US on brink of trade war with EU, Canada and Mexico as tit-for-tat tariffs begin

Jean-Claude Juncker pledges retaliation as EU companies face 25% tariffs on steel and 10% on aluminiumTrump imposes tariffs business live

The United States and its traditional allies are on the brink of a full-scale trade war after European and Canadian leaders reacted swiftly and angrily to Donald Trump’s decision to impose tariffs on steel and aluminium producers.

The president of the European commission, Jean-Claude Juncker, promised immediate reprisal after the US commerce secretary, Wilbur Ross, told EU companies would face a 25% responsibility on steel and a 10% responsibility on aluminium from midnight on Thursday.

Europe, along with Canada and Mexico, had been granted a temporary reprieve from the tariffs after they were unveiled by Donald Trump two months ago.

However, Ross sent shudders through global financial markets when he said insufficient progression had been constructed in talks with three of the US’s traditional allies to reduce America’s trade deficit and that the waiver was being lifted.

Wall Street slumped as the Dow Jones Industrial Average closed down more than 250 points as investors sold off shares in manufacturers and corporations with global reaching. Shares across Europe also declined.

The move from Washington- which comes at a time when Trump is also threatening protectionist action against China- triggered an immediate and angry response from Canada, Brussels and from individual European capitals.

Juncker “ve called the” US move ” unjustified” and said the EU had no choice but to hit back with tariffs on US goods and a case at the World Trade Organisation in Geneva.

” We will defend the Union’s interests, in full compliance with international trade statute ,” he added. Brussels has already announced that it would target Levi’s jeans, Harley-Davidson motorbikes and bourbon whiskey.

The UK, which has hopes of agreeing a trade liberalisation deal with the US after Brexit, carried alarm at Ross’s announcement.

Liam Fox, the international trade secretary, told Britain would not rule out countermeasures or taking Washington to the WTO, which arbitrates on global trade disputes.

Speaking to Sky News he attacked the tariffs as “patently absurd” and recommended the US to think again.” It would be a great pity if we ended up in a tit-for-tat trade dispute with our closest friends .”

A spokesman for Number 10 said the government was ” profoundly disillusioned” the US had decided to apply the tariffs and that Theresa May would raise the issue with Trump at next week’s meeting of the G7 industrial nations in Canada.

” The UK and other European Union countries are close allies of the US and should be permanently and fully exempted from the American measures on steel and aluminium .”

The French president, Emmanuel Macron, called the US tariffs illegal and a mistake, while the Canadian prime minister, Justin Trudeau, issued an immediate like-for-like reaction- announcing tariffs of up to 25% on US importations worth up to 16.6 bn Canadian dollars( PS9. 6bn ), which was the total value of Canadian steel exportations to the US last year. The tariffs will encompass steel and aluminium as well as orange juice, whiskey and other food products.

With the White House having used national security legislation to introduce the tariffs, Trudeau called the measures an “affront” to Canadians who had opposed alongside their American comrades in arms.” That Canada could be considered a national security threat to the US is inconceivable .”

Canada’s foreign minister, Chrystia Freeland, went further calling her country’s $16.6 bn retaliatory tariffs” the strongest trade action Canada has taken in the postwar era. This is a very strong response. It is a proportionate reply, it is perfectly reciprocal … this is a very strong Canadian action in response to a very bad US decision .”

Mexico also denounced the move, saying it” deeply regrets and disapproves” the US decision.

The economics minstry said it would adopt equivalent measures on a variety of products, including flat steel, lamps, pork legs and shoulders, sausages and food preparations, apples, grapes, cranberries, various cheeses, and other products,” up to an amount comparable to damage caused by the United States’ action “.

It added:” This measure will be in force for as long as the US government preserves the imposed tariffs .”

Hopes remain that the fallout could be contained. Analysts at the research firm Oxford Economics said the economic hit for Europe would be well below 0.1% of GDP, as steel and aluminium merely make up a small part of the bloc’s overall exports around the world. However, they warned a tit-for-tat escalation leading to tariffs on other goods, such as vehicles, would have dire repercussions for global trade.

Last week, the Trump administration launched a national security investigated by car imports on national security grounds that could lead to tariffs on automobiles from Europe, Japan and South Korea, should trade tensions spiraling further out of control.

For the struggling UK steel industry, the news of US tariffs inspired fresh alarm. The director of UK Steel, Gareth Stace, told:” President Trump had already loaded the gun and today, we now know that the US administration has unfortunately fired it and potentially started a damaging trade war.

” Since President Trump stated his plans to impose blanket tariffs on steel imports nearly three months ago, the UK steel sector had hoped for the best but still dreaded the worst. With the expiration of the EU exemption now confirmed to take effect tomorrow[ Friday, 1 June ], unfortunately our cynicism was justified and we will now find damage not only to the UK steel sector but also the US economy .”

Representatives for the US metal industry also expressed disappointment.” Make no mistake: restricting the raw material render in the U.S. and imposing tariffs on imports from our closest trading partners places American producers directly in harm’s style ,” said Paul Nathanson of The Coalition of American Metal Manufacturers and Users.

The CBI cautioned the EU against overreacting to Washington’s move. Ben Digby, international director at the employers’ organisation, told:” The president’s measures are deeply concerning for firms in the UK, for close trading partners and across supplying chains .”

Trump announced his tariffs in March as a route of protecting US firms from inexpensive imports but Digby said the problem was caused by global overproduction of the metals and needed to be tackled jointly by Brussels and Washington.

” There are no winners in a trade war, which will damage prosperity on both sides of the Atlantic. These tariffs could lead to a protectionist domino effect, damaging firms, employees and consumers in the US, UK and many other trading partners. Now is not the time for any disproportionate escalation, and we urge the EU to consider this when initiating its response .”

