• Pound hits 31-month high as Conservatives hold election lead - business live
    by Graeme Wearden on December 9, 2019 at 12:34 PM

    Rolling coverage of the latest economic and financial news, as the Conservative party extends its lead over Labour to 14 pointsIntroduction: Sterling hits €1.19Survation poll give solid Tory leadPound hits $1.318 against US dollar - a seven-month highPolitics Live: Labour sets out plan for first 100 days in office 12.34pm GMTIn other news, the battle for takeaway company Just Eat rumbles on.Amsterdam-listed Prosus has hiked its offer for the FTSE 100 firm, to over £5bn, which rival bidder Takeaway.com has dismissed as ‘derisory’. Here’s the latest: Related: Just Eat: Prosus ups offer to £5.1bn in Takeaway.com battle 12.02pm GMTGambling site Betfair reports that the odds of a Conservative win have narrowed again today, to its lowest levels since 2017.As chart shows, it’s now a 79% chance (based on wagers) while a hung parliament is roughly 19%.When the Election was called in October, no overall majority was odds-on and the Tories had a battle on their hands according to punters, but once Nigel Farage announced his Brexit Party candidates would not oppose in Tory seats, Boris Johnson and his party have seen their odds continue to shorten to the point that today they look almost unbeatable.“But if there’s one thing that the last few years in British politics have taught us, is that nothing is ever certain and we will be watching those exit polls and first seats very closely when they come in on Thursday night.” Continue reading...

  • New Zealand volcano: no survivors on White Island, police believe – live news
    by Seth Jacobson (now) and Naaman Zhou (earlier) on December 9, 2019 at 12:33 PM

    Police update follows reconnaissance flights over island, as death toll expected to rise from five How tourists became first-aiders on seas off White Island volcano 11.26am GMTNew Zealand police said early on Tuesday morning local time that they did not believe there were any survivors on White Island following Monday’s eruption.Just after midnight, officers said in a statement that after reconnaissance flights over the island, “no signs of life had been seen at any point”. 10.56am GMT Continue reading...

  • Why are people on Tinder swiping right on Kombucha and 'realness'? | Jessa Crispin
    by Jessa Crispin on December 9, 2019 at 11:43 AM

    For all of the seemingly strange new online dating trends, mating in the 21st century is surprisingly similar to what it’s always beenIs irony or despair the best way to process the news that “real” was the most used word on Tinder bios in 2019? People are constructing advertisements for their hearts on a platform where their face will be viewed by thousands of people for the fraction of a second it takes to totally reject them. All the while, they say things like “I’m real,” or “I’m looking for something real” or “you better be real.”Tinder released a summary of all the data it collected from its users over the past year. And leaving out all of the creepy stuff it keeps tabs on – like, your exact location when you get horny for attention and affection, what you do on other apps like Facebook and Instagram, and the exact phrasing of your awkward attempts at flirting with strangers – and then sells to advertisers, it presented us with “The Year in Swipe: What 2019 Taught Us About the Future of Dating.” Continue reading...

  • US briefing: NZ volcano, China trade war and Christian bill mill
    by Tim Walker on December 9, 2019 at 11:38 AM

    Monday’s top story: Five die after eruption on White Island, New Zealand. Plus, how Facebook moderators witness the very worst of humanityGood morning, I’m Tim Walker with today’s essential stories. Continue reading...

  • Finland anoints Sanna Marin, 34, as world's youngest serving prime minister
    by Jon Henley Europe correspondent on December 9, 2019 at 11:28 AM

    Former transport minister is country’s youngest leader ever and third female PMTell us what you think of Sanna Marin’s appointmentFinland will have the world’s youngest serving prime minister later this week when Sanna Marin, 34, is sworn in by parliament at the head of a coalition whose four other parties are all led by women, three of them in their thirties.Marin, currently the transport minister, will take over from Antti Rinne, a former trade unionist who resigned last week after just six months in office when he lost the confidence of the Centre party, a coalition partner, over his handling of a postal strike. Continue reading...

  • The 50 best films of 2019 in the US: No 10 – Pain and Glory
    by Andrew Pulver on December 9, 2019 at 11:27 AM

