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The Guardian - UK
The Guardian - UK
Nicola Slawson

First Thing: Deal to keep 1.5C hopes alive is within reach, says Cop28 president

Sultan Ahmed Al Jaber waves before a meeting between Brazil's President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva and leaders of countries attending the Amazon Summit in August.
Sultan Al Jaber said positive momentum meant the world could agree a ‘robust roadmap’ of cuts in greenhouse gas emissions by 2030. Photograph: Ueslei Marcelino/Reuters

Good morning.

An “unprecedented outcome” that would keep alive hopes of limiting global temperature rises to 1.5C is within reach, the president-designate of Cop28 has said – adding that even Saudi Arabia is expected to come to the UN climate summit with positive commitments.

Significant progress has been made in recent weeks on key aspects of a deal at the meeting in Dubai, which starts tomorrow. Countries have agreed a blueprint for a fund for the most vulnerable, and reached an important milestone on climate finance.

Sultan Al Jaber, who will lead the talks on behalf of the Cop28 host country, the United Arab Emirates, told the Guardian in an exclusive interview that the positive momentum meant the world could agree a “robust roadmap” of cuts in emissions by 2030 that would meet scientific advice.

“I have to be cautiously optimistic,” the oil executive and politician said. “But I have the levers and the traction that I am experiencing today that will allow for us to deliver the unprecedented outcome that we all hope for.”

  • Who is going to Cop28? World leaders and heads of state and government will attend the first few days of the fortnight of talks, including the UK prime minister, Rishi Sunak, King Charles and the European Commission president, Ursula von der Leyen. Joe Biden and his Chinese counterpart, Xi Jinping, are not expected to attend but will send high-level representatives. Pope Francis has cancelled his trip to the summit on the advice of doctors concerned about his recent flu-like symptoms, the Vatican said.

Efforts to extend Israel-Hamas truce as deadline nears, say reports

A Palestinian woman is hugged after being released in exchange for Israeli hostages held by Hamas in the Gaza Strip.
A Palestinian woman is hugged after being released in exchange for Israeli hostages held by Hamas in the Gaza Strip. Photograph: Alaa Badarneh/EPA

A preliminary understanding has been reached to extend the truce for two more days under the same conditions currently being observed, the New Arab (Al Araby al-Jadeed news website reported, quoting Egyptian officials as its source.

Israeli officials told the Haaretz newspaper that the proposal was being examined, but it has not yet been confirmed. Haaretz reported an Israeli source as saying the agreement on an extension depended on whether Hamas was able to release 10 additional hostages a day.

With fewer women and children remaining in captivity, extending the truce may require Hamas to free at least some Israeli men for the first time.

Meanwhile, the Biden administration has told Israel it must work to avoid “significant further displacement” of Palestinian civilians in southern Gaza if it renews its ground campaign after the truce, senior US officials were reported as saying.

  • What has the White House national security council spokesperson said? John Kirby told reporters: “Now you have an added population of hundreds of thousands more in the south that you didn’t have before [the Israelis] moved into Gaza City. And so it’s even all that more of an added burden on Israel to make sure … that they have properly accounted for … the extra innocent life that is now in south Gaza.”

Mark Cuban to reportedly sell majority stake in Dallas Mavericks NBA team

Dallas Mavericks point guard Luka Doncic, left, with the team’s owner, Mark Cuban, walk off the court after winning against the Detroit Pistons in 2021.
Dallas Mavericks point guard Luka Doncic, left, with the team’s owner, Mark Cuban, walk off the court after winning against the Detroit Pistons in 2021. Photograph: Tony Gutierrez/AP

The Dallas Mavericks owner, Mark Cuban, is working on a deal to sell a majority stake in the NBA franchise to the family that runs the Las Vegas Sands casino, a person with knowledge of the talks said last night.

The agreement values the franchise at about $3.5bn and would take weeks for the league to process, according to the person, who spoke to the Associated Press on condition of anonymity because details were not being made public.

Cuban would retain control of basketball operations in the deal. The NBA reporter Marc Stein was the first to report the potential sale.

The family of Miriam Adelson, the widow of the casino magnate Sheldon Adelson, announced yesterday it was selling $2bn of her shares to buy an unspecified professional sports team.

  • How much are the Mavericks worth? Forbes’ most recent NBA franchise valuations pegged the Mavericks as being worth $4.5bn, the seventh most valuable team in the league. Forbes estimates the fortune of Adelson and her family to be $32.3bn, making her the 44th richest person in the world.

