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The skimmia is scorched, the petunias are parched and the dahlias are dehydrated. But just when drought-stricken gardens need watering most, some UK water companies are banning hosepipes.Many gardeners are apoplectic. The message from Middle England is clear. You may not have to prise our watering guns from our cold, dead fingers. But you can expect us to write stiff letters to our MPs.Even so, six English water companies and one Welsh utility have imposed hosepipe bans or are expected do so. Proponents claim behavioural benefits on top of demand reductions of about a tenth. Customers use water more sparingly…

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Title: Tory leadership race: And the heat goes onStandfirst:Conservative party leadership rivals argue about how to help the UK’s poorestEpisode description: As much of the country wilts in a heatwave, the focus in the Tory leadership contest this week has been on colder times to come. The two rivals for UK prime minister have disagreed publicly on how to help the most vulnerable cope with rising energy costs in the autumn. Rishi Sunak is promising direct help, while Liz Truss has criticised what she calls “handouts”, favouring tax cuts instead. But in the face of dire warnings that energy bills…

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Energy suppliers including British Gas, Eon and Octopus have called on the UK government to move a swath of charges from customer bills into general taxation as they face growing pressure to lower soaring costs for households. With UK gas and electricity bills forecast to reach as high as £5,000 a year next spring, four times the level before the energy crisis, suppliers have argued that the quickest way to reduce the hit to households would be to strip out many charges unrelated to the rising price of wholesale gas.Greg Jackson, chief executive of Octopus, the UK’s fourth-biggest energy supplier,…

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In the space of a couple of weeks, the JancisRobinson.com editorial inbox received three emails on the subject of tasting notes. One reader wrote, “Whilst I’m certainly not questioning her palate, Tamlyn has to be taking the mickey out of us with some of her tasting notes in the champagne article.”He was particularly offended by the way I described a wine’s acidity by its shape, which I perceived as four-cornered, developing into an arrow of piercing triangularity on the finish. One reader, a Switzerland-based Master of Wine, wrote: “I just wanted to say that I think your tasting notes are…

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In the months before the historic US climate bill, Jim Justice, the billionaire coal magnate and West Virginia governor who believes in divine intervention as a climate change solution, became a champion of hydrogen.The unlikely backer of what could be a cleaner form of energy was not alone. US oil and gas majors joined him in pushing for the divisive fuel source, collectively spending millions on lobbying campaigns in Washington aimed at ensuring hydrogen projects would benefit from federal dollars.For decades, hydrogen has been touted as a potentially revolutionary alternative to fossil fuels, with the promise to power dirty heavy…

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Ticket sales for the upcoming Women’s Super League have surged on the back of the Lionesses’ victory at Euro 2022, boosting the long-term prospects for the game.England’s final win, watched by more than 17mn people on BBC One, has been billed as a breakthrough moment for women’s football. The newly crowned European champions will play the US, the current world champions, at Wembley Stadium in an international friendly on October 7 in front of more than 65,000 fans. The game sold out within hours.The buzz around the England team has quickly fed through to the WSL, the highest tier of…

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The US is historically the biggest contributor to greenhouse gas emissions despite its levels peaking in 2007, and it remains the second-biggest emitter behind China on an annual basis.The effect of president Joe Biden’s tax and climate bill, which passed the House of Representatives on Friday, would be to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 40 per cent from 2005 levels by 2030, according to experts. This would go a long way towards hitting the administration’s goal of a 50-52 per cent cut in emissions under its Paris agreement commitment and compares with a reduction of just 30 per cent under…

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A soup vendor on Sukhumvit Road © Zuma Press/EyevineThe contestants? Fifty or so cars, some food stalls, an FT columnist, scooter taxis, alighting Skytrain riders and one of those street cats that, spared western feeding, manage to keep their figures. The prize? Space to move, or just to be. And this is one of the airier junctions of Sukhumvit Road. The rail line overhead leaks rain water that puts a square yard of pavement out of use, bunching us even tighter together. My heart soars. A long-injured surfer might seek out the biggest-wave beach — Nazaré, Portugal, say — once…

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Most summers bring with them news of some have-a-go hero, an ordinary fellow plucked from the quiet of a suburban patch who performs a feat of noble derring-do. The quiet of the holiday period tends to push more eccentric stories to the fore: silly season, they call it on the news desk. It’s a time when world leaders like to ramble off on holiday and leave politicking for the beach. For many, the influx of headlines, about, say, some weird nesting bird rediscovered in the Pennines, are a welcome reprieve from the relentless drone of misery and malcontent. Not much chance…

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The winner of the Conservative party leadership contest will face huge additional costs of servicing the nation’s debt and paying social security benefits as a result of rising inflation and interest rates, according to Financial Times calculations. The estimates, which are an update to the Bank of England’s previous official inflation forecast in March, show that the UK’s debt and welfare payments bill soaring by more than £50bn next financial year.The findings forecast that debt service costs are likely to almost double next year from £50bn to £95bn because £500bn of the UK’s public debt is linked to the consumer…

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