Ron DeSantis challenges TRUMP to a one-on-one showdown after ex-president’s team told Republicans to CANCEL the rest of the debates

Ron DeSantis challenges TRUMP to a one-on-one showdown after ex-president’s team told Republicans to CANCEL the rest of the debates

Huge motors store & go-to repair shop will close down in WEEKS after suffering ‘challenges’

A HUGE motors store and repair shop will close down in weeks after suffering “challenges”.

Halfords is pulling down the shutters on its branch in Stroud, Gloucestershire, in October.


Halfords is shutting down one of its stores in StroudCredit: Google

The store, which is located in the Five Valleys Shopping Centre, will close its doors for the final time next month.

However, the business has not confirmed a specific closure date.

Tony Davey, chair of Stroud Chamber of Commerce, said that the store would be missed.

He told Stroud News & Journal: “It will be sad to see a business that has been part of the retail landscape in Stroud leave after so long. 

“Halfords has experienced challenges faced by many national chains and has, for some time, been closing stores in town centres like ours in favour of out-of-town units where rents can often be much less. 

“Stroud appears to be one of the last in the area to undergo these changes.”

He continued: “The loss of Halfords will be the gain of other, local businesses, where we are fortunate to have a number that provide similar services within a reasonable distance. 

“I hope a new tenant will be secured, soon after their departure, that will bring a diversity of offerings to the town.”

A Halfords spokesperson said: “We can confirm the Halfords store in Five Valleys Shopping Centre, Stroud is due to close and staff are aware of the closure. 

“Customers will still be able to purchase from 

“We are working hard to support all of those affected.”

Halfords has already closed two branches this year, with a spokesperson saying in February it “regularly reviewed” its portfolio.

It comes after the retailer said its profitability had been knocked by “weakness” in the consumer tyre market.

The go-to store for drivers blamed a shortage of technicians and weak demand for tyres for falling shares.

In July 2020, Halford earmarked 60 stores and garages for closure following a hit in its sales due to coronavirus.

The national retailer, which has around 750 stores across the UK, also services cars and bikes and offers MOTs. 

The nearest Halfords stores to Stroud are located in Gloucester and Cheltenham.

Territorial disputes, terror threats among land-related challenges in Indo-Pacific region, says Gen Pande

Territorial disputes over land masses or over artificial islands, which are built to acquire real estate and establish military bases, and transnational threats of terrorism are among the many land-related challenges in the Indo-Pacific region, Army Chief General Manoj Pande said on Tuesday.

He was speaking at the 13th Indo-Pacific Armies Chiefs’ Conference (IPACC), which is being held alongside the 47th Indo-Pacific Armies Management Seminar and the Senior Enlisted Leaders Forum in New Delhi from September 25-27.

The Indian and the US armies are jointly hosting the event, which is seeing participation from 30 countries. The conference is aimed at providing an opportunity for Army Chiefs and senior-level leaders from land forces, primarily of the Indo-Pacific region, to exchange ideas and views on security and contemporary issues.

General Pande’s comments come in the backdrop of China’s increasing efforts to build artificial islands in the South China sea while also fortifying them — a move seen as an attempt to expand its territorial claims and enhance its power projection across the Indo-Pacific.

However, in response to a question from the media later, he also clarified that no military alliance is being looked at through this initiative, neither is it directed against a country or a group of countries.

“What we are looking at here is an open and sustained dialogue on a range of issues both of us alluded to,” he said.

“I need to emphasise that it is a multilateral forum, aimed at bringing together military leadership to share certain common concerns on areas that we just defined,” he said.

“It is also meant to understand perspectives of different countries, different armies and share the best practices,” he said, adding that the conference will also aim at coming out with an effective response to crisis situations, such as in case of natural or man-made disasters.

The Army chief said while the construct of ‘Indo-Pacific’ largely hints at primacy of Navies as security stakeholders of the region, the role of the other components of the Armed Forces also remains relevant.

“Apart from challenges exclusively in the maritime domain, a wide range of security and humanitarian concerns exist on land too,” he said.

“These range from territorial disputes over land masses, or in some cases even over artificially expanded islands to acquire real estate and establish military bases, trans-national threats of terrorism, consequences of climate change impacting the inhabited islands or coastal areas of rim nations and natural calamities,” he said.

