Greta Thunberg: ‘They see us as a threat because we’re having an impact’

The climate activist answers questions from famous supporters and Observer readers, with an introduction by Ali Smith

Greta Thunberg. This time last year she was unimaginable. Then, pretty much from nowhere, there she was: small and slight, a girl just turned 16, the way-too-young odd person out on a panel of adults sitting in front of the world’s economic powers at Davos last January. Unshowy and serious, careful, firm, she said it. Our house is on fire.

The ancient Greeks had a word for this: parrhesiastes. It means a person who speaks truth to power: you should not be behaving in this way. Don’t. More specifically it suggests someone in whom directness of expression and access to truth coincide; and it means someone of very little power who’s risking everything – because they can’t not, there’s no option – to speak ethical truth to powers so entrenched that they’re close to tyrannical, because telling this truth is about moral law. “Some people, some companies, some decision-makers in particular know exactly what priceless values they have been sacrificing to continue to make unimaginable amounts of money, and I think many of you here today,” she said to the World Economic Forum conference, “belong to that group of people.”

Continue reading...

Now El Chapo’s back in jail, hunt is on for the Mexican drug baron’s money

$12,666,181,704 … that’s the Sinaloa cartel boss’s sales in the US. Now he’s in jail, prosecutors want to seize his vast riches

It’s a favourite current joke in Mexico: “No más túneles!” – no more tunnels. There’s little chance of drug lord Joaquín “El Chapo” Guzmán Loera repeating his famous escapes from Mexican prisons in the US jail where he was sent after being given a life sentence last week by a court in Brooklyn.

So now that El Chapo is removed from the scene, what next? The pillar of the US “Kingpin” strategy against narco-traffic is that the trade is weakened when its leaders are caught and jailed.

Continue reading...

By the Jaffa Gate, final showdown looms in battle over Jerusalem’s historic hotel

Palestinian tenant of New Imperial Hotel makes plea after supreme court backs Jewish settlers’ bid to buy property

Standing on a balcony at the New Imperial Hotel, overlooking Jaffa Gate in Jerusalem’s Old City, 75-year-old Walid Dajani last week declared a one-man war on Jewish settlers.

Officials from Israel’s supreme court had served an eviction notice against Dajani following a ruling last month that the disputed 2005 sale of the historic 40-room hotel to a radical settler group was valid. The Jewish settlers’ organisation Ateret Cohanim immediately branded him “a squatter” and threatened to seize the building. Such a move would establish a strategically valuable settler presence just inside Jaffa Gate, the main entrance to the ancient city’s Christian Quarter.

Continue reading...

Former MEP berates ‘culture of sexism’ in European parliament

Marietje Schaake recalls unwanted advances, inappropriate remarks and being mistaken for an intern

When Marietje Schaake was elected to the European parliament for the Dutch liberal D66 party a decade ago, she knew what she wanted to do – protect people’s rights online and promote transatlantic relations.

Schaake had not bargained for comments on her clothes and weight, or unwanted advances from male colleagues. As she left parliament after 10 years as an MEP this month, she wondered if her younger self would have been “courageous enough” to run for office had she understood “what I was getting myself into”.

Continue reading...

Millions face hardship as Zimbabwe comes close to ‘meltdown’

Rising inflation has hit those already struggling with food, fuel and medicine shortages

Millions of people in Zimbabwe face hardship, hunger and chaos as the economy comes close to “meltdown” and drought worsens.

More than 18 months after the military coup that removed Robert Mugabe from power, the new government is struggling to overcome the legacy of the dictator’s 30 years of repressive rule and the consequences of its own failure to undertake meaningful political reform.

Continue reading...

Bolsonaro pick for Funai agency horrifies indigenous leaders

  • Marcelo Xavier da Silva is police officer linked to agribusiness
  • Former agency employee: ‘I am scared of him’

Indigenous leaders and specialists working with Brazil’s nearly one million tribal people have been stunned and disconcerted by the appointment of a federal police officer with strong connections to agribusiness as the new head of the country’s indigenous agency.