But neither side showed any immediate sign of being willing to defuse the tension. Cecilia Malmstrom, the European trade commissioner, said the Brussels response would be proportionate and in accordance with WTO rules. Ross shrugged off the threat of EU retaliation, saying it would have little impact on the US economy.

Manfred Weber, the leader of the European People’s party, the largest group in the European parliament and a key ally of German chancellor Angela Merkel, warned that treating the EU as the “enemy” would damage US consumers.

” Europe does not want a trade conflict. We believe in a fair trade regime from which everybody benefits ,” he told.
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” We have tried everything to build dialogue and mutual understanding predominate. If President Trump decides to treat Europe as an adversary, we will have no choice but to defend European industry, European jobs, European interests .”

Ross blamed insufficient progress in talks with Mexico and Canada over changes to the North American Free Trade Agreement( Nafta) for the US’s decision to slap tariffs on its two neighbours.

Mexico’s under-secretary of foreign trade, Juan Carlos Baker, tweeted:” Mexico categorically rejects any unilateral, protectionist measures that distort trading in North America .”

China, too, warned that it would respond with tit-for-tat action of its own.

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Oxford and Cambridge university colleges own property worth 3.5bn

News of bigger portfolio than Church of England arrives after 21 bn in total assets revealed

Oxford and Cambridge colleges collectively own more land than the Church of England and have a portfolio of properties across the UK worth PS3. 5bn, a Guardian investigation has found.

From a Scottish palace conquered by Robert the Bruce and the O2 arena in Greenwich to a betting shop in Brent , north-west London, the land and buildings owned by the universities’ colleges encompass ancient and modern possessions amounting to 51,000 hectares( 126,000 acres)- an area more than four times the size of Manchester.

The Oxbridge holds dwarf the 42,000 hectares owned across 41 dioceses by the Church of England, which is often said to be the UK’s largest private landowner.

The figures follow the revelation on Monday that estates, endowments, investments and other assets held by Oxford and Cambridge are collectively worth nearly PS21bn. The property details come from the most extensive survey of Oxbridge landholdings since 1873, through a combination of freedom of information requests, archival the investigations and Land Registry records.

The property constrains of Oxbridge colleges are worth a combined PS3. 5bn, while the universities collectively hold property investments worth PS863m. These figures do not take into account the value of many historic college sites, which are held at depreciated cost.

Land held by Oxford’s All Souls College and Cambridge’s Trinity College

The total sizing does not include unmeasured land held by several colleges” under ancient possession”, or the holdings of the universities, which could not dedicate a full account of their land ownership but own at least 1,800 hectares, according to information available online.

The two major Cambridge landowners are St John’s and Trinity, which have 10,500 hectares worth PS1. 1bn and make up more than half of the 17,000 hectares owned by Cambridge colleges.

Trinity values its property investments at PS850m, and in early January, the college sold a block of retail and residential space in Kensington High Street, central London, to Unitum Ltd, a Malta-based holding company, for PS28m.

All Souls, Christ Church and Merton are Oxbridge’s biggest UK landowners, owning 14,000 of the 34,000 hectares held by Oxford colleges at a value of about PS460m.

The oldest property owned by any college is Buittle Castle in Dumfries and Galloway, built in the 12 th century and given to the Scottish nobleman John de Balliol, who, with his wife, Lady Dervorguilla, founded Balliol College, Oxford, in 1263.

Though the castle was captured by Robert the Bruce in the 14 th century, it later reverted to the crown and is now back in the hands of Balliol College.

One of the most lucrative holds is the O2 arena, originally known as the Millennium Dome, which Trinity College owns on a 999 -year lease after buying it for PS24m in 2009.

Trinity collects rent from Anschutz Entertainment Group, which operates the concert arena, and over the past two years, the college has registered a profit of nearly PS22m from the site.

Other well-known considers include the site of the Top Gear test track, also owned by Trinity, and the Rose Bowl, the home of Hampshire cricket club, owned by Queen’s College, Oxford.

One of the most unlikely constrains belongs to St John’s College, the alma mater of the former “ministers ” Tony Blair, and Oxford’s wealthiest college. It is the landowner of Millwall’s training ground.

Less glamorous are swaths of rural farmland and woodland, which include an Isle of Wight farm bought by Queen’s College from Henry VIII, multiple Leeds industrial estates, several gastropubs across England, and the freeholds to more than 100 retail outlets and shops, including branches of Caffe Nero and HSBC.

The most concentrated commercial land ownership is in Brent, where All Souls College, one of Oxford’s wealthiest, owns more than 300 properties. The vast majority are residential houses, but they also include the freehold of a Ladbrokes wager shop.

The London borough had the highest proportion of housing benefit asserts by private tenants in the country, according to research by the Financial Times in 2015.

Several colleges have received agricultural subsidies amounting to hundreds of thousands of pounds, according to data from the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs( Defra ).

These include PS117, 000 in common agricultural policy subsidies paid in 2016 to Waterside farm in Berkshire, owned by St John’s, which sits on wealth of PS582m.

The farm has received the taxpayer-funded grants, are aiming to preserve the environment by protecting wildlife and preserving rural sceneries, despite West Berkshire council putting forward schemes in 2016 to extract 200,000 tons of gravel over an 11 -year period from the farm, located in the North Wessex Downs- an area of outstanding natural beauty.

The schemes were met with widespread anger at the time from locals, including one who wrote a letter to the college vowing to” highlight the damage that St John’s College is intent on inflicting on the environment, the ecosystem, the neighborhood, the town, and not least, the residents “.

