Ashes to ashes: Britons follow David Bowie in choosing direct cremations

Demand for simpler services grows as tastes change and cost of lavish funerals increases

The “cost of dying” is continuing to rise, figures out next week are expected to show. But the good news for those on a tight budget, or who simply don’t want a big fuss made, is that the cost of the very cheapest type of funeral is falling.

Direct cremation” is a low-cost, no-frills option where there is no funeral service and mourners aren’t present. In its most basic form it is – to put it bluntly – a disposal service. Prices start at less than £1,000, which is just a fraction of the £3,500 to £4,000-plus average funeral cost.

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TV wildlife enthusiast Johnny Kingdom killed in digger accident

The 79-year-old who came to fame in A Year On Exmoor died in his beloved Devon

Television wildlife film-maker Johnny Kingdom has died at the age of 79 following an accident on his land involving a digger.

Kingdom, who specialised in his local area of Exmoor and north Devon and appeared extensively on the BBC, was pronounced dead at the scene by emergency services in a field near Wadham Cross in Knowstone, Devon, following reports confirmed by police that a digger had rolled over on Thursday night.

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TV wildlife enthusiast Johnny Kingdom killed in digger accident

The 79-year-old who came to fame in A Year On Exmoor died in his beloved Devon

Television wildlife film-maker Johnny Kingdom has died at the age of 79 following an accident on his land involving a digger.

Kingdom, who specialised in his local area of Exmoor and north Devon and appeared extensively on the BBC, was pronounced dead at the scene by emergency services in a field near Wadham Cross in Knowstone, Devon, following reports confirmed by police that a digger had rolled over on Thursday night.

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Scottish designer Nicola Glass unveils first Kate Spade collection

New York fashion week show comes three months after brand founder’s death

A new chapter started in the Kate Spade story on Friday in New York as Scottish designer Nicola Glass unveiled her first collection for the American fashion house.

In the three months since the eponymous brand’s founder killed herself in June, the fashion house has experienced something of a renaissance, as the designer’s rags to riches tale struck a chord.

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UK universities making slow progress on equality, data shows

There were 25 black women and 90 black men among 19,000 professors in 2016-17

British universities have made little progress in promoting black and other minority ethnic staff to senior positions, according to analysis of equality data.

Statistics collated by Advance HE, formerly known as the Equality Challenge Unit charity, show that last year only a small fraction of professors in UK universities were from black and minority ethnic (BME) backgrounds, with women especially poorly represented.

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Brexit secretary under fire from Michel Barnier on Irish border issue

Dominic Raab alleged to have failed to meet promise to provide vital facts

Michel Barnier has expressed his frustration with Dominic Raab, the Brexit secretary, for allegedly withholding information from the EU, as the question of the Irish border erupted again in the Brexit negotiations.

The EU negotiator was said to be “disappointed and irritated” by Raab’s alleged failure this week to live up to a promise to provide data on the trade flows between the UK and Northern Ireland, which had been requested as part of an attempt to take the drama out of the Irish border issue.

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Hilary Lister obituary

Sailor who overcame quadriplegia to cross the Channel and circumnavigate the UK

Hilary Lister was a record-breaking sailor who became the first quadriplegic person to sail alone across the English Channel. She has died aged 46, following an infection related to reflex sympathetic dystrophy, the degenerative nervous system disorder she had lived with for all of her adult life.

On 23 August 2005, with a map strapped to her foot, and a support boat following behind, she completed the 21-mile crossing from Dover to Calais in six hours and 13 minutes, navigating with her mouth. Four years later, she became the first disabled woman to sail around the UK, an achievement described by the International Sailing Federation as ranking her among the top four sailors in the world. Her journey was captured in a BBC2 documentary, A Race Against Time: Hilary Lister’s Round Britain Dream (2013).