General Pande said these challenges are manifesting as threats, singularly or plurally, impacting one or more nations in the Indo-Pacific region. “While efforts by countries are converging towards effecting a free and stable Indo-Pacific, we are witnessing manifestations of inter-state contestations and competitions,” he said.

He said cooperation among the land forces of the region is a critical component of the collective response. The region mandates cooperation among its littoral States on security, connectivity and economy, with all having a shared goal of a free and open Indo-Pacific.

The IPACC started in 1999 as a biennial event and is attended by Army Chiefs of countries of the Indo-Pacific region, to discuss issues of mutual interest.

Responding to a question from The Indian Express on the expected outcomes of the conference, General Randy George, Chief of Staff, US Army, said there will be talks about ways to transform the forces.

“How are we all learning from each other about what we are doing? How are we going to operate and with contested logistics?” he said, adding that the conference allows an opportunity for all stakeholders to come together and talk about how to continue to chart the path down the road.

He also said the US Army remains ready today and into the future, and it is focusing on four areas: warfighting, delivering ready combat formations, continuous transformation, and strengthening the profession of arms.

“By gathering here together – 30 nations and 20 Army Chiefs – we are deepening, and demonstrating, our unity and collective commitment,” he said.

“Let’s use this opportunity to explore ways to strengthen our cooperation, build trust, maintain security, and facilitate peace through strength.”

In his inaugural address, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh said the Indo-Pacific is no more a maritime construct, but a full-fledged geostrategic construct, and the region is facing a complex web of security challenges, including boundary disputes and piracy.

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He reiterated India’s stand for a free, open, inclusive and rules-based Indo-Pacific region in the pursuit of shared security and prosperity, adding that India’s efforts towards building robust military partnerships with friendly countries underscore its commitment to not only safeguard national interests, but also address global challenges faced by all.

He added that the Indian Armed Forces, with their unwavering dedication and professionalism, are the first responders in disaster situations and contribute to humanitarian assistance and disaster relief (HADR) efforts.

He suggested that the three-day event discuss ways to enhance interoperability during the HADR operations. “It is our responsibility that the climate change-related concerns of small island nations of the Indo-Pacific are given the importance that they deserve, as these bear the brunt of climate change as an existential crisis,” he said.

‘It’s an open border crisis, nobody can deny that’: South Carolina Republican calls for Biden to ‘get the wall built’ in testy exchange with CNN’s Jim Acosta: Accuses liberal media of not reporting challenges

‘It’s an open border crisis, nobody can deny that’: South Carolina Republican calls for Biden to ‘get the wall built’ in testy exchange with CNN’s Jim Acosta: Accuses liberal media of not reporting challenges

US Ryder Cup team has road challenges as Europe hopes to avenge ‘worst defeat ever’

Rome, Italy — It’s finally here.

Well, almost finally.

Ryder Cup week began quietly Monday, with players and captains trickling onto the course for some light practice, but the matches don’t begin until Friday morning at Marco Simone Country Club.

“The guys are ready,’’ U.S. captain Zach Johnson said Monday. “Well, I shouldn’t say that, it’s partially a lie. They are exhausted. But they will be ready. They are ready to compete. [I’m] excited about the week.’’

So, too, is European captain Luke Donald, who’s tasked with making sure his side keeps its winning streak on home soil intact, with the U.S. not having won the cup in Europe since 1993.

“It’s been a long buildup,’’ Donald said. “A lot has happened. There’s been a big buildup. I feel like my team is ready. Very excited about the team that I have and very excited about the challenge ahead, and looking forward to it, finally, to get going. I think the players are raring to go and it’s going to be a fun spectacle.

“I think everyone at Marco Simone, everyone involved with the Ryder Cup, have done an amazing job. I’ve never seen stands as big as these.’’

Zach Johnson speaks to the media during a joint press conference prior to the 2023 Ryder Cup at Marco Simone Golf Club.
Getty Images

Indeed, the grandstands that envelope the first tee are gigantic and intimidating, and they’ll be jam-packed with throaty European supporters who’ve been waiting four years for this.

In the 2021 Ryder Cup at Whistling Straits in Wisconsin, where the U.S. routed the Europeans, 19-9, there were strict COVID-19 travel restrictions still in place, which prevented the well-traveled Euro fans from making the trip.

