries from abusive home lives, or even homelessness. They are places to revise and learn and use technology, to rent films and records and CDs, when doing so elsewhere is impossible. They are the backdrop for bonding rituals with parents and aunts and grandparents – one young woman, Dawn Powell, told me that her mother had loved her library so much, a bench had been placed there in her honour after she died. Relationships with librarians were also important. They pointed out books that changed readers’ lives for ever, and offered guidance, sympathy, tissues, a friendly face. One child even had birthday cakes baked. Libraries may be needed more by poor people but many comfortably off people use them too. Regardless of class background, libraries plug us into our communities, reminding us that there is life beyond our living rooms, that there’s more to our daily existences than work and coming home, and the same again tomorrow. We are not all atomised in front of our glowing screens. Libraries don’t just mean us, they mean other people too. No wonder we fiercely protective of them. They are priceless. Maybe that’s why they are so busy. The Guardian c/o PIC 101 Haag ave Bellmawr, NJ 08031 FIRST CLASS MAIL PRESORTED U.S. POSTAGE PAID BELLMAWR, N.J. PERMIT NO. 1239 Copyright © 2017 GNM Ltd. Published weekly by GNM Ltd, Kings Place, 90 York Way, London N1 9GU, UK and printed in the US by Evergreen Printing Co. Acting editor: Graham Snowdon. ISSN: 0958-9996. US/Canada office: The Guardian, PO Box 868, Chesterfield, MO 63006-9943, USA Annual subscription rates (in local currencies): UK £120; Europe €196; Rest of World £152; US $240; Canada $240; Australia $312; NZ $392 Quarterly subscription rates: UK £30; Europe €49; Rest of World £38; US $60; Canada $60; Australia $78; NZ $98 To subscribe visit gu.com/subscribe/weekly Reptilian rejuvenation Could Komodo dragons hold a key to the next miracle drug? Discovery, pages 32-33 Rhiannon Lucy Cosslett No one needs libraries? What rubbish. These sanctuaries enrich our lives in so many ways. Without their magical world, I would never have become a writer W hat does the library mean to you? It’s a question I have been mulling over lately, since I bought a secondhand book online and found guiltily that it was, in actual fact, a library book. I assumed that someone had stolen it, or taken it out and then died. Then it struck me that perhaps the library had closed, so I’ve been trying to find out. Meanwhile, the UK journalist and former Conservative party aide Andre Walker wrote on Twitter. “Nobody goes to libraries anymore. Close the public ones and put the books in schools.” What a privileged position to take, I thought, this assumption that these vital public spaces are not needed. Spoken like someone who has always been able to afford books and magazines (or else, I suspect, doesn’t read), who can pay for an internet connection, who doesn’t need help filling in government forms. Spoken like someone who doesn’t require shelter from the storm, isn’t lonely or trying to escape a chaotic home life, isn’t a new parent wondering what to do with a small, helpless being for a few hours, because it’s raining and you’re knackered. Spoken like someone who, because of money, selfishness, or political ideals, doesn’t need or want to feel part of a community that, for others, gives life depth, and variety, and meaning. Now, I don’t usually make a habit of writing columns about something controversial that someone has said on Twitter; life is far too short. But this time, more than 100,000 people have replied to Walker’s tweet, rendering it somewhat newsworthy. I’m also addressing it because of the context in which it appears: because of cuts to local authorities, libraries in Britain are closing at a rate that – despite the passionate commitment of librarians and activists – has begun to feel heartbreakingly inevitable. As I write, £10m ($13m) worth of cuts mean that 21 libraries in Northamptonshire are at risk. Alan Moore, the writer of the graphic novels Watchmen and V for Vendetta, grew up in a working-class family in Northampton. Without library access, he told the Northampton Chronicle & Echo, he would not have become a writer. The same is true of me. Throughout my childhood, I withdrew eight books (the maximum allowed) every few weeks from my local library. We could never have afforded to buy them. They gave me a passion for reading that was indiscriminate – I would devour anything, whether age appropriate or not. You could throw anything at me, from the Brontës or the Sweet Valley Twins, it didn’t matter. Growing up in a rural area, I had a planet of ideas and experiences opened up by the library. Next year my first novel will be published. Without the libraries of my childhood, it would never have been written. I feel emotional almost to the point of tears about libraries. In wanting to examine why, it Growing up in a rural area, I had a planet of ideas and experiences opened up by the library occurred to me that for many of us library lovers, a library is an extension of home – a big, cosy living room into which everyone is invited. And just as the interior architecture of a childhood home becomes enmeshed with the interior architecture of our minds, so does the library’s. Many of us, if blindfolded and transported back to the library door, would know it from the smell alone, could navigate our way to our favourite stacks with no effort, could draw the posters from memory. Libraries are witnesses to formative experiences regardless of age or maturity, places where you may have sat and been transported telepathically into the mind of another: the universe that they have created, the feelings they have projected. And so, of course, we feel protective of them. The books we read make us, and often save us. As I was writing this, I was inundated with stories of what libraries mean to people, in various ways: to some they are sanctuaries from abusive home lives, or even homelessness. They are places to revise and learn and use technology, to rent films and records and CDs, when doing so elsewhere is impossible. They are the backdrop for bonding rituals with parents and aunts and grandparents – one young woman, Dawn Powell, told me that her mother had loved her library so much, a bench had been placed there in her honour after she died. Relationships with librarians were also important. They pointed out books that changed readers’ lives for ever, and offered guidance, sympathy, tissues, a friendly face. One child even had birthday cakes baked. Libraries may be needed more by poor people but many comfortably off people use them too. Regardless of class background, libraries plug us into our communities, reminding us that there is life beyond our living rooms, that there’s more to our daily existences than work and coming home, and the same again tomorrow. We are not all atomised in front of our glowing screens. Libraries don’t just mean us, they mean other people too. No wonder we fiercely protective of them. They are priceless. Maybe that’s why they are so busy.