Meanwhile, Cambridge, which holds net assets of PS4. 8bn, also received PS180, 000 in CAP subsidies in 2016 for its university farm. That is despite research from the university in 2015 draw such fund as “perverse” subsidies” promoting negative actions in both the long and short term by being bad for the environment and costly to the economy “.

An Oxford spokesperson told:” The central university’s strong balance sheet allows us to fund new initiatives for our students, staff and outstanding teach and research .”

Oxford’s endowment includes 600 trusts with funds earmarked for particular purpose such as teaching posts, buildings and research. About PS270m of the endowment supportings student scholarships.

Cambridge declined to reply to requests for a reply.

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All 12,000 Pret a Manger staff to get 1,000 each as chain is sold for 1.5bn

Krispy Kreme owner JAB to acquire sandwich shops from private equity firm

Every Pret a Manger employee is to receive a PS1, 000 windfall as the British sandwich shop chain is taken over by the German-controlled company behind Krispy Kreme doughnuts and Kenco coffee, in a bargain worth more than PS1. 5bn.

Bridgepoint, the UK-based private equity firm, has agreed to sell Pret to the investment group JAB Holdings, which has been rapidly acquiring companies linked to the coffee market in recent years.

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Based in the tax haven of Luxembourg, JAB Holdings is controlled by four members of the secretive Reimann family of Germany: Wolfgang, Stefan, Renate and Matthias, who can be counted among the wealthiest business dynasties in Europe with a luck of more than EUR1 6bn( PS14bn ).

The anonymous-sounding name JAB comes from the initials of Johann Adam Benckiser, who as one of the family’s forebears founded a chemical firm in 1823 that would become Reckitt Benckiser.

The investment vehicle still owns the second-largest stake in Reckitt, while the consumer giant’s former chief executive Bart Becht- who broke British corporate records in 2010 with a pay package worth PS90m- is chairman of JAB. The company also has shares in Coty, the beauty company behind the brands Calvin Klein and Wella.

With three senior partners at the helm, the company has been on a buying spree in recent years. JAB splashed out on fizzy drinkings company Dr Pepper Snapple earlier this year and paid out $13.9 bn( PS10. 5bn) in late 2015 for Keurig Green Mountain, one of the biggest coffee firms in the US.

Adding Pret will help JAB vie further with Starbucks and Nestle, while moving the vehicle away from luxury brands such as Jimmy Choo, which it sold last year for $1.2 bn. It also reportedly plans to sell Bally, another luxury goods firm in which it has a controlling stake.

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On Tuesday, Clive Schlee, the Pret a Manger chief executive, told 12,000 of its employees, from head office staff to baristas, would receive a PS1, 000 payout on completion of the deal.

Schlee said:” The PS1, 000 bonus will be paid to all employees who are on the payroll during the week the deal completes. It’s serendipity for those who have just joined .”

Staff at a Pret shop in London had no idea the company had been sold when asked by a reporter on Tuesday morning, and were incredulous that they would receive a PS1, 000 bonus.

” What? Why? Why would you dedicate us PS1, 00 each ?” told Fatu, a barista from Guinea in west Africa.” They don’t need to give us fund if they sell the company .” Fatu, who has been working at Pret for five years and loves it, said she would save all of her PS1, 000.

Lidia-Alexandra Sipos, a Pret team leader, said she would also save most of her PS1, 000 windfall after buying a gift for her mother.” She helped me so much to get here, and I want to give her something special to say thank you ,” she told.

Sipos started work at Pret 2 week after arriving in the UK from Romania in 2016 on the recommendation of her sister who was already working at the chain.” Pret really does look after you ,” she said.” I cease in December to try and get an office management job, but I analyze two days a week and it’s hard to get a job that lets you do that.

” So Pret helped me come back in February, and I can study management at college on Tuesdays and Thursday. And it pays better than receptionist work .” Sipos said she gets paid PS9. 70 an hour with a PS1-an-hour bonus if the store passes regular mystery shopper tests. She said the store almost always pass the points-based exam, as” we all come together as a team to make sure everything is always a good standard “.

Pret is based in London, where it was started by the entrepreneur Julian Metcalfe and his friend Sinclair Beecham with one shop in 1986. Metcalfe went on to create the Itsu restaurant chain and Metcalfe’s skinny popcorn.

Having expanded rapidly in recent years, opening 50 shops in the past year alone, Pret has more than 500 stores, generating revenues of PS879m. It also has stores in the US, China and Dubai.

The company is trying to attract more British employees as it prepares for potential personnel deficits after Brexit and seeks to expand further in the US and internationally.

The sale of Pret will mark a lucrative payday for Bridgepoint, which paid PS364m, including debt, to buy the chain about a decade ago. The private equity firm had been considering floating the company on the New York stock exchange, as it eyed significant expansion into the $41 bn( PS32bn) a year US coffee shop market.
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Instead, the deal will bring Pret under the ownership of Luxembourg-based JAB, which is an investment vehicle for Germany’s reclusive Reimann family.

Alongside Krispy Kreme and Kenco, JAB owns the Douwe Egberts and Tassimo coffee brands. It announced a bargain to take control of Dr Pepper Snapple, the fifth-largest fizzy drink maker in the world, for $18.7 bn earlier this year, in order to combine it with its US-based Keurig Green Mountain business.

Olivier Goudet, the JAB chief executive, said:” We’re very excited to partner with Pret and its talented team to continue their extraordinary growth tale .”

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MPs call for Theresa May to permit poll on abortion in Northern Ireland

PM believes it would be wrong for Westminster to legislate on matter in devolved administration

Theresa May was facing growing demands to allow a referendum on relaxing the abortion statutes in Northern Ireland on Sunday after signalling that she will not risk alienating her DUP allies by letting MPs resolve the issues with a parliamentary vote.

