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  8. If Labour wins the general election it will need an "effective opposition" in Parliament, Chancellor Jeremy Hunt has told the BBC. Mr Hunt is the latest senior Conservative to publicly acknowledge his party could be on course for defeat. He urged people not to vote for Reform UK, claiming this would result in fewer centre-right MPs. Earlier, Work and Pensions Secretary Mel Stride said opinion polls suggested Labour was heading towards "the largest majority virtually in the history of this country". And last week Grant Shapps urged voters not to give Labour a "supermajority", with the party's power "unchecked". With the Tories losing support to Reform, senior figures have repeatedly warned that backing Nigel Farage's party would split the centre-right vote, benefiting Labour. Rishi Sunak insists he is still fighting to win. Privately, many Conservative candidates are fairly open about their belief that victory is implausible and that their party should instead hope to limit the scale of a Labour victory. However, it is only in this last week senior Tories have publicly raised this prospect in an apparent change of strategy. In an interview with BBC economics editor Faisal Islam, Mr Hunt was asked if talk of a Labour "supermajority" on 4 July was an implicit acknowledgement that the Tory campaign had gone badly wrong. "I think it's very important if Labour win, that they have an effective opposition in Parliament," he said. In his own constituency, Mr Hunt has admitted he faces a "knife-edge" battle with the Liberal Democrats to win the new seat of Godalming and Ash in Surrey. In the 2019 election for his old seat of South West Surrey, Mr Hunt had a majority of 8,817. “I do face a fight here, for sure," he told the BBC. "And what I say to people on the doorstep is if you vote for Reform.... Reform aren’t going to win but the Lib Dems will win. "You will have fewer centre-right MPs and fewer MPs who want to control migration, fewer MPs who want to reduce tax, and that isn't what those voters want."
  9. Almost 30 "unwell, filthy and frightened" cats have been rescued from a property where they were found living in "appalling squalor". Inspectors from the RSPCA rescued the cats and kittens on 12 June after concerns were raised following the death of someone living at the home in Swindon. The six young kittens were taken to the Cotswolds Dogs & Cats Home in Cambridge, Gloucestershire, and the other 21 cats were placed in various rescue centres. The home has asked for donations to help with the cost of medical treatment, special food and around-the-clock care. This report contains content which some readers may find distressing. The kittens at the property were found to be seriously unwell, battling with severe anaemia, respiratory infections, sore eyes, and other flu-like symptoms. The Cotswolds Dogs & Cats Home has named the kittens Bellingham, Rice, Harry, Pickford, Gareth and Foden "in recognition of their fighting spirit", and a nod to the England team taking part in the UEFA Euros 2024. The cats were found covered in fleas and filth, and were matted with their own excrement. "The staff here at the Cotswolds Dogs & Cats Home are determined to do whatever it takes to give these kittens a fighting chance, but they’re extremely poorly, anaemic, and very weak," the rescue centre said. Two of the kittens were taken to an emergency veterinary hospital, where they received critical intensive veterinary care, IV fluids, and antibiotics. Sadly, despite the care they received and the best efforts of those involved, they died. The remaining 21 cats, taken to other rescue centres are "understandably scared and timid", according to RSPCA officers. The Cotswolds Dogs & Cats Home said the four remaining kittens "are on a fight for survival and the path ahead is fraught with challenges".
