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Johnson ‘deeply sorry’ as Covid deaths exceed 100,000

Channel 4 News

Boris Johnson has given a personal apology for the 100,000 lives lost to Covid in the UK. The latest 24-hour figures show a further 1,631 people have died, bringing the official UK total to 100,162. And there have been more than 20,0000 new cases.

Another 279,757 people received their first dose of a vaccine yesterday, meaning that 6.8 million people have now received their first jab.

The UK now has one of the highest death-to-population figures in the world.

NHS whistleblower speaks out on PPE contracts

Channel 4 News

Boris Johnson has insisted he's “very proud” of the UK government's effort to secure stocks of urgently needed personal protective equipment - after a damning report by the public spending watchdog.

The National Audit Office found that firms recommended by MPs’, peers’ and ministers’ offices were given priority in the rush to buy up equipment - with more than half of the contracts awarded without going through the usual competitive tender.

The Dirty Secrets of American Food revealed

Channel 4 Dispatches

With Brexit underway, there has been an uproar and an escalating debate about importing American foods. 'Dispatches', UK's Channel4 investigative film series, exposes the hazards of the US food industry

You thought chlorine washed chicken was bad?

How about hormone-injected beef? Drug-fed pork? Chemically washed meat? As the UK works towards a post-Brexit US trade deal, are these heading towards your dining table?

Warning: scenes of butchery, carcasses & poor animal welfare.

Cambridge Analytica Uncovered

Channel 4

An undercover investigation by Channel 4 News reveals how Cambridge Analytica secretly campaigns in elections across the world. Bosses were filmed talking about using bribes, ex-spies, fake IDs and sex workers.

Watch part two of the investigation - Undercover Secrets of Trump's Data Firm - here:

Trump strategy to deter Black Americans from voting in 2016

Channel 4

Millions of Americans in key battleground states were separated into eight categories, so they could be targeted with tailored ads online. One of the categories was named ‘Deterrence’, which was later described publicly by Trump’s chief data scientist as containing people the campaign “hope don’t show up to vote”.

Analysis by Channel 4 News shows Black Americans - historically a community targeted with voter suppression tactics - were disproportionately marked ‘Deterrence’ by the 2016 campaign. In total, 3.5 million Black Americans were marked ‘Deterrence’. Overall, people of colour labelled as Black, Hispanic, Asian and ‘Other’ groups made up 54% of the ‘Deterrence’ category.

Meanwhile, categories of voters the campaign wished to attract were overwhelmingly white. The investigation reveals the Trump campaign targeted Black Americans with negative ads on Facebook and social media - despite the campaign's denials. 

UK plunges into worst recession on record

Channel 4

The UK has been plunged into the deepest recession on record. It’s the worst performance of any G7 nation during the pandemic, as GDP shrank by more than 20 per cent in the three months till June.

The chancellor, Rishi Sunak, said "hard times are here" - warning that many more people would lose their jobs in the months ahead. The months of lockdown have sent output plunging across the board, effectively wiping out 17 years of economic growth.

Cambridge Analytica and the end of elections

Channel 4

In the early hours of January 1, 2020, a Twitter handle, @hindsightfiles, allegedly run by Brittany Kaiser, a former employee of Cambridge Analytica, shared confidential documentation regarding the involvement of SCL Group, a now-defunct British firm, in numerous elections around the world.

The significance of these documents seems to be lost at a time when "World War III" was a top trending topic on social media. But parsing through the documents and pairing them with broader contextual developments, it is clear that foreign interference in politics, and especially elections, are entering a new level.

How much of a threat is Brexit to the unity of the UK?

Al Jazeera English

Boris Johnson's been touring the Union as a 'no deal' exit looms, trying to reassure those worried about the divorce with the EU. Boris Johnson started the tour in Edinburgh. He was met with jeers and boos from protesters, which forced him to leave by the back door of Bute House, the official residence of Scotland's First Minister.

Inside, his host Nicola Sturgeon expressed her discontent with Johnson's Brexit plans. She spoke about a 'catastrophic, almost inevitable path to a no-deal Brexit'. Then it was on to Wales, where Johnson was seeking support for his Brexit plans from the country's agricultural sector. The Welsh farmers' union has warned him leaving the EU without a deal would cause 'civil unrest' in rural areas. Many British farmers rely heavily on trade with Europe, and a no-deal scenario could be costly for their business. And in Northern Ireland, his last stop, Boris Johnson didn't receive the warmest welcome either.

There's broad consensus that leaving the EU without a deal could be dramatic, because of the land border between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland, which will become a border into Europe.

Boris Johnson: Pretending to be the clown for the media circus?

Al Jazeera English

On The Listening Post this week: Britain's media are front and centre in Boris Johnson's bid to become Conservative Party leader and prime minister.

Boris Johnson and the UK media Boris Johnson, the odds-on favourite to become Britain's next prime minister, had one distinct advantage going into the race to succeed Theresa May: name recognition. When the UK media drop that name - Boris - Britons know who exactly they're talking about.

As it happens, the news business is where Johnson got his start. As a correspondent in Brussels in the 1990s, Johnson produced a slew of Eurosceptic stories that readers found amusing; stories that could well have sowed seeds in peoples' minds for an eventual Brexit. Fast forward 30 odd years, and there he was as a key asset on the Leave side in the 2016 referendum campaign saying the same kinds of things about the EU as a politician that he once did as a journalist.

These days, the British media finally seem to have clued in to the fact that entertainment value isn't everything: that Boris Johnson falls dangerously short of the qualifications for the job. But he already has one foot in the door of 10 Downing Street, so this media awakening is looking like too little, too late.

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In the space of just one election cycle, authoritarian governments, wealthy elites and fringe hackers figured out how to game elections, bypass democratic processes and turn social networks into battlefields.
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