Are pets really good for us or just hairy health hazards?

Many animal-lovers think a cat or dog can help you live a longer, happier, healthier life. But does the science back them up? My childhood dog was called Biff. Biff was a handful. He was a loud, cocky shetland sheepdog who oozed bravado and bravery. Yet, underneath it all, he struggled with the dog version of impostor syndrome. Biff was a bag of masked insecurity. He was like the kid in school who says he has seen all the scary movies, but refuses to go to any sleepovers where scary movies are played; the kid who has a girlfriend at another school. It was that fragile side I especially loved about Biff during my teenage years. We shared an insecurity …

Revealed: Google made large contributions to climate change deniers

Firms public calls for climate action contrast with backing for conservative thinktanks Google has made Trump administration to abandon the Paris Climate Accountability Institute,calculates how much carbon is emitted throughout the supply chain, from extraction to use by consumers. Heede said: “The fact that consumers combust the fuels to carbon dioxide, water, heat and pollutants does not absolve the fossil fuel companies from responsibility for knowingly perpetuating the carbon era and accelerating the climate crisis toward the existential threat it has now become.” One aim of the project is to move the focus of debate from individual responsibilities to power structures so our reporters also examined the financial and lobbying structures that let fossil fuel firms keep growing, and discovered …

Hong Kong suspends metro system and closes banks after violent protests

Carrie Lams ban on face masks provokes fury ahead of march on Sunday, although parts of the subway system were reopened Hong Kongs metro system was suspended and many of its banks and shopping malls closed after a Hong Kong protesters defy face mask ban video Also on Sunday, opposition lawmakers sought an emergency injunction in a bid to overturn the face mask ban. I would say this is one of the most important constitutional cases in the history of Hong Kong, lawmaker Dennis Kwok told reporters outside court on Sunday. This could be the very last constitutional fight on our part. In the name of law they are trying to hurt the people and they try to crush the …

Monica Lewinsky to produce American Crime Story drama about Clinton scandal

Latest series of the US hit show will recount the former White House interns affair with the then president that led to his impeachment in 1998 Monica Lewinsky is among the producers on a new series of American Crime Story focusing on the Bill Clinton sex scandal. Titled Impeachment: American Crime Story, the Ryan Murphy-helmed anthology drama will recount the notorious affair between the then US president Clinton and former White House intern Lewinsky, and the subsequent impeachment proceedings called against him by the US House of Representatives. Booksmart star Beanie Feldstein will star as Lewinsky, with Sarah Paulson playing Linda Tripp, the civil servant who secretly recorded phone calls the 22-year-old made about her affair with Clinton, who was …

Johnson and Varadkar clash over Irish backstop in phone call

Taoiseach tells new PM in first chat that EU will not scrap it as part of reopening Brexit talks Boris Johnson and Leo Varadkar have clashed over the Irish backstop in their first phone call, with the Irish taoiseach saying the EU is united in the view that it cannot be scrapped and the withdrawal agreement will not be reopened. Johnson finally spoke to Varadkar almost a week after becoming prime minister, telling him the UK would never put physical checks or infrastructure at the border with Northern Ireland after Brexit but demanding the backstop be scrapped. The British prime minister had been accused of snubbing Varadkar by leaving it so long to speak to him, even though the Irish …

Burkina Faso tightens press freedom amid security crisis

Law defined death sentence for media outlets criminalises demoralisation of armed forces One of Africas bastions of press freedom is attempting to enact harsh legislation that threatens journalists reporting on an unfolding security crisis, human rights organisations and press freedom advocates have warned. Burkina Faso, currently ranked the fifth best African country for media freedom, is attempting to criminalise the demoralisation of its defence forces by any means, and the dissemination of information that could undermine public order or security operations. Journalists who share information about military operations could face up to 10 years in jail and 7,000 fines under the new law, which was voted in by 103 out of 127 deputies on 21 June and is awaiting presidential …

Trump ‘feels badly’ for labor secretary amid calls for resignation over Epstein case

Alexander Acosta accused of helping Jeffrey Epstein, charged with sex trafficking, escape justice 10 years ago by securing a plea deal Donald Trump on Monday defended his labor secretary, Alexander Acosta, from accusations that he helped Jeffrey Epstein, the financier escape justice 10 years ago. Then, Epstein was suspected of similar crimes in Florida, where Acosta was a top federal prosecutor. I feel very badly actually for secretary Acosta because Ive known him as being somebody that works so hard and has done such a good job, said Trump, who previously called Epstein a terrific guy. I feel very badly about that whole situation. But were going to be looking at that, and looking at it very closely. Epstein was …

