Lana Del Rey: 'I'm not glamorising abuse' - BBC News
The star says she resents people implying her lyrics are anti-feminist.
Image copyrightGetty ImagesImage caption The star said she had been "honest and optimistic" about her bad relationships Lana Del Rey has defended herself against accusations that her lyrics are anti-feminist. Writing on Instagram, the star criticised "female writers" who have attacked her for "glamorising abuse". She said her lyrics often talked about "the realities" of emotionally abusive relationships, and argued there should be a place for those topics in music. "I've been honest about the challenging relationships I've had," she said. "That's just how it is for many women." "I think it's pathetic that my minor lyrical exploration detailing my sometimes submissive or passive roles in my relationships has often made people say I've set women back hundreds of years. "There has to be a place in feminism for women who look and act like me," she continued. "The kind of woman who says no but men hear yes; the kind of women who are slated mercilessly for being their authentic, delicate selves; the kind of women who get their own stories and voices taken away from them by stronger women or by men who hate women." Del Rey also called out double standards, noting that stars like Ariana Grande, Cardi B and Beyonce could sing about "being sexy, wearing no clothes [and] cheating" without facing criticism. Del Rey's lyrics have frequently addressed unhealthy relationships, and being seduced by controlling or foreboding characters. Her break-out hit and signature song, Video Games, described a lover who was distant and dismissive, but for whom she professed undying love. Later songs followed a similar theme. "My old man is a bad man," she sang on Off To The Races; while her boyfriend on Ultraviolence "used to call me DN - that stood for deadly nightshade, because I was filled with poison". In recent years, the singer has distanced herself from some of her earlier lyrics, and even removed a song called Cola from her live show because of its references to a Harvey Weinstein-like figure. Speaking to Pitchfork in 2017, she recoiled at the mention of the line "he hit me and it felt like a kiss", also from the track Ultraviolence. "I don't like it. I don't sing that line any more," she said. "Having someone be aggressive in a relationship was the only relationship I knew. I'm not going to say that that [lyric] was 100% true, but I do feel comfortable saying what I was used to was a difficult, tumultuous relationship, and it wasn't because of me. It didn't come from my end." Nonetheless, accusations of glamorising abuse have continued to haunt the singer. A typical criticism came from journalist Isbella Castillo, who wrote an essay saying Del Rey's music was "full of outdated, anti-feminist ideas". "Whether it was her intention or not, romanticising domestic abuse is dangerous territory when you have an audience of young, impressionable listeners, or any listeners at all for that matter," she wrote. Others took a more sympathetic view - with music critic Lindsay Zoladz arguing Del Rey's portrayal of a woman who stumbled, fell and picked herself up again was a more realistic alternative to "empowerment as the default aspiration of the pop star". In her Instagram essay, Del Rey picked up this theme, insisting she was writing "about the realities of what we are all now seeing are very prevalent emotionally abusive relationships all over the world". Image copyrightGetty ImagesImage caption The singer also announced a new album, due out on 5 September She added that her success had given other women the freedom not to sing about being happy," and to just be able to say whatever the hell they wanted to in their music - unlike my experience where, if I even expressed a note of sadness in my first two records, I was deemed literally hysterical as though it was literally the 1920s". Closing her statement, the star said she'd be exploring these themes further in two forthcoming books of poetry; and announced a new album, due on 5 September. That record will be the follow-up to 2019's Norman [Expletive] Rockwell, which was nominated for album of the year at the Grammys, and topped the BBC's "poll of polls" for the best-reviewed record of 2019. Follow us on Facebook, or on Twitter @BBCNewsEnts. If you have a story suggestion email [email protected]
Ruby Rose leaves Batwoman - and other stars who exited major roles - BBC News
Ruby Rose's departure from Batwoman is the latest example of an actor exiting a big role.
