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Cake day: August 1st, 2023

  • This is the best summary I could come up with:

    But BrewDog’s latest Make Earth Great Again (MEGA) report published on Tuesday claimed many carbon credits were now of ‘highly questionable’ environmental benefit and that the costs of those it could trust had ‘gone through the roof’.

    But workers have reacted negatively to BrewDog’s decision to abandon its eco-friendly pledge in what they see as another step away from the brewery’s so-called ‘punk’ ethos that once saw its co-founders blow up cans of Heineken as a PR stunt.

    ‘Whether it be on refusing to meet workers over the abandonment of the real living wage or claiming to be the first carbon negative brewery in the country, BrewDog appear to have given up on being the ethical business that their whole brand is built on.’

    The end of BrewDog’s carbon negative claim comes after James Watt stood down as company boss in May this year - amid allegations of inappropriate conduct first raised in a BBC Scotland investigation in 2022.

    Mr Watt, who is dating Made In Chelsea star Georgia Toffolo, appeared to attempt to warn staff away from taking part in the documentary in a post on BrewDog’s Equity for Punks investors forum reported by the Guardian.

    The programme included reports that Mr Watt had purchased £500,000 of shares in Heineken and invested £2million in a Cayman Islands hedge fund - suggesting a damaging contrast between his business dealings and BrewDog’s ‘punk’ image.

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    A pro-Scottish independence newspaper has issued an apology for resorting to “lazy stereotypes” after it was heavily criticised over its front page urging Spain to take “revenge” on England in the Euro 2024 final.

    The National said it had set out to make a “light-hearted joke” but conceded it “crossed a line” in its poor depiction of England supporters.

    "Ni siquiera se molestan en aprender el idioma [they don’t even bother to learn the language]!

    The callers were instead given advice on making a complaint to the paper’s editor, Laura Webster, and ombudsman, Independent Press Standards Organisation (IPSO).

    Author Christopher Brookmyre removed himself from The National’s Euro 2024 charity sweepstake, branding the front page “boorish, offensive and embarrassing”.

    Even SNP Westminster leader Stephen Flynn, who openly supported whatever team England played against in the competition, appeared to take aim at it, saying: "Football rivalry at club and international level is normal and healthy.

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    The Norwich South MP did not refer to “his heirs and successors” after a mention of the king when he said during a swearing in last week: “I take this oath under protest and in the hope that one day my fellow citizens will democratically decide to live in a republic.

    “Until that time I do solemnly, sincerely and truly declare and affirm that I will be faithful and bear true allegiance to His Majesty King Charles, according to law.”

    Lewis said on X on Tuesday: “After omitting to swear allegiance to King Charles’ ‘heirs and successors’ last week, I’ve had to take the oath again in order to sit in the House of Commons.

    He also posted a photo of a letter he received from the House of Commons Journal Office, which said his omission of part of the oath meant there was “doubt about whether the manner in which you made the affirmation is legally valid”.

    His colleague Claire Hanna prefaced it in Irish and English when she was sworn in, saying: “In friendship and in hope of a reconciled new Ireland, my allegiance is to the people of Belfast South and Mid Down & I say these words in order to serve them.”

    He adjourned the session after about 36 minutes, with the remaining handful of MPs who are yet to be sworn in expected to do so on Wednesday afternoon before the king’s speech debate.

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    The group was formed in 1989 and, in case you weren’t around back then, ignited the great split in the Tory party, after Margaret Thatcher made a speech in Bruges calling a halt to any closer federalism in Europe.

    Though she was never mad enough to be a leaver, this group used her words to send the first Brexit snowball rolling downhill until it turned into the avalanche that finally broke the Tory party into pieces.

    Most were for Farage – ending net zero, cutting taxes, quitting the European convention on human rights, shrinking the state, stamping out “wokery” and, of course, “maximising the benefits of Brexit”.

    Tim Bale, one of the survey’s authors, told me the idea of “uniting the right is flawed”: many more Conservative voters would flee a Reform merged party.

    Successful populist parties in Europe are social and cultural conservatives, especially on immigration, but in Hungary, the Netherlands, France and Italy they all moved left on the economy, the size of the state, pensions and public services according to the Financial Times’ data cruncher John Burn-Murdoch.

    But since right economics are burrowed deep in their DNA, it would take a gigantic political somersault to abandon their principles of free markets, a small state, and cuts to taxes and public-sector spending.