Conservative MPs and the Royal College of Midwives were among those calling for a referendum, which would give voters in Northern Ireland the chance to follow the example set by the Republic of Ireland after it backed abortion liberalisation by a astonish landslide of two to one.

Around 160 MPs have backed a letter, championed by the Labour MP Stella Creasy, saying the government should legislate to relax the abortion rules in Northern Ireland, which will now be the only place in Britain and Ireland where abortion is in most circumstances illegal. Creasy wants to force-out a vote by tabling an amendment to the forthcoming domestic violence bill.

Labour also said that, as a party, it was committed to extending the right to choose to Northern Ireland and that it would be” looking at legislative options” to try to orchestrate a vote in the Commons.

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Following the Irish referendum, Northern Ireland is the only place in the UK and Ireland- and most of Europe- where terminations are outlawed apart from in the most exceptional circumstances.

The UK Abortion Act of 1967 was never extended to Northern Ireland, and abortion remains illegal unless the life or mental health of the mother is at risk. Northern Ireland has the harshest criminal penalty for abortion anywhere in Europe; in theory, life imprisonment can be handed down to a woman undergoing an unlawful abortion.

Fatal foetal abnormalities and conceptions by rape or incest are not lawful grounds for a termination.

Most politicians in Northern Ireland- Catholic and Protestant- do not favour reform, despite the UN saying the UK was violating the rights of women in Northern Ireland by restricting their access to abortion.

In 2016 more than 700 females from Northern Ireland crossed the Irish Sea to clinics in Britain to terminate pregnancies.

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Downing Street’s initial reaction was to reject the idea of dedicating MPs a election, on the grounds that abortion is a devolved matter and one that should be decided by the power-sharing executive and the Northern Ireland assembly. A source used to say Theresa May’s focus was on getting the executive, which has been suspended for more than a year, “back up and running”.

But there were reports on Sunday of opponent even within the cabinet, with women and equalities pastor Penny Mordaunt saying on Twitter that the hope for change in Northern Ireland “must be met” amid calls for the region to have a referendum- although she did not specify how.

Obstacles to a parliamentary vote have prompted some MPs to argue for a referendum, which would allow the person or persons of Northern Ireland to take the final judgment , not London, while also bypassing the logjam created by the suspension of the executive.

Sarah Wollaston, the Conservative MP and GP who chairs the Commons health committee, told the BBC that, while she would vote in favour of pro-choice legislation for Northern Ireland, if that proved impossible a referendum was a good second best.

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” We’d all like to see the Stormont assembly back up and running and for this decision to be made by people in Northern Ireland but if that doesn’t happen … then at the least people in Northern Ireland should be allowed a referendum that enables us gauge the strength of sentiment there ,” Wollaston told the BBC.

Maria Miller, the Conservative former culture secretary who now shall be the chairman of the Commons women and equalities committee, posted a message on Twitter saying:” No one should deny the people of Northern Ireland a referendum for the opportunity to have the same rights on abortion as the rest of the UK .”

And in Northern Ireland the Royal College of Midwives’ regional director Breedagh Hughes told no one was speaking up for the “pro-choice majority” in Northern Ireland at present and the only style to give them a voice was through a referendum.

” We have 12 Democratic Unionist MPs whose views do not reflect the majority opinion on the abortion topic ,” Hughes said.” We have Sinn Fein MPs who don’t take their seats at Westminster. We don’t have a functioning local Assembly which could take this issue on again even though in the past the DUP and others vetoed change. So, the people are voiceless on the abortion topic and we say to Theresa May- give us a referendum Prime Minister so that change can come about .”

A No 10 source told May was also opposed to the idea that parliament should legislate for a referendum in Northern Ireland on the grounds that, if there were to be a referendum, that should also be matter for the Northern Ireland executive.

Under the Sewel convention, the UK government has agreed that it will not usually legislate on matters that are the responsibility of devolved administrations without their consent.

But the government is set to ignore this for the first time in Scotland, pushing ahead with the EU withdrawal bill even though the Scottish government is resisted, and May’s stance on abortion is partly motivated by a longing not to antagonise the DUP, who offer the votes that give the Tories their majority and who are strongly opposed to liberalising Northern Ireland’s abortion laws.

May did not comment on the Irish referendum outcome until lunchtime on Sunday, nearly 24 hours after the final result was corroborated, when she posted a tweet congratulating the Irish people on their decision.

On a free vote, the Commons would probably vote overwhelmingly in favour of bringing Northern Ireland’s abortion laws into line with those in the rest of the UK. But the domestic violence bill, which Creasy would like to use as a vehicle for an abortion amendment, is still at the consultation phase and, even when it does come to the Commons, Downing Street thinks that the Sewel convention will ensure that Northern Ireland pertained amendments get ruled inadmissable.

Dawn Butler, the darknes minister for women and equalities, told Labour would be appearing investigating what legislative alternatives it could use to ensure MPs did get a vote on this.” No girl in the UK should be denied access to a safe, legal abortion ,” she told. But party sources would not elaborate on what those options might be.

In the past polls have revealed strong supporting in Northern Ireland for relaxing abortion statutes in at the least some circumstances, although not to the extent allowed in the rest of the UK.

Currently abortions in Northern Ireland’s hospitals are only available to women and girls where “peoples lives” or health is in grave threat; only 23 were carried out between 2013 -1 4.

The call for a referendum is opposed by some of the MPs who want to change the law in Northern Ireland. Creasy pointed out that, while a referendum was necessary in the Republic because of its constitution, that was not the case in a north. A referendum would be a move” in the wrong direction” because the law should be changed now, she said.