Related: Bolsonaro declares 'the Amazon is ours' and calls deforestation data 'lies'

Continue reading...

Margrethe Vestager scares the tech giants. If we leave the EU, we’ll miss her

Trump says the competition commissioner hates the US, but what she really hates is tax avoidance

The greatest economic threat facing Europe is of falling hopelessly behind the US and China in adopting the next generation of technology. That is the view of many across Europe’s industrial and financial sectors who watch with wonder the proxy battle between the US and Chinese administrations on behalf of their tech giants.

Business leaders from Dublin to Warsaw are open-mouthed – not so much at the often-bizarre tug of war between the two sides as at the fact that these economic blocs can lay claim to almost all the world’s tech giants.

Continue reading...

Spain set for socialist-led government after Iglesias deal

Sidelining of Podemos leader paves way for administration headed by Socialist Workers’ leader Pedro Sanchez

Spain is likely to install a leftwing government this week after Pablo Iglesias, leader of the anti-austerity Podemos, agreed to step aside to enable a coalition between his party and the Socialist Workers’ party, led by Pedro Sánchez.

Months of wrangling since April’s general election came to a head last week when Sánchez said he was prepared to form a coalition on the condition that Iglesias did not have a ministerial position. He said Iglesias was “the principal obstacle” to agreeing on a coalition, adding that other Podemos members would be offered cabinet positions. Among those tipped to join the government is Irene Montero, the party’s number two, who is also Iglesias’s partner.

Continue reading...

The 10 ages of Boris Johnson: a guide to his road to power

From bullied schoolboy to betrayer of women and voters, his career trajectory has been a controversial one

Alexander Boris de Pfeffel Johnson was born on 19 June 1964 in New York and is still known by his family as Al. Over the next 14 years he moved house 32 times across two continents as his father Stanley pursued a wide-ranging career. Only 22 when she had him, his mother Charlotte had given up her English degree at Oxford to accompany her husband to the US. Until the age of eight Boris was severely deaf with glue ear and was a subdued child. His mother encouraged him to be arty but Stanley inculcated an uber-competitive streak in his family.

Continue reading...

Hong Kong braces for another round of mass demonstrations

Police cordon off government complex ahead of Sunday’s pro-democracy march

Police and demonstrators braced for more mass protests in Hong Kong on Sunday, the latest in weeks of unrest in a political movement that shows few signs of slowing.

A planned march on Sunday marks the seventh consecutive weekend when residents have come out en masse against the government. The protests, which began over a now suspended extradition bill, have turned into a wider democracy movement in the Chinese territory.

Continue reading...

‘This is an emergency’: the volunteers bailing out migrants from detention

One woman’s story of helping a migrant by paying their bail has inspired others to offer bond money of their own

For more than a year, Julie Sharron went quietly crazy reading news stories about migrants detained at the border, herded into detention centers, separated from their children and demonized by Donald Trump and his supporters as “criminals” and “animals”. As the granddaughter of Holocaust survivors, she was chilled by what she saw as inescapable historical parallels.

Like many of her liberal friends living on Los Angeles’ Eastside, she wrote outraged posts on social media, donated money and called her congressman. But it wasn’t enough.

Continue reading...

Ilhan Omar’s constituents ‘proud to stand by her’ over Trump’s racist words

The Democratic congressman received an angry, racist volley from Donald Trump – which hardened her supporters’ resolve to defend her

When Donald Trump began targeting Ilhan Omar and other progressive congresswomen of color with racist attacks, demanding they leave the country, Erica Mauter knew she had to counter his dangerous message.

Related: Of course Donald Trump is a racist – and his Wall Street enablers know it

Continue reading...

‘Ricky, resign!’ Puerto Rico’s famous musicians lend voice to surging protesters

Young artistssuch as Bad Bunny and iLe have emerged as figureheads in the largest protests in the island’s history

On Wednesday afternoon, as 100,000 Puerto Ricans lined the grounds of the capitol, crowds surged in anticipation, snapping thin reels of yellow string designed to separate them from a makeshift speakers’ platform.