“In the end, we didn’t perform at what we needed to perform at, a good standard of golf,’’ Donald said of the last Ryder Cup. “The Americans were strong and they played how they know they can play. And certainly, being at home, we know that’s an advantage. We know it’s an advantage when you’re in the U.S., and it’s an advantage to us. But having that support, that crowd behind you, is helpful and it picks up your energy as a player and you can feed off it.

“Absolutely, we are looking forward to having a lot more support this time around. It was certainly lacking a lot because of COVID two years ago, and hopefully that is something that will certainly be in our favor.’’

Donald, as the home captain, has the choice on what order the matches are played on the first two days.

Predictably, he chose foursomes (alternate shot) to start the proceedings Friday morning because the European players are traditionally stronger in that format.

“Pretty simple, really,’’ Donald said. “We feel like as a team, statistically we are stronger in foursomes within our team than we would be in four-balls. Why not get off to a fast start? That’s it.’’

One thing to watch this week is how many matches Donald and Johnson might play even their strongest players.

Traditionally, the best workhorse players play all five matches — two on Friday, two on Saturday and singles on Sunday.

But Marco Simone is a very hilly golf course, and the weather is expected to be in the 80s all week, so it’s likely we’ll see fewer — if any — players go the distance like Dustin Johnson did for the Americans, going 5-0-0 two years ago.

“In terms of playing five [matches]I think there’s some guys that certainly could do that and we have done that in the past,’’ Donald said. “This is a very tiring, taxing golf course. I think the weather is not meant to be too hot, but it’s certainly a warm weather week with hills, and it’s a long buildup, the Ryder Cup. These next few days, there’s a lot of team dinners and practice and dealing with the crowds.

Luke Donald of England hopes to keep the Ryder Cup win on home land.
Getty Images

“I remember, as a player, that you were really ready to go by Friday and you wanted to compete, but it’s a long buildup. So, I’m wary of some of that. I’ll certainly be considering that but it’s not out of the question that some people might play five. I very much doubt that someone wouldn’t play until the Sunday singles.’’

Donald maintained his confidence in his team.

“As captain, you have to be confident,’’ he said. “I certainly have a lot of belief in my team. I know it’s going to be a difficult next few days. The U.S. are very strong. We know that. We are coming off our worst defeat ever in a Ryder Cup. U.S. players are strong, high up in the World Rankings and they have some great partnerships and have had a lot of success.

“We have our work cut out, but you have to have belief in your team that you’re going to get them into a place where they are going to be successful. I’m sure Zach feels the same way. I’m looking forward to seeing how it all unfolds over the coming days.’’

“Could Have Been Thrown Out”: ISRO Chief S Somanath To NDTV, Recalls Career Challenges

S Somanath was appointed as ISRO Chairperson in January 2022.


The triumph of Chandrayaan-3 – India’s Moon mission – was the result of tens of thousands of hours of research and analysis by hundreds of scientists, engineers and technicians, who guided the nation to space history last month after the Vikram lander soft-landed near the lunar South Pole. Spearheading the Indian Space Research Organisation’s efforts was agency boss S Somanath, who spoke exclusively to NDTV on Saturday, on his personal and professional journey and the importance of India creating and establishing a “permanent habitat” on the Moon, Mars and exoplanets.

Among the points the ISRO Chairperson discussed were the many challenges he has faced over the course of his career, including (the now scarcely believable) comment “my position (in ISRO) was threatened… I could have been thrown out”.

“… don’t think everything was nice for me in my life… I also faced challenges in personal life and official life. You (referring to himself) can be thrown out of an organisation… your position can be threatened (and) you are sometimes not even treated with great respect,” Mr Somanath told NDTV.

Looking back on his career, India’s top space man recalled harsh words ahead of an earlier launch.

“Many years ago… in launch of PSLV Mark-III expedition there was every possibility of a failure but somebody had to take the decision (of launching) and I took it. I think I was threatened… that it would be a “colossal failure”,” he said.

‘But there was nobody else and I did it… and it was successful. Many things happen in life like that.”