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    In his first overseas visit since Labour’s election landslide, Reynolds will tell a G7 meeting of trade ministers in the Italian city of Reggio Calabria that the new UK government wants to foster a “closer, more mature relationship with our friends in the EU”.

    Aiming to reset relations after a volatile period under successive Conservative administrations since the 2016 Brexit vote, he is expected to tell international ministers that Britain is “back on the world stage and ‘open for business’”.

    The meetings come as Keir Starmer tries to build closer links with Brussels by hosting EU leaders at Blenheim Palace near Oxford on Thursday, as part of a one-day European Political Community summit.

    Under the terms of the Brexit deal finalised by Boris Johnson’s government in late December 2020, and in force since January 2021, the UK and the EU are committed to reviewing the implementation of the agreement every five years, with Starmer expected to oversee the first such process in 2026.

    Reynolds is expected on Tuesday to hold his first in-person meetings with G7 counterparts since his appointment earlier this month, including with the vice-president of the EU Commission Valdis Dombrovskis and the German vice-chancellor, Robert Habeck.

    The US president, Joe Biden, appeared last week to back Starmer’s ambitions for closer EU ties, telling the prime minister in talks at the White House that this would also strengthen the transatlantic alliance with Washington.

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    Davies, 62, mocked the employee of his car sales and property business in the days before lockdown after she expressed her health fears to colleagues.

    The woman had asked fellow workers at Cawdor Cars to socially distance from her – as was recommended by officials – because she suffered from psoriatic arthritis and an autoimmune condition.

    The employment judge Tobias Vincent Ryan said Davies “coughed in her direction deliberately and loudly, commenting that she was being ridiculous”.

    Judge Ryan said Davies set out to “ridicule and intimidate” the woman with his “gross behaviour” on 17 March 2020 – a week before the first lockdown was announced.

    Judge Ryan found other members of the firm’s management team overheard the coughing incident, but he said when called to give evidence in the tribunal they came across “defensively and as not being wholly straightforward”.

    The judge ordered that the woman receive a payout of £26,438.84 – with Cawdor Cars handing her £18,000 in damages for injury to feelings and Davies paying £3,841.94 for unfair dismissal and £4,596.90 in interest.

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    Labour’s plans for boosting workers’ rights are backed by voters across the political spectrum, including a majority of Conservative and Reform supporters, new polling commissioned by the TUC shows.

    As the new government prepares to set out its programme in the king’s speech on Wednesday, the TUC is urging ministers to press ahead with implementing their manifesto pledges on workers’ rights in full.

    The new deal for working people has been championed by the deputy prime minister, Angela Rayner, amid concerns among some in the union movement that aspects of the plan could be diluted in the face of pressure from business.

    The junior business minister Justin Madders, who was heavily involved in Labour’s workers’ rights agenda in opposition, is expected to shepherd the legislation through the House of Commons.

    A Department for Business and Trade spokesperson said: “Delivering a new deal for working people is a core part of our national mission to grow the economy and raise living standards across the UK.

    Some business groups have expressed reservations about the workers’ rights agenda, with Rupert Soames, the president of the Confederation of British Industry, warning that the plans could make employers reluctant to take on new staff.

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    MILWAUKEE (AP) — Former President Donald Trump chose Sen. JD Vance of Ohio as his running mate on Monday, picking a onetime critic who became a loyal ally and is now the first millennial to join a major-party ticket at a time of deep concern about the advanced age of America’s political leaders.

    The 39-year-old Vance rose to national fame with the 2016 publication of his memoir, “Hillbilly Elegy.” He was elected to the Senate in 2022 and has become one of the staunchest champions of the former president’s “Make America Great Again” agenda, particularly on trade, foreign policy and immigration.

    Vance, Trump said, “will be strongly focused on the people he fought so brilliantly for, the American Workers and Farmers in Pennsylvania, Michigan, Wisconsin, Ohio, Minnesota, and far beyond.” Several of those Midwestern states are expected to play a critical role in November’s election.

    Vance has become a fixture on the conservative media circuit and frequently spars with reporters on Capitol Hill, helping establish him as the kind of leader who could carry Trump’s mantle into the future, beginning with the next presidential election in 2028.

    Vance was rewarded for his turnaround during his bid for an open Senate seat in 2022, during which he landed Trump’s coveted endorsement and rode it to victory in a crowded Republican primary and a general election hard fought by Democrats.

    Ryan pointed to reports that the organization made payments to a Vance political adviser and conducted public opinion polling, even as its actual efforts to address addiction largely floundered.

