Top story: Not in front of the children …
Hello – it’s Warren Murray letting you know what’s occurring this morning.
At least 30% of parents admit being “tipsy” or drunk around their children, a study has found, prompting calls for a national conversation about alcohol consumption and the harm that exposure can do to youngsters’ emotional development.
Such behaviour can trigger family rows or leave children anxious, embarrassed, worried or disrupt their bedtime, according to research by the Institute of Alcohol Studies (IAS). The findings include that 15% of children have asked their parents to drink less, and 11 to 12-year-olds think adults drink to “solve their problems”. There are now calls for the government to strengthen official warnings about how much it is OK to drink, and when.
“All parents strive to do what’s best for their children, but this report has highlighted a troubling gap in their knowledge,” said Katherine Brown, the IAS’s chief executive. “Parents who have a glass or two of wine in the evening deserve to understand how this might affect their children and the steps they can take to minimise this impact.”
Alison Douglas, the chief executive of Alcohol Focus Scotland, said: “As well as the negative impacts on children’s wellbeing, seeing how adults drink can have a big influence on our children’s future drinking habits.” Jon Ashworth, the shadow health secretary, who has spoken about his father’s death as a result of drinking, said: “Children are incredibly perceptive of their parents’ drinking habits and this analysis must serve as a wake-up call to the government.”
‘The fight and mettle to win’ – President Xi Jinping has promised a “new era” of Chinese dominance at the Communist party congress in Beijing. Xi has just spoken at the twice-a-decade gathering, which he will use to pack the Communist party’s upper ranks with allies. His speech lasted three hours and 23 minutes, and had the catchy title of “Secure a decisive victory in building a moderately prosperous society in all respects and strive for the great success of socialism with Chinese characteristics for a new era”. For some, Xi’s rise does indeed represent the advent of a third major political epoch as he seeks to carry on from Mao Zedong the revolutionary, and Deng Xiaoping the reformer, to cement himself as the architect of lasting Chinese global influence.
‘Dramatic upshift’ – The Islamist terror threat to Britain is at its most severe level yet, the head of MI5 has warned. Seven plots had been stopped in the last seven months alone, said Andrew Parker, as he delivered a rare public commentary on the security agency’s work. “Plots developed here in the UK, but plots directed from overseas as well … Complex scheming and also crude stabbings; lengthy planning but also spontaneous attacks.” MI5 is under pressure to demonstrate its effectiveness after deadly attacks in the UK. Parker defended his staff who were “constantly making tough professional judgments based on fragments of intelligence; pinpricks of light against a dark and shifting canvas”.
‘Extraordinary piece of work’ – The Man Booker prize has gone to a US author for the second year running. Short story writer George Saunders has won the award for his first full-length novel, Lincoln in the Bardo, a supernatural fantasy that imagines Abraham Lincoln’s son Willie, who died aged 11, trapped in the afterlife and struggling to move on. The chair of judges, Lola Young, called the novel “an extraordinary piece of work. It was unique.” Saunders’ win falls four years after fiercely controversial rule changes that allow entries from writers of any nationality writing in English and published in the UK. Accepting the prize, Saunders said the Booker stood as a celebration of “international culture and compassionate culture” at a time of “fear and exclusion” in the world.
More Hollywood abuse claims – Reese Witherspoon has said she was sexually assaulted by a director at age 16, the first of many such experiences throughout her career. The US actor told of her guilt at not speaking up earlier in light of the allegations against Harvey Weinstein. “I’ve had multiple experiences of harassment and sexual assault and I don’t speak about them very often,” she told an event in Hollywood, describing how at the time she was told to keep quiet by agents and producers. Amazon Studios head Roy Price has resigned after being accused of sexual harassment by Isa Hackett, a producer on the company’s series Man in the High Castle. The actor Rose McGowan says Amazon ignored her complaints after she was raped by Weinstein.
‘Positioning for the future’ – Shell is opening a first wave of electric car charging points at its UK petrol stations where drivers can top their batteries up to 80% in half an hour. There will initially be 10 available – with all but one of them in London – and using Shell Recharge will cost a discounted 25p per kilowatt hour of power until next June, then 49p afterwards. The oil company says the electric car market is growing rapidly, with more than 115,000 battery-powered vehicles on the road in Britain compared with none a decade ago. But the market remains “very young”, so it is starting small, equipping only a fraction of its 1,000 UK filling stations. Shell has just bought NewMotion, a Dutch firm with 30,000 private charging points at homes and offices in Europe.
Lunchtime read: Carry on up the Kremlin makes for poor history
Armando Iannucci’s new film The Death of Stalin has been given rave reviews – not least in the Guardian – for the way it reimagines the demise of the brutal Soviet dictator as a farce, with his terrified court squabbling over the succession.
The cast, which includes Michael Palin, Steve Buscemi and Paul Whitehouse, goes for the comic jugular but the distinguished historian of modern Russia, Prof Richard Overy, argues today that treating Stalin’s monstrous regime and crimes in this way does a disservice to the millions who suffered at his hands. He writes: “A film that portrays the way that power worked would challenge any director, but it is not a challenge that The Death of Stalin has met. It is entertainment, but poor history.”
A busy night of Champions League football saw Tottenham come away from the Bernabéu with a 1-1 draw against Real Madrid, with Harry Kane relishing the spotlight but unable to find a decisive finishing touch. In Slovenia, Roberto Firmino and Mohamed Salah led Liverpool to a record 7-0 rout of Maribor while at the Etihad Stadium, Manchester City extended their perfect record with a 2-1 win over Napoli.
In rugby union, British and Irish Lions team-mates George North and Ben Te’o are both set to miss this autumn’s Test matches after falling victim to top-level rugby’s rising attrition rate. And NFL players and owners have met to discuss social issues, a session Miami Dolphins owner Stephen Ross called “constructive.”
Compared with the heady optimism of recent weeks, stocks were subdued in Asia overnight. Perhaps investors were distracted by Xi’s speech to the party congress in Beijing hailing a new era of Chinese dominance. The pound is down at $1.318 while it is buying €1.12 on the continent.
A mixed bag of front pages today … The Sun has a story about the actor Anna Friel and how she left a party after allegedly experiencing unwanted advances from a male businessman. The Mail splashes with a speech from the head of MI5 on terror threats and picks out what it thinks is the most significant point with a headline: “MI5 chief tells web giants: stop aiding the terrorists”. The Guardian also leads with the speech, choosing to highlight Andrew Parker’s comment that the UK faces its gravest terror threat ever.
The Times leads with “Traffic jam cost rises to £9b a year” and says that highways bosses have been told to reduce the time taken to reopen motorways after accidents. The Telegraph goes with some arguably self-serving comments from the CEO of the London Stock Exchange Group who says that if France and Germany use Brexit to try to dismantle the City’s dominance then a new financial crisis could be forthcoming. The FT leads on the Airbus deal to buy parts of planemaker Bombardier as part of a plan to take on Boeing in its America homeland.
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