Image copyrightGetty ImagesImage caption Rose said the decision to leave had not been "made lightly" The Australian actress Ruby Rose is to leave her role as comic book superhero Batwoman after just one series. Rose said it had been a "very difficult decision" not to return to the show, which is shown in the UK on E4. Batwoman, which began on the CW network last year, is the first superhero show to have an openly gay lead character. Its producers said they were "firmly committed" to the show's "long-term" future and would re-cast the role with another member of the LGBTQ community. Rose, who is openly gay, said she was "truly grateful... to everyone who made season one a success". The 34-year-old said she had "the utmost respect" for everyone involved and that the decision to leave had not been "made lightly". Image copyrightGetty ImagesImage caption The actress played Kate Kane, aka Batwoman, in the US TV series Rose faced a backlash on social media when she was cast as Batwoman, with some saying the role should have gone to a lesbian actress. The actress, who has called herself "gender-fluid" in interviews, later deleted her Twitter profile, though she remains active on Instagram. Last year Rose revealed she had suffered an injury while filming the series that had required her to undergo emergency surgery. The actress said she had "herniated two discs doing stunts" - but Deadline reported the injury was not the reason for her departure. Born in Melbourne in 1986, Rose played Stella Carlin in Orange is the New Black and has appeared in such films as Pitch Perfect 3 and The Meg. Yet she is far from the first actor to leave or be replaced in a major film or TV show. Image copyrightUnited Artists/Getty ImagesImage caption George Lazenby as James Bond George Lazenby famously walked away from the role of James Bond after making just one appearance in the popular spy film series. The model turned actor later admitted he had been persuaded by his then-manager - the late Ronan O'Rahilly - to seek other opportunities. "I thought he knew what he was talking about so I listened to him," the Australian told an audience at the National Film Theatre last year. Lazenby's single outing as Bond, On Her Majesty's Secret Service, was released in 1969 and is now a firm fan favourite. Image caption Christopher Eccleston as The Doctor Christopher Eccleston was cast as The Doctor when Doctor Who was relaunched in 2005 - but he departed after a single series. The actor, who was replaced by David Tennant, later said he "didn't enjoy the environment and the culture" of the show. "My relationship with my three immediate superiors... broke down irreparably during the first block of filming and it never recovered," he elaborated in 2018. The actor, currently to be seen in The A Word on BBC One, also said he had been "out of his comfort zone" playing the sci-fi drama's time-travelling hero. Image copyrightGetty ImagesImage caption Edward Norton in January 2020 Edward Norton was cast as Bruce Banner in 2008's The Incredible Hulk but did not reprise the role in Marvel Studios' subsequent comic-book blockbusters. Its president Kevin Feige later said the role had been recast out of a "need for an actor who embodies the creativity and collaborative spirit of our other talented cast members". Speaking last year, Norton called Feige's 2010 statement "cheap" and that his exit had been the result of differing views on how to depict the character. "Ultimately they weren't going for long, dark and serious," said Norton, who was replaced by Mark Ruffalo when The Hulk returned in 2012's Avengers Assemble. Terrence Howard, who played James "Rhodey" Rhodes in 2008's Iron Man, is another actor to be replaced in Marvel's superhero film series. He later claimed he was offered less money than he had been promised to reprise the role, which Don Cheadle has played since 2010's Iron Man 2. Image copyrightGetty ImagesImage caption Tyne Daly and Sharon Gless in Cagney and Lacey Sharon Gless played Christine Cagney in Cagney and Lacey for seven years, winning two Primetime Emmys and a Golden Globe for her pains. Yet she was not the first actress to play the part in the popular US TV series about two female police detectives solving crimes in New York City. Loretta Swit played Cagney in the original TV movie but was not able to continue in the role when the CBS show went to series. Meg Foster was then cast, only to be replaced after six episodes because CBS allegedly wanted someone "more feminine" in the role. Speaking in 2012, Gless praised her co-star Tyne Daly for "welcoming me as if she had not had anybody before me". "I know her heart was hurting because she loved her last Cagney," she revealed. Image copyrightGetty Images When Men Behaving Badly first began in 1992, the two flatmates were played by Martin Clunes and Harry Enfield. According to Clunes, though, the show that ITV produced did not match Enfield's hopes for it. "His original vision was for it not to be like a usual sitcom," Clunes told The Guardian in 2013. "Then we made the pilot and it shocked him. "You could see Harry wanted out," he continued. "He was under contract, though, so had to do one series." Neil Morrissey was subsequently cast as Clunes' flatmate in the show, which continued on ITV for another series before being picked up by the BBC. Image copyrightGetty ImagesImage caption Anthony Hopkins and Jodie Foster both won Oscars for The Silence of the Lambs Jodie Foster earned her second best actress Oscar for playing Clarice Starling in The Silence of the Lambs - one of five Academy Awards Jonathan Demme's film won in 1992. When the offer came to reprise her role in Hannibal, though, she turned it down - opening the door for Julianne Moore to appear with Anthony Hopkins in Ridley Scott's 2001 follow-up. "I stand to make more money doing that sequel than I've ever made in my life," Foster was quoted as saying in 1999. "But who cares, if it betrays Clarice?" "The official reason I didn't do Hannibal is I was doing another movie," she elaborated in 2005. "So I get to say, in a nice, dignified way, that I wasn't available when that movie was being shot." Amusingly, however, Foster was enticed to reprise her FBI agent character in 2017 for a satirical sketch on Stephen Colbert's late-night US talk show. You may also like: Follow us on Facebook, or on Twitter @BBCNewsEnts. If you have a story suggestion email [email protected]k.
