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Arshdeep Singh hopes to answer India's call for left-arm pacers

The 22-year-old has been impressive for Punjab Kings in IPL, but wants to hone his bowling further in domestic cricket and then push for India selection.

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Omicron: Even The Good News Seems Bad

Would you like to hear something that sounds like good news but may be swamped by the bad? Early data from South Africa finds that the Omicron variant may lead to a less severe illness than first feared. Preliminary data from the Steve Biko and Tshwane District Hospital Complex in Pretoria showed that on December 2 only nine of the 42 patients on the Covid ward were being treated for the virus and were in need of oxygen. The remainder of the patients, all of whom were unvaccinated, had tested positive but were asymptomatic and being treated for other conditions, data from the South African Medical Research Council found. Milder symptoms are certainly better than the alternative, and I don’t want to be one of the men of the internet who goes ‘heyyy actually that good news is bad for reasons, tweet 1/59’. However... It is also becoming clearer that Omicron is more transmissible than Delta. Professor Neil Ferguson told The Times that data “suggests a doubling time of three days or less” for Omicron. Boris Johnson told his Cabinet as much today. A more transmissible virus, even with less severe symptoms, still has the ability to drive many more hospitalisations and swamp healthcare systems in this country and around the world. It is simple mathematics. The hope is of course that with 81 per cent of Brits double vaccinated and more than one-third having received a booster, we can avoid that eventuality. Elsewhere in the paper, the Trafalgar Square Christmas tree could be replaced. Oslo Council is set to vote on whether to send a new tree after people took to social media to complain parts of the one gifted this year were missing. However, the opposition leader of the Conservative Party in Oslo, Anne Haabeth Rygg said she was worried a new tree wouldn’t arrive in time. How is this not a straight to Netflix Christmas caper starring Jennifer Aniston and Will Ferrell? In the comment pages, Matthew d’Ancona writes that an office Christmas party might foreshadow the Prime Minister’s fall, because while voters are not shocked by lies, hypocrisy is a different matter. Meanwhile, City Editor Oscar Williams-Grut warns SSE’s management to be wary of activist investor Elliott Advisors’ blasting tanks. Finally – and my only regret is I could not quite bring myself to lead with it – via the world-famous Londoner’s Diary: Andrew Neil tells Jennifer Arcuri he’ll take legal action over her tweet falsely alleging links between him and paedophile Jeffrey Epstein. This article appears in our newsletter, West End Final – delivered 4pm daily – bringing you the very best of the paper, from culture and comment to features and sport. Sign up here. Read More Sturgeon warns of ‘significant risks’ of Omicron after tenfold rise in cases Weekly reported cases of Covid-19 in UK highest since January Discounted theatre tickets on offer to support West End recovery

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RB Leipzig vs Man City LIVE: Champions League team news, line-ups and more tonight

Follow live as Manchester City travel to RB Leipzig in the Champions League tonight. City have already sealed top spot in Group A and are now playing for mere points and prize money, with their final fixture. Pep Guardiola knows the hard work is already done and this match will be about rotation, freshening up the team and giving an opportunity to those on the fringes a chance to stake their claim ahead of a tough run of games across Christmas and the new year. “There’s many games to come and it’s the toughest part of the season with many games. We are going to try to continue at this level and this rhythm,” he said after the weekend win over Watford. “I’m more than pleased with what the guys have done in this tough period and now comes the toughest one for the amount of games, weather, injuries. We (will) keep going with this rhythm and try to play good.” There’s much more riding on it for Leipzig, who may need a result to seal third place and Europa League action. They have to match whatever result Club Brugge earn against Paris Saint-Germain in the group’s other fixture, played at the same time. Follow live updates from RB Leipzig vs Man City below: Read More Jack Grealish deserves time to learn Pep Guardiola’s unique football language at Manchester City Kevin De Bruyne warned he must ‘fight for a position’ at Manchester City Champions League group stage: Who needs what to reach last-16 knockouts in final round of games

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Biden backlash in Nevada raises Republicans' hopes of taking back Senate in 2022

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell didn't get the candidate he wanted in New Hampshire. He's seen states like Pennsylvania and Arizona turn into brutal primary fights. And he's had to deal with the constant barrage of attacks from former President Donald Trump over his leadership.

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Fortnite Miles Morales, Green Goblin Skins Teased

Epic Games appears to have teased skins for Miles Morales and the Green Goblin through a combination of in-game and online hints.