Arlene Foster, the DUP leader, told:” The legislation governing abortion is a devolved matter and it is for the Northern Ireland assembly to debate and choose such issues. Some of those who wish to circumvent the assembly’s role may be doing so simply to avoid its decision. The DUP is a pro-life party and we are still articulated our position .”

Sinn Fein, the second-largest party in Northern Ireland, supports limited change to Northern Ireland’s abortion laws. Michelle O’Neill, its leader in Northern Ireland, told ITV on Sunday that the region was ” becoming a backwater” in terms of rights because of the position taken by unionists.

A spokesperson for Unite, one of the largest unions representing employees in Northern Ireland, backed the RCM’s call for a referendum.

” As long as it does not in any way necessitate imposing direct regulation Unite would like Theresa May to consider the idea of a local referendum and explain to is why, if she objected, the people in Northern Ireland wouldn’t be granted one ,” a Unite spokesperson said.

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Nasa’s Golden Record may baffle alien life, say researchers

Extraterrestrials will detect a species that loves to argue and considers beauty in flowers that roar like chainsaws

It was launched to the stars as a portrait of humanity: an alien’s guide to life on Earth and the wonderful, rich culture of its dominant species.

But the Golden Record, detonation into space by Nasa in 1977, may deliver an entirely different message to any extraterrestrials who happen to encounter the cosmic missive, researchers point out.

Rather than the peaceful, intelligent beings that the US space agency hoped to portray, humen may come across as a species that loves to argue, speaks gibberish, and ensure beauty in blooms that roar like chainsaws.

The potential for the Golden Record, copies of which are aboard Nasa’s Voyager 1 and 2 probes, to mislead alien life will be raised by researchers at the National Space Society session in Los Angeles on Saturday.

The Golden Record … music ranges from Bach and Stravinsky to Javanese gamelan and Bulgarian folk music. Photo: Nasa

Rebecca Orchard and Sheri Wells-Jensen at Bowling Green State University in Ohio say that the record’s 117 scenes, humpback whale audios, greets in 54 languages, 20 -minute” voiced essay” of life on Earth, and 90 minute romp through the planet’s music, is decidedly human-centric.

” The Golden Record is a beautiful artefact and representation of how humen want to see themselves, but it is meant to be received by and interpreted by something that has the sensory capabilities of the average human ,” said Orchard.” If the second one of these senses is absent, or an entirely different sense is added, the Golden Record becomes a bit confusing .”

Orchard and Wells-Jensen went through the material on the record and considered what an alien civilisation with a different suite of senses might construct of it. The barrage of greets” pile up in a way that could be construed as arguing”, said Orchard, in a language that has ” no grammatical congruity “. That is, if they can hear.

The 12 -inch gold-plated copper disc has audio on one side and images on the other, and this could lead to further misunderstandings, the researchers believe. If an alien civilisation tried to match voices to their objects, life on Earth can look very strange.” What if you pair the image of an open daffodil with the roaring of a chainsaw ?” said Orchard.
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Perhaps the most baffling of all would be the music which ranges from Bach and Stravinsky to Javanese gamelan and Bulgarian folk music.” I plainly can’t say how these differences and transitions will be interpreted, but what I can say is that it definitely creates a puzzle for a listener who would be completely unfamiliar with humans and the noises they construct ,” Orchard said.

Whatever confusion the record may cause, it is unlikely to happen soon. While Voyager 1 is now 12 bn miles away and the farthest human-made object from Earth, it will be 40,000 years before it comes close to another star system.

” What this project has shown me is that we can’t really control the impression we stimulate ,” said Orchard.” I think the fact of the spacecraft itself will do a lot of the talking. I would hope that the mere fact that we’ve endeavoured to send a record of humanity depicts something about our humanity .”

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A century on, why are we forgetting the deaths of 100 million? | Martin Kettle

The 1918 Spanish flu outbreak killed more people than both world wars. Dont imagine such a thing could never happen again, says the Guardian columnist Martin Kettle

This year marks a century since some women got the vote; a century since the end of the first world war; 50 years since the 1968 rebellions; 70 since the founding of Israel and the NHS. All have been well marked. So it is striking that the centenary of one of the most devastating events in human history has been allowed to pass thus far with virtually no public reflection of any kind.

This year is the 100 th anniversary of the Spanish flu pandemic of 1918. Calculates about the potential impact vary. But when you read that a third of the entire global population probably caught the Spanish influenza and that it killed between 50 and 100 million people in all corners of the globe- up to 5% of all human being on countries around the world at the time – you get an inkling of its scale.

By the time the pandemic ultimately ended, it had killed around 25 times more people than any other flu outbreak in history. It killed perhaps more people than the 1st and 2nd world wars put together. As Laura Spinney puts it in her new book, Pale Rider– the best modern account of the Spanish flu crisis-” the influenza resculpted human populations more radically than anything since the Black Death “. Think about that. Not the western front , not Hitler’s invasion of Russia , not Hiroshima. But the flu.

In the face of such figures, it seems unbelievable that we forget or look away. Yet we do. Perhaps that is because, unlike equality for women, a disease has no ultimate award to win and celebrate. Perhaps it is because, while wars have conquerors, pandemics leave only the vanquished, as Spinney sets it. Perhaps too, as the critic Walter Benjamin once argued, stillness about public horrors can permit human societies to cope with collective recovery and to advance. Or perhaps, as Spinney also reflects, the Spanish flu has been consigned to the footnotes because its onslaught did not occur in public but in private, behind closed- door in millions of homes.

