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The 10 best jokes from the Edinburgh fringe

Paul Fleckney in The Guardian


Robert Garnham: Insomnia is awful. But on the plus side – only three more sleeps till Christmas.

Dan Antopolski: Centaurs shop at Topman. And Bottomhorse.

Paul Savage: Oregon leads America in both marital infidelity and clinical depression. What a sad state of affairs.

Caroline Mabey: I’m very conflicted by eye tests. I want to get the answers right but I really want to win the glasses.

Athena Kugblenu: Relationships are like mobile phones. You’ll look at your iPhone 5 and think, it used to be a lot quicker to turn this thing on.

Evelyn Mok: My vagina is kind of like Wales. People only visit ironically.

Phil Wang: In the bedroom, my girlfriend really likes it when I wear a suit, because she’s got this kinky fantasy where I have a proper job.

Gráinne Maguire: The Edinburgh fringe is such a bubble. I asked a comedian what they thought about the North Korea nuclear missile crisis and they asked what venue it was on in.

John-Luke Roberts: How did the Village People me…
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Why the Booker prize is bad for writers

Amit Chaudhuri in The Guardian


There are at least two reasons why almost every anglophone novelist feels compelled to get as near the Booker prize as they can. The first is because it looms over them and follows them around in the way Guy de Maupassant said the Eiffel Tower follows you everywhere when you’re in Paris. “To escape the Eiffel Tower,” Maupassant suggested, “you have to go inside it.” Similarly, the main reason for a novelist wanting to win the Booker prize is to no longer be under any obligation to win it, and to be able to get on with their job: writing, and thinking about writing.


Today, there’s little intellectual or material investment in writers: prizes and shortlists are meant to sell books


The other reason is that the Booker prize is most literary publishers’ primary marketing tool. There are relatively few Diana Athills (Athill was VS Naipaul’s editor) and Charles Monteiths (Monteith was William Golding’s) today: publishers who identify, and are loyal to, novelists i…

Adani mining giant faces financial fraud claims as it bids for Australian coal loan

by Michael Safi in The Guardian


Exclusive: Allegations by Indian customs of huge sums being siphoned off to tax havens from projects are contained in legal documents but denied by company 


Men wearing masks of Australian prime minister Malcolm Turnbull and Adani chairman Gautam Adani protest outside Parliament House in Canberra. Photograph: Lukas Coch/AAP


A global mining giant seeking public funds to develop one of the world’s largest coal mines in Australia has been accused of fraudulently siphoning hundreds of millions of dollars of borrowed money into overseas tax havens.

Indian conglomerate the Adani Group is expecting a legal decision in the “near future” in connection with allegations it inflated invoices for an electricity project in India to shift huge sums of money into offshore bank accounts.
Details of the alleged 15bn rupee (US$235m) fraud are contained in an Indian customs intelligence notice obtained by the Guardian, excerpts of which are published for the first time here.

The…

Islam, Quran, Sharia and Refugees

Don't blame addicts for America's opioid crisis. Here are the real culprits

America’s opioid crisis was caused by rapacious pharma companies, politicians who colluded with them and regulators who approved one opioid pill after another

Chris McGreal in The Guardian



‘Opioids killed more than 33,000 Americans in 2015 and the toll was almost certainly higher last year.’

Of all the people Donald Trump could blame for the opioid epidemic, he chose the victims. After his own commission on the opioid crisis issued an interim report this week, Trump said young people should be told drugs are “No good, really bad for you in every way.”

The president’s exhortation to follow Nancy Reagan’s miserably inadequate advice and Just Say No to drugs is far from useful. The then first lady made not a jot of difference to the crack epidemic in the 1980s. But Trump’s characterisation of the source of the opioid crisis was more disturbing. “The best way to prevent drug addiction and overdose is to prevent people from abusing drugs in the first place,” he said.

That is straight out of the…

The west is gripped by Venezuela’s problems. Why does it ignore Brazil’s?

Reporters ask Jeremy Corbyn if he will condemn Nicolás Maduro. But the undemocratic abuses of Michel Temer aren’t flashy enough for the news cycle

Julia Blunck in The Guardian


‘Brazil has carried on as most stories about Latin America do: unnoticed and uncommented on.’ Riot police monitor protests against the government of Michel Temer in Brasilia, May 2017. Photograph: Evaristo Sa/AFP/Getty Images




Venezuela is the question on everyone’s lips. Rather, Venezuela is the question on reporters’ lips whenever they see Jeremy Corbyn: will he condemn the president, Nicolás Maduro? What is his position on Venezuela, and how does it affect his plans for Britain? The actual problems of Venezuela – a complex country with a long history that does not start with the previous president Hugo Chávez and certainly not with Jeremy Corbyn – are largely ignored or pushed aside. This is nothing new: most of the time, Latin America’s debates are seen through western lenses.
Of course, the situation in Venezuel…

Prime Minister Corbyn would face his own very British coup

The left underestimates the establishment backlash there would be if Corbyn were to reach No 10. They need to be ready


Owen Jones in The Guardian


‘The British establishment has no interest in allowing a government that challenges its very existence to prove a success.’ Photograph: Justin Tallis/AFP/Getty Images


‘Do you really think the British state would just stand back and let Jeremy Corbyn be prime minister?”
This was recently put to me by a prominent Labour figure, and must now be considered. Happily for me – as a Corbyn supporter who ended up fearing the project faced doom – this long-marginalised backbencher has a solid chance of entering No 10. If he makes it – and yes, the Tories are determined to cling on indefinitely to prevent it from happening – the establishment will wage a war of attrition in a determined effort to subvert his policy agenda and bring his government down.

You are probably imagining me hunched over my computer with a tinfoil hat. So consider this: there is a p…