READ | India Must Have Permanent Habitat On Moon And Mars: ISRO Chief To NDTV

The ISRO boss, with a smile on his face, said that though he had been criticised and his ability questioned, he had taught himself to rise above the “silly words… silly acts” of some people.

“‘…you are not a suitable person (for this role)’… I hear all this criticism but you have to raise yourself above these silly things. Once you reach that point (of self-confidence) you can look at people like this and smile. Their silly acts can be ignored.”

READ |“Work Of A Generation”: ISRO Chief On Chandrayaan-3’s Moon Landing

“How to do that? You go through a process… learn how to develop your self-confidence. And once you do that then you are not worried about these silly people and their words,” he told NDTV.

The man who made India’s wildest space dreams a reality is soft-spoken and erudite, and describes himself as an “explorer”. “I explore the Moon… the inner space. It is part of the journey of my life to explore science and spirituality,” he said at a temple after Chandrayaan-3 landed on the Moon.

That “journey” involves an understanding of one’s weaknesses and limitations.

READ | “I Explore Both Science And Spirituality”: ISRO Chief On Temple Visit

Mr Somanath said. “I had several limitations… both in terms of technical capabilities and my own personal capacity. You work on this over a period of time in your own way. For me, my mental and physical growth and subject knowledge growth was thanks to various people who came in my life at different times and gave me insight.”

On India Habitat On Moon, Mars

On India’s future space plans – which include the Aditya L1 solar and manned Gaganyaan mission – Mr Somanath said if humanity plans to travel beyond Earth, habitat creation is needed on the Moon and Mars, as well as exoplanets, and that Indians had to be there.

“We think of ourselves as so inferior today… that we are not technologically advanced, not financially powerful. And we always think we are poor, so we can’t invest in all of this. I believe that this has to go, for a nation which thinks that they are the one who are creators of knowledge,” he said.

S Jaishankar Talks About “Challenges” Of India’s G20 Presidency At UN

S Jaishankar stressed that core agenda of India’s G20 Presidency was global growth. (File)

New York:

External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar on Saturday (local time) called India’s G20 Presidency challenging due to a “very sharp East-West polarization and a very deep North-South divide.”

In his address at India-UN for Global South: Delivering for Development in New York, S Jaishankar began his speech by speaking about India’s G20 Presidency and recently held the G20 Summit. He said that India was very determined to ensure that India’s G20 Presidency was able to get back to its core agenda.

“Your presence means a lot to us. It also expresses the sentiments that you feel for India and underlines the import of South-South cooperation. We meet just a few weeks after the New Delhi G20 Summit, a summit which took place on the theme of ‘One Earth, One Family, One Future,” S Jaishankar said.

“Now, it was a challenging summit. It was actually a challenging presidency, and it was challenging because we were confronting a very sharp East-West polarization as well as a very deep North-South divide. But we were very determined as the Presidency of the G20 to make sure that this organization on which the world really had put so much hope and was able to get back to its core agenda,” he added.

S Jaishankar stressed that the core agenda of India’s G20 Presidency was global growth and development. He said that India began its G20 Presidency by convening the voice of the Global South Summit.

“And its core agenda was of global growth and development. So it was appropriate that we started our G20 Presidency by convening the voice of the Global South Summit. An exercise which involved 125 nations of the south of which most of you in some capacity participated,” S Jaishankar said.

Highlighting the problems faced by the Global South, External Affairs Minister said, “Now, during the course of that exercise and the deliberations which took place through the various ministerial tracks and engagement groups, it was very clear to us that the Global South, in addition to bearing the consequences of structural inequities and historical burdens, was plagued by the impact of … and economic concentration, was suffering from the devastating consequences of the COVID and was … by conflict, tensions and disputes which have stressed and distorted the international economy.”

He emphasised that geopolitical calculations and geopolitical contests today are affecting very basic requirements of many nations, including their affordable access to food, fertilizers and energy.

“With each passing day, in fact, it has become clearer to us that today geopolitical calculations and geopolitical contests are impacting very basic requirements of many countries, including their affordable access to food, to fertilizers and to energy,” S Jaishankar said.

Earlier, EAM S Jaishankar along with United Nations General Assembly President Dennis Francis and foreign ministers of other nations arrived to attend the India-UN for Global South: Delivering for Development.