Yet the Spanish flu epidemic was a public event too. It changed the course of the first world war( the Germans thought it robbed them of victory ). It brought Switzerland- yes, Switzerland- to the brink of civil war over the inadequacy of the official response. The route it was mishandled in colonial India devoted a major boost to the independence motion. It resulted directly to the founding of Real Madrid football club as part of a Spanish public health drive. In Britain, in a sense, it triggered a concern about public health that would result, 30 year later, to the NHS.

The flu struck the rich and the poor, the young and the old, women and men, black and white. Among the individuals who caught it but recovered were the British prime minister David Lloyd George, the US president Woodrow Wilson, the German kaiser, and King Alfonso XIII of Spain- whose country dedicated its name to the disease for no better reason than that the French, unable to learn about the scale of the infection in their own country because of wartime censorship, thought wrongly that it had started on the far side of the Pyrenees. The naming has caused offence in Spain from that day to this- and has belatedly led to greater care in the naming of subsequent strains and outbreaks that traverse borders.

For this was a disease that scorned all human frontiers. It killed from Alaska to Zanzibar. Groucho Marx caught the flu in New York and Mahatma Gandhi in Ahmedabad. The future Mustafa Kemal Ataturk went down with it in Vienna. Haile Selassie fell ill in Addis Ababa. TS Eliot got the flu in London- he wrote The Waste Land as he recovered. Other victims who recovered included Franklin Roosevelt, Lillian Gish, Franz Kafka, DH Lawrence, Bela Bartok, Walt Disney, Ezra Pound and the aviator Amelia Earhart. In Colorado, Katherine Anne Porter’s black hair fell out as a result of flu. When it grew back her hair was white and Porter went on to write a memoir, Pale Horse, Pale Rider about the pandemic.

The list of those who died of the influenza is less storied than those who recovered from it. It is headed by the painter Egon Schiele and his wife. The Parisian poet Guillaume Apollinaire succumbed too, as did one of Lenin’s right-hand men, Yakov Sverdlov. So did Lawrence of Arabia’s father, Arthur Conan Doyle’s son and Donald Trump’s grandfather. A celebrated British casualty was the diplomat Mark Sykes– now famous( or infamous) for the secret Sykes-Picot agreement he struck over spheres of western influence in the Middle East.

Ten years ago, in 2008, Sykes’s coffin, lead-lined because of the virulence of the disease, was disinterred from his grave in Yorkshire. The intent was to enable researchers to take samples, from his remains, of the H1N1 virus strain that caused the Spanish influenza. Such samples , now under high-security lock and key in Atlanta, have been examined for clues as to why this stres was so potent and how a future pandemic might be contained.

For there will be another Spanish flu pandemic one day. The 1918 outbreak resulted because the viral stres acquired the ability to infect humans and then to become transmissible among humen. Other strains have that potential too. Global warming may empower the strongest ones still further. The world of 2018 is infinitely more interconnected than that of 1918. The possibilities for blaming particular social groups for pandemics is vast.

Last week the Ebola virus spread from a remote rural part of the Democratic Republic of the Congo to the busy river port town of Mbandaka. A few hundred kilometres downstream from Mbandaka lies DRC’s capital, Kinshasa, a mega-city of some 11 million people. Unlike flu, which is airborne, Ebola is transmitted through contact with bodily fluids. That is threat enough in war-torn cities without proper sewerage.

So far, the DRC outbreak seems controllable. Yet more than 11,000 people died in west Africa from an Ebola outbreak in 2014. And imagine if Ebola manages one day to become airborne, as flu did. If something like that happened in the modern world, we would rapidly find we were living in a fools’ paradise. And our present habit of forget and seeming in the other direction would seem a catastrophic act of global folly.

* Martin Kettle is a Guardian columnist

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Birds had to relearn flight after meteor wiped out dinosaurs

Fossil records indicate merely flightless birds survived when T rex was wiped off the Earth

Birds had to rediscover flight after the meteor strike that killed off the dinosaurs, scientists say.

The cataclysm 66 m years ago not only wiped out Tyrannosaurus rex and ground-dwelling dinosaur species, but also flying birds, a detailed survey of the fossil record suggests.

As woodlands burned around the world, the only birds to survive were flightless emu-like species that lived on the ground.

” Seeming at the fossil record, at plants and birds, there are multiple lines of proof is recommended that the forest canopies collapsed ,” said Regan Dunn, a member of the team from the Field Museum in Chicago, US.” Perching birds ran extinct because there were no more perches .”

The six to nine-mile-wide meteor struck the Earth off the coast of Mexico, releasing a million times more energy than the largest atom bomb. Hot debris raining from the sky is thought to have triggered global wildfires immediately after potential impacts.

Fossil records reveal that birds surviving the end of the Cretaceous period had long sturdy legs for living on the ground. Photo: Denver Museum of Nature& Science/ University of Bath

It took hundreds or even thousands of years for the world’s forests of palms and pines to recover. Fossil records from New Zealand, Japan, Europe and North America, all show evidence of mass deforestation. They also reveal that birds surviving the end of the Cretaceous period had long sturdy legs made for living on the ground. They resembled emus and kiwis, said the researchers whose findings are reported in the journal Current Biology.

” The ancestors of modern tree-dwelling birds did not move into the trees until the woods had recovered from the extinction-causing asteroid ,” told Daniel Field, from the University of Bath and a co-author of the paper published in Current Biology.

” Today, birds are the most diverse and globally widespread group of terrestrial vertebrate animals- there are nearly 11,000 living species ,” he added.” Merely a handful of ancestral bird ancestries succeeded in surviving the mass extinction event 66 million years ago, and all of today’s amazing living bird diversity can be traced to these ancient survivors .”

