Who’s a clever dog? Scientists study secrets of canine cognition

Dogs can figure out some things that even chimps can’t. Our science correspondent puts her puppy retriever to the test

It’s a cold winter’s day, and I’m standing in a room watching my dog stare fixedly at two flower pots. I’m about to get an answer to a burning question: is my puppy a clever girl?

Dogs have been our companions for millennia, domesticated sometime between 15,000 and 30,000 years ago. And the bond endures: according to the latest figures from the Pet Food Manufacturers Association 33% of households in the UK have a dog.

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More than 1m UK women could quit their jobs through lack of menopause support

In a survey of 2,000 women with menopause symptoms, 63% said their workplace had no policy in place

More than 1 million women in the UK could be forced out of their jobs this year because their employers are failing to support them as they go through the menopause, researchers have said.

A survey of 2,000 women aged 45 to 67 across the UK experiencing menopause symptoms found that this lack of support is having a direct impact on their decisions to leave the workplace. The women said it was the second most devastating impact on their career to date, only just behind having children.

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Robert Burns letters reveal poet was advised not to write in Scots dialect

Burns warned use of dialect would alienate London readers in letter that forms part of major project by University of Glasgow

Scotland’s beloved son and national bard Robert Burns has done more than any other poet to export the 18th-century Scottish dialect around the world, through the new year classic Auld Lang Syne and his other famous works.

His lyrics, such as “we twa hae run about the braes/and pou’d the gowans fine”, may be incomprehensible to many, but the fame and influence of a man annually celebrated on 25 January has endured over more than two centuries.

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Millions in UK drinking harmful levels of alcohol at home, experts warn

Switch to drinking at home rather than in pubs during Covid pandemic partly to blame

Millions of Britons are causing themselves “silent harm” through hazardous drinking at home, experts have warned, as figures reveal levels of “higher risk” alcohol consumption have soared during the pandemic.

While the new figures concern England only, the phenomenon has been seen in all parts of the UK.

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UK households facing ‘fuel stress’ will treble to 6.3m – thinktank

Middle-income families will also find it hard to cope with new energy cap in April, says thinktank

The number of households suffering from “fuel stress” – those spending at least 10% of their family budgets on energy bills – is set to treble to 6.3m overnight when the new energy price cap comes in on 1 April, according to a leading research group.

Fuel stress will no longer be confined to the poorest households, according to a study by the Resolution Foundation. Low- and middle-income families will also find it hard to cope as they spend a far greater share of their family budget on these essentials than higher earners.

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TUC says more than 250,000 workers self-isolating ‘without decent sick pay’

Those on low or no sick pay face ‘impossible choice’ between hardship and potentially spreading virus

More than 250,000 workers were self-isolating last month without decent sick pay or any sick pay at all, a trade union study has suggested.

The Trades Union Congress (TUC) said reducing the self-isolation period to five days will not fix the country’s “sick pay problem”.

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Ruth Davidson speaks of fears over disclosure of mental health history

Former Scottish Tory leader says she almost did not run for post in 2011 because of concerns that medical records would come out

The former Scottish Conservative leader Ruth Davidson has said she almost did not run for the position because she feared her history of mental health problems would be exposed.

The life peer was diagnosed with clinical depression in her first year at university and said she was concerned that standing for the role of leader in 2011 would result in her medical history coming out.

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Boris Johnson accused of targeting BBC to save his premiership

Government insider says announcement about abolishing licence fee was not expected this weekend

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Boris Johnson has been accused of targeting the BBC in a desperate attempt to save his own premiership, as the Labour leader accused him of breaking the law by attending lockdown parties and then lying about it.

A number of Tory MPs are said to be poised to demand Johnson’s resignation amid anger from constituents over allegations of a party culture in Westminster while coronavirus restrictions were in place.

