UK announces new plan to help workers hit by pandemic LONDON — Britain’s treasury chief announced a new income support program Thursday for workers hurt by the coronavirus pandemic, as the government races to prevent widespread layoffs when earlier employer subsidies end next month. Chancellor Rishi Sunak, in a speech to lawmakers, unveiled his plan to subsidize the wages of workers whose hours are cut due to the pandemic as part of a wider package of measures to help businesses and bolster the economy. Businesses and labor unions had pressed the government to step in with more direct support for people in precarious work situations. Under a furloughed worker program that expires next month, the government pays 80% of the wages of workers placed on leave. “The primary goal of our economic policy remains unchanged — to support people’s jobs — but the way we achieve that must evolve,'' Sunak said, adding that the Conservative government wants to support viable jobs but not preserve those that are no longer needed.
Mahmoud Trezeguet downs Arsenal to lift Aston Villa out of relegation zone The cries at full-time, after one last foray from Arsenal was repelled and once Chris Kavanagh had finally blown his whistle, were so loud that for a moment it was tempting to wonder whether any supporters had sneaked inside. Aston Villa, left desolate by Theo Walcott’s equaliser at Goodison Park last Thursday, had moved out of the relegation zone for the first time since late February and nobody could fault the way they took their chance. Villa had been forced to sit and watch in the hope of an implosion above them for five days and it came courtesy of Watford, whose two demoralising defeats and latest change of manager handed Dean Smith’s team a sniff of a reprieve by the time they kicked off. It was seized upon through near-flawless defending at one end and, at the other, by a forward who has hit form at exactly the right time. Football Weekly
Donald Trump steps up wild attacks on Joe Biden as first debate looms Five weeks from from polling day, two days from the first presidential candidates’ debate, and moments after the New York Times published bombshell revelations about Donald Trump’s taxes, the US president took aim at his Democratic opponent Joe Biden with a series of wild and unproven accusations. In an unfocussed White House briefing, the president retailed baseless allegations, including that his Democratic opponent, Joe Biden had used “performance-enhancing drug” during appearances. Trump compared Biden’s performance across primary debates, including, according to the president, that he was stronger in some debates than others: “People say he was on performance-enhancing drugs.
'It was dehumanising': Jessica Shuran Yu condemns training abuse in China A world championship figure skater has urged the International Olympic Committee to do more to protect vulnerable young girls after detailing how she and others suffered abuse inside the Chinese system. Jessica Shuran Yu, who was born, raised and trained in China and competed in the 2017 world championships before helping to coach junior skaters, told the Guardian that a “culture of physical discipline” was common in the country, with athletes also frequently criticised as “lazy”, “stupid”, “retarded”, “useless” and “fat”. Yu said she was regularly hit with a plastic skate guard after she made mistakes and another punishment involved being kicked so hard with the toe-pick of a skate that it bloodied her shin and left a lasting scar. “The abuse started from the age of 11 when I started being told to reach out a hand whenever I made mistakes,” she said.
Google Pixel phone 'designed for economic downturn' image copyrightGoogle Google's hardware chief has said its new flagship smartphone was designed to go on sale during an economic downturn. As a result, the Pixel 5 has abandoned some of its predecessor's headline features and runs on a slower chip in order to be sold at a lower price. However, it does gain 5G connectivity and some new photography capabilities. Experts say it will face tough competition from other mid-range Android handsets, but the included bundle of Google services could help.
