Joe Biden and EU in ‘World War III’ row

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Our Europe editor James Crisp writes that Mr Biden is right in saying there are divisions between EU members and within Nato on how to handle the Russian threat. 

However, he adds that claiming Nato and the EU could fall apart because of them is a misleading smokescreen to hide US reluctance to risk a proxy world war turning into a real one. 

He writes that the EU would respond to any rift with the US as it did during the Trump years, by circling the wagons rather than breaking up. 

Listen to more analysis from Zelensky’s visit on our Ukraine: The Latest podcast.

Russia’s only aircraft carrier catches fire

Russia’s only aircraft carrier has caught fire, only a matter of months before it was meant to return to sea after lengthy repairs. 

The Admiral Kuznetsov was close to being released back to the Russian navy after years of repairs when it caught fire.

 Alexei Rakhmanov, head of the state-owned United Shipbuilding Corporation (USC), told Russia’s RIA Novosti news agency that “there has been a little problem during repairs.” He added: “The blaze has been put out. All fire alarms worked nominally. There are no casualties or damage.” 

About 20 people were evacuated from the ship that caught fire at the drydock in the Arctic city of Murmansk early on Thursday morning, according to Tass news agency. 

Photographs shared on social media appeared to show thick grey smoke emanating from openings on the side of the vessel.

Separatist leader killed by car bomb

The Russian-installed head of a village in Kherson oblast has been killed in a car-bomb explosion. 

Russia’s Tass news agency quoted local officials saying that Andriy Shtepa had got into his car before a bomb went off. Follow all the latest frontline developments on our Ukraine live blog here. 

Earlier Russian reports blamed the blast on “Ukrainian saboteurs”. Videos and pictures circulating on social media showed flames and thick black smoke billowing from the car belonging to Shtepa, who was the head of the village of Lyubimovka. He had previously said that “Russia is here forever”, as the Kremlin’s forces seized Kherson earlier this year.

Comment and analysis

World news: Asia’s ‘El Chapo’ extradited to Australia

The alleged drug kingpin behind a multibillion-dollar global methamphetamine empire has landed in Australia to face justice. Tse Chi Lop, nicknamed the El Chapo of Asia after the notorious Mexican drug lord Joaquin Guzman, was extradited from the Netherlands where he was arrested last year during a stopover en route to Canada. Mr Tse, 57, a Chinese-born Canadian, was detained after a long-running investigation into an organised crime ring known as “Sam Gor,” or “The Company,” which is said to collaborate with a network of criminal outfits including Japan’s Yakuza, Australia’s biker gangs and ethnic Chinese gangs. Krissy Barrett, Australia’s federal police assistant commissioner, described the case as one of the “most high-profile arrests” in the country’s history.

Thursday long-read

A wonder drug has given me back my musical career – and my life

Fourteen years after the Channel 4 documentary A Boy Called Alex, Alex Stobbs‘ battle with cystic fibrosis has been transformed

Read the feature

Sport news: World Rugby changes to speed up game

Shot clocks, clamping down on time-wasters, stricter water-break rules and less TMO will be music to the ears of rugby fans, as World Rugby plans to speed up the game. Referees will be encouraged to allow fewer big-screen replays while a 30-second limit for the formation of scrums will be refereed more strictly as part of a raft of directives that will be operational from January 1. You can read about all the changes here. Meanwhile, men will be allowed to compete in artistic swimming at the Olympics for the first time from Paris 2024 as part of the “sport’s evolution towards inclusivity”. The International Olympic Committee has rubberstamped the proposal in the sport formerly known as synchronised swimming, with up to two men eligible to be selected in the eight-strong team event.

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Business news: Rail fares to rise by 5.9pc

Rail fares will rise by 5.9pc next year in what ministers claim is the biggest Government intervention in the sector since privatisation.
Oliver Gill writes that the move will heap pressure on warring rail unions, as ministers have decided to abandon the traditional link with the Retail Prices Index. The rise will be implemented at the end of March rather than December, as was the case prior to the pandemic. Had fares been pegged to the traditional July rate, they would be increased by 12.3pc. It comes as Britain is braced for more rail strikes next month – find out all the dates here.

Tonight starts now

The truth about the cheapest day to fly – and five ways to bag a bargain | Once upon a time, Tuesday was the cheapest day of the week to fly and avoiding the school holidays was certain to bag you a bargain. It was all as predictable as the Saturday evening TV schedules. Times, however, have changed: flexible working means families are no longer beholden to Saturday-to-Saturday summer holidays while Zoom has impacted business travel. In addition, low-cost flights and price comparison websites have made cheaper fares easier to find and more available. Is there still a best time to book and a cheapest day to fly? Click here to find out.

Three things for you

And finally… for this evening’s downtime

Inside the Royal family’s jewellery box: the meaning behind the gems | For a royal family who, until very recently, was helmed by a woman famed for the maxim “never complain, never explain”, jewellery has long served as a medium through which we can better understand them. There is a literal wealth of pieces with which they can do this. Although the Queen Consort, the Princess of Wales and the Countess of Wessex have personal jewellery collections, most of the tiaras and necklaces we see at state occasions and on royal tours belong to the Crown, and are loaned on a long-term or lifetime basis by the monarch. Find out how every piece is carefully chosen to convey a specific message. 

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