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    The Conservatives took an election campaign donation from a property firm part-owned by one of the UK’s richest men just days after he was jailed by a Swiss court for exploiting domestic staff.The party received £50,000 from Westminster Development Services Limited, which was established in 2015 by a consortium of investors led by the Hinduja Group.Company records show the firm is part-owned by Prakash Hinduja’s AMC Project Services Limited.The donation was received on 1 July, just 10 days after Prakash Hinduja and his wife Kamal were found guilty of exploitation and illegal employment by a Swiss court and sentenced to four years and six months in prison.They did not attend court proceedings, pleading ill health.They were acquitted of the more serious charge of human trafficking.Their lawyers said they would appeal.A Conservative Party spokesperson said: “Donations to the Conservative Party are properly and transparently declared to the Electoral Commission, openly published by them, and comply fully with the law”.Westminster Development Services is best known for redeveloping the site of the former Old War Office building on Whitehall as a Raffles hotel complex.Westminster Development Services Limited has declined to comment.

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    Wes Streeting has defended his decision to make permanent a ban on puberty blockers being prescribed to children for gender-based reasons after the move was criticised by a series of Labour MPs.

    But Labour MPs including Stella Creasy said that while the review published earlier this year by the paediatrician Dr Hilary Cass recommended caution, this did not mean a complete ban.

    News of Streeting’s decision prompted a reaction from some Labour MPs over the weekend, with Creasy saying the Cass review “recommended caution, not exclusion” on puberty blockers for children.

    Defending his decision to stick with Atkins’s stance, Streeting said the evidence that puberty blockers were safe for such use “should have been established before they were ever prescribed”, and that a clinical trial was being set up.

    Arguing that the use of such drugs for gender dysphoria was clinically very different from their prescription to much younger children to prevent very early puberty, Streeting said: “We don’t yet know the risks of stopping pubertal hormones at this critical life stage.

    They wrote: “In line with the review’s recommendations, steps must be taken to cut waiting lists for trans youth, address long-term staffing issues, move towards a decentralised, equitable system for accessing care (including through the provision of regional centres), provide comprehensive training for NHS staff on how best to support and work sensitively with trans and questioning young people, and better address the current toxicity of public debate which is actively harmful to young people.”

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    The UK government’s adviser on political violence said the growth of a “toxic, dangerous environment” in public life increased the risk of there being an assassination attempt on a British politician, as he called on the home secretary to launch an investigation into the intimidation of candidates in the election.

    In an interview with the Guardian on Sunday, Woodcock, who has the title Lord Walney, said the apparent attempted murder of Donald Trump was “a vivid reminder of the vulnerability of all politicians”.

    The peer called on Cooper and the security minister, Dan Jarvis, to commission a short inquiry to establish whether groups in different constituencies were working together before the 4 July general election.

    In his letter to Cooper, Woodcock said there had been a “concerted campaign by extremists to create a hostile atmosphere for MPs within their constituencies to compel them to cave into political demands”.

    Woodcock said on Sunday he wanted the home secretary to “call an urgent review of the environment around Whitehall” where “there can be clear points of vulnerability” for MPs – as well as better protections at MP’s offices.

    The Labour MP Jess Phillips said she had to make regular calls to the police during the election campaign as her supporters had tyres slashed and were filmed in the street.

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    For those just joining us, this is for the new Nexus Mods app that will eventually replace things like Vortex with full Linux support so you can mod on desktop Linux and Steam Deck much easier as I reported on earlier in July and initially back in November last year.

    Version 0.5.3 of the app includes all these fixes on top of experimental Cyberpunk 2077 support:

    Windows: Fixed log file creation failing due to illegal character in path (#1728).

    Linux: Upgraded GameFinder to fix an issue with not being able to find Steam installed as a Flatpak or Snap (#1720).

    Just to note: it didn’t initially launch for me, I had to remove the configs from the previous version to get this latest to work.

    The bug was reported but given it’s in Alpha, such breakages are to be expected and they don’t plan to support migrations yet.

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    The government’s adviser on political violence has written to the home secretary asking to investigate the intimidation of candidates during the general election.Lord Walney is suggesting there could have been a “concerted campaign by extremists”.

    He is urging Yvette Cooper and Security Minister Dan Jarvis to commission a short inquiry to find out if groups in different constituencies were working together and to document what he calls the “dark underbelly” of abuse.The Home Office said it takes reports of intimidation, harassment and abuse “extremely seriously”, adding that officials are contacting affected individuals.