Climate change: Top 10 tips to reduce carbon footprint revealed - BBC News
A report lists some of the best ways people can tackle their own contribution to climate change.
Image copyrightGetty ImagesImage caption Switching to a vegan diet can help but doesn't quite have the impact of other measures Climate change can still be tackled but only if people are willing to embrace major shifts in the way we live, a report says. The authors have put together a list of the best ways for people to reduce their carbon footprints. The response to the Covid-19 crisis has shown that the public is willing to accept radical change if they consider it necessary, they explain. And the report adds that government priorities must be re-ordered. Protecting the planet must become the first duty of all decision-makers, the researchers argue. The authors urge the public to contribute by adopting the carbon-cutting measures in the report, which is based on an analysis of 7,000 other studies. Top of the list is living car-free, which saves an average of 2.04 tonnes of CO2 equivalent per person annually. This is followed by driving a battery electric car - 1.95 tonnes of CO2 equivalent per person annually - and taking one less long-haul flight each year - 1.68 tonnes of CO2 equivalent per person. Switching to a vegan diet will help - but less than tackling transport, the research shows. It says popular activities such as recycling are worthwhile, but dont cut emissions by as much. Change of mindset The lead author, Dr Diana Ivanova from Leeds University, told BBC News: We need a complete change of mindset. We have to agree how much carbon we can each emit within the limits of what the planet can bear then make good lives within those boundaries. The top 10 options are available to us now, without the need for controversial and expensive new technologies. Dr Ivanova said the coronavirus lockdown has shown that many people could live without cars if public transport, walking and cycling were improved. Her research highlights rich people who typically take more flights, drive bigger cars and consume the most. A 'moral issue' She said: All the world suffers from climate change, but its not the average person who flies regularly its a small group, yet aviation is under-taxed. Its a moral issue. In her league table, buying renewable power and using public transport rank fourth and fifth. Sixth is insulating your home well, which saves 0.895 tonnes of CO2 equivalent. Seventh is switching to a vegan diet, which saves 0.8 tonnes. Image copyrightPA MediaImage caption Effectively insulating your home is an important step Other top actions are using heat pumps; switching from polluting cookstoves (in developing countries) to better methods of cooking, and heating buildings with renewable energy. Dr Ivanova said that if people implemented the measures, it would save around nine tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent (CO2e) per person per year. Current annual household emissions are around 10 tonnes in the UK, and 17 in the US. 'Valuable' study The study, out soon in the journal Environmental Research Letters, says the following are worthwhile, but of lesser benefit to the climate: green roofs; using less paper; buying more durable items; turning down the thermostat - and recycling, which saves 0.01 tonnes of CO2 equivalent per year, according to Dr Ivanova. Image copyrightReutersImage caption Outside of lockdown, taking fewer flights can make a major contribution to cutting carbon Some of the findings will be questioned. Polls suggest some people think climate is as important as the virus, for instance, but some dont. Professor Tommy Wiedmann from the University of New South Wales in Australia, said: This is a valuable study. But it only looks at the carbon footprint and not at other impacts like water scarcity because of lithium mining for electric car batteries. Libby Peake, from the Green Alliance think tank, told BBC News: People shouldnt stop good habits like recycling, which saves some carbon while preventing waste and conserving resources. Better design allows people to buy fewer but higher-quality things and to live in buildings with lower carbon footprints. These savings arent necessarily covered by this study. Follow Roger on Twitter.
