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Good morning, I’m Tim Walker with today’s essential stories.

Governor Kay Ivey signs Alabama abortion bill into law

Women’s health advocates and Democratic leaders have vowed to fight the implementation of a new Alabama law banning abortions at any stage of pregnancy, the strictest such legislation in the US. The bill was passed by the state’s Republican-controlled senate and signed by Governor Kay Ivey on Wednesday, but will not take effect for at least six months. Planned Parenthood and the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) have said they will file a lawsuit against the ban before then.

Trump targets Huawei with telecoms ‘emergency’ declaration


Trump’s declaration said tech from ‘foreign adversaries’ posed ‘unacceptable risks’ to national security. Photograph: UPI/Barcroft Media

The Trump administration has declared a national emergency banning tech made by “foreign adversaries”, claiming it poses “unacceptable risks” to national security. The ban imposes strict import controls on Huawei, the Chinese telecoms firm and proxy in the trade battle between the White House and Beijing. In a statement, Huawei said the restrictions would not make the US safer and would “ultimately [harm] US companies and consumers”.

California power company caused deadly Camp fire

85 people died in the Camp fire, which all but destroyed the town of Paradise.

85 people died in the Camp fire, which all but destroyed the town of Paradise. Photograph: Noah Berger/AP

An investigation by the California fire agency has found that the deadliest wildfire in the state’s history was sparked by old transmission lines owned by Pacific Gas & Electric, a power company headquartered in San Francisco. The Camp fire, which began early on 8 November 2018, went on to kill 85 people and almost completely destroyed the town of Paradise.

New York creates green union jobs to tackle climate change

Extinction Rebellion’s climate change protesters filled streets in New York last month.

Extinction Rebellion’s climate change protesters filled streets in New York last month. Photograph: Go Nakamura/ZUMA Wire/REX/Shutterstock

Andrew Cuomo, the governor of New York, has announced plans to invest billions of dollars in building offshore wind turbines as part of an effort by labour unions and environmental campaigners to create thousands of new jobs and help the state achieve its target of 70% renewable energy by 2030. The plan, which echoes the ambitions of the Green New Deal, also calls for more solar panels, improved mass transit and renovating buildings to make them more energy efficient.

Crib sheet

  • Trump has signed a full pardon for the British-Canadian media mogul Conrad Black, who was convicted of fraud in 2007 but recently authored a pro-Trump book. In a statement, the White House touted Black’s “tremendous contributions to business”.

  • The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York has announced it will stop accepting donations from members of the Sackler family, whose pharmaceutical company Purdue is accused of stoking the opioids crisis with its painkiller OxyContin.

  • The Myanmar army general accused of orchestrating the genocide of the country’s Rohingya Muslims has had his Twitter account suspended following accusations that he was using the platform to spread hate speech.

  • The German start-up Lilium has unveiled its prototype for a five-seater electric “flying taxi”, which the company claims could be in service by 2025.


A rice field painting of Peppa Pig in Huangshan, China.

A rice field painting of Peppa Pig in Huangshan, China. Photograph: VCG/VCG via Getty Images

How did Peppa Pig get so big?

Peppa Pig first jumped in a muddy puddle 15 years ago this month. Since then, the friendly young farm animal and her family have expanded from British screens to 118 territories, with theme parks across the world and $1.3bn in global retail sales. Simon Usborne asks her creators how it happened.

The immigrants toiling in American fields

Seasonal employment in the US is an opportunity for Mexican farmworkers to earn $11 an hour, far more than at home. But it’s also an opportunity for recruiters to exploit the vulnerable labourers, even if they have a visa. Milli Legrain reports from Monterrey in Mexico.

The Indiana Jones of climate science

When John All fell 70ft down a crevasse while conducting climate research in the Himalayas in 2014, the intrepid college professor had no choice but to climb out unaided. It took him four hours, with 15 broken bones. Remarkably, he filmed the entire ordeal. Now, All tells Nick Heil, he’s back in the Himalayas to continue his mission.

How vegan cheese caught up with modern appetites

Creating vegan cheese is a bigger challenge than mimicking meat or milk, given the range of cheese flavours and functions. But just like the rest of the mushrooming plant-based food industry, vegan cheese sales are growing faster than a starter culture, as Rebecca Flint Marx discovers.


John Bolton, Trump’s national security adviser, has been agitating for a war with Iran for almost two decades. With the US military now posturing in the Persian Gulf, he may at last get his wish, writes Ben Armbruster.

Bolton has no qualms about manipulating or outright ignoring intelligence to advance his agenda, which is exactly what’s happening right now.


The two-time French Open champion Maria Sharapova has withdrawn from this year’s tournament due to a shoulder injury, while the Australian men’s world No 34, Nick Kyrgios, has branded Novak Djokovic “cringeworthy” and Rafael Nadal “super salty” in a podcast interview ahead of the competition.

The owners of Maximum Security have sued to reverse the horse’s disqualification from the Kentucky Derby earlier this month, and are seeking the $1.86m winner’s share from the race. Maximum Security crossed the finish line first but was accused of impeding the path of other horses and dropped to 17th place.

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