The team are now focused on reconstructing the recovery of bird populations and how new species emerged and thrived in the ecological niche left by the extinction of dinosaurs.

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Illegal online sales of endangered wildlife rife in Europe

Exclusive: Study observes 12,000 items worth$ 4m, including tusk, live orangutans and a large number of reptiles and birds for the pet trade

The online sale of endangered and threatened wildlife is rife across Europe, a new investigation has disclosed, ranging from live cheetahs, orangutans and bears to ivory, polar bear scalps and many live reptiles and birds.

Researchers from the International Fund for Animal Welfare( Ifaw) spent six weeks tracking adverts on 100 online marketplaces in four countries, the UK, Germany, France and Russia. They find more than 5,000 adverts offering to sell nearly 12,000 items, worth$ 4m( PS3m) in total. All the specimens were species in which trade is restricted or banned by the global Convention on the International Trade in Endangered Species.

Wildlife groups have worked with online marketplaces including eBay, Gumtree and Preloved to cut the trade and the results of the survey are an improvement compared to a previous Ifaw report in 2014. In March, 21 technology giants including Google, eBay, Etsy, Facebook and Instagram became part of the Global Coalition to End Wildlife Trafficking Online, and committed to bring the online illegal trade in threatened species down by 80% by 2020.

” It is great to see we are stimulating genuinely significant inroads into interrupting and dismantling the trade ,” told Tania McCrea-Steele at Ifaw.” But the scale of the trade is still enormous .”

Almost 20% of the adverts were for tusk and while the number had dropped significantly in the UK and France, a surge was seen in Germany, where merchants developed new code words to mask their marketings.” It is a war of attrition and we are capable of never let our guard down ,” said McCrea-Steele. The UK is implementing a stricter ban on ivory sales and the EU is under pressure from African nations to follow suit.

Reptiles for the pet trade were the single biggest group, attaining up 37% of the adverts, with live turtles and tortoises being sold in large numbers. Jeopardized birds were also common, attaining up 31% of the adverts. Parrots were the most frequently advertised, but nearly 500 owls and 350 birds of prey is likewise offered.

Most of the adverts of large, live animals were found in Russia, where big cats or bears are regarded by some as status emblems. Leopards, cheetahs and jaguars were all offered for sale in Russia, as were more than 130 live primates, including orangutans, lemurs and gibbons.

However, seven live primates were also may be in UK adverts and one live bear advert was found in Germany. More commonly offered for sale in the UK were big cat skins from lions, tigers and leopards, as well as polar bear skins.

Some endangered species can be legally traded, for example if they are bred in captivity. But it is often difficult to tell which marketings are legal, as few adverts provide sufficient information, such as credential numbers.” The legal trade can serve as cover for the illegal trade ,” cautioned McCrea-Steele.

The Ifaw researchers selected 327 of the adverts that appeared most clearly illegal and have shared the information with law enforcement authorities. McCrea-Steele said that online wildlife trading has become big business:” I have seen investigations where enforcers walk into a room of someone they have identified as trading online and they have floor-to-ceiling, wall-to-wall animal body parts- rooms of death, which are deeply disturbing .”

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Royal Wedding photos: first official pictures of Duke and Duchess of Sussex released

Photographs by Alexi Lubomirski include group images featuring Prince Harry and Meghans marriage entourage

The first official photos of the freshly marriage Duke and Duchess of Sussex have been released by Kensington Palace. Taken by Alexi Lubomirski, the photos include one illustrating the couple with the page boys and flower girls who assisted them during Saturday’s ceremony.

The Duke and Duchess of Sussex with( left to right ): Back row: Brian Mulroney, Remi Litt, Rylan Litt, Jasper Dyer, Prince George, Ivy Mulroney, John Mulroney. Front row: Zalie Warren, Princess Charlotte, Florence van Cutsem. Photo: Alexi Lubomirski/ PA

A second image features other members of the royal household, including Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip. Prince Harry’s friend, William, Duke of Cambridge, who acted as best man at the weekend also features, alongside their father, Prince Charles.

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Meghan Markle and Prince Harry marry as millions watch

Couple exchange pledges in Windsor Castle chapel before celebrity-studded congregation

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle, the new Duke and Duchess of Sussex, emerged from St George’s Chapel, Windsor after a wedding ceremony that dusted down royal tradition and injected gospel energy.

The couple served up many amazes, including the bride’s dress, and the fact she would be making a speech at the evening reception.

The secret of what she would wear managed to keep until the former actor, 36, stepped from her Rolls-Royce bridal car on to the steps of the chapel at Windsor Castle. A examine in simple elegance in white silk with a stunning develop, it was by the British designer Clare Waight Keller at the French fashion house Givenchy.

Meghan Markle enters the chapel. Photo: Pool/ Reuters

” You seem astounding ,” Harry whispered as he caught first sight of her.” Thank you ,” she replied.

The bride’s African-American roots were referred throughout a service that put diversity at its heart. There was gospel music. There was the energy of the Chicago-born preacher, the Most Rev Bishop Michael Curry, who delivered his memorable address on the power of love with fist-pumping vitality, invoking Martin Luther King Jr and the resilience of religion during slavery.

His voice rose above the colorful banners of the Garter knights and echoed around the last resting place of British sovereigns through the centuries. Eyes widened and guests exchanged smiles. This was certainly not traditional royal wedding fare.” We gotta get y’all married ,” he ultimately told the couple as he brought the the 14 -minute address

Asked about his sermon after the service, Curry, the first black presiding bishop and primate of the Episcopal Church, said:” It was a real joyful thing because there was a sense in which you had the fullness of the church represented in many respects .”