Trump says US topping world virus cases is 'badge of honour' - BBC News
Mr Trump argues the US having the most coronavirus cases in the world is actually "a good thing".
Media playback is unsupported on your device Media captionTrump says Covid cases are a 'badge of honour' President Donald Trump has argued it is "a badge of honour" that the US has the world's highest number of confirmed Covid-19 infections. "I look at that as, in a certain respect, as being a good thing because it means our testing is much better," he said at the White House. The US has 1.5 million coronavirus cases and nearly 92,000 deaths, according to Johns Hopkins University. In second place is Russia, with nearly 300,000 confirmed cases. What did Trump say? On Monday, Mr Trump was hosting his first cabinet meeting since the US outbreak began. "By the way," he told reporters, "you know when you say that we lead in cases, that's because we have more testing than anybody else." "So when we have a lot of cases," he continued, "I don't look at that as a bad thing, I look at that as, in a certain respect, as being a good thing because it means our testing is much better." Media captionThe lost six weeks when the US failed to control the virus He added: "So I view it as a badge of honour. Really, it's a badge of honour. "It's a great tribute to the testing and all of the work that a lot of professionals have done." According to the Centers for Disease Control, a federal agency, the US had conducted 12.6m coronavirus tests by Tuesday. Mr Trump was responding to a question about whether he was considering a travel ban on Latin America, Brazil in particular. That country now has the third highest number of confirmed cases, following the US and Russia. The Democratic National Committee criticised the Republican president's comments, tweeting that the 1.5 million Covid-19 cases in the US represented "a complete failure of leadership". Is the president right? While the US has conducted more tests by volume than any other country, it is not first in the world on a per capita basis, according to Our World in Data, a scientific publication based at Oxford University. Its chart ranks the US as 16th globally in terms of tests per 1,000 people, ahead of South Korea, but behind the likes of Iceland, New Zealand, Russia and Canada. Media captionWould you wear this mask with an automatic eating hole? Over the past week, the US has been conducting between 300,000 and 400,000 tests daily, according to the Covid Tracking Project, a volunteer-led effort. But Harvard Global Health Institute director Ashish Jha last week told a congressional hearing: "The US needs more than 900,000 tests every day to safely open up again. We are doing about a third of that." The US has also reported the most coronavirus deaths in the world, though on a per capita basis it ranks sixth behind the likes of Belgium, the United Kingdom and France, according to Johns Hopkins University. US coronavirus testing rates have been criticised on both sides of the aisle. At a Senate hearing last week, Mitt Romney, a Republican, criticised the country's testing record, saying it was "nothing to celebrate whatsoever" because, he said, "we treaded water in February in March".
Coronavirus: US accuses China of hacking coronavirus research - BBC News
The FBI said it had seen hacking attempts on groups researching vaccines, treatments and testing.
Image copyrightGetty ImagesImage caption The University of Washington immunology labs have been looking for coronavirus antibodies in their work to control the virus China-linked hackers are targeting organisations researching the Covid-19 pandemic, US officials say. The FBI said it had seen hacking attempts on US groups researching vaccines, treatments and testing. The US has long accused the Chinese government of cyber-espionage, something Beijing denies. The pandemic has worsened tensions between the two countries, which have both accused each other of failing to contain the outbreak. More than 4.3m people around the world have been infected by Covid-19, with over 83,000 US deaths and 4,600 deaths in China, according to Johns Hopkins University. The Federal Bureau of Investigation and Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (Cisa), a division of the homeland security department, issued a rare joint warning on Wednesday. In what was billed as a public service announcement, they said "healthcare, pharmaceutical and research sectors working on Covid-19 response should all be aware they are prime targets" of hackers. The cyber-thieves had "been observed attempting to identify and illicitly obtain valuable intellectual property and public health data" on treating the coronavirus, the statement added. China has repeatedly denied US accusations of cyber-espionage. Earlier this week, foreign affairs ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian said: "We are leading the world in Covid-19 treatment and vaccine research. It is immoral to target China with rumours and slanders in the absence of any evidence." At a press briefing on Monday, President Donald Trump referred to China's alleged cyber-activities. "What else is new with China? I'm not happy with China, could have stopped it at the source, should have," he said. "Now you're telling me they're hacking. What else is new? We're watching very closely." US officials have long accused China of hacking and intellectual property theft. In 2009, the US alleged that China-linked hackers managed to infiltrate the sensitive data from the Lockheed Martin F-35 fighter jet. Shortly afterwards, China announced it was developing a similar jet, the Shenyang J-31. Intelligence officials have also in the past accused China of using "non-traditional collectors", who steal technology from US firms. Bill Evanina, director of the US National Counterintelligence and Security Centre, has said China's theft of US intellectual property amounts to about $400bn a year. The UK and US had already issued a detailed joint warning about other countries targeting research back on 5 May. On that occasion, they did not officially name names but sources indicated China, Russia and Iran were among those responsible. Now, in a widely trailed move, the US has decided to single out China specifically with this new advisory. So far they have not been joined by the UK and the new alert does not contain any new details of what has taken place. That means this may well be interpreted as a means of both playing to a domestic audience and of raising the pressure on China as part of the growing tension between Washington and Beijing.