EAM S Jaishankar is in New York to lead the Indian delegation for the UNGA session where he will address the United Nations General Assembly on September 26, according to an official statement by the Ministry of External Affairs. After concluding his visit to New York, he will travel to Washington, DC.

(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)

“Satisfied With Data”: ISRO Chief Discusses Chandrayaan-3, Challenges

He called the Chandrayaan-2 mission “a very hard learning” for the organisation.

New Delhi:

All the scientific instruments in Chandrayaan-3 were deployed, and the team is satisfied with the data that was collected, S Somanath, Chairperson of the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) and the person who spearheaded the team for Chandrayaan-3, said. The data will now be analysed, which is a process that can take several years, he said, adding that data from Chandrayaan-1 is still producing publications.

In a freewheeling conversation with NDTV, Mr Somanath discussed challenges with the earlier moon mission, described in detail the workings of the lander and the rover, and his vision for the future of space research in India.

He called the Chandrayaan-2 mission “a very hard learning” for the organisation, and said they conducted rigorous review to understand what could have gone wrong.

“It was not possible to recover the debris and then study it, so it has to be now simulated and synthesised on the ground to look at the possibilities. It was a very tedious journey in which many of us, with various skill sets, participated, and that contributed to the understanding of the problem,” he said.

The ISRO chief said it was very clearly identified that it’s not just one issue that was causing the problem, but a chain of events.

“The primary point is that we were not able to simulate everything on the ground before Chandrayaan-2, but now we have similar and real scenarios, so we have huge amount of data and with the data we have more confidence to modify it. Once you look at modification, we need to look at whether we need to correct only those issues that we have seen or potential issues that can pop up later based on the understanding, and this is again debated for another long periods of time what should be done in extra hours, what type of strengthening that we need to do, and this is again debated over a long period of time. It also called for new developments of instruments, software simulations, and hundreds of tests that need to be done which you couldn’t do with Chandrayaan-2,” he said.

On the “hop test” successfully done by the moon lander, Mr Somanath explained that it was a step in the direction of future sample return and human missions.

“Ultimately, why we go to the moon is to look at how it can be useful to humanity. For that, we need to go to the moon and come back, it’s not just landing there. We need to come back home and then take material back and forth. So, we looked at how we can use this success and make an outline of another opportunity to take it off from the moon and go to orbit,” he said.

Stressing on the need for such missions, he said if humanity is going to travel beyond earth, habitat creation is needed on the moon, Mars, and exoplanets, and Indians must be there.

“We think of ourselves as so inferior today, that we are not technologically advanced, not financially very powerful, and we always think that we are poor, so we can’t invest in all of this. I believe that this has to go, for a nation which thinks that they are the one who are creators of knowledge,” he added.

Even countries like US and the USSR became big only because they started dreaming about becoming a world power, Mr Somanath said, but clarified the type of world power he wants India to become.

“The question of the world power is very, very important. Not the power that we always talk about, like the military power, the strength to capture others. I believe India should become a technology leader in the future, because when you are a technology leader you are naturally somebody who has no second thought about possibilities,” the ISRO chief said.

S Somanath also batted for private investment in space research, arguing that we can’t be a technologically powerful nation without being the primary source of some of the knowledge in the field.

“I think it can happen, not from government, only from private entrepreneurs where they sponsor research. I am a very strong believer on this, that unless big players in the industry invest in research and development, and bank on for their commercial outcome, nothing can change,” he said.

Rishi Sunak likely to face legal challenges over net zero U-turn

Rishi Sunak is likely to face a series of legal challenges aimed at thwarting his plans to U-turn on net zero policies amid further international condemnation of the proposals.

Though the prime minister sought to shrug off criticism on Thursday, the UK’s independent climate watchdog joined the voices of concern, saying it was disappointed with changes that would make it more difficult for Britain to meet its legal commitments.

One leading European politician said Sunak was turning the UK into “a climate villain and destroying its international reputation as a climate leader”.

Campaigners including Friends of the Earth and The Good Law Project are now assessing how they can stop a rollback that would allow new petrol and diesel cars, and gas boilers, to be sold for longer.

The two groups were already involved in legal action over the government’s climate plans, charging that they were inadequate.

