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Prince William criticises billionaire space race after William Shatner’s Blue Origin flight | UK News

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The Duke of Cambridge has criticised the space race, saying it detracts focus from addressing climate change here on Earth.

His comments were made after Star Trek actor William Shatner became the oldest person to reach space and called his trip “the most profound experience”.

The 90-year-old blasted off from Texas on a Blue Origin rocket – the space company owned by Amazon founder Jeff Bezos.

Fellow billionaires Richard Branson and Elon Musk have developed their own space programmes.

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Highlights of William Shatner’s space flight

In an interview ahead of his inaugural Earthshot Prize, the Duke of Cambridge told the BBC: “We need some of the world’s greatest brains and minds fixed on trying to repair this planet, not trying to find the next place to go and live.”

On the subject of COP26, the upcoming UN climate conference, he said it was “critical” for leaders to communicate “very honestly” and “very clearly” about solutions to global warming.

“We can’t have more clever speak, clever words but not enough action,” he said.

The duke credited his late grandfather, the Duke of Edinburgh, for beginning the royal family’s interest in environmental issues by working with the World Wildlife Fund on its nature work and biodiversity.

He said his father Prince Charles “progressed that” and started talking about climate change “before anyone else thought it was a topic”.

:: Subscribe to ClimateCast on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, or Spreaker.

“He’s had a really rough ride on that, and I think you know he’s been proven to being well ahead of the curve, well beyond his time in warning about some of these dangers.”

Prince William added that it “shouldn’t be that there’s a third generation now coming along having to ramp it up even more”.

If his eldest son, Prince George, was still “saying the same thing” in 30 years it would be an “absolute disaster” because by then it will be too late, he said.

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Shatner awestruck in zero-gravity orbit

He said he was worried about eco-anxiety among children, adding: “Young people now are growing up where their futures are basically threatened the whole time. It’s very unnerving.”

He said he wanted future generations to benefit from the outdoor life and nature he had enjoyed when he was growing up.

“If we’re not careful we’re robbing from our children’s future through what we do now,” he said. “And I think that’s not fair.”

The duke’s Earthshot Prize is a £50m initiative that aims to find solutions to climate change, with winners in five categories this year set to receive £1m to develop their projects.

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The Daily Climate Show

Watch the Daily Climate Show at 6.30pm Monday to Friday on Sky News, the Sky News website and app, on YouTube and Twitter.

The show investigates how global warming is changing our landscape and highlights solutions to the crisis.

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Eastern European countries battle vaccine hesitancy as COVID-19 strengthens its grip | World News

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Some European countries are seeing a resurgence in COVID-19, with the continent’s eastern nations hampered by widespread vaccine hesitancy.

Polls show that trust in state institutions and public healthcare is much lower in eastern Europe than it is across the rest of the continent, something that has been blamed for the low vaccination rates.

At least one person in every three does not trust the healthcare system in eastern Europe, compared to an EU average of 18%, according to the European Commission.

And when it comes to vaccine uptake, the European states with the lowest rates – Bulgaria, Romania, Poland and Latvia – are all part of the former communist bloc.

People queue to receive FFP2 masks for free at a pharmacy as a measure of protection, amid the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic during lockdown in Berlin, Germany, December 17, 2020. REUTERS/Fabrizio Bensch
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The German health minister said the pandemic state of emergency can end on 25 November

• Romania had the highest death rate per capita in the world this week and the number of new cases soared towards 19,000, but only 36% of adults are vaccinated, about half the EU rate. Distrust in public healthcare is put at 40%

• Russia’s government announced workplaces will close from 30 October to 7 November after Thursday saw 1,036 deaths and 36,339 new infections – both record daily highs. Despite being quick to produce its Sputnik vaccine earlier in the pandemic, many Russians have refused it – only 48 million of a population of 144 million were fully-vaccinated as of mid-October

• In Bulgaria only one adult in four is fully-vaccinated. The number of people being admitted to hospital due to the virus has risen 30% in the past month, and hospitals in Sofia have halted non-essential surgeries