Coronavirus: Call for testing over 'Covid wealth divide' - BBC News
Action call after data suggests people living in deprived areas are more likely to die of coronavirus.
Image copyrightGetty ImagesImage caption A track and trace testing regime could be used as part of easing lockdown measures A "Covid wealth divide" could widen as lockdown measures are eased, according to a health data analyst. Jamie Jenkins, former head of health analysis at the Office for National Statistics, called for a testing system to keep inequality to "a minimum". The ONS has published data suggesting people in Wales' most deprived areas are more likely to die of coronavirus. The Welsh Government said it would not ease the lockdown until key health measures are met. It said any easing of restrictions would be accompanied by a surveillance programme to detect any new coronavirus hotspots, and a system of testing and contact tracing. The exit plan put forward by the government, requires several questions to be considered before decisions are made around relaxing the restrictions, including whether it would have a "positive impact" on equality. Mr Jenkins said the virus was spreading in more deprived areas where there is a denser population and where more people may still be travelling to work rather than working from home. The ONS analysis shows 44.6 Covid-19 deaths for every 100,000 people in the poorest 20% of communities in Wales. In the wealthiest 20% of communities it was 23.2 deaths per 100,000 people. Newport has suffered the worst rate of coronavirus deaths so far, almost twice as high as the Welsh average. Mr Jenkins said: "If you look at the more affluent areas of Wales and the kind of nature of the jobs that people do, you might start seeing the Covid wealth divide, if that's we're going to call it, widen as we start easing out of lockdown. "Because many of those in the more affluent areas may be in jobs that they continue to do from home, whereas those in the more deprived areas, continue to have to travel into work. "We've seen that the types of jobs people do in the deprived areas are going to put them at greater risk of exposure to the virus. "So if the government wants to try and keep the inequality to a minimum as much as they can, then testing those that we know are more susceptible to the virus can be the only way forward. "I think one thing the government probably needs to do as we come through this is going to be through the testing regime and track and trace." The Welsh Government has said it plans to put in place a larger community testing programme, including tracking and tracing people when Wales move out of lockdown. A Welsh Government spokesperson said: "Throughout this crisis we have been guided by the latest international and UK evidence, including this analysis of the statistics by ONS. "We will continue with this approach as we consider how and when restrictions can be eased in Wales and how we continue to protect people. "A post-pandemic Wales will be very different - it can't be business as usual. "We must be open to new ideas, guided by our commitment to social, economic and environmental justice and by the values, which have supported us in difficult times before."
Coronavirus: Trump’s disinfectant and sunlight claims fact-checked - BBC News
The US president's latest comments about virus treatments have caused an outcry among medical experts.
Coronavirus: Why are international comparisons difficult? - BBC News
Should you be comparing Covid-19 statistics between countries?