Related: Puerto Rico: top US politicians join chorus calling for governor's resignation

Continue reading...

Turning our back on studying history fits with a society that’s losing its common purpose | Will Hutton

The sharp decline in the take-up of humanities degrees is being fuelled by fear

One of the saddest aspects of our times is the harsh world that the right has constructed for our children as they approach adulthood. If you are 16, 18 or indeed 21, in employment terms you are an innocent. The young need to join an organisation that is aware of its social obligations and which has an expectation that it will survive over time, an organisation that recognises it is in its own interest to offer young people the chance to lay the foundations of a career.

It should not only be the town halls, the leading accountancy firms, the civil service, the BBC or the last few big British companies that are virtually the sole suppliers of such a chance, oversubscribed 20 or 30 times for every job they advertise. We need many more alongside them – even more so in an economy in which technology is making the life cycle of firms so much shorter, now closer to 20 years than the 50 of the mid-20th century.

Continue reading...

More than 60 Victorian-made planes grounded after fatal crash in Sweden

Civil Aviation Safety Authority suspends operations of GippsAero GA8 after nine people killed

Sixty-three Victorian-made planes have been grounded in Australia after a fatal crash in Sweden that killed nine people.

The Civil Aviation Safety Authority has suspended operations of GippsAero GA8 aircraft after the accident in Umeo on 14 July. No one on board survived the crash.

Continue reading...

Panama deregisters oil tanker that strayed into Iranian waters

Country says MT Riah, which stopped transmitting location on 14 July, ‘deliberately violated international regulations’

Panama’s maritime authority has begun the process of withdrawing the registration of the oil tanker MT Riah, which ended up in Iranian waters after it disappeared from ship tracking maps in the strait of Hormuz on 14 July.

Panama began the flag-withdrawal process on Friday after an investigation determined the tanker had “deliberately violated international regulations” by not reporting any unusual situation, the authority said in a statement.

Continue reading...

Man denies telling US politician Erica Thomas ‘go back where you came from’

Eric Sparkes admits berating lawmaker but says comment wasn’t racially charged

A man has admitted cursing at a pregnant black Georgia lawmaker for taking too many items into a supermarket express lane but denies telling her “go back where you came from.”

Eric Sparkes showed up during a television interview with Republican state representative from Georgia, Erica Thomas, on Saturday, outside the Atlanta-area Publix store where the incident allegedly occurred, the station reported.

Continue reading...

Western Sydney stabbing: woman allegedly murdered mother in ‘horrific attack’

Woman, 54, was allegedly killed in front of four-year-old grandson in St Clair

A woman has allegedly decapitated her mother in front of the 57-year-old’s four-year-old grandson in their western Sydney home.

The dead woman’s 25-year-old daughter was arrested in the front yard of a neighbour’s home, charged with murder and will appear in Parramatta bail court later on Sunday.

Continue reading...

Neil Perry’s restaurant empire sued by Rockpool chef for alleged underpayment

Chef says he worked 20-hour shifts in Melbourne restaurant for $12 an hour and slept on pastry bench

Celebrity chef Neil Perry’s high-end restaurant empire is being sued for allegedly underpaying a chef who worked gruelling 20-hour shifts at the Rockpool Bar & Grill restaurant in Melbourne.

Rohit Karki claims he worked more than 70 hours per week, including 20-hour shifts from 4am to midnight over consecutive days without breaks for $12 an hour.

Continue reading...

Kyoto Animation’s stories celebrated warmth and belonging. The fire is a tragic loss of life and legacy | Patrick Lum

The studio that nurtured creativity and treasured its staff made anime that found magic in the everyday

Like many fans, I wasn’t really aware of specific animation houses or companies when I first got into Japanese animation as a kid. Anime, as far as I was concerned, came from Japan: end of story. But over time, it became apparent that some of my favourite series and movies were all done by the same studio – a powerhouse named Kyoto Animation.

Related: Kyoto Animation studio fire suspect named by police

Continue reading...