He said the wedding had brought everybody together:” That happened today, in different ways, different songs, different perspectives, different worlds and all of it came together and gave God thanks .”

” You could feel the energy, the reverend was sensational … it was probably the best marriage I’ve ever been to. It will go down in history ,” the rugby player James Haskell, who was among the guests, told afterward. The American actor Josh Gad tweeted:” Watching the Brits watch an American preacher do his thing in Windsor is giving me a life right now. It’s like watching Metallica do a concert at the Old Globe .”

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US pastor Michael Curry captures world’s attention with powerful royal bridal sermon – video

A box office guest listing of 600 set Hollywood starrings alongside royalty. The actor George Clooney and lawyer spouse Amal, the queen of the talk demonstrates, Oprah Winfrey, and the queen of the tennis tribunals, Serena Williams, sat in the historic quire opposite the Queen, Prince Philip and a full quota of senior royals. Markle’s close friends the Canadian stylist Jessica Mulroney and the fashion designer Misha Nonoo got VIP seats.

The performers Idris Elba, Tom Hardy and Carey Mulligan were spotted, along with the chatshow host James Corden, David and Victoria Beckham, Sir Elton John and Markle’s co-stars in the US legal drama Suits. Sporting heroes included the former England rugby union international Jonny Wilkinson. Harry’s former girlfriends Chelsy Davy and Cressida Bonas were also there.

Ten bridesmaids and pageboys- aged between two and seven and including Prince George and Princess Charlotte- accompanied her as she strolled through the nave of the 15 th-century chapel. Only when she reached the quire did she take the limb of Prince Charles, acting as a last-minute stand-in to give her away in the absence of her parent, Thomas Markle Sr, 73, who is regaining from a heart procedure in Mexico.” Thank you, Pa ,” Harry murmured to him.

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Prince Charles strolls Meghan Markle down aisle to marry Prince Harry – video

Throughout Harry, in the frock coat uniform of a major in the Blues and Royals regiment, seemed more nervous than his bride, who showed no sign of stage fright. He had arrived with Prince William, his best man, who was similarly attired.

The mother of the bride, Doria Ragland, 61, a yoga instructor and social worker from Los Angeles, who had accompanied her to the church in the bridal vehicle, smiled throughout. As they filed in to witness the signing of the registers, Charles offered Ragland his arm.

Symbolism was woven into almost every aspect. The bride’s posy of springtime blooms contained several flowers from their garden handpicked by Harry. Forget-me-Nots be listed in memory of his mother, the late Diana, Princess of Wales. Myrtle, from a plant grown by Queen Victoria, was incorporated as is traditional with royal brides.

Her five-metre-long silk tulle veil was trimmed with hand-embroidered blooms from the 53 countries of the Commonwealth. Two personal favourites were added: wintersweet, which grows in their Kensington Palace gardens, and California poppy, the state bloom from the bride’s place of birth. It was held in place by the Queen Mary diamond-and-platinum bandeau tiara- lent specially by the Queen.

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Harry and Meghan’s first kiss as husband and wife – video

After the service, the new Duke and Duchess of Sussex emerged into sunshine on the chapel steps.” Do we kiss ?” she whispered discreetly. “Yeah,” Harry replied.

The couple then built their route through Windsor’s streets in an Ascot landau pulled by four Windsor grey horses, and accompanied by a guard of the Household Cavalry, plumed and polished with breastplates and helmets gleaming.

Tens of thousands of spectators had lined the route. Windsor put on its best face, with three miles of bunting and thousands of flag-waving fans. Outside the castle grounds fans had travelled from far and wide.” There are people here from Italy, Belgium and Switzerland. It’s been great ,” said Thomas Defois, who travelled from Paris on Friday and slept overnight on the street.

As the carriage eventually pulled into the gated grounds of Windsor Castle, Harry appeared to say to his new bride:” I’m ready for a drink now”- at least, according to a lip reader.

Royal fans line the Long Stroll in Windsor towards the castle. Photo: David Mirzoeff/ PA

Inside St George’s Hall, where the Queen was hosting a lunchtime reception, there was Pol Roger Brut Reserve non-vintage champagne and a selection of wines for him and weddings guests to enjoy with canapes and bowl food. Sir Elton performed at the request of the groom.

Guests were said to be moved to tears as the Prince of Wales and newly marriage Prince Harry devoted speeches at the lunchtime reception.

Harry was praised as he referred to Meghan as his wife, just a short time after the couple were wed.

Suhani Jalota, founder of the India-based Myna Mahila charity, described the speeches as “lovely”.

She told:” Some people were even exclaiming. I think it was just a very, very nice atmosphere to be in where everybody felt really loved.

” Essentially, it was just about how Harry was as a child and growing up. And now just about the couple and how beautiful they are together. So, I think it was just about their personalities and how they gel really well together.

” He was talking about his wife and you know everybody was clapping because it was the first time he was using that term for Meghan, so it was really nice .”

Meghan has been a strong supporter of the charity, which works with women in Indian slums to provide affordable feminine hygiene products. Jalota said:” She truly knows her stuff( about the cause ). She’s not in it only because it’s trendy but actually because it matters .”

Charles was due to host a most intimate dinner for 200 guests at nearby Frogmore House in the evening.

Thousands of miles in Mexico, Thomas Markle Sr was reportedly watching on television.” My baby looks beautiful and she looks very happy. I wish I were there and I wish them all my love and all happiness ,” the celebrity website TMZ reported him saying.

He had, all too sadly, missed a few moments. His daughter had entered the chapel as Meghan Markle; she had left it as HRH Princess Henry of Wales, the Duchess of Sussex, Countess of Dumbarton and Baroness Kilkeel. She had claimed her place in history.

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