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Explainer: Malaysian ex-PM Najib and the 1MDB scandal

KUALA LUMPUR (Reuters) - A court in Malaysia will on Wednesday deliver its verdict on an appeal by former premier

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Maggie Wilson posts cryptic message about 'truth,' denies romantic relationship with another businessman

Former beauty queen Maggie Wilson posted a cryptic message on social media about “truth.” On Instagram Dec. 7, Maggie wrote: “There are 3 things that cannot be hidden for long. The sun, the moon, and the truth. Soon!” Is she going to make a big reveal soon? Could it be the truth on her separation with former husband businessman Victor Consunji? On Sept. 27, Maggie announced her breakup with Victor. They were married for almost 11 years. They have a son, Connor. Maggie said on IG she just arrived in Manila. Also, businessman Tim Connor denied rumors he and Maggie were in a romantic relationship. Maggie shared a post from Tim’s Instagram Story. “We both get asked this countless times a day. Despite what you may have heard to be absolutely clear, neither @WilsonMaggie nor I had an affair with each other,” wrote Tim. Maggie and Tim have appeared together on the cover of a Dubai-based lifestyle magazine.

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U.S. bank executives worried about sustained high inflation

By Matt Scuffham NEW YORK (Reuters) -U.S. bank executives on Tuesday raised concerns about the impact of a sustained period

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Deluge triggers flood watches in Hawaii as more rain expected in western islands

(Reuters) -Hawaii prepared for more rainfall on Tuesday after the Pacific island chain was beset with torrential downpours that caused

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Soccer-Rangers fans can now attend Lyon game after travel ban lifted

(Reuters) -Rangers have been put in an "impossible situation" after a U-turn by French authorities on allowing their fans to

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EU may face shortage of key materials for diagnostics, cancer treatments

By Francesco Guarascio BRUSSELS (Reuters) -The European Union may face a shortage of radioactive isotopes key to diagnosing a range

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Exclusive-Up to 1 million COVID vaccines wasted in Nigeria last month

By Edward McAllister, Libby George and Stephanie Nebehay DAKAR (Reuters) - Up to one million COVID-19 vaccines are estimated to have

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Iceland Cuts Power to Industry, Turns Away New Bitcoin Miners

(Bloomberg) -- A lack of power in Iceland has caused the island’s main utility, Landsvirkjun, to reduce supplies to some

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Covid: UK reports highest weekly number of new cases since January

The UK has reported its highest number of weekly Covid-19 cases since January, new figures show. A total of 336,893 new infections were recorded in the past seven days, including 45,691 on Tuesday, government data revealed. This is the highest number for a seven-day period since the week to 16 January, when 339,956 were reported. Weekly cases during the second wave of the virus peaked at 417,620, for the seven days to 9 January. The latest data also showed a further 180 people had died within 28 days of testing positive for Covid. Separate figures published by the Office for National Statistics show there have now been 171,000 deaths registered in the UK where Covid-19 was mentioned on the death certificate. The data followed a warning from Boris Johnson that the omicron variant appeared to be “more transmissible” than delta. The prime minister updated the cabinet on the latest situation on Tuesday morning, as a scientist warned cases of the omicron variant in the UK are soon expected to be higher than in some African countries placed on the travel red list. Prof Spector, professor of genetic epidemiology at King’s College London, told BBC Breakfast there was “very little point” in having travel restrictions if case numbers exceeded those in red list countries. A total of 437 cases of omicron had been confirmed across the UK as of Tuesday, including 333 in England, 99 in Scotland and five in Wales. Dr Jeffrey Barrett, director of the Covid-19 genomics initiative at the Wellcome Sanger Institute, said he thought omicron would take over from Delta in the UK as the dominant variant of coronavirus “within a matter of weeks”. Read More Asda distribution workers to vote on strike Sturgeon to press Prime Minister on vaccines for developing countries ‘No discussions’ have taken place about closing schools, Sturgeon tells MSPs

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Instagram removes beer photos from breweries’ pages – and refuses to explain why