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Scottish auction for offshore windfarm permits expected to raise £860m

Crown Estate Scotland hopes amount of electricity generated in Scottish waters will double over next decade

Scotland’s largest-ever auction of permits to construct offshore windfarms is expected to raise up to £860m when the results are announced on Monday.

Crown Estate Scotland, which is running the auction, hopes that windfarms with as much as 10 gigawatts of new generating capacity will be built over the next decade, effectively doubling the amount of electricity generated in Scottish waters in a transition which has the potential to create tens of thousands of jobs.

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Boris Johnson prepares a populist offensive to save his skin

Analysis: scandal-tainted PM hopes barrage of right-wing policy plans will provide cover for his greatest escape yet

Boris Johnson’s plan for salvaging his premiership has become increasingly clear: acknowledge a “culture” of drinking in Downing Street – but not that it stemmed from the top – and then change the subject, by announcing a slew of populist policies.

Nadine Dorries’ announcement that the BBC licence fee will be frozen, then abolished, had been in the works for a while; but the timing was highly convenient, giving Tory right-wingers something to cheer as Johnson’s future hangs in the balance.

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What could replace the BBC licence fee?

Analysis: Latest Tory attack on broadcaster means deep cuts as well as hunt for alternative funding model

Nadine Dorries’ announcement of major changes to the BBC’s funding model is just the latest attack on the broadcaster by Conservative ministers over the past 12 years. There have been repeated attempts to decriminalise non-payment of the licence fee, enormous real-terms funding cuts and the decision to make the BBC take the blame for abolishing free licences for over-75s.

In the short term, the more damaging news for the BBC is the government’s intention to freeze the cost of the licence fee for two years. This dooms the broadcaster to another round of deep cuts to its output that will weaken its offering to the UK and the world.

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Boris Johnson broke the law and lied, says Keir Starmer

Knowledge of ‘industrial-scale partying’ at No 10 means there is no need to wait for Sue Gray report, says Labour leader

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Boris Johnson broke the law and lied about it, Keir Starmer said on Sunday.

In an interview for the BBC’s Sunday Morning show, the Labour leader said it was not necessary to wait for the “partygate” report to learn whether Johnson broke the rules because it was already obvious that he did.

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Five-year-old British girl dies after being hit by skier in French Alps

Man in his 40s held on suspicion of manslaughter after accident in region of Flaine, Haute-Savoie

A five-year-old British girl has died after being hit by a skier in the French Alps, according to French media.

A man in his 40s was being held on suspicion of manslaughter on Sunday after the accident in the resort of Flaine, Haute-Savoie, at about 11am on Saturday, Le Dauphine reported. The girl was said to have been taking part in a group ski lesson run by ESF (Ecole du Ski Français) with four other children on a blue (intermediate) piste.

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The importance of being allowed to act up | Brief letters

Film roles | Face masks | Privileged men | Party funding | Postal addresses

The inconclusive ending of David Baddiel’s article (‘Why don’t Jews play Jews?’ – David Baddiel on the row over Helen Mirren as Golda Meir, 12 January) is unavoidable, because the only way to achieve consistency is to revert to the assumption that actors can act. Take the case of the late Richard Griffiths’s posh gay Uncle Monty in Withnail and I. He came from an underprivileged background and was married to a woman. To have disqualified him on the basis of the latter but not the former seems risibly arbitrary.
Peter Davis
Welwyn, Hertfordshire

• Re “Face masks make people look more attractive, study finds” (13 January), I can confirm they do. As an 83-year-old, they cover 80% of my wrinkles, leaving only laughter lines showing.
Joyce Turcotte
Winster, Derbyshire

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Why Harry is taking UK government to court over protection costs

Analysis: Prince believes his family – as well as Britain’s reputation – is at risk while they are in the UK

Security costs are a controversial issue for the royal family, with neither Buckingham Palace nor the government willing to discuss arrangements publicly.

As security is paid for from the public purse, the issue is often weaponised by critics who argue police protection should not automatically be conferred on non-working royals and extended family members.