The Good Law Project has written to the energy secretary, Claire Coutinho, to warn of a fresh court challenge. In a letter seen by the Guardian, lawyers acting for the group have asked for answers within the next seven days to questions over how the government will meet its carbon goals while watering down and delaying green policies.

Friends of the Earth has also written to the government. Niall Toru, the group’s senior lawyer, said: “Sunak’s decision to weaken UK climate policies will make it harder to meet our climate targets. Our lawyers will carefully scrutinise any new set of plans. Friends of the Earth has successfully taken legal action against the government’s climate strategy in the past – and we are prepared to do so again if Mr Sunak’s sums don’t add up.”

Clean air campaigners are also considering a challenge. Rosamund Adoo-Kissi-Debrah, the campaigner whose daughter Ella died of air pollution, warned: “We will most likely end up in court again. [This is] a public health crisis as well as a green issue.”

The Climate Change Committee (CCC), the statutory adviser on net zero, will scrutinise the prime minister’s proposals to judge whether they are in line with the UK’s legally binding obligations on greenhouse gas emissions.

Piers Forster, the chair of the committee, warned that the policy rollback was likely to put the UK further behind on its targets. “We need to go away and do the calculations, but [Sunak’s] announcement is likely to take the UK further away from being able to meet its legal commitments,” he said. “This, coupled with the recent unsuccessful offshore wind auction, gives us concern.”

Chris Stark, the CCC’s chief executive, warned on Thursday that he was “finding it hard not to be disappointed” by the government’s moves. “Earlier is generally better,” he said of policies to switch to electric vehicles and heat pumps.

Michael Bloss, a German MEP from the Greens group, told the Guardian: “Rishi Sunak is becoming the leader of the fossil backlash. He is making the UK a climate villain and destroying its international reputation as a climate leader. These policies are destructive for the planet, which is already boiling, and they will be negative for the UK’s economy.”

Javi López, a Spanish MEP from the centre-left group, said it is a “suicidal decision”. “Today’s efforts are tomorrow’s competitiveness.”

Tim Crosland, an ex-barrister and the director of campaign group Plan B, which is not involved in the legal challenge, said the chances that the government could be taken to court were high. “This is very judicial review-able. There has already been a review of net zero which the government lost and their plans were ruled unlawful. Now, instead of improving its plans, it has done the opposite, so from a legal perspective this can certainly be challenged.”

Tom Burke, a veteran adviser to governments and co-founder of the environmental thinktank E3G, said legal challenges would have been foreseen by the prime minister and might be part of his plan.

“They want to generate outrage, like protests from Extinction Rebellion,” he said. “They will use legal challenges as an excuse to say the judicial processes must be reformed.”

Ministers, including the home secretary, Suella Braverman, have made vitriolic attacks on “lefty” and “activist” lawyers, whom they accuse of using legal processes to subvert government aims. In Burke’s view, they might welcome the opportunity to launch similar, politically divisive attacks over net zero, if taken to judicial review.

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Political insiders believe the purpose of Sunak’s change of tack is to drive a “green wedge” between the Conservatives and Labour. Isaac Levido, his strategy guru, has pushed the line that the prime minister is “saving hard-pressed families from unacceptable costs” of green policies, while Labour would pile them on.

Undeterred by the torrent of criticism from business, civil society, scientists and international observers that followed his announcements on Wednesday, Sunak has vowed to press ahead with the rollbacks. He told the BBC’s Today programme on Thursday: “I’m very happy to have opinions and advice from everybody, and everyone’s entitled to their view. We’re very confident – being in government, with all the information at our disposal – that we are on track to hit all our targets.”

Communications from the Conservative campaign headquarters on Thursday suggested the party was also seeking to use recommendations by the independent CCC as a line of political attack. In an email headed “Questions to Labour on net zero”, it suggested to journalists a list of CCC recommendations including road taxes, flight taxes and carbon taxes as “questions to answer” that should be posed to Labour.

Sunak repeatedly insisted his plans would save money for households and that he was still committed to the UK’s 2050 net zero target. But experts warned that many aspects of the plans were likely to add to costs for consumers.

For instance, private renters will pay £1bn a year more in energy bills because of the scrapping of proposals to make landlords upgrade insulation on their properties, according to the Social Market Foundation. Pushing back the deadline for phasing out sales of new petrol and diesel cars will also cost consumers money, as electric vehicles save people £5,000 to £8,000 in fuel costs over their lifetime, the thinktank said.