Instagram has been censoring breweries on its app from promoting their own alchoholic drinks despite no clear violation of its Community Standards. Images of beer cans and other beverages have been taken down by Instagram without explanation, and the companies have not been able to contact the social media giant for more information. Instagram generally forbids the promotion of alcholic content, but makes allowances for businesses and reputable individuals promoting their own product. In the wake of the coronavirus pandemic, many companies have been reliant on Instagram to spread brand awareness and increase sales while physical sellers have been closed. Northern Monk, an independent brewery based in Leeds, posted on its account that a number of its pictures had been taken down. It said it had been forced to blur out the images in the hope they would not be removed. The Independent has confirmed that a number of other breweries, including the Salford-based Seven Brothers (stylised ‘Seven Bro7hers’) and the Verdant Brewing Company in Cornwall, had also had multiple posts flagged by Instagram’s algorithm. A screenshot shared by Seven Brothers with The Independent show at least three posts from November that went “against [Instagram’s] guidelines on sale of illegal or regulated goods”. Two of the posts were still in review, while one had been “reviewed” by the company but was still forbidden. Social media is a key part of these companies’ business, with Seven Brothers telling The Independent that the “random” takedown happened during one of its biggest launches. “We received a notification that was buried amongst other notifications,” Seven Brothers told The Independent. The brewery “appealed against the first removal”, which happened on 1 November, but has “yet to hear back”, calling Instagram’s support process “pretty pointless”. The brewery said there was “no way to directly contact [Instagram] … apart from leaving a voice mail on an American phone number, which we did and they never got back to us”. Verdant, which has 57,000 followers on Instagram, has had six posts removed since 20 October, of photos of cans or beer in a glass. “After the first post removal, we decided to ask Instagram for a review of the decision as we didn’t understand why it got removed — but we never received any answer from them (the post is still tagged as “in review”). We then tried posting it again with the same picture and caption, and the new post got removed as well”, Timothé Duquenne, a marketing and communication manager for Verdant, told The Independent. The brewery changed the caption, removing any mention of direct sales or specific words like “beer”, but the post was still removed. “After the last post was taken down, we received a message from Instagram saying we could lose access to our account if we have other posts flagged and removed in the future. It’s quite scary!”, Duquenne said, adding that it noticed a “big decrease in our reach rate since the posts have been flagged to Instagram”. The coronavirus pandemic forced the closure of many pubs and restaurants in the United Kingdom in order to stop the spread of the virus - with 40 pubs closing per week and almost 90 million pints of beer wasted - and the inability to keep business afloat using social media has been a real concern of those who are left. “During the pandemic … our web shop was our sole source of income during a really difficult time”, Seven Brothers told The Independent. “Instagram is the main platform we use to promote the online sales and how we communicate with our customers and community. “We have worked for many years to build this community so if it was to be removed, due to some technical issue that clearly isn’t working correctly, we would be devastated. It would most definitely impact our online sales greatly.” The community standards of Instagram’s parent company Meta (formerly Facebook), states that it will restrict “attempts to buy, sell or trade alcohol” except when posted by a page or profile that “represent[s] legitimate brick-and-mortar entities, including retail businesses, websites or brands”. Meta also allows for content that refers to alcohol which will “be exchanged or consumed on location at an event, restaurant, bar, party and so on”. The Independent has reached out to Instagram for comment and an explanation of why the posts were being removed. Meta’s moderation policies have been repeatedly called into question - on more serious subjects. During the assault on Gaza in May this year, Instagram removed or blocked posts with hashtags for the Al-Aqsa Mosque, the third-holiest site in the Islamic faith, as its moderation system mistakenly deemed the religious building a terrorist organisation. Instagram has also had to apologise for removing images that show female nipples; in 2015, its former chief executive Kevin Systrom said that this was due to the risk of Apple removing it from the App Store. Meta has had a history of failing to properly moderate content. Contractors made to moderate content have been exposed to the worst posts on Facebook’s numerous platforms without proper support, leading some down conspiracy theory rabbit holes and concerns about self-harm. Read More Amazon hit by major technical issues Squid Game cryptocurrency grows by 45,000% within first few days Crypto market enters ‘extreme fear’ following bitcoin crash – follow live Amazon hit by major technical issues Squid Game cryptocurrency grows by 45,000% within first few days Crypto market enters ‘extreme fear’ following bitcoin crash – follow live

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What Devin Nunes reveals about Donald Trump's Republican Party

For a very long time, the best way to be someone in politics was to get elected to Congress -- and then climb your way up the seniority ranks until you became a chairman of a committee in the House or Senate.

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Comcast Leads Cable Stocks Lower With Weaker Broadband View

(Bloomberg) -- Comcast Corp. led cable-company stocks lower after forecasting slower growth in broadband subscribers than Wall Street was expecting.