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Eminem breaks 36-year-old UK chart record for most consecutive No 1 albums

Record held by Abba and Led Zeppelin is broken by the Detroit rapper, who also scores three tracks in the UK singles chart

Eminem has broken the UK chart record for consecutive No 1 albums, beating a record held jointly for 36 years by Abba and Led Zeppelin.

His album Kamikaze, a surprise release last week and his second album in less than a year, is his ninth No 1 in a row – a run stretching back 18 years to his second collection, The Marshall Mathers LP. Eminem put out a statement alongside the news, saying: “Does this mean I get to call myself Sir Eminem?”

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‘They don’t give a damn about us’: Belfast reacts to Karen Bradley remarks

Northern Ireland secretary’s lack of knowledge of region prompts anger and bafflement

Karen Bradley’s incomprehension regarding Northern Ireland has met its match on the streets of Belfast, where people cannot comprehend how she got the job to run the place.

What mysterious currents flowing through Westminster, what enigmas of policymaking and riddles of Conservative party dynamics, they asked on Friday, could produce a secretary of state for Northern Ireland who knows nothing about Northern Ireland?

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John Steinbeck a sadistic womaniser, says wife in memoir

Gwyn Conger Steinbeck’s newly unearthed book tells of troubled marriage to author

John Steinbeck’s wife Gwyn Conger Steinbeck describes the author as “a sadistic man” and a serial womaniser, in a newly unearthed memoir found in Wales that is set to be published for the first time this week.

The manuscript for My Life With John Steinbeck, by the author’s second wife and mother of his two children, has been in Montgomery, Powys ever since its ghostwriter, the British journalist Douglas Brown, died on holiday in Yorkshire in the 1990s. The manuscript was passed to Brown’s brother in Montgomery and was recently discovered by his neighbour Bruce Lawton, who is publishing it.

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Murdered Russian exile survived earlier poisoning attempt, police believe

Exclusive: Nikolai Glushkov spoke of collapse in Bristol hotel after meeting two Russians

Detectives investigating the murder of a Russian exile in London believe he was previously the target of a poisoning attempt carried out by two mysterious men from Moscow who visited him in a Bristol hotel room, the Guardian has learned.

Nikolai Glushkov, a friend of the late oligarch Boris Berezovsky and a prominent Kremlin critic, was found dead in March at his home in New Malden, south-west London. He had been strangled.

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Hospital staff in key areas who refuse flu jab may be redeployed

NHS bosses take decision to help cope with extra pressure on service during winter

Hospital staff in key areas of NHS care who refuse to have the flu jab will be moved to other units this winter in order to protect patients’ safety.

NHS bosses have taken the unprecedented decision as part of their plans to cope with the extra pressure on the service during the coldest months.

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‘Rogue trader’ appeals to May and Javid to ‘show compassion’

Former banker Kweku Adoboli faces deportation to Ghana, which he left when he was four

Kweku Adoboli considers himself “very British, but more a Yorkshireman”. He has lived in the UK for the last 26 years, paid UK taxes and his favourite desert is apple crumble.

But in the eyes of the law, Adoboli is not British, and his failure to get around to applying for citizenship has left him facing deportation to Ghana, his country of birth which he left as a four-year-old. He could be sent to Africa as soon as Monday, and is spending what could be his last few days in Britain in a notorious Scottish detention centre.

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The chief rabbi’s LGBT report shows that culture wars can be overcome | Naomi Alderman

Ephraim Mirvis knows that the only way to change reactionary attitudes is by talking, not shouting. More power to him

This week the UK’s chief rabbi, Ephraim Mirvis, along with the charity KeshetUK, released a report on how Orthodox Jewish schools should relate to LGBT+ children. Surprise: it’s excellent. It’s the first such guidance to be issued by any chief rabbi in the world, and will probably become a template for tackling gender and sexual identity in religious communities – which, if you’ve followed recent stories about Orthodox Jews, may be a pleasant shock.

Related: Chief rabbi calls on Jewish schools to tackle homophobia

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