Friday evening UK news briefing: Duchess of Sussex’s accusations against Royals as text messages revealed

Evening briefing: Today’s essential headlines

Meghan’s text messages revealed | The Duchess of Sussex accused the Royal family of "constantly berating" Prince Harry over the behaviour of her estranged father in the lead-up to their wedding, saying that they "fundamentally don’t understand". Read what she told her then press secretary. The Duchess also claimed she was unable to find text messages in which she discussed meticulously crafting a letter to her father because Kensington Palace arranged to have them automatically deleted. After the Duchess’s admissions, Ella Whelan writes how, in this age of victimhood, we need to reclaim our sense of scepticism.

  • Northern Ireland | Medicines breakthrough ‘could unlock Protocol’
  • Emiliano Sala | Pilot who organised footballer’s doomed flight jailed
  • Terror offences | Man admits wearing a banned t-shirt
  • Truth or dare | Student who confessed murder in game had ‘kill list’
  • 1900m from home | Confused Antarctic penguin washes up in NZ

The big story: British troops help on Polish border

British troops are helping the Polish army strengthen its border with Belarus in a show of support as Minsk sends waves of migrants towards the country. 

It comes as Russia dispatched paratroopers to the Belarusian side of the border for snap drills today, not far from where hundreds of Syrians, Iraqis, Yemenis and others have been camping in hopes of crossing into Poland since earlier this week. 

In an effort to tackle the crisis, Warsaw has moved 15,000 troops to the frontier, put up a fence topped with barbed wire and approved the construction of a wall. 

Meanwhile a leaked document to be discussed by EU ministers on Monday suggests Russia is returning to "power politics" and EU relations have "strongly deteriorated". 

US claims that Moscow is building up its forces to carry out another invasion of Ukraine are likely to be discussed in Brussels, as well as the Strategic Compass document. 

James Crisp has the details on the closest thing the EU could have to a military doctrine.

Most migrants on the border want to get to Germany, where Olaf Scholz, the man expected to succeed Angela Merkel as Chancellor, is still in talks to form a government but is already facing crises on multiple fronts. 

Behind all of them is the unmistakable hand of Vladimir Putin. 

Russia has cut gas supplies to Europe, sending prices soaring with winter looming, and is openly pressuring Germany to rush the controversial Nord Stream 2 pipeline into operation. 

The official line from the Kremlin is that these issues are not connected, but Justin Huggler in Berlin analyses why that isn’t fooling anybody and how Mr Putin is testing Western resolve in a world without the departing Mrs Merkel.

Cop26 pledges weakened

These border tensions come at a time when world leaders are grappling with the future of the planet as delegates at the Cop26 summit in Glasgow try to reach an agreement on how to limit catastrophic rises in global temperatures. 

A key pledge in the Cop26 deal on phasing out fossil fuels has been watered down in the latest draft, released hours before the summit is due to end.

Cop26 president Alok Sharma said he was looking for "a high-ambition outcome" as he returned to the negotiating room less than an hour before the summit was officially due to end.

It looks like negotiations will continue into the night. 

Yet Ambrose Evans-Pritchard analyses how China has got what it wanted at Cop26 after its bilateral deal with the US in the final innings of the climate summit.

Lockdowns return

As if that was not enough to contend with after leaders chewed on their neeps and tatties in Scotland, Western Europe’s first partial lockdown since the summer will be imposed in the Netherlands this weekend, in a bid to stop a surge in Covid-19 cases. Read on for details. 

Conversely, this comes as a leading modelling expert said the "flattening" of Covid case numbers is giving us a "sunnier outlook" for Christmas. 

Coronavirus cases are on their longest unbroken decline since May, according to government data, despite a daily rise in cases on Thursday. 

Drugs giant AstraZeneca appears to be aligned with the notion, as it emerged it is to start taking a profit from its Covid jab. 

It said Covid is becoming endemic and a pledge to deliver its vaccine at cost price is no longer needed.