    Antonio Banderas plays a stand-in for Pedro Almodóvar in the director’s serious-minded and moving late-career meditation on mortality, memory, regret and desireThe year’s best films in the US | in the UKI suspect that many middle-aged men would like Antonio Banderas to play them in the movie of their life: sultry, handsome and sensitive, with those eyes like bruised fruit. Well, Pedro Almodóvar is one of the select few who can actually make this happen. While Pain and Glory isn’t exactly an autobiography, it may as well be: Banderas plays a gay Spanish film director with bushy grey hair who lives in a flat that, apparently, is a replica of Almodóvar’s own; the fact that he’s called Salvador and not Pedro is only the tiniest of fig leaves.Salvador is an introspective individual confronting the dying of the light. He’s not exactly raging, more moaning quietly in despair. His back hurts, his headaches are getting worse and he has a mysterious choking ailment that nothing seems to fix. More significantly, he is embarking on a reckoning with his past triggered by the plans a film archive has to restore and rerelease one of his early films. (This film is called Sabor, or Flavour, and we get to see its sleazy poster image of a blood-red lipsticked mouth with a tongue reshaped as a strawberry.) Salvador has fallen out with the lead actor, Alberto (Asier Etxeandia), but it’s his decision to try and reconnect, to get Alberto along for the dreaded audience Q&A, that triggers Salvador’s act of mental archaeology. Continue reading...

  • Bashar al-Assad's uncle faces embezzlement trial in Paris
    by Kim Willsher in Paris on December 9, 2019 at 11:24 AM

    Rifaat al-Assad is accused of embezzling Syrian funds to buy property worth at least €90m in FranceThe uncle of Syria’s President Bashar al-Assad is due to go on trial in Paris on charges of embezzling his country to buy property worth at least €90m in France.Rifaat al-Assad, 82, who denies the charges and reportedly splits his time between France and Britain, will not be present in court for “medical reasons”, his lawyers said. Continue reading...

  • Defeating the HIV epidemic is more about politics than science
    on December 9, 2019 at 11:17 AM

    Preventive drugs should be widely accessible, but corporate power has left Americans – especially those of color – in grave dangerAcross the United States, a renewed grassroots movement is fighting to fundamentally change the rules of healthcare. We have the opportunity to achieve universal healthcare and defend the right of all people to be healthy. But we will not win if we see this only as a fight over policy – we must also tackle corporate power. We must end corporate control of our health, especially when it comes to who gets care and who is left to die. And as with all progress that depends on breaking the rules and norms that enable corporations to profit from our pain, racial justice is an essential strategy for winning real change.That couldn’t be clearer than in the case of HIV/Aids in America. If we cannot prevent corporate control over our government, and prevent corporate profiteering, we will never prevent HIV/Aids or end the epidemic that kills millions. Continue reading...

  • I taught at a 'for-profit' college. They're predatory disasters | David Andrew Stoler
    by David Andrew Stoler on December 9, 2019 at 11:15 AM

    Students rack up debt for worthless diplomas – debt they default on at twice the rate of their peers at traditional collegesFor a clear picture of how damaged the US postsecondary education system is, one need only look at the money-printing mill that is the for-profit college. I should know: I spent 10 years “teaching” at one of the most notorious cash-grab colleges in the country. There, I saw profoundly underprepared students racking up far more debt than their “traditional” peers – debt they would default on at more than twice the rate of those peers, landing the costs of these wayward scholars directly on the shoulders of taxpayers.This week, the US Department of Education accidentally showed just how badly the problem of for-profit college debt is intertwined with predatory loan collection: in a court filing, the Department of Education jacked up its estimate of its own illegal debt collection from 16,000 former students at bankrupt Corinthian College to nearly three times that amount. All while the secretary of education, Betsy DeVos, who was held in contempt of court for the department’s actions, continued to refuse debt forgiveness for thousands of students ripped off by for-profit colleges. Continue reading...

  • China claims detained Uighurs have been freed
    by Lily Kuo in Beijing on December 9, 2019 at 11:06 AM

    Xinjiang governor offers no evidence of release but says ‘trainees’ have found stable jobsChina has claimed that Uighurs and other minorities believed to be detained in Xinjiang have been freed, repeating claims made previously but offering no evidence of their release.In response to growing international criticism of the detention of as many as 1.5 million people in re-education and other internment camps, the Xinjiang governor, Shohrat Zakir, told reporters in Beijing that they had “returned to society”. Continue reading...

  • Greta asks media to focus on other young climate activists
    on December 9, 2019 at 12:39 PM

    Celebrity environmentalist Greta Thunberg is urging media to pay more attention to other young climate activists. The 16-year-old Swede has drawn huge crowds with her appearances at protests and conferences … Click to Continue »

  • Judiciary hearing sets stage for Trump impeachment charges
    on December 9, 2019 at 12:32 PM

    Pushing ahead with articles of impeachment, the House Judiciary Committee convenes Monday to formally receive the investigative findings against President Donald Trump as the White House and its allies launch … Click to Continue »

  • Japan PM Abe says visit by Iran’s Rouhani being arranged
    on December 9, 2019 at 12:27 PM

    Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said Monday his country is arranging a visit by Iranian President Hassan Rouhani because it wants to play a greater role in resolving a nuclear … Click to Continue »

  • Kosovo, Albania to boycott Nobel Literature award ceremony
    on December 9, 2019 at 12:24 PM