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In other news …

Pope Francis during the weekly general audience in St Peter’s Square at the Vatican on 22 November 2023.
Pope Francis during the weekly general audience in St Peter’s Square at the Vatican on 22 November 2023. Photograph: Guglielmo Mangiapane/Reuters
  • Pope Francis has decided to punish one of his highest-ranking critics, the US cardinal Raymond Burke, by revoking his right to a subsidized Vatican apartment and salary. It is the second such radical action against a conservative US prelate this month, according to two people briefed on the measures.

  • The Election Commission of Pakistan is facing accusations of redrawing the country’s voting map in order to favour the return of the former prime minister Nawaz Sharif to power. There have also been allegations of pre-polling rigging, as well as increasing doubts over the fairness of the upcoming general elections.

  • A Canadian man who used a machete to kill a massage parlour employee in Toronto has been sentenced to life in prison for a murder that the judge deemed to be an act of terrorism motivated by the online “incel” subculture. The man cannot be named because he was 17 at the time of the February 2020 attack in which he killed Ashley Arzaga, 24.

  • The rightwing fifth circuit court of appeals has agreed to consider an electoral redistricting case emerging from Galveston county, Texas, in a move that poses a fresh threat to the Voting Rights Act of 1965 – the signature legislation of the civil rights movement.

Stat of the day: Walking faster linked to ‘significantly lower risk’ of developing type 2 diabetes

A busy street scene in Manhattan, New York City, US. Looking south along 7th Avenue.
A brisk walk or striding is better for reducing your risk of type 2 diabetes that walking at a slower pace. Photograph: Brendan King/Alamy

Walking faster is linked to a significantly lower risk of developing type 2 diabetes, according to the first global study of its kind. Type 2 diabetes is one of the world’s big health threats, with its prevalence increasing sharply in the last three decades, according to the World Health Organization. More than 537 million people have been diagnosed and millions more are estimated to be in the dark about the fact they have the condition. It is a leading cause of blindness, kidney failure, heart attacks, stroke and lower limb amputation. Researchers found that people who walked faster than 1.86mph (3km/h) were less likely to develop the condition, while those with a speedier stride of more than 3.7mph (6km/h) lowered their risk by 39%.

Don’t miss this: Divorce doulas – ‘like having that best friend you’ve always wanted, but you’re paying for’

Broken love heart.
Divorce doulas guide clients through the brutal, byzantine legal process of separation, giving emotional and practical support. Photograph: Luke MacGregor/Alamy

Divorce is complicated and expensive. There are convoluted legalities, logistical headaches and financial restructuring. Lawyers help with a lot of that, in exchange for nosebleed-inducing sums. But what about the various emotional quandaries that arise as you dissolve a marriage? How do you handle attending your child’s T-ball game if your ex will be there? What do you do when your estranged spouse is texting so much you can’t use your phone? If you send that angry email, will it hurt your legal case? Enter divorce doulas.

Climate check: First transatlantic flight using 100% sustainable jet fuel takes off

Virgin Atlantic’s flight 100, the first commercial airplane to be making a transatlantic flight with 100% alternative fuels, at Heathrow airport.
Virgin Atlantic’s flight 100, the first commercial airplane to be making a transatlantic flight with 100% alternative fuels, at Heathrow airport. Photograph: Virgin Atlantic/EPA

The first transatlantic flight by a commercial airliner fully powered by “sustainable” jet fuel has taken off from London Heathrow. Yesterday’s Virgin Atlantic flight, partly funded by the UK government, has been hailed by the aviation industry and ministers as a demonstration of the potential to significantly cut carbon emissions from flying, although scientists and environmental groups are extremely sceptical. Airlines have previously flown on a blend of up to 50% of alternative fuels, called sustainable aviation fuels (SAF), and flight VS100 is operating under special dispensation with no paying passengers, using fuel made mostly from tallow and other waste products.

Last Thing: Parthenon marbles row raises fresh fears over fraught UK-EU relations

The Parthenon in Athens with a full moon in the background.
The UK said the Greece’s Kyriakos Mitsotakis had reneged on assurances about not raising the issue of the Parthenon marbles’ return. Photograph: Petros Giannakouris/AP

Rishi Sunak’s snub of his Greek counterpart over the Parthenon marbles raised fresh questions about Britain’s fraught relations with its EU neighbours as a war of words between Athens and London escalated yesterday. A meeting yesterday between Sunak and Kyriakos Mitsotakis was cancelled because the Greek prime minister reneged on assurances that he would not use a UK visit as a “public platform” to lobby for the return of the marbles, Downing Street said. The Greek side has denied any such assurances were given. The diplomatic spat erupted after an interview with the BBC on Sunday in which Mitsotakis likened the retention of the sculptures at the British Museum to the Mona Lisa being cut in half.

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