Citizen journalists who shine a light on the darkest secrets

We can no longer count on our governments to protect us from a tide of disinformation. Our security rests in the hands of open source intelligence, as pioneered by Bellingcat

When the story of 2018 is told, historians may be hard pressed to say which was weirdest: that a deadly nerve agent was deployed in a quiet cathedral town on the edge of Salisbury Plain, at the heart of our military establishment. Or that the Russian suspects were identified not by British intelligence but a group described last week as “armchair investigators”.

Because we now know not just the identities of the two men who travelled to Salisbury with a military-grade chemical weapon but also the arm of the Russian army that deployed them – thanks to Bellingcat, a citizen investigation site founded by Eliot Higgins, a former blogger who started it from a laptop on his sofa in breaks from caring for his daughter.

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The people have spoken: Google Pay is a-ok

With more and more banks and financial services becoming compatible with Google Pay is expanding, we asked you whether you felt comfortable enough with Google to ditch your credit cards and embrace contact-less pay with your smartphones. The results are in, here’s what you said.

(This is a preview – click here to read the entire entry.)

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Battle rejoins between TV’s two biggest stars: Netflix and Amazon

As two more blockbuster series premiere on the rival streaming services, how much longer can either sustain the spending that fuels their success?

The contest for cinemagoers and TV viewers was once fought between studios, film stars and broadcast networks with captive audiences. But in the reshaping of the entertainment industry for the 21st century there are only two tribes that matter: Netflix and Amazon.

And the competitive terrain has changed. Blockbusters and primetime must-sees are not cornerstones of either business, nor are they chasing ticket sales or advertising dollars. The two US companies are vying for subscriptions that buy comedy, drama, light entertainment and factual programming – all funded by multibillion-dollar budgets that dwarf anything an individual studio or TV broadcaster can offer.

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Rise of robots ‘could see workers enjoy four-day weeks’

Benefits of automation must be passed on to staff, says thinktank

A four-day working week could become commonplace in Britain as automation and artificial intelligence increase workplace efficiency, a new study has concluded.

If the benefits of rolling out such new technologies were passed on to staff, then they would be able to generate their current weekly economic output in just four days. The research, by the cross-party Social Market Foundation (SMF) thinktank, found that even relatively modest gains from using robots and AI had the potential to give British workers Scandinavian levels of leisure time.

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Reporting on Trump and Putin amid the war on truth

Guardian foreign correspondent Luke Harding on holding power to account and challenging the rise of fake news

A retired spy and his daughter are found slumped on a park bench in Salisbury. Someone tried to kill them. The poison is novichok, a Soviet-era nerve agent. Six months later Theresa May says the would-be assassins are officers with Russian military intelligence. They travelled to the UK as “Alexander Petrov” and “Ruslan Boshirov”.

Not true, says Moscow. Last month the two men appeared on RT, the Kremlin’s external propaganda channel. They denied having anything to do with the bungled attempted murder of Sergei and Yulia Skripal. Yes, they visited Salisbury twice. But they came in March to see the city’s wonderful cathedral and turned back the first time because of heavy ‘slush’ …

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