  10. While purists may argue over the value of the undeniably sporty Porsche Taycan electric sedan, you don’t hear too much fuss over its corporate sibling, the Audi E-Tron GT. As predicted by an update to the former, there’s now a redesigned and overhauled version of the Audi, which will be offered in three trim flavors going forward. Here’s what you can expect in performance and value for the 2025 Audi E-Tron GT lineup. Audi says it managed to shed a few pounds of weight out of the net-97 kWh battery pack while gaining a 12 percent increase in energy storage capacity from the 33 cell modules thanks to optimized cooling. Recouperation energy capacity has increased from 290 to 400 kW now. Audi claims a max range for the updated E-Tron GT of more than 370 miles in ideal conditions in Europe (without specifying which trim) so we’ll have to wait and see what the U.S. EPA thinks for a more accurate figure. The suspension has been overhauled across the board, with a new “two-chamber, two-valve” programmable air suspension setup that can tilt and roll in the corners to keep the car more level (like the new Porsche Panamera and Taycan’s suspension setups). The first of the three trims is the Audi S E-Tron GT, with a subtly redesigned look that includes a black mask around the nose, with a three-dimensional-effect grille piece, lower bumper air curtains, and a strip of body-color paint for nice contrast at the front. At the rear is a diffuser with cool vertical fins, with a body-color inlay. All E-Tron GTs boast all-wheel drive, and the S model makes 670 hp (500 kW) and gets from 0 to 60 mph in 3.4 seconds. The S trim can get red-painted brake calipers. The mid-level 2025 E-Tron GT trim is the RS, where the grille upgrades to a 3D honeycomb structure, with L-shaped aero blades front and back, and vertical red motorsports-inspired reflector. Both RS trims can get the available 21-inch “AVUS”-inspired wheel design from a 1991 design study, and there’s other 20-inch options for every trim. The RS is good for a total max output of 845 hp (630 kW) and gets from 0 to 60 mph in 2.8 seconds. The top-trim so-called Audi RS E-Tron GT Performance model is available with an exclusive matte and darkened carbon roof and detail package, and an exclusively available Bedford Green paint finish. This model also comes with an optional white driver display inspired by the 1994 Audi RS 2 Avant speedometer. The RS Performance model makes 912 hp (680 kW) and is in fact the most powerful production Audi ever on sale. It gets from 0 to 60 mph in 2.5 seconds, with a top speed of 155 mph. All trims are available with a panoramic glass roof that features dimmable smart glass. Both RS trims get carbide-coated brakes, and that’s an option on the S, in either black, red, or orange. Also available for each trim are ten-piston carbon-ceramic disks in either anthracite or red finish. The 2025 Audi E-Tron GT starts at more than $135,000 in Europe for the S trim and the RS Performance climbs to more than $172,000.
  11. We’ve waited almost 25 years for an undisputed heavyweight champion. Oleksandr Usyk rose to the top and now the IBF wants to strip him of his belt. Why strip the man who’s got all those belts? Seems ridiculous, surely? It all comes down to the IBF and its mandatory challenger. The IBF, according to its rules, has to strip Usyk if he doesn’t fight their mandatory challenger next. That man is Daniel Dubois. Really there is no other option, as ridiculous as it sounds. The idea of a mandatory was a lovely idea – in 1956 when there was only one sanctioning body. But as soon as you get more than one recognised sanctioning body, we now have four - and more than one champion - the mandatories are instantly diluted. The IBF has history in this department and this is not the first time it has backed itself into a corner. How else do you explain Czar Glazkov being the number one contender back in 2015? When Tyson Fury become unified champion in November 2015, the very next morning his manager and promoter, Mick Hennessy, was fielding phone calls over his scrambled eggs trying to keep the IBF belt. It was probably 1am in New Jersey where the IBF is based, Tyson wasn’t even down for breakfast yet. The IBF stripped Fury just over a week later. Within 50 days, they had arranged an alternative world title fight between their mandatory Glazkov and American Charles Martin. But the IBF v Usyk is much more than a singular disagreement. This is boxing v the sanctioning bodies. And the power struggle has already started. We have to remember one single thing, because this is what makes boxing unique from all other sports, the way we ‘rank’ our fighters isn’t done in a boxing ring. It is, and always has been since the early 1960s, a kind of horse trading. A group of people show up at a five-star hotel somewhere, at one of the sanctioning bodies’ annual conventions, they sit out on the veranda drinking cocktails and they trade. Every fighter ranked in the WBC, WBA, WBO and IBF’s rankings pays sanctioning fees. If you write down the last 10 heavyweight champions, don’t imagine that any of the ‘mandatory challengers’ have been through a long, gruelling process to get to that position. Sanctioning bodies are a business. They want to make a profit and it has been a lean period for them. Over 60 years, 2023 was only the second year when there was only one heavyweight world title fight. That’s a bad time for the sanctioning bodies. They’ll make more money in the short-term by sanctioning Dubois v Anthony Joshua in September, rather than being forced to wait until December for Usyk’s rematch against Fury. Is a breakaway league in boxing possible? Does Dubois-Joshua need the IBF title? Absolutely