US and allies should move to protect ‘freedom of navigation’, says Taiwan envoy

The US and its allies should jointly respond to China’s live ammunition drills designed to intimidate Taiwan by holding “freedom of navigation” operations in the Taiwan Strait, Taipei’s official representative to the UK has said. In an interview with the Guardian, Kelly Wu-Chiao Hsieh also called on the UK to uphold the principles of rules-based international order and forge closer trade and security investment relations with Taiwan. He welcomed the decision of the foreign secretary, Liz Truss, to condemn the unprecedented Chinese military exercises in the wake of the visit…

Beijing urges British politicians not to ‘hype the China threat’

Beijing has urged British politicians to exercise restraint in their comments on China, saying “hyping the China threat” would not help solve the UK’s own problems. Asked about Rishi Sunak’s comments, where he labelled China as Britain’s biggest long-term threat and pledged to close all UK-based Confucius Institutes, Zhao Lijian, Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson, declined to offer specific comments, saying the election of the next Tory leader is the UK’s internal affair. But he added: “I do want to inform some UK politicians that they can’t solve their own problems…

Weather tracker: record-breaking heat continues to scorch western Europe

Record-breaking heat continued to affect parts of western Europe during the past week, with UK temperatures exceeding 40C (104F) for the first time since records began. On Tuesday, several weather stations across London, Lincolnshire and Nottinghamshire broke the 40C barrier, with a top temperature of 40.3C in Coningsby, Lincolnshire. A further 39 stations across central and southern England also broke the previous highest temperature of 38.7C, which was set in July 2019. The central England temperature (CET), which is a daily temperature record dataset dating back to 1772, recorded the…

Tony Blair urges western powers to stand up to China

Tony Blair has issued a rallying call to western nations to come together to develop a coherent strategy to counter the rise of China as “the world’s second superpower”. Delivering the annual Ditchley lecture on Saturday, the former prime minister called for a policy towards Beijing of “strength plus engagement” as he warned the era of western political and economic dominance was coming to an end. He said western powers needed to increase their defence spending in order to maintain their military superiority while extending their “soft power” by building…

Britain’s electric dreams will never come true while China has a materials advantage | John Naughton

In his book Electrify: An Optimist’s Playbook for Our Clean Energy Future, Saul Griffith, an American inventor, entrepreneur and engineer, sets out a plan for decarbonising the US: electrify everything. From now on, every time people replace a vehicle or renovate a building or buy an appliance, they should be buying electric. Every new roof must have solar panels, all new housing must be energy efficient and shouldn’t contain a gas cooker. All that’s required to make this happen is a collective national effort comparable to the mobilisation of the…

FBI and MI5 leaders give unprecedented joint warning on Chinese spying

The head of the FBI and the leader of Britain’s domestic intelligence agency have delivered an unprecedented joint address raising fresh alarm about the Chinese government, warning business leaders that Beijing is determined to steal their technology for competitive gain. In a speech at MI5’s London headquarters intended as a show of western solidarity, Christopher Wray, the FBI director, stood alongside the MI5 director general, Ken McCallum. Wray reaffirmed longstanding concerns about economic espionage and hacking operations by China, as well as the Chinese government’s efforts to stifle dissent abroad.…

Peng Shuai demonstrators at Wimbledon allege harassment by security staff

Activists wearing “Where is Peng Shuai?” T-shirts claim they were confronted by Wimbledon security staff who warned them against approaching spectators and political messaging at SW19. Nine-time champion Martina Navratilova expressed her anger at the move after the campaigners posted a video online saying they were stopped and questioned. The group of four men from the Free Tibet campaign said they came to Wimbledon to “raise a bit of awareness” about the Chinese tennis player, a former doubles world No 1. The 36-year-old disappeared from public view for weeks last…

Xi Jinping hails China’s rule over Hong Kong on 25th anniversary of handover

Xi Jinping has hailed China’s rule over Hong Kong as he led 25th anniversary celebrations of the city’s handover from Britain, insisting democracy was flourishing despite a political crackdown that has silenced dissent. After swearing in a new hardline chief executive, John Lee, in a solemn ceremony on Friday morning, the Chinese president laid out his vision for the city and its administrators. On his first trip outside mainland China since the pandemic began, he vowed that “one country, two systems” – a governance model under which Hong Kong was…

No 10 staff will be able to give evidence confidentially to inquiry into whether PM lied over Partygate – UK politics live

From 1h ago No 10 staff will be able to give evidence confidentially to inquiry into whether PM lied over Partygate, committee says The Commons privileges committee has issued a statement after its first meeting to consider its inquiry into whether Boris Johnson lied to MPs about Partygate. It has issued a wide-ranging call for evidence, and it is inviting whistleblowers to give evidence anonymously if they want. This provision seems intended to encourage civil servants working in No 10, who may have heard Boris Johnson reveal in private that…

How TikTok is turning a generation of video addicts into a data goldmine

Question: what do men and Excel have in common? Answer: they’re always automatically turning things into dates when they’re not. To younger people – that is, anyone under the age of 20 – Microsoft’s spreadsheet program, a tool as essential to accountants as saws are to carpenters, is the contemporary equivalent of mom jeans, handwritten thank-you notes and cravats: stuff that oldies care about. How come, then, that the hashtag #excel has had 3.4bn views on a certain social media platform and that one Excel expert on that platform has…