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SoftBank Wants to Sell a Quarter of $2.2 Billion WeWork Rescue Debt

(Bloomberg) -- SoftBank Group Corp. is looking to offload $550 million of debt it provided to WeWork Inc. more than

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U.S. judge sets July 18 date for ex-Trump adviser Bannon to face contempt charges

By Sarah N. Lynch WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Former President Donald Trump's longtime former adviser Steve Bannon will go to trial

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Kellogg’s union workers reject new contract as strike enters third month

Hundreds of striking union workers at four Kellogg’s cereal plants in the US have overwhelmingly voted to reject a tentative agreement on a five-year contract negotiated between the union and the company, extending a strike that started in early October. Roughly 1,400 members of the Bakery, Confectionery, Tobacco Workers and Grain Millers International Union “have spoken”, union president Anthony Shelton said in a statement on 7 December. “The strike continues.” The union is “grateful for the outpouring of fraternal support we received from across the labor movement for our striking members at Kellogg’s,” he added. “Solidarity is critical to this fight.” Striking employees in Michigan, Pennsylvania, Nebraska and Tennessee produce products like Rice Krispies, Rasin Bran, Froot Loops, Corn Flakes and Frosted Flakes. The strike centres on the company’s two-tier compensation structure, which pays out lower wages and fewer benefits to newer employees, which encompass up to 30 per cent of workers. Kellogg’s said that the new agreement would move all employees who have worked four or more years with the company into a “legacy” tier. It also proposed 3 per cent raises after each year as well as cost-of-living adjustments in the second year. The company said it is “disappointed that the tentative agreement for a master contract over our four US cereal plants was not ratified by employees.” The work stoppage “has left us no choice but to hire permanent replacement employees in positions vacated by striking workers,” according to the company. “These are great jobs and posting for permanent positions helps us find qualified people to fill them,” Kellogg’s said in the statement. “While certainly not the result we had hoped for, we must take the necessary steps to ensure business continuity. We have an obligation to our customers and consumers to continue to provide the cereals that they know and love.” The strike is among a renewed campaign among labour organisers and workers across the US to demand better wages and benefits during the public health crisis. Thousands of workers that manufacture John Deere tractor products recently ended a month-long strike after the union reached a new contract with the company. The union that represents hundreds of Nabisco workers also reached a tentative agreement with the snack giant’s parent company following two months of work stoppages in several states, nationwide boycotts and protests. There are also high-profile union attempts underway at Starbucks coffee shop locations in New York, where workers are voting whether to create the first union at the chain. Amazon workers in Alabama who sought to create the first-ever union with the retail giant are also likely to hold another election after an official with the nation’s labour board determined that the company showed a “flagrant disregard” and “hijacked” the election process. Read More Kellogg’s to resume talks with strikers one week after threatening to replace them Surgeon general issues mental health advisory for young people San Francisco restaurant apologises after refusing to serve three police officers Surgeon general issues mental health advisory for young people San Francisco restaurant apologises after refusing to serve three police officers Trump told staff to ‘bust heads’ and clear BLM protesters from streets, book says

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Jamal Khashoggi: France arrests one of suspected killers