New York’s historic Paris Theatre under threat after more than 70 years in business

Future of citys last single screen cinema, opened by Marlene Dietrich and frequented by David Bowie, hangs in the balance The Paris Theatre has become one of New Yorks cultural landmarks since it was officially opened by the actor Marlene Dietrich as a cinema for showing French films in 1948. Down the road from Central Park and across the street from the Plaza hotel, it attracted queues around the block as the go-to place to watch arthouse and foreign language films and was known for showing the same movie for months on end. In the early 00s it gained cult status with Sex and the City fans after Carrie Bradshaw declared it one of the best features of Manhattan life …

Taylor Swift laments ‘worst case’ sale of back catalogue to mogul Scooter Braun

Brauns Ithaca Holdings acquires Big Machine Label Group, prompting singer to write on Tumblr sale is worse than worst nightmares Taylor Swift on Sunday lamented the sale of her catalogue to the manager and mogul a scathing Tumblr post that she was sad and grossed out that her music now belongs to a man she accuses of subjecting her to years of incessant and manipulative bullying. This is my worst case scenario, Swift announced on Sunday that it is acquiring Big Machine Label Group, which released all of Swifts studio albums and owns her masters. Swift said she learned of the sale the same day. Swift left Big Machine and signed with Universal in November because, she said, she knew …

Spanish court lifts ‘wolf pack’ convictions from sexual abuse to rape

Men who attacked woman in Pamplona have jail sentences increased to 15 years The five defendants in sexual attack case have had their prison sentences raised from nine to 15 years each after the supreme court found them guilty of gang-raping a woman at the three years ago. The case known as La Manada, or the wolf pack, after the name of the mens WhatsApp group shocked Spain, prompted major protests and provoked The original proceedings a tweet, she said the verdict was in line with the governments proposals to change the law to distinguish between rape and sexual assault, and sexual abuse. Viviana Waisman, the president of the human rights NGO Womens Link, said the verdict was very important. …

US pastor runs network giving 50,000 Ugandans bleach-based ‘miracle cure’

Group led by Robert Baldwin and part-funded by Sam Little claims drinking toxic fluid will eradicate HIV/Aids and other diseases An American pastor from New Jersey backed by a British former clairvoyant is running a network that gives up to 50,000 Ugandans a miracle cure made from industrial bleach, claiming drinking the toxic fluid eradicates cancer, HIV/Aids, malaria and most other diseases. The network, led by pastor Robert Baldwin and part-funded by Sam Little from Arlesey in Bedfordshire, is one of the most extensive efforts yet to distribute the miracle cure known as MMS, or miracle mineral solution. The Guardian has learned that poor Ugandans, including infants as young as 14 months old, are being given chlorine dioxide, a product …

Mike Pompeo visits Iraq amid rising tensions with Iran

Secretary of state abruptly pulls out of Berlin meeting with the German chancellor, Angela Merkel The US secretary of state, Mike Pompeo, cancelled a long-established plan to hold talks with the German chancellor, Angela Merkel, in Berlin on Tuesday, and instead travelled to Iraq to show US support for the Iraqi government during rising tensions with Iran. The unusual last-minute schedule change follows brief talks between Pompeo and the Russian foreign minister, Sergei Lavrov, on the sidelines of an Arctic Council meeting in Finland on Monday. Pompeo earlier rang the German foreign minister, Heiko Maas, to explain the decision to drop his first meeting in Berlin as secretary of state and promised to reschedule soon. Norbert Rttgen, the chair of …

Sri Lanka bombings: at least 15 killed as police raid suspected hideout

Children and suicide bombers among the dead, say authorities, following fierce gun battle in east coast town Fifteen people including six children have died during a raid on their home by Sri Lankan security forces in which three cornered suicide bombers detonated their explosives and others traded gunfire with police. Police and soldiers fought a gun battle with occupants of the house for more than an hour on Friday night, a military spokesman said, during which three explosions rocked the property near the eastern town of Kalmunai, about 230 miles (370km) from the capital, Colombo. A search operation on Saturday morning found the bodies of three men, three women and six children inside the house, police said. Three other men, …