Image copyrightGetty Images Everyone wants to know how well their country is tackling coronavirus, compared with others. But you have to make sure you're comparing the same things. The United States, for example, has far more Covid-19 deaths than any other country - as of 20 April, a total of over 40,000 deaths. But the US has a population of 330 million people. If you take the five largest countries in Western Europe - the UK, Germany, France, Italy and Spain - their combined population is roughly 320 million. And the total number of registered coronavirus deaths from those five countries, as of 20 April, was over 85,000 - more than twice that of the US. So, individual statistics don't tell the full story. For comparisons to be useful, says Rowland Kao, professor of data science at the University of Edinburgh, there are two broad issues to consider. "Does the underlying data mean the same thing? And does it make sense to compare two sets of numbers if the epidemiology [all the other factors surrounding the spread of the disease] is different?" Counting deaths Let's look at some of the numbers first. There are differences in how countries record Covid-19 deaths. France, for example, includes deaths in care homes in the headline numbers it produces every day, but the daily figures for England only include deaths in hospitals. After criticism, the government's chart now has a line for deaths in hospitals and a line for all deaths (including in care homes) - but there is a time lag on this last set of figures. There's also no accepted international standard for how you measure deaths, or their causes. Does somebody need to have been tested for coronavirus to count towards the statistics, or are the suspicions of a doctor enough? Does the virus need to be the main cause of death, or does any mention on a death certificate count? Are you really comparing like with like? Death rates There is a lot of focus on death rates, but there are different ways of measuring them too. One is the ratio of deaths to confirmed cases - of all the people who test positive for coronavirus, how many go on to die? But different countries are testing in very different ways. The UK has mainly tested people who are ill enough to be admitted to hospital. That can make the death rate appear much higher than in a country which had a wider testing programme. The more testing a country carries out, the more it will find people who have coronavirus with only mild symptoms, or perhaps no symptoms at all. So, the death rate in confirmed cases is not the same as the overall death rate. Another measurement is how many deaths have occurred compared with the size of a country's population - the numbers of deaths per million people, for example. But that is determined partly by what stage of the outbreak an individual country has reached. If a country's first case was early in the global outbreak, then it has had longer for its death toll to grow. The UK government compares how each country has done since recording its 50th death, but even that poses some problems. A country that reaches 50 deaths later should have had more time to prepare for the virus and reduce the eventual death toll. When studying these comparisons, it is also worth remembering that the vast majority of people who get infected with coronavirus will recover. Image copyrightGetty Images Political factors It is more difficult to have confidence in data which comes from countries with tightly controlled political systems. Is the number of deaths recorded so far in countries like China or Iran accurate? We don't really know. Calculated as a number of deaths per million of its population, China's figures are extraordinarily low, even after it revised upwards the death toll in Wuhan by 50%. So, can we really trust the data? Population factors There are real differences in the populations in different countries. Demographics are particularly important - that's things like average age, or where people live. Comparisons have been made between the UK and the Republic of Ireland, but they are problematic. Ireland has a much lower population density, and a much larger percentage of people live in rural areas. It makes more sense to compare Dublin City and County with an urban area in the UK of about the same size (like Merseyside) than to try to compare the two countries as a whole. You also need to make sure you are comparing like with like in terms of age structure. A comparison of death rates between countries in Europe and Africa wouldn't necessarily work, because countries in Africa tend to have much younger populations. We know that older people are much more likely to die of Covid-19. Image copyrightGetty Images Different health services On the other hand, most European countries have health systems that are better funded than those in most African countries. And that will also have an effect on how badly hit a country is by coronavirus, as will factors such as how easily different cultures adjust to social distancing. Health systems obviously play a crucial role in trying to control a pandemic, but they are not all the same. "Do people actively seek treatment, how easy is it to get to hospitals, do you have to pay to be treated well? All of these things vary from place to place," says Prof Andy Tatem, of the University of Southampton. Another big factor is the level of comorbidity - this means the number of other conditions, such as diabetes, heart disease or high blood pressure - which people may already have when they get infected. Testing Countries that did a lot of testing early in the pandemic, and followed it up by tracing the contacts of anyone who was infected, seem to have been most successful in slowing the spread of the disease so far. Both Germany and South Korea have had far fewer deaths than the worst affected countries. The number of tests per head of population may be a useful statistic to predict lower fatality rates. Image copyrightGetty Images But not all testing data is the same - some countries record the number of people tested, while others record the total number of tests carried out (many people need to be tested more than once to get an accurate result). The timing of testing, and whether tests took place mostly in hospitals or in the community, also need to be taken into account. Germany and South Korea tested aggressively very early on, and learned a lot more about how the virus was spreading. But Italy, which has also done a lot of tests, has suffered a relatively high numbers of deaths. Italy only substantially increased its capacity for testing after the pandemic had already taken hold. The UK is doing the same thing. Comparisons are difficult So, is anything useful likely to emerge from all these comparisons? "What you want to know is why one country might be doing better than another, and what you can learn from that," says Prof Jason Oke from the University of Oxford. "And testing seems to be the most obvious example so far." But until this the outbreak is over it won't be possible to know for sure which countries have dealt with the virus better. "That's when we can really learn the lessons for next time," says Prof Oke. What claims do you want BBC Reality Check to investigate? Get in touch Read more from Reality Check Follow us on Twitter
Texts sent by Meghan and Harry to her father revealed in court papers - BBC News
The messages are disclosed in a privacy case the Duchess of Sussex is bringing against a newspaper.