Though many of the changes Sunak announced will not have to pass through parliament, one may face a vote.

The delay of the ban on new petrol car sales to 2035 will be done through an affirmative statutory instrument. Some of the Tories who have voiced concern at Sunak’s plans, including members of the Conservative Environment Network of more than 100 MPs, may choose to vote against it.

But with the party trailing behind Labour in the polls, most are less concerned about the policy itself and more about whether it will make any difference with the electorate.

“It’s predominantly a tidying up exercise. I’m not sure this is the big idea that is going to win us the election,” said one.

Others questioned whether it would be as effective a political dividing line with Labour ahead of the next election as party strategists hoped.

“The explosive response to the leak shows that it’s going to be tough for us to handle if we decide to make an issue of it,” one MP said.

Outlander boss shares season 7 filming ‘challenges’ on Roger and Brianna story

Outlander boss Matthew B. Roberts detailed issues production faced as they tried to film Brianna Fraser (played by Sophie Skelton) and Roger MacKenzie’s (Richard Rankin) new life in the future.

Season seven saw the couple’s heart-wrenching decision to return to the future after Claire Fraser (Caitriona Balfe) discovered her granddaughter was born with a heart condition.

In order to get the advanced treatment they needed the family travelled back through the stones and settled at Lallybroch.

Although the series also highlighted the struggle to adjust to their fresh start, the showrunner revealed there were also some hardships away from the cameras.

In episode 707 of Outlander’s official podcast, Matthew spoke on the difficulties filming on the Lallybroch set after it became a major tourism attraction.

He stated: “Lallybroch is a real place, not a set we built, it’s a Midhope Castle and when we first started filming there it was relatively simple to find time.

“The location manager would go and schedule it, it was no problem and as the years have gone on, because it’s become such an iconic location more and more tourists go to see it.”

“There’s tour buses, certainly during the summer they’ll plan trips to come out and do the Outlander tour.”

Matthew recalled: “We’re having a really hard time getting in to film the show, the irony is dripping.

“We can’t get in to film the show that made the location famous because people want to see the location because of the show, wrap your head around that,” he added.

The executive producer also revealed this was one of the reasons the majority of season seven’s Lallybroch scenes took place indoors.

Unlike in the earlier episodes when it was home to Jamie Fraser’s (Sam Heughan) sister Jenny (Laura Donnelly).

Matthew explained: “That’s why a lot of times you’ll see in these episodes we’re outside for a moment and then we pop inside because all this stuff is on stage, the inside is the stages so we control that obviously.

“We control the weather, we can film anytime it doesn’t have to match anything, it works out perfect.

“It’s getting that time to film at Midhope it gets problematic because you don’t just show up and say we’re filming on Thursday … it takes at least a week to dress it.”

“He added: “We’ve got to get cleared out, we’ve got to clean it up, we’ve got to dress it and then we come in, base camp get put up and then we film on that Thursday.”

Outlander season 7 part 2 returns in 2024 on Starz in the USA and Lionsgate+ in the UK

Online slots challenges grow as Government consults on new gambling legislation


he percentage of online gamblers seeking support for problems related to slot machines has almost doubled in the past five years, new figures show.

Of those who disclosed difficulties with online gambling on the National Gambling Helpline last year, three in five (60%) cited online slots as one of the main activities they struggled with – up from 34% in 2018-19, according to data from the service’s operator, GamCare.

The findings, which come as the Government consults on introducing maximum stake limits for online slot games, show that 73% of 5,660 callers to the helpline last year said they had struggled with online gambling.

The data highlights that it is now disproportionately online slots that are the main challenge for many people who call the National Gambling Helpline

The proportion of people citing challenges with betting exchanges – sites that allow betting directly against other players – has increased from 0.3% to 7.6% over the last five years, while the proportion of gamblers having problems with online financial markets such as cryptocurrency and high-risk trading platforms has increased from 0.02% to 2.17%.

However the data suggests that the proportion of those who have had difficulties with online spots betting has fallen, from 34% in 2018-19 to 20% in 2022-23.