An alleged member of the Saudi hit team dispatched to murder journalist Jamal Khashoggi has been arrested at Paris’ Charles de Gaulle International airport as he was about to board a flight to Riyadh. French RTL radio cited unnamed officials as saying that Khaled Aedh Al-Otaibi, a 33-year-old former Royal Guard of Saudi Arabia, was arrested on Tuesday morning on a Turkish Interpol warrant and will appear in court on Wednesday. His detention and likely judicial appearance will mark the first time that anyone allegedly involved in the Washington Post columnist’s gruesome murder in Istanbul in 2018 is being held accountable in an international court. Saudi authorities, who last year held a trial for the alleged killers that was widely dismissed as a sham, described the murder as a rogue operation initiated by confidantes and close advisers of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, the kingdom’s de facto ruler. However, United States intelligence officials have alleged that Prince Mohammed likely ordered the killing. After more than three years of efforts by the Saudi leadership to at first deny and then downplay the killing, the arrest could further damage the reputation of Prince Mohammed, frequently referred by the initials MBS. “There is a rehabilitation of MBS; time has gone by and people are less outraged about the Khashoggi affair,” said Giorgio Cafiero, an analyst at Gulf State Analytics, a Washington consultancy. “But this does seem to be a reminder to MBS that this file is still open.” Mr Otaibi is an alleged member of the Saudi kill team dispatched to Turkey to abduct, murder, and dismember Khashoggi. While he was arrested on a Turkish warrant, experts say that Mr Otaibi is also on US, European Union and United Nations wanted lists. “I would be very surprised if this causes a diplomatic incident,” said Cinzia Banco, a scholar specialising in relations between Europe and the Gulf at the European Council on Foreign Relations. “The Saudi leadership must know that all of those named in Turkey’s warrant are fair game in Europe and the US.” Mr Otaibi was placed in judicial detention by border police at the airport. The alleged killer was traveling under his real name, RTL reported. Under French law, a court must decide whether to honour the Turkish arrest and extradition request. According to RTL, Mr Otaibi will appear before the public prosecutor’s office on Wednesday, when he will likely be placed into formal custody pending an extradition hearing. The unexpected arrest puts pressure on the French government of President Emmanuel Macron, which is eager to sell advanced weapons to Gulf monarchies, including Saudi Arabia. Mr Macron met Prince Mohammed on Saturday in Jiddah for the final leg of a two-day Gulf tour. But the development could also help Mr Macron, who has come under heavy criticism ahead of 2022 elections for meeting with Prince Mohammed. “The whole profile of Macron is quite toxic politically,” said Ms Bianco. “With this arrest, he can claim that meeting MBS doesn’t mean brushing away what happened with Khashoggi.” Read More Saudi agents who killed dissident journalist Jamal Khashoggi received US paramilitary training, says report US intelligence ‘likely’ knew of threat to Khashoggi before he was murdered, says UN investigator Fiance of murdered Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi asks Justin Bieber to cancel F1 show Germany has first gender-equal cabinet for the first time Who is incoming German chancellor Olaf Scholz? Ex king of Spain Juan Carlos seeks immunity in English court over harassment claims

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Class 9 girl in Rajasthan stops her wedding with SOS message to child helpline

A police team sent to the house of the 14-year-old girl in Rajasthan’s Chittorgarh district spoke to her family and later produced them before the SDM under the Prohibition of Child Marriage Act and gave an undertaking not to go ahead with the girl’s wedding

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Barcelona, Real Madrid say CVC investment in LaLiga is illegal

BARCELONA (Reuters) - Barcelona and Real Madrid threatened new legal action should a plan by the country's top soccer league

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Squid Game cryptocurrency grows by 45,000% within first few days

Update, 7 December 2021: The value of the Squid cryptocurrency nosedived to $0 soon after it was reported that it could be an alleged scam. For more details, see our article here. A cryptocurrency based on the hit Korean Netflix show Squid Game has grown by over 45,000 per cent since its launch this week. The Squid crypto token, which was trading at about 1.2 cents on Tuesday, is currently priced at more than $4.5, a growth of nearly 45,000 per cent during this period. Inspired by the dystopian Korean drama about a deadly tournament of children’s games, Squid is what is known as a “play-to-earn” cryptocurrency. The show became an instant hit across the world, and the most-watched TV series of all time, with 111 million people tuning in on 12 October. In the Squid Game project, people buy tokens to participate in online games from which they can earn more tokens that can be exchanged for other cryptocurrencies or fiat money. Using the Squid tokens, people can participate in an online game of the programme, which begins in November. “The more people join, the larger reward pool will be,” says the platform’s whitepaper, adding that “10% of entry fee will be sent to developers wallet and the rest 90% will be added to the reward pool for the last winner of the game.” The online tournament is expected to follow the Netflix show’s plotline with six rounds of games, but unlike the TV series, the company says it does not provide “deadly consequences.” “...everyone here in crypto world can participate in the Squid Game with SQUID token or related NFTs in our marketplace,” the platform noted. Each round in the game costs participants certain amounts of the squid cryptocurrency to join. For instance, the initial round named “Red Light, Green Light” after the TV show’s iconic game, costs participants 456 squid and the second level would cost participants an entry fee of 1000 units of the digital token. Squid joins a growing list of virtual tokens created based on cultural trends and memes in the real world such as dogecoin which was created in 2013 as a parody and has since become a successful cryptocurrency. Read More Amazon hit by major technical issues Instagram is inexplicably removing photos of beer from breweries’ pages Crypto market enters ‘extreme fear’ following bitcoin crash – follow live Amazon hit by major technical issues Instagram is inexplicably removing photos of beer from breweries’ pages Crypto market enters ‘extreme fear’ following bitcoin crash – follow live

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Indian farming union to evaluate latest government offers

NEW DELHI (Reuters) - India's protesting farmers have received a proposal from the government addressing some of their demands, including

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