Image copyrightKarwai Tang The Duchess of Sussex has revealed text messages she and Prince Harry sent to her father before their wedding, as part of legal action against the publisher of the Mail on Sunday. Meghan claims Associated Newspapers misquoted the messages to paint the couple in a less good light. She also claims tabloids, in particular those owned by the group, caused a dispute between her and her father. Associated Newspapers says it will defend the privacy claim "with vigour". It comes as Meghan and Harry, who have relocated to California after stepping back as senior royals, told the UK's tabloid press that they are ending all co-operation with them. Meghan brought the legal action after a handwritten letter she sent to her father, Thomas Markle, was published in the Mail on Sunday. She claims the letter was selectively edited by the paper to portray her "negatively". Court papers containing the text messages have been filed ahead of an expected hearing later this week. The legal document claims they show the newspaper group edited the messages the Duke and Duchess of Sussex sent to Mr Markle before their wedding on 19 May 2018. It said that on 5 May 2018 Meghan wrote in a text to her father: "I've called and texted but haven't heard back from you so hoping you're okay". She then messaged her father the next day after finding out photographs of her father had been staged for a paparazzo photographer, the document said. "She explains that she had attempted to arrange logistics and supplies for her father discretely and with privacy, with care taken not to feed the press, that she is trying to protect her father from heightened press intrusion and scrutiny and that he should keep a low profile until the wedding," it says. On 14 May 2018, it says, Mr Markle sent Meghan a text message to apologise and confirm that he would not be attending the wedding. It says that around half an hour later, after several calls to Mr Markle went unanswered, Prince Harry sent the following messages to Mr Markle from Meghan's phone: "Tom, it's Harry and I'm going to call you right now. Please pick up, thank you" "Tom, Harry again! Really need to speak to u. U do not need to apologize, we understand the circumstances but "going public" will only make the situation worse. If u love Meg and want to make it right please call me as there are two other options which don't involve u having to speak to the media, who incidentally created this whole situation. So please call me so I can explain. Meg and I are not angry, we just need to speak to u. Thanks" "Oh any speaking to the press WILL backfire, trust me Tom. Only we can help u, as we have been trying from day 1". The legal document claimed the newspaper's summary of these messages contained "significant omissions" when it "merely" reported that the messages said "Mr Markle did not need to apologise and that he should call". It adds the description of another exchange "intentionally omits" any reference to Meghan or Prince Harry attempting to protect Mr Markle and ensure that he was safe. Image copyrightGetty ImagesImage caption The duke and duchess married at Windsor in May 2018 The document also states that the UK tabloid media, particularly Associated Newspapers, harassed, humiliated and manipulated Mr Markle. Meghan alleges the newspaper group caused the very "dispute" which they claim justified the publication of the letter and also caused "substantial damage" to their relationship. She accuses the paper of misusing her private information, breaching copyright and selective editing when it published the private letter to her father. Image copyrightGetty Images The Mail on Sunday has said there was "huge and legitimate" public interest in publishing the letter. The paper argues that members of the Royal Family, including the Duchess of Sussex, "rely on publicity about themselves and their lives in order to maintain the privileged positions they hold and promote themselves". It claims Meghan "did not have a reasonable expectation of privacy that the contents of the letter were private and would remain so". As evidence that it did not infringe her privacy, the paper said the letter was "immaculately copied" in Meghan's "elaborate handwriting", arguing that this care in its presentation meant she anticipated it would be seen and read by a wider audience.
Prince Harry and Meghan tell tabloids: No more co-operation - BBC News
The Duke and Duchess of Sussex say popular newspapers are publishing "salacious gossip" for clicks.