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Derbyshire woman, 86, killed in ‘horrific’ attack

Neighbours pay tribute to Freda and injured husband Ken Walker after attack in Langwith Junction

An 86-year-old woman was killed in a “horrific” attack that left her 88-year-old husband with life-threatening injuries, police have said.

Freda and Ken Walker were attacked in their home in a Derbyshire village on Saturday morning.

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What do we know about the 175,000 people who died of Covid in the UK?

How the pandemic has affected people based on age, gender, vaccination status and ethnicity

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Two startlingly different figures for what is ostensibly the same count have been released within days of each other: the government reported 150,000 Covid-19 deaths days before the UK’s lead statistical agency reported a death toll of more than 175,000.

The difference between the two figures is stark but easily explained: the government’s figures count only those deaths that are known to have occurred within 28 days of a positive coronavirus test. The Office for National Statistics, on the other hand, counts all deaths where the virus was mentioned on the death certificate.

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UK too dangerous for us to visit, says Prince Harry

Duke of Sussex taking legal action against UK government to allow him to pay privately for security

Why Harry is taking UK government to court

The Duke of Sussex believes the UK is too dangerous for him and his family to visit without state protection as it emerged he is taking legal action against the government to allow him to pay privately for police security while in Britain.

Prince Harry lost taxpayer-funded police security when he and Meghan stepped back from royal duties in 2020. The couple pays for private security in the US, where they now live.

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Paul Myners, ‘tower of strength’ in financial crisis, dies aged 73

Former Labour minister, City grandee and chair of Guardian Media Group, hailed by Gordon Brown

Paul Myners, the City grandee and former Labour minister brought in to government to tackle the 2008 financial crisis, has died at the age of 73.

Regarded as an influential figure in both the square mile and politics for his time advising the former prime minister Gordon Brown on the historic bailout of the British banking system, Baron Myners, of Truro in the county of Cornwall, died in the early hours of this morning.

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Last minute deal needed to keep UK-issued Visa credit cards working on Amazon

There is speculation that an agreement could avert ‘game of corporate chicken’

What will happen if Amazon stops accepting UK-issued Visa credit cards?

Millions of people’s credit cards will stop working on Amazon’s UK website from this week – unless there is an 11th-hour resolution to a bitter dispute between the retailer and payments giant Visa.

In November, Amazon told customers that from 19 January it would stop accepting payments made with UK-issued Visa credit cards, in what has been described as a “game of corporate chicken”.

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Covid live: Boris Johnson broke the law, says Keir Starmer; Novak Djokovic deported from Australia

Latest updates: UK Labour leader says PM broke lockdown rules and then lied; Serbian tennis player’s plane leaves hours after court visa decision

Boris Johnson will address No 10 ‘party culture’, says Tory chiefNovak Djokovic deported from Australia hours after losing visa fightItalian nurse accused of faking Covid jabs for anti-vaxxers arrested‘Encouraging signs’ plan B Covid measures may soon be lifted in EnglandLife after lockdown: how do we recover from the pandemic?

Streeting tells Trevor Phillips that the Labour party isn’t calling for a vote of no confidence in the government as it would rally the Conservatives.

“We could call a motion of no confidence in the government – we’ve been around the block with this before, that would galvanise the Conservative party.”

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Texas synagogue siege: hostage-taker shot dead by FBI believed to be British

FBI stormed building after man took four people including a rabbi captive during Shabbat service

A man who was shot dead by FBI officers after taking four people hostage at a Texas synagogue is understood to be British.

The man began a standoff with police after disrupting a religious service at the Congregation Beth Israel in Colleyville, in the Dallas-Fort Worth metropolitan are, and taking hostages including the rabbi. He released one hostage unharmed after six hours.

Associated Press contributed to this report

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‘Operation Save Big Dog’: who is in the line of fire at No 10?