• Latvia has gone back into lockdown for a month. A study by SKDS has found that among Latvia’s Russian-speaking population (who account for about a third of the overall population), only 46% are vaccinated, compared with 62% among ethnic Latvians

A man holds his daughter, as he receives a second dose of vaccine against the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) administered by a medical personnel from a mobile unit in the village of Krushovitsa, Bulgaria, October 10, 2021. REUTERS/Stoyan Nenov/File Photo
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This young man is among around 25% of adults in Bulgaria who are fully vaccinated

• Poland (52% vaccinated) reported more than 5,000 new cases on Wednesday – the highest number since May – prompting the health minister to warn that drastic measures could be necessary. Vaccine uptake is particularly low in conservative areas, leaving the government with extra vaccine doses it has donated or sold abroad

• Slovakia (41% vaccinated) reported its highest daily case numbers on Tuesday since 9 March and in the Czech Republic (56% vaccinated) the number of new cases passed 3,000 for the first time since April

The situation differs in western Europe, where vaccination rates are generally higher and restrictions are being weakened alongside the introduction of vaccination passes in some parts.

• In France, new cases jumped to 6,127, up 18% compared to a week earlier, having already risen by 8% on Wednesday. The country also registered 37 new deaths on Thursday, taking the total to 117,389. About two-thirds of people are fully-vaccinated

• Italy (71% vaccinated) reported 36 deaths on Thursday (up from 33 the day before) with 3,794 new infections (up from 3,702)

An empty shop is seen as four weeks of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) lockdown begins in Riga, Latvia, October 21, 2021. REUTERS/Janis Laizans
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Latvia has gone back into lockdown due to an increase in the number of COVID-19 cases

• Germany reported just over 17,000 new infections on Wednesday compared to 11,903 a week ago, with its 92 deaths similar to the same day last week. Roughly two-thirds of people are fully-vaccinated. Health Minister Jens Spahn has said the pandemic state of emergency can end on 25 November, although some measures should continue

• Portugal began the year with one of the highest rates of infection in the world but, with 85% fully vaccinated, it is turning things around. Masks are still widely worn and trust in state institutions is generally high. On Wednesday, 927 new cases were reported (up from 828 a week earlier). There were three deaths (down from nine a week earlier)

• Spain reported 2,528 new cases on Wednesday (down from 2,758 a week earlier). There were 31 deaths (down from 42) and 78% of the population is fully vaccinated

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‘115,000 health workers dead from COVID’

The World Health Organisation’s emergency director Mike Ryan said: “Most (COVID-19) restrictions are now not in place anymore in many countries, and we’re seeing that coincide with the winter period in which people are moving inside as the cold snaps appear.

“The question remains as to whether or not we will have the same experience as last year with health systems coming once again under pressure.”

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Barbados elects its first-ever president as it sheds colonial past | World News

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Barbados has elected its first-ever president as it takes the first steps to becoming a republic.

Dame Sandra Mason, 72, was elected on Wednesday by a two-thirds vote of a joint session of the Caribbean country’s House of Assembly and Senate.

Last year, Barbados announced its intention to remove Britain’s Queen Elizabeth as its head of state and become a republic, shedding its colonial past.

The country of 300,000 gained its independence from Britain in 1966, though the Queen remained its constitutional monarch.

Bottom Bay in Barbados. Pic: AP
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Barbados became independent from Britain 55 years ago. Pic: AP

Dame Sandra will be sworn in on 30 November – the country’s 55th anniversary of independence from Britain.

The former jurist has been governor-general of the island since 2018, and was also the first woman to serve on the Barbados Court of Appeals.

Barbados Prime Minister Mia Mottley said the election of a president was “a seminal moment” in the country’s journey.

She added: “We have just elected from among us a woman who is uniquely and passionately Barbadian, does not pretend to be anything else (and) reflects the values of who we are.”

18th February 1966:  The Queen and Prince Philip driving through Barbados waving to the crowds.  (Photo by Keystone/Getty Images)
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The Queen and Prince Philip driving through Barbados waving to the crowds

Ms Mottley also said the country’s decision to become a republic was not a condemnation of its British past.