not. It’s a terrific fight. Dubois-Joshua would sell out Wembley if it was for nothing more than a made up ‘champion of Wembley’ belt. But this is the war brewing in boxing. The sanctioning bodies are massively against any move to diminish their role and power. The state of heavyweight boxing of the last 18 months is a threat to them. What’s being put forward by the powerbrokers in Saudi Arabia makes more sense. The big fights happen regularly. The fights we couldn’t imagine happening have been happening, and are still happening. That will worry the sanctioning bodies. When Joshua and Deontay Wilder held all the titles between them, the sanctioning bodies had more than three years to get them in the ring together. You’ve got one job - get Mr A in the ring with Mr B and you have three years to do it. They didn’t do it. If you relate that to any other job in the world, you’d be sacked for that, wouldn’t you? We’ve not had any confirmation this reported boxing league is happening. It’s speculation at the moment, but it is something that makes sense if it can be done. On paper it’s a great idea. Get the 15 best heavyweights or welterweights in a league to box each other regularly. The sanctioning bodies do not fit into a league, they can’t. And that’s why there is a great behind-the-scenes battle going on. Wouldn’t it be great if we didn’t have to put up with these men and women in their fancy suits flying in for every fight week, to get into the ring and fight each other to get their belt around the champion’s waist first? If they were removed from the squabble, what could be achieved? If we had a situation in five years' time where we had had two or three years of boxers fighting in a league, would any boxing fan be grieving the days of the IBF? I think the sanctioning bodies are only too aware that they are not secure, like they once were. They realise they’re in jeopardy of overplaying their hand. The best thing they can do is join forces. If the four sanctioning bodies can bury their egos, sit around that cocktail table and come up with their own league, then that becomes interesting. The sanctioning bodies have had more than 60 years of ridiculous control and power. But any breakaway, any league, it can’t be one prom
  12. Rich people are genetically at greater risk of cancer than the poor, new research has revealed. The new study — conducted at the University of Helsinki in Finland — examined the relationship between socio-economic status, or SES, and an array of diseases. Those privileged to enjoy elevated SES, the findings suggested, are also at a heightened genetic risk for breast, prostate and other types of cancer. Conversely, those less-affluent are genetically more susceptible to diabetes and arthritis, along with depression, alcoholism and lung cancer, the experts said. Study leader Dr Fiona Hagenbeek, of the university’s Institute for Molecular Medicine Finland (FIMM), said the initial results could lead to polygenic risk scores — used to measure risk of disease based on genetics — being added to screening protocols for some diseases. “Understanding that the impact of polygenic scores on disease risk is context-dependent may lead to further stratified screening protocols,” Dr. Hagenbeek told South West News Service. “For example, in the future, screening protocols for breast cancer may be adapted so that females with a high genetic risk and who are highly educated receive earlier or more frequent screening than females with lower genetic risk or less education,” she said. To conduct the study, Dr. Hagenbeek’s team pulled genomics, SES and health data on about 280,000 Finns, aged 35 to 80. Previous studies have reportedly shown the presence of some differences in risk, similar to what researchers found this time around. This study, however, has been touted as the first to search for the link in a whopping 19 diseases common to high-earning countries. “Most clinical risk prediction models include basic demographic information such as biological sex and age, recognizing that disease incidence differs between males and females, and is age-dependent, Dr. Hagenbeek said. “Acknowledging that such context also matters when incorporating genetic information into healthcare is an important first step. “But now, we can show that the genetic prediction of disease risk also depends on an individual’s socio-economic background. “So while our genetic information does not change throughout our lifetime, the impact of genetics on disease risk changes as we age or change our circumstances,” the doctor said. Researchers pointed out that further work can be done to fully understand the links between specific professions and disease risk. Studies should also be conducted in lower-income countries as well, they said. “Our study focused solely on individuals of European ancestry, and it will also be important in the future to see whether our observations concerning the interplay of socio-economic status and genetics for disease risk are replicated in people of multiple ancestries in higher and lower-income countries,” Dr. Hagenbeek urged. “As the overall aim of incorporating genetic information into healthcare is to facilitate personalized medicine, we should not treat genetic information as ‘one size fits all‘. “Rather, we should investigate and then include the circumstances that modify genetic risk when carrying out disease prediction,” she said. Study findings will be presented at the annual conference of the European Society of Human Genetics in Berlin, Germany, on Sunday. Conference Chair Professor Alexandre Reymond of the University of Lausanne, Switzerland, welcomed the findings.
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