Analysis: Many Tories think Boris Johnson should go, but he is expected to try to cling on by having others take the fall

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The publication of the Sue Gray report into “partygate” is expected to be followed by a clearout of some key officials from Downing Street, a plan reportedly referred to by the prime minister as “Operation Save Big Dog”.

Oliver Dowden, the Conservative party co-chair, in effect confirmed this on Sunday when he said there was a need for a “change of culture” in the building.

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‘Encouraging signs’ plan B Covid measures may soon be lifted in England

Minister hints that some or all restrictions may be removed after review on 26 January

Coronavirus – latest updatesSee all our coronavirus coverage

Ministers are seeing “encouraging” signs that plan B coronavirus restrictions in England could be lifted in 10 days’ time, the co-chair of the Conservative party Oliver Dowden has said.

Current measures in England, including guidance to work from home and the widespread use of face coverings, were imposed in early December to help tackle the spread of Omicron. They are set to be reviewed on 26 January.

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Heart attack patient raises alarm after NHS advised him to make own way to hospital

Yorkshire ambulance service apologises for telling man to get himself to hospital after heart attack

An ambulance service has apologised after a man having a heart attack was advised to get himself to hospital or face a long wait.

Graham Reagan said his son had to drive him to hospital after being told the nearest ambulance was 30 to 40 miles away.

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Happier teachers and higher grades: the London school that shortened the week

Forest Gate community school cut down to four and a half days after the head saw reports on teacher burnout

On Fridays, the pub next to Forest Gate community school in east London starts filling up from 1pm. It has not always been this way, but ever since the school went down to a four-and-a-half-day week, it has been flooded with exhausted teachers keen to take advantage of their shorter week as quickly as possible.

Other teachers use the afternoon to spend more time with their children, go on a mini-break, catch up on work they would have done at the weekend, or attend the local mosque. The important thing is that the afternoon is theirs to choose how they spend it, says Simon Elliott, who leads the multi-academy trust that runs Forest Gate.

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BBC licence fee to be abolished in 2027 and funding frozen

Government announcement will force broadcaster to close services and make further redundancies

The BBC licence fee will be abolished in 2027 and the broadcaster’s funding will be frozen for the next two years, the government has said, in an announcement that will force the broadcaster to close services and make further redundancies.

The culture secretary, Nadine Dorries, will announce that the cost of an annual licence, required to watch live television and access iPlayer services, will remain at £159 until 2024 before rising slightly for the following three years.

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Why am I getting Christmas cards in January? Royal Mail under fire for long delays

Post bosses told to sort it out after more than 120 UK districts suffer ‘significant disruption’ to deliveries

In the market town of Amersham on the edge of the Chilterns in Buckinghamshire, Christmas seemed to arrive a bit late this year. Families complained that they did not get their usual flurry of cards dropping on their doormats until the first week of 2022.

Some residents said they barely saw a postal worker last month but, in the new year, there was a sudden deluge of late cards and missing post.

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‘Kangaroo court’ has found me guilty of bullying, says John Bercow

Former Speaker denounces parliamentary inquiry and says he has appealed against its findings

A parliamentary inquiry will conclude that John Bercow, the former Speaker, bullied three House of Commons members of staff, he has revealed, denouncing it as as “kangaroo court”.

The parliamentary commissioner for standards, Kathryn Stone, has found Bercow guilty on 21 counts out of 35 brought by Robert Lisvane, the former clerk of the Commons, and private secretaries Kate Emms and Angus Sinclair, he told the Sunday Times.

Throwing a mobile phone on two occasions nearly 12 years ago.

Staring hatefully at an employee 11 years ago.

‘Ghosting’ a staffer on an aeroplane.

Swearing at an employee on an uncertain date in 2009.

Making a racially and sexually discriminatory remark.