Leroy Sané completes move to Bayern Munich from Manchester City Leroy Sané has completed his move to Bayern Munich from Manchester City, joining the German champions in a deal worth an initial €45m (£40.9m) plus add-ons. Sané has signed a five-year contract with Bayern after the two clubs agreed a deal that should quickly rise to €49m (£44.1m) through achievable add-on fees. The total value of the transfer with all additional fees is thought to be €60m (£54.1m). “Bayern is a great club with big goals – and these goals suit me as well,” the 24-year-old Sané told the club’s official website. Smoke choking California again as dangerous fire conditions continue Smoke from nearly two dozen wildfires burning across California will continue to darken skies across the west this weekend, as residents prepare for more heat, toxic air and conditions that are expected to keep fueling the flames. The National Weather Service reports that both excessive heat warnings and heat advisories will remain in effect along California’s coast, while the Bay Area Air Quality Management District has extended its Spare the Air Alert through Tuesday, with air quality deemed “unhealthy”. Meanwhile the state is closing in on a devastating new record, with close to 4m acres now consumed by wildfires this season. “It’s likely that over the next day or two we will crest the 4m-acre mark. The biggest year before this year was 1.54m,” said Thom Porter, a chief with the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection, or Cal Fire.
England v Pakistan: second Test, day five start delayed – live! 1.00pm BST13:00 There'll now be an inspection at 1.40pm BST I guess if there’s no more rain, we might be able to play within the hour after that, but in the meantime, I’m going to have some scran, wishing I’d defrosted the sausages in the freezer. 12.59pm BST12:59 Billionaires' wealth rises to $10.2 trillion amid Covid crisis The world’s billionaires “did extremely well” during the coronavirus pandemic, growing their already-huge fortunes to a record high of $10.2tn (£7.8tn). A report by Swiss bank UBS found that billionaires increased their wealth by more than a quarter (27.5%) at the height of the crisis from April to July, just as millions of people around the world lost their jobs or were struggling to get by on government schemes. The report found that billionaires had mostly benefited from betting on the recovery of global stock markets when they were at their nadir during the global lockdowns in March and April. UBS said billionaires’ wealth had hit “a new high, surpassing the previous peak of $8.9tn reached at the end of 2017”. The number of billionaires has also hit a new high of 2,189, up from 2,158 in 2017.
Beethoven: where to start with his music It’s not only because this year is the 250th anniversary of his birth that Ludwig van Beethoven (1770-1827) is the obvious composer with whom to begin a series like this, just as it’s no accident of history that almost two centuries after his death, Beethoven is still seen as the archetype of the great composer – the gruff, uncompromising genius increasingly cut off from the world by deafness, who forged his own artistic path, increasingly regardless of what others thought of him and his work. The music you might recognise The music by which he’s known to the wider world – whether it’s his Fifth Symphony, with its V for Victory motto that became such a symbol of hope for the allies during the second world war, the setting of Schiller’s Ode to Joy that ends his Ninth, or piano works such as the Moonlight Sonata and the bagatelle Für Elise, known to generations of aspiring pianists – tells only a small part of the Beethoven story. His life … … And times
Second presidential debate canceled but Trump plans in-person events The second presidential debate between Donald Trump and Joe Biden has been cancelled, the Commission on Presidential Debates confirmed Friday, a move that came as the president announced his first in-person events since being diagnosed with Covid-19. The decision by the nonpartisan commission follows a public disagreement between the two candidates over the debate’s format. The commission had previously announced the debate would take place “virtually” due to Trump’s diagnosis. Trump, however, said he would refuse to participate in a virtual event, while Biden advocated for it for safety reasons.
‘I don’t let regret in’: Pierce Brosnan on love, loss and his life after Bond I am 10 minutes into my Zoom interview with Pierce Brosnan when his son Dylan arrives off-screen with his father’s coffee. “Did you put sugar in this?” he says to the 23-year-old. “Some more milk, please, I don’t take mine black.” Biden leads Trump by 17 points as election race enters final stage Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden’s lead over Donald Trump has surged to a record 17 points as the US election enters its final sprint, an Opinium Research and Guardian opinion poll shows. Some 57% of likely voters intend to vote for Biden, while just 40% say they will vote for the incumbent president, the survey shows. The 17-point gap is even bigger than than 57%-41% margin found by CNN earlier this month. It is just short of the lead in the popular vote that Ronald Reagan enjoyed in his second landslide victory in 1984.