    Kosovo and Albania say they will boycott the Nobel Literature Prize ceremony Tuesday to protest the award being given to Austrian writer Peter Handke who both countries link to the … Click to Continue »

  • OSCE warns Albania not to block freedom of expression online
    on December 9, 2019 at 12:24 PM

    The Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe on Monday urged authorities in Albania to further amend a draft law on a new registration system for online media. Harlem Desir, … Click to Continue »

  • Ex-Swedish envoy indicted in case of detained HK bookseller
    on December 9, 2019 at 12:23 PM

    Prosecutors in Sweden said Monday the country's former ambassador to China has been indicted for unauthorized contacts with a foreign power for organizing a meeting in Stockholm between the daughter … Click to Continue »

  • Finland’s next prime minister breaks the mold in many ways
    on December 9, 2019 at 12:21 PM

    Finland's next prime minister is breaking the mold of government leaders in multiple ways. When Sanna Marin takes over the reins of the country, likely on Tuesday, she will become … Click to Continue »

  • British leaders tour country in final push before election
    on December 9, 2019 at 12:19 PM

    British Prime Minister Boris Johnson and opposition leaders were pushing for the finish line in Britain’s election campaign Monday, dashing through multiple constituencies to drum up support in the final … Click to Continue »

  • Charity: Over 110 children killed in 2 Yemeni areas in 2019
    on December 9, 2019 at 12:18 PM

    Over 110 Yemeni children were killed between January and October in the key port city of Hodeida and a southwestern province, an international charity said Monday. Save the Children said … Click to Continue »

  • Cheney warns disengagement in Mideast benefits Iran, Russia
    on December 9, 2019 at 12:13 PM

    Former Vice President Dick Cheney warned Monday that “American disengagement” in the Middle East will benefit only Iran and Russia, indirectly criticizing President Donald Trump's pledges to pull forces out … Click to Continue »

  • World Anti-Doping Agency Hits Russia With 4-Year Sports Ban
    on December 9, 2019 at 11:28 AM

    The Russian flag and national anthem were banned from next year's Tokyo Olympics and other major sports events for four years on Monday.Russia's hosting of world championships in Olympic sports also face being stripped after the World Anti-Doping Agency executive committee...

  • Nevada Voters Still Undecided in 2020 Dem Race
    on December 9, 2019 at 10:58 AM

    Nevada won its coveted early date in the presidential primary because it was supposed to offer Democrats something different.

  • Tourists Injured, Missing in Eruption of New Zealand Volcano
    on December 9, 2019 at 2:47 AM

    A volcano erupted Monday on a small New Zealand island frequented by tourists, and a number of people were missing and injured after the eruption.

  • Big Bird, Ronstadt, Sally Field Celebrated at Kennedy Center
    on December 9, 2019 at 2:46 AM

    Actress Sally Field, singer Linda Ronstadt and the disco-funk band Earth Wind and Fire shared the spotlight Sunday night as part of the latest group of recipients of the Kennedy Center Honors for lifetime achievement in the arts.Also in this year's class were conductor...

  • Teddy Roosevelt's D.C. Church to Sell
    on December 9, 2019 at 2:30 AM

    The church Teddy Roosevelt regularly attended during his time in Washington, D.C., as vice president and president is set to close at the end of the month, The Washington Post reported on Sunday.

  • Nevada Voters Still Undecided in 2020 Dem Race
    on December 9, 2019 at 10:58 AM

    Nevada won its coveted early date in the presidential primary because it was supposed to offer Democrats something different.

  • Trump Likely to Get Space Force
    on December 9, 2019 at 1:44 AM

    President Donald Trump seems to have won support for Space Force, his proposed sixth branch of the military, according to Space News. Rep. Adam Smith on Saturday told reporters the House and Senate compromise fiscal 2020 National Defense Authorization Act will be finalized...

  • Buttigieg Rally Draws 2,000 In Iowa
    on December 9, 2019 at 1:25 AM

    More than 2,000 people attended a rally in Coralville, Iowa, on Sunday for Democratic presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg, according to a tweet from his campaign spokesman Sean Savett.

  • McCarthy Confident GOP Will Win Back House
    on December 8, 2019 at 11:18 PM

    House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy said on Fox News' "Sunday Morning Futures" that he is confident the Republicans can win back the majority in the House next year because the Democrats are defying the will of the American people by insisting on pushing ahead with...

  • Kennedy Center Honoree Ronstadt: Pompeo Will Be Loved When He 'Stops Enabling Trump'
    on December 8, 2019 at 10:42 PM

    Secretary of State Mike Pompeo will be loved when he stops "enabling Donald Trump," singer Linda Ronstadt, a Kennedy Center honoree, said Saturday night."Ronstadt rose to the microphone a few feet away from the host's table and looked straight ahead," Variety reported from...

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