    In the letter, seen by the BBC, Lord Walney said evidence from the last couple of months points to a “concerted campaign by extremists to create a hostile atmosphere for MPs within their constituencies to compel them to cave into political demands”.

    He writes the “conduct of the election campaign in many communities has underlined the gravity of the threat to our democracy” from the abuse and intimidation of politicians, local and national.

    After the events of the campaign, he suggests the new government might have to go further.His concerns follow comments from the Speaker Sir Lindsay Hoyle, who told the BBC: “if there is something that keeps me awake at night, it is the safety of MPs”.

    During the election campaign, candidates reported a hammer attack on their office, masked men interrupting a community meeting, tyres being slashed and MPs being filmed and followed.

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    As Donald Trump recovers from an assassination attempt and Republicans head to Milwaukee for his coronation this week, the GOP elite has rallied around a new messaging strategy: emotionally blackmailing Democratic politicians, journalists, Hollywood celebs, and numerous other Trump critics into shutting up about the former president’s openly authoritarian vows and his extreme policy agenda.

    “When the message goes out constantly that the election of Donald Trump would be a threat to democracy and that the Republic would end, it heats up the environment,” House Speaker Mike Johnson (R-La.)

    Top Trump ally Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) said Sunday he had been “worried about this for a very, very long time,” adding: “You know, if he wins, democracy is not going to end.

    Such plans were hatched hours before it became public that the shooter, Thomas Matthew Crooks, was a registered Republican; his motive has continued to elude law enforcement and even his own neighbors.

    Trump and his closest allies are pledging to punish President Joe Biden and other top Democrats and jail his political opponents; unleash the National Guard and active-duty troops on Democratic-controlled cities whenever he wishes; end the Justice Department’s independence so he can use it to crush his foes, shut down his criminal cases, and erase any hope of accountability for his alleged crimes; retaliate against media outlets that cover him negatively; deport pro-Palestine protesters; oversee an unprecedented crackdown on immigrants, potentially erecting a vast network of camps on U.S. soil; further institutionalize his anti-democratic lies and conspiracy theories that led directly to the Jan. 6 attack; and even invade and bomb Mexico if he feels like it.

    Trump is calling now for “peace” and “unity,” but he has a lengthy track record of downplaying or excusing the harm done to the victims of pro-Trump violence — to the point that late last year he was onstage mocking House Speaker Emerita Nancy Pelosi’s husband after he was brutally attacked by a Trump-supporting conspiracy theorist wielding a hammer.

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    Conspiracy theories about the shooting at a rally for Donald Trump began surfacing on X shortly after the news broke this afternoon, with the platform promoting topics including “#falseflag” and “staged” to users.

    X owner Elon Musk has staunchly advocated for “free speech” on social media platforms — which can include misinformation like the above.

    Bloomberg reported yesterday that Musk donated to a super PAC supporting Trump, giving a “sizable amount” to reelection efforts.

    Musk has taken on increasingly conservative views in recent years, promoting the “great replacement” conspiracy theory and endorsing support for white pride.

    Facebook’s search results primarily pointed to news outlets; the platform removed its trending topics section in 2018 over constant complaints about its curation.

    Threads occasionally displayed conspiracy-related posts atop its trending topic for the incident, but they didn’t appear to surface consistently.

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    Energy think tank Ember found that major growth in wind and solar helped push global electricity production past this milestone in 2023.

    Its authors say that this rapid growth has brought the world to a crucial turning point where fossil fuel generation starts to decline.

    “You also have the invasion of Ukraine which increased the sense of urgency around transitioning to clean power and getting off relying on fossil fuels - not just coal but also gas, and particularly from Russia.

    Plans were put in place to help individual member states reach renewable energy targets and deploy technologies at a national scale.

    “Certainly you can’t ignore that there was some demand [based] impact on the decrease in use of fossil fuels, but also there was a significant role of wind and solar replacing it.”

    Normally this would have meant that the clean energy capacity added around the world last year would have caused fossil fuel generation to drop by 1.1 per cent.

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    Politicians swiftly coalesced around the language of “political violence,” rather than terrorism, to describe the assassination attempt, carried out by Thomas Matthew Crooks, who was shot dead at the Western Pennsylvania rally.