Image copyrightPA Media The Duke and Duchess of Sussex have told the UK's tabloid press they are ending all co-operation with them. In a letter to editors of all the Sun, Mirror, Mail and Express titles and websites, a representative said the pair had taken the step due to "distorted, false or invasive" stories. Harry and Meghan said they refused to "offer themselves up as currency for an economy of click bait and distortion". The couple have relocated to California after stepping back as senior royals. In the letter, the couple's public relations representative wrote it was "gravely concerning that an influential slice of the media" has printed "distorted, false or invasive" articles. "There is a real human cost to this way of doing business and it affects every corner of society," the letter said. "The Duke and Duchess of Sussex have watched people they know - as well as complete strangers - have their lives completely pulled apart for no good reason, other than the fact that salacious gossip boosts advertising revenue." The BBC was told that the letter had been sent to the editors of the Sun, the Daily Mail, the Daily Mirror and the Daily Express newspapers. The new policy will apply to the four newspapers, their Sunday editions and associated websites, the Guardian's media editor Jim Waterson reported. The Daily Star, which was not specifically mentioned, is published by the same group that publishes the Mirror and Express titles. The ban on engagement with the papers will mean that the couple's PR team will no longer even answer calls from the papers asking them to confirm whether claims made about the couple are true or not. 'Not avoiding criticism' Outlining the new policy of "no corroboration and zero engagement" with all the publications that received it, the letter said the measure would also protect the couple's communications team "from the side of the industry that readers never see". "This policy is not about avoiding criticism," the letter continued. "It's not about shutting down public conversation or censoring accurate reporting. Media have every right to report on and indeed have an opinion on the Duke and Duchess of Sussex, good or bad. But it can't be based on a lie." Image copyrightPA MediaImage caption Prince Harry has spoken in the past of seeing - as a young child - the effect media intrusion had on his late mother, Diana, Princess of Wales The letter said the couple will continue to work with other media and "young, up-and-coming journalists" to raise awareness of the issues and causes they care about. In recent days, photographs of the Sussexes delivering food to vulnerable people in Los Angeles have been published by two of the newspapers to receive the letter. And it comes ahead of a court hearing this week in a legal case Meghan has brought against the publisher of the Mail on Sunday over the publication of a letter written to the duchess by her estranged father. The couple officially stepped back as senior working members of the Royal Family at the end of March as part of a transition following an announcement of their intention to become financially independent in January.. The letter in full As The Duke and Duchess of Sussex now settle into the next chapter of their lives and no longer receive any publicly funded support, we are writing to set a new media relations policy, specifically as it pertains to your organisation. Like you, The Duke and Duchess of Sussex believe that a free press is a cornerstone to any democracy particularly in moments of crisis. At its best, this free press shines light on dark places, telling stories that would otherwise go untold, standing up for what's right, challenging power, and holding those who abuse the system to account. It has been said that journalism's first obligation is to the truth. The Duke and Duchess of Sussex agree wholeheartedly. It is gravely concerning that an influential slice of the media, over many years, has sought to insulate themselves from taking accountability for what they say or printeven when they know it to be distorted, false, or invasive beyond reason. When power is enjoyed without responsibility, the trust we all place in this much-needed industry is degraded. There is a real human cost to this way of doing business and it affects every corner of society. The Duke and Duchess of Sussex have watched people they knowas well as complete strangershave their lives completely pulled apart for no good reason, other than the fact that salacious gossip boosts advertising revenue. With that said, please note that the Duke and Duchess of Sussex will not be engaging with your outlet. There will be no corroboration and zero engagement. This is also a policy being instated for their communications team, in order to protect that team from the side of the industry that readers never see. This policy is not about avoiding criticism. It's not about shutting down public conversation or censoring accurate reporting. Media have every right to report on and indeed have an opinion on The Duke and Duchess of Sussex, good or bad. But it can't be based on a lie. They also want to be very clear: this is not in any way a blanket policy for all media. The Duke and Duchess of Sussex are looking forward to working with journalists and media organisations all over the world, engaging with grassroots media, regional and local media, and young, up-and-coming journalists, to spotlight issues and causes that so desperately need acknowledging. And they look forward to doing whatever they can to help further opportunities for more diverse and underrepresented voices, who are needed now more than ever. What they won't do is offer themselves up as currency for an economy of click bait and distortion. We are encouraged that this new approach will be heard and respected.