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Boris Johnson will address No 10 ‘party culture’, says Tory chief

Conservative chair Oliver Dowden says PM feels ‘sincere regret’ and is committed to ‘upping our game’

Boris Johnson is committed to changing the culture at Downing Street that led to staff partying and drinking while the country was in lockdown, the Conservative chair, Oliver Dowden, has said.

Dowden said the prime minister felt a “sincere sense of regret” over what happened and that he was “committed to upping our game”.

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British man made stateless by Home Office has citizenship reinstated

The plight of the father of three, stranded in Bangladesh since 2017, foreshadows the dangers of the nationality bill now before parliament

A British man who was stripped of his citizenship by the Home Office for almost five years has described the “devastating” impact of the decision as the government pursues fresh powers to remove a person’s citizenship without warning.

The 40-year-old, who was born in London, returns to the UK this week after being stranded in Bangladesh since 2017 when the Home Office served a deprivation of citizenship order on him shortly after he flew to the country for the birth of his second daughter.

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Scotland’s a conservative country. But Scottish Tories are held back by London HQ | Neal Ascherson

As support for the union wanes, the party north of the border is at odds with its southern peers

Scottish Tories standing up and reviling their English leader? The gundog snarling and refusing to go fetch the rabbit? Astonishment at this sudden outburst of rage against Boris Johnson is understandable.

At Holyrood and Westminster, Scottish Conservatives have been notorious for dumbly following their party bosses. But now they want Boris out. Douglas Ross, the Scottish leader, demands it. So, her face clenched with fury, does Ruth Davidson, a predecessor. So do almost all the 31 Tory MSPs in Edinburgh and most of the six MPs at Westminster. And – something unheard of – a prime minister has been refused leave to speak at his own party’s Scottish conference.

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Royal or otherwise, sex abuse stories have a grim familiarity in the wielding of male power | Sonia Sodha

The absurdities of a constitutional monarchy can wait for another day. Let’s focus on Virginia Giuffre’s lawsuit against Prince Andrew

Things are not looking good for Andrew Mountbatten-Windsor, the Queen’s second son formerly known as His Royal Highness. Last week, a judge in New York rejected his attempt to get the sexual abuse lawsuit Virginia Giuffre has filed against him thrown out. Giuffre is suing him for damages, claiming that she was forced to have sex with him three times in 2001 by the late convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein, and his sex trafficker accomplice, Ghislaine Maxwell, allegations that Andrew denies. The royal family responded by announcing that he has been stripped of his military honours, royal patronages and the use of his HRH title.

Any praise for the monarchy for depriving him of his titles is misplaced. The royal family left it until the last possible moment to act. Andrew has brought them into far graver disrepute than Prince Harry, who lost his titles for what, by comparison, is the laughably inconsequential transgression of walking away. The raging debate about the consequences for the monarchy is a distraction from the sexual abuse allegations at stake and accountability for the men complicit in the crimes of Epstein and Maxwell. It should not take a man of Andrew’s obviously questionable character to expose the absurdities of a constitutional hereditary monarchy in a modern democracy.

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England’s north-south divide is deepening, says new report

Despite Boris Johnson’s persistent levelling-up rhetoric, the figures show government has not put its money where its mouth is

England’s north-south divide continues to deepen despite two years of “levelling-up” rhetoric from the government, according to a landmark new report to be published tomorrow.

Entitled State of the North 2021, and produced by IPPR North, the northern branch of the Institute for Public Policy Research thinktank, the report compares levels of public investment in London and the south-east with that in the north. Its authors estimate that, in the five years to 2019/20, London received the equivalent of £12,147 per person, while in the north the figure was only £8,125.

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Concerns grow that scale of ‘partygate’ is now too great for Sue Gray’s inquiry

As more and more lockdown gatherings are exposed, there are calls for the police to override the civil service investigation

When the country was in lockdown in late March 2020 and members of parliament had returned to their constituencies for an early Easter recess, the then business minister Nadhim Zahawi set out the rules for businesses around the country to fight the pandemic.