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Comment and analysis

  • Patrick O’Flynn | Westminster can’t ignore Channel migrant crisis
  • Sam Brodbeck | Why does no one know even rich can get care free?
  • Tom Harris | Deselecting Corbynistas may be good move for Labour
  • Freddie Sayers | ‘Liberals’ are now the new authoritarians
  • Will Greenwood | England v Australia – five ways match will be won

Around the world: Military junta jails US journalist

American journalist Danny Fenster has been sentenced to 11 years in jail in Myanmar, despite rights groups and his news organisation saying the charges have no basis. Mr Fenster, 37, was found guilty in a closed trial of breaching immigration law, unlawful association and incitement, for allegedly spreading false or inflammatory information. Read how he still faces two additional charges in a different court next week that could lead to life imprisonment. Read why Human Rights Watch immediately called his sentence "a travesty of justice by a kangaroo court".

Friday interview

‘It’s a tough business – I had a very bleak period’

Aged 63 Peter Capaldi will release his debut album

Credit: New York Times/Redux/eyevine

The actor Peter Capaldi talks to Neil McCormick about Doctor Who, never doing Shakespeare, and releasing his debut album at the age of 63

Read the full interview

Sport briefing: Essex chair quits – Southgate extension

Cricket’s racism scandal has spread beyond Yorkshire as the chairman of Essex County Cricket Club has resigned over an offensive comment he allegedly made at a board meeting. Read on for details. In rugby, England have been rocked by the news that Ellis Genge will miss the rest of the autumn internationals after testing positive for Covid. His place in the front row will be filled by Bevan Rodd, the Scottish-born 21-year-old who was only called into the squad on Wednesday after prop Joe Marler returned his own positive Covid test. In football, ahead of England’s World Cup qualifier against Albania tonight, Gareth Southgate is close to announcing a two-year contract extension as manager that will take him to the end of Euro 2024 on an improved deal with the Football Association worth around £5 million plus bonuses. Scotland are playing in their own crucial qualifer away to Moldova. Follow the match here.

Editor’s choice

  • Tides of tension | The battle of St Michael’s Mount – and how the locals won
  • Free stuff, plenty of money and great sex | Hunter Davies on the upsides of ageing
  • ‘Thrown aside’ | My daughter-in-law and son no longer need me – I feel used. What do I do?
  • Business briefing: Recovery is better than you think

    Petrol prices have jumped to a fresh record high, spelling further pain for drivers as the cost of living crisis escalates. Our liveblog has details. It comes as UK GDP is within touching distance of pre-Covid levels – but it is also trailing economic rivals. The UK may have taken the biggest pandemic hit in the G7, but a closer look at the numbers paints a rather different picture. Tim Wallace analyses how Britain’s economic recovery is going better than you think. Also recovering is our fund of the week, thanks to "ludicrous yields" on some of its stocks.

    Tonight starts now

    Head to the cinema | Friday night is movie night, so why watch one of a host of new releases. Josh O’Connor and Odessa Young are the young lovers engaged in a secret romance as the world grieves for its sons lost in the Great War in the film Mothering Sunday. Also worth a watch is Lin-Manuel Miranda’s new film Tick, Tick…Boom! which is a musical based on a musical about the writing of a musical. It stars Andrew Garfield and is an absolute joy. If you want grit, you could try Clint Eastwood drama Cry Macho, although it did not impress our reviewer.

    Three things for you

    • Watch | Keith Jarrett: The Art of Improvisation, BBC Four, 9pm
    • Podcast | Chopper’s Politics: Ex-M&S boss on PM’s attack on business
    • Fantasy Fund Manager | Sign up for 10 chances to win £15,000

    And for this evening’s downtime….

    The dark history of Abbey Road | Before becoming the most famous music studio in the world, the house in north London was the scene of scandal, criminality and hauntings. James Hall tells the frightful tales of the Beatles, ghosts and murdered aristocrats.

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