“We look forward to continuing the relationship with the British monarch,” she said.

The election could benefit the country both at home and abroad, according to Wazim Mowla of the Atlantic Council think-tank.

She said the move makes the small developing country a more legitimate player in global politics, but could also serve as a “unifying and nationalistic move” that may benefit its current leadership at home.

Prince Charles and Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall attend a meeting with the Governor-General of Barbados, Sandra Mason, in 2019
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Prince Charles and Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall attend a meeting with the Governor-General of Barbados, Dame Sandra Mason, in 2019

Ms Mowla added: “Other Caribbean leaders and their citizens will likely praise the move, but I don’t expect others to follow suit.

“This move will always be considered only if it is in the best interest of each country.”

Barbados said last year it wanted “full sovereignty” by the time it celebrated its 55th anniversary of independence from the UK in November 2021.

In 1998, a Barbados constitutional review commission recommended republican status, and in 2015 Prime Minister Freundel Stuart said “we have to move from a monarchical system to a republican form of government in the very near future”.

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Netflix staff join protests outside its headquarters over controversial stand-up show by Dave Chappelle | Ents & Arts News

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Staff at Netflix’s headquarters in Hollywood have staged a walkout in protest at the release of a controversial special by the stand-up comedian Dave Chappelle.

Chappelle, one of the biggest names in American comedy, has been accused of making anti-transgender comments in the hour-long special The Closer.

But Netflix has refused to remove the special from its streaming service despite a backlash from the transgender community, both within the company and outside.

Dave Chappelle. Pic: Netflix/Mathieu Bitton
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People are asking Dave Chappelle’s show to be removed from Netflix. Pic: Netflix/Mathieu Bitton

Employees joined the planned walkout to take part in a rally outside one of the company main campuses in Hollywood.

There were also scuffles as counter-protesters – carrying signs reading “We like Dave” and “Jokes are funny” – tried to disrupt the rally.

To background chants of “Trans Lives Matter”, campaigners pushed for Netflix to respond to a list of “asks” including the hiring of more trans executives and greater spending on trans and non-binary content.

Protest organiser Ashlee Marie Preston told the rally: “We’re here to speak directly to Netflix. We tried to speak to Dave Chappelle but he was not having the conversation so we’re communicating directly with the people who sign the cheques. We’re not going away.”

As well as criticism for streaming the special, Netflix has also come under fire for its handling of the backlash.

There were scuffles as counter-protesters held up signs that said 'Dave is funny'
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There were scuffles as counter-protesters held up signs that said ‘Dave is funny’

Chief executive Ted Sarandos has walked back his claim that content didn’t “directly translate to real-world harm”.

He told Deadline: “I should have made sure to recognise that a group of employees was hurting very badly from the decision made. I respect them deeply and I love the contribution they have at Netflix.”

But he continues to stand by the decision to stream the special, telling the Hollywood Reporter: “We tell our employees that some of the content on Netflix you’re not going to like.

“This kind of commitment to artistic expression and free artistic expression is sometimes in conflict with people feeling protected and safe. I do think that’s something we struggle with all the time.”

 Netflix has refused to remove the special from its streaming service
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Netflix has refused to remove the special from its streaming service

A number of Netflix stars have expressed their support for the walkout.

Elliot Page, who starred in The Umbrella Academy and is transgender, tweeted: “I stand with trans, nonbinary, and BIPOC (Black, Indigenous and People of Colour) employees at Netflix fighting for more and better trans stories and a more inclusive workplace.”

Netflix staff staged a walk-out in protest of a Dave Chappelle show, which people say features transphobic content
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Netflix staff staged a walkout in protest of a Dave Chappelle show, which people say features transphobic content

As the walkout was taking place, Chappelle himself was on stage in London.

Fans at the venue told Sky News that they believed entertainers needed to be conscious of how their words affected people.

“We as a society shouldn’t be marginalising or prejudicing any community,” said one.

But another added: “A joke’s a joke. It’s not meaning anything to hurt someone’s feelings.”

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