He urged them to help prevent the spread of disease by avoiding unnecessary mixing. “Workers should try to minimise all meetings and gatherings in the workplace,” he said in a written parliamentary answer.

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Uproar in garden of England at homes plan that could ‘swallow up’ villages

The housing crisis needs solving but in Kent protesters fear for their way of life

The copper-coloured afternoon light turns a deep blue as it streams through the stained-glass windows of All Saints’ church in Tudeley, near Tonbridge, Kent. Visitors come from all over the world to see these colours falling to the floor because All Saints’ is the only church in the world where all the windows are by the modernist artist Marc Chagall. But those heavy, aquatic blues sliced through by white figures could soon shine a little less if a new nearby “garden village” – a mile-long estate of 6,500 houses – gets the go-ahead.

“I’m devastated. I’m appalled,” says campaigner Dave Lovell as he stands outside the church door and looks across the unspoilt countryside where the Tunbridge Wells garden village is proposed. “It’s a beautiful part of the countryside and to lose this historic landscape is a tragedy.”

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‘From prosecco Tuesdays to thank-you tipples, No 10 has a serious drink problem’

The party scandal engulfing Boris Johnson has exposed the culture of drinking in Whitehall, where alcohol is part of daily routine

There’s no denying that last week was especially torrid for the prime minister, with news emerging of endless parties hosted at No 10 during the peak of the pandemic. It seems a drinking culture at the heart of government refuses to subside, even during a crisis.

Boris Johnson’s critics say this culture was endemic under him, but as someone who also worked in the civil service under David Cameron and Theresa May as well, I know this isn’t the case. The prime minister doesn’t have a drinking problem; No 10 does.

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Better sick pay, testing and ventilation: Labour’s Covid plan to keep UK open

Party aims to weaken Johnson’s attempts to take credit for handling of the pandemic with its 10-point strategy

Coronavirus – latest updatesSee all our coronavirus coverage

Labour will today announce ambitious plans to create a country that can “live well with Covid” without the need for future harsh restrictions, as it seeks to prevent Boris Johnson claiming credit for his record on the virus.

Keir Starmer said he wanted people to be able to “live their lives as normal” and never again face “tough restrictions on our lives, our livelihoods and our liberties”.

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How a jade ornament from China casts new light on Freud’s psyche

An exhibition at the analyst’s London home, now a museum, aims to unlock what the Orient meant to him

You don’t need to be Sigmund Freud to understand that ornaments can become symbols of emotion. But now research into a curious decorative object that Freud himself once cherished has shed fresh light on the darker corners of his own psyche.

A tiny Chinese screen, made of jade and placed in the centre of his consulting desk, was one of only two items salvaged from his former apartment in Vienna in 1938. The intricate ornament, which still stands in position in his last home in Hampstead, north London, is not particularly valuable and had no obvious connection to the life of the founding father of psychoanalysis. Yet it was deliberately smuggled out of his apartment by a close friend when the Nazis threatened to confiscate the large collection of artefacts and antiques Freud had left behind in Austria. The significance of the jade screen has puzzled historians of his work ever since.

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Barbican invites audience to come and go through marathon 24-hour concert

LCO’s overnight show built around six-hour string quartet and includes electronic performers and light projections

The London Contemporary Orchestra (LCO) is performing a continuous 24-hour concert live at the Barbican Hall.

Members of the audience are encouraged to come and go during the overnight performance – which features a series of works from modern classical to electronic music.

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Prince Harry files legal claim over right to pay for UK police protection

Duke of Sussex seeks judicial review of Home Office refusal to let him pay for protection after being chased by photographers last summer

The Duke of Sussex has filed a claim for a judicial review against a Home Office decision not to allow him to personally pay for police protection for himself and his family while in the UK.

Harry wants to bring his son Archie and baby daughter Lilibet to visit from the US, but he and his family are “unable to return to his home” because it is too dangerous, a legal representative said.

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