    “The idea that there’s political violence … in America like this, is just unheard of, it’s just not appropriate,” said President Joe Biden, the backer of Israel’s genocidal war against Palestine, with a death toll that researchers believe could reach 186,000 Palestinians.

    Biden’s narrower point was correct, though: Deadly attacks on the American ruling class are vanishingly rare these days.

    “There is absolutely no place for political violence in our democracy,” tweeted former President Barack Obama, who oversaw war efforts and military strikes against Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, Libya, Yemen, Somalia, and Pakistan with massive civilian death tolls; Obama added that we should “use this moment to recommit ourselves to civility and respect in our politics.” “There is no place for political violence, including the horrific incident we just witnessed in Pennsylvania,” wrote Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y.

    Trump and his Republican Party will no doubt remain committed to a political imaginary of apocalyptic race war and paranoid tribalism, which the assassination attempt will likely only feed.

    Democratic leaders will call for civility and continue to fill the coffers of police departments nationwide, while sending billions of condition-free dollars and bombs to Israel.

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    Speaking at HMP Five Wells in Northamptonshire, Ms Mahmood said jails had been operating at 99% capacity since the start of last year and were now weeks away from running out of space.If that happened overflow police cells would be filled, she warned, leading to “van-loads of dangerous people circling the country with nowhere to go”.She added: "Soon, the courts would grind to a halt, unable to hold trials.“With officers unable to act, criminals could do whatever they want, without consequence.

    As Ms Mahmood painted a bleak picture she would have been aware that allowing some prisoners out early will not be popular with some people.But she stressed that she had been “left with no choice at all” blaming the previous Conservative government for the crisis.

    Ms Mahmood knows that the questions and criticism will quickly come her way if this scheme does not work or leads to a rise in offences.Conservative shadow security minister Tom Tugendhat said in a social media post: "In what world is releasing 20,000 criminals onto our streets a good idea.

    Ex-Labour MP Harriet Harman believes that too many women are being locked up and says the criminal justice system should deal with them in a different way.

    “Most women are in prison for very short sentences for non-violent crimes, [and] most themselves have been victims of violence as well,” she told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme.

    "The chief inspector of prisons Charlie Taylor said “this measure will inevitably lead to the early release of some risky offenders” but a decision on how to tackle the issue “needed to be taken and none would have been without risk”.

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    But before breaking up the band, the politically motivated and self-described “gay furry hackers” published a bunch of furious messages that SiegedSec claims were sent to them by Mike Howell, the executive director of the Heritage Foundation’s Oversight Project.

    The feud began on July 9 after SiegedSec said it obtained usernames, passwords, logs and “other juicy info” belonging to the Heritage Foundation, and then leaked that private data online in response to the org producing and promoting Project 2025.

    Project 2025 is a lengthy and fairly detailed blueprint that outlines how a future conservative president – such as, say, Donald Trump should he win the election again – could overhaul the federal government and public policy to enact a far-Right agenda and give huge powers to the executive branch.

    And ultimately, it seeks to expand the executive branch’s power, ensure that federal agencies and their leaders and rank-and-file fall heavily in line with the president’s agenda and “push back against woke policies in corporate America” [PDF].

    SiegedSec, whose previous targets have included America’s biggest nuclear power lab’s computer systems and NATO (on multiple occasions), said it took issue with Project 2025’s “authoritarian Christian nationalist plan to reform the United States government.”

    From there the messages said to have been sent from Howell become increasingly dark, lecturing the crew on beastiality and how it’s a “weird sin,” calling them perverts," and then telling vio “you won’t be able to wear a furry tiger costume when you’re getting pounded in the ass in the federal prison I put you in next year.”

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    Under DNC rules, requests to nominate a candidate must be presented in writing and include written approval from the proposed nominee – as well as a petition with signatures from at least 300 convention delegates.

    Another complicating factor: a plan announced by the Democratic National Committee long before Biden’s disastrous debate to do a virtual roll call vote sometime before the convention.

    At the convention, each candidate would be allowed 20 minutes of supporting speeches from the people nominating and seconding them – and then there would be a roll call vote by states, in alphabetical order.

    An open convention would be “reality TV like you can’t imagine,” said Elaine Kamarck, a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution and a DNC member.

    Then, while the primary was still underway, Robert F. Kennedy was assassinated, leaving Vice President Hubert Humphrey to battle it out with anti-war Senator Eugene McCarthy.

    Republican Richard Nixon won the election that November and Democrats instituted a series of reforms to the nominating process to give regular voters more say.

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