Colin Walsh, GamCare’s lived experience manager, said: “There is still a perception that gambling harm predominantly comes from betting on horses or sports events.

“In the past five years, we have broadly seen a trend where people often start gambling on these activities but eventually transition into other areas of online gambling, where it can be easy to lose sight of how much time and money is being spent.

“The data highlights that it is now disproportionately online slots that are the main challenge for many people who call the National Gambling Helpline.

“I know from my own experience – and the experiences of those in my network – how difficult this form of gambling can be, and how isolating it can feel if you find yourself caught in a negative cycle.

“But I also know that it is possible to get through it and that there is free help for anyone struggling with it.”

UN chief recalls his message to G20, tells world leaders it’s time for global compromise to deal with current challenges

UNITED NATIONS, Sep 19: Recalling his message to the G20 leaders in India, UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres today underscored that it is time for a “global compromise” as he told Heads of State and Government here that the world needs statesmanship and not gamesmanship to deal with current challenges.
“Divides are widening within countries. Democracy is under threat. Authoritarianism is on the march. Inequalities are growing. And hate speech is on the rise,” Guterres told world leaders in his address to the 78th session of the UN General Assembly (UNGA) here today.
Addressing the world from the iconic green podium in the UNGA hall, Guterres said that in the face of all the challenges that are confronting the world, compromise has become a “dirty word”.
“Our world needs statesmanship, not gamesmanship and gridlock. As I told the G20, it is time for a global compromise. Politics is compromise. Diplomacy is compromise. Effective leadership is compromise,” said the UN chief, who was in India earlier this month to attend the New Delhi G20 summit.
He underscored that leaders have a special responsibility to achieve compromise in building a common future of peace and prosperity for our common good.
The UN chief noted in his address to the UNGA session that over the past year, “we have shown the promise of multilateral action. We have all the tools and resources to solve our shared challenges. What we need is determination.”
Guterres told world leaders that determination to deal with the challenges of today starts with determination to uphold the UN Charter’s pledge for peace.
He, however, voiced concern that instead of ending the scourge of war, “we are seeing a surge of conflicts, coups and chaos.”If every country fulfilled its obligations under the Charter, the right to peace would be guaranteed.”
He said that when countries break those pledges, they create a world of insecurity for everyone, citing the example of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
“The war, in violation of the United Nations Charter and international law, has unleashed a nexus of horror: lives destroyed; human rights abused; families torn apart; children traumatized; hopes and dreams shattered.
“Beyond Ukraine, the war has serious implications for us all. Nuclear threats put us all at risk. Ignoring global treaties and conventions makes us all less safe,” he said, adding that poisoning of global diplomacy obstructs progress across the board.
“We must not relent in working for peace – a just peace in line with the UN Charter and international law,” Guterres said.
He added that even while fighting rages, nations must pursue every avenue to ease the suffering of civilians in Ukraine and beyond.
Noting that the Black Sea Initiative was one such avenue, Guterres vowed that he will not give up on his efforts to make it happen. “The world badly needs Ukrainian food and Russian food and fertilizers to stabilize markets and guarantee food security,” he said.
On climate change, Guterres said nations must be determined to tackle the most immediate threat to their future “our overheating planet”.
“Climate change is not just a change in the weather. Climate change is changing life on our planet. It is affecting every aspect of our work. It is killing people and devastating communities,” he said.
Noting that actions to deal with climate change are falling abysmally short, Guterres voiced hope that there is still time to keep rising temperatures within the 1.5 degree limits of the Paris Climate Agreement.
This requires drastic steps now – to cut greenhouse gas emissions, and to ensure climate justice for those who did least to cause the crisis but are paying the highest price.
“We have the receipts. G20 countries are responsible for 80 per cent of greenhouse emissions. They must lead. They must break their addiction to fossil fuels and heed the International Energy Agency’s findings that new oil and gas licensing by them is incompatible with keeping the 1.5 degree limit alive,” he said.
The UN chief asserted that to stand a fighting chance of limiting global temperature rise, countries must phase out coal, oil and gas in a fair and equitable way – and massively boost renewables. “This is the only path to affordable renewable energy for all.”
Guterres said despite the world’s long list of global challenges, the spirit of “determination can guide us forward.
“Let us be determined to heal divisions and forge peace,” he said. (PTI)