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09/07/2020 20:25:47  

Four Tory MPs named on nine-person committee expected to back ex-minister’s appointment

The accident-prone former cabinet minister Chris Grayling is expected to be appointed as chair of the powerful intelligence and security committee (ISC) next week after the Conservatives announced four other members who are expected to support him.

The former transport and justice secretary has long been Boris Johnson’s pick for the job but the plan has been partly disrupted by months of wrangling as the Tories searched for colleagues willing to vote for him.

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09/07/2020 19:25:29  

Boris Johnson has no intention of setting up an independent probe of Britain’s handling of the pandemic. MPs and civil society must take the initiative

On Wednesday the World Health Organization appointed a committee of inquiry, to be led by the former New Zealand prime minister, Helen Clark, and the ex-president of Liberia, Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, to evaluate the global response to the Covid-19 pandemic. They will produce an interim report in November and a full report in May 2021. For all its limitations, largely imposed by China, the inquiry is a highly important initiative. The pandemic is unrelenting and accelerating. If it is written with independence and authority, the report should help to produce a better model of international and national response to future waves of Covid-19 and to other pandemics.

Boris Johnson was rightly a supporter of an early and independent WHO inquiry. This stands in marked contrast to his cautious and evasive views on a possible inquiry into Britain’s own response. From early in the Covid-19 lockdown, there have been many calls for an inquiry here. Mr Johnson has made vaguely sympathetic noises, but he has never committed himself explicitly to the kind of inquiry that is needed. On 23 June, for example, the Liberal Democrat leader Ed Davey, who has led many of the calls, asked in the Commons whether the prime minister would set up an independent inquiry. Mr Johnson responded by saying: “I am sure there will come a moment when lessons need to be learned – indeed we are learning them the whole time – but I do not consider at the moment that a full-scale national inquiry is a good use of official time.”

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09/07/2020 16:25:19  

Microsoft today published technical details about a new security feature that will soon be part of Windows 10. From a report: Named Kernel Data Protection (KDP), Microsoft says this feature will block malware or malicious threat actors from modifying (corrupting) the operating system's memory. According to Microsoft, KDP works by giving developers access to programmatic APIs that will allow them to designate parts of the Windows kernel as read-only sections. "For example, we've seen attackers use signed but vulnerable drivers to attack policy data structures and install a malicious, unsigned driver," Microsoft's Base Kernel Team said today. "KDP mitigates such attacks by ensuring that policy data structures cannot be tampered with." Microsoft says this new technology was developed with security in mind but that it also has other applications, such as anti-cheat and digital rights management (DRM) software.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

09/07/2020 15:25:46  

Scarlet is joined by two other unreleased songs, Criss Cross and All the Rage, on a deluxe version of Goat’s Head Soup

A long-lost song the Rolling Stones recorded with Led Zeppelin’s Jimmy Page is to finally be released. Scarlet, thought to be named after Page’s daughter, was recorded in October 1974. It is described in a press release as having “layered guitar textures” from Page, and is “as infectious and raunchy as anything the band cut in this hallowed era”.

It is to be released on a deluxe edition of the Stones’ 1973 album Goats Head Soup, recorded in Jamaica and containing the atypical hit single, Angie. It is generally seen as a notch below the run of albums that preceded it, including Let It Bleed, Sticky Fingers and Exile on Main St, though Mick Jagger praised it above Main St on release, saying: “I really put all I had into it.”

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09/07/2020 15:25:34  

Based on the play by Katori Hall, this blisteringly entertaining new series shows the world of stripping through black female and queer characters

P-Valley, the stingingly fresh if unfortunately named Starz series by playwright Katori Hall about a strip club in the Mississippi Delta, frequently strips the pole dance of its sheen. (The show’s name is short for Pussy Valley, Hall’s 2015 play on which it’s based). In the middle of a routine, the show cuts the beat – you hear only the heavy breathing of Mercedes (Brandee Evans), as she holds a plank feet off the ground, the squeaky strain of the pole as she launches her red stilettos around, around and down the stage. The club is awash in dollar bills and cheers, packed with men, but the camera’s focus remains on Mercedes’s work – the finesse of pole-dancing as athletic feat, her body a beacon of training and talent, rather than sex appeal. This is her job, her art, and she’s incredible at it.

Related: Ju-On: Origins review – Netflix's gory but scare-free Grudge TV show

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09/07/2020 13:25:30  

Harvey, 85, was found on first floor of house in Bow after crane fell on Wednesday afternoon

A woman who died after a crane collapsed on to two terraced houses in east London has been named by her family as 85-year-old June Harvey.

Her great-nephew, Sam Atkinson, 28, who lived with Harvey, along with his mother, Jacqueline Atkinson, 63, said the family were “extremely traumatised” by the incident.

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09/07/2020 06:25:19  

Aisha Wakil knew many of Boko Haram’s fighters as children. Now she uses those ties to broker peace deals, mediate hostage negotiations and convince militants to put down their weapons – but as the violence escalates, her task is becoming impossible. By Chika Oduah

It was another scorching afternoon in Maiduguri. In the west of the city, in Nigeria’s north-east, 51-year-old Aisha Wakil sat in her office talking to a jihadi fighter named Usman. Wakil was draped head-to-toe in fine sequinned chiffon; a niqab covered most of her face, leaving visible only her dark eyes. Ka’aji, a sweet, woody incense that Wakil kept burning in a corner, perfumed the room.

Wakil and Usman kept their voices down. They were hashing out a secret plan to free a 16-year-old girl who was being held hostage by Boko Haram. It was May 2019, 10 years after the Islamist group had begun terrorising Nigeria as part of a jihad it was waging against the government. The violence, which had spilled into neighbouring countries, had left more than 30,000 people dead.

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09/07/2020 00:25:24  

Nando Parrado, the 150-1 Coventry Stakes winner, takes his name from a survivor of the Andes plane crash of 1972

The original Nando Parrado is said to be “thrilled” by the recent success of his namesake at Royal Ascot, where the colt in question was a shock winner of the Coventry Stakes at odds of 150-1. Parrado, one of the survivors of the 1972 plane crash in the Andes whose story was told in the 1993 movie Alive, had given his consent for the horse to be named after him.

The two-year-old’s trainer, Clive Cox, was asked on Wednesday whether Parrado knew of the success of the horse, who is now quoted in betting lists for next year’s 2,000 Guineas. “He most certainly does,” Cox said. “I’ve not spoken to him directly but I know the owners have, Paul and Marie McCarten. He’s thrilled he’s got such a high-profile horse competing with his name.”

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09/07/2020 00:25:23  

National Piers Society says award recognises decade of improvements made by owners

Clacton pier has been crowned pier of the year in what its co-owner called a “perfect morale booster” at a difficult time.

The Essex attraction reopened on 4 July after lockdown measures were eased, having been closed since late March.

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