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Lifestyle Style

Greggs launches vegan hot cross buns just in time for Easter



After weeks of speculation, Greggs has finally announced the arrival if its next vegan-friendly offering.

Just in time for Easter, the bakery chain has launched vegan hot cross buns which are available to buy in stores today.

However, the plant-based treats will only be on sale for a limited time only, so you are going to have to act quickly if you want to give them try.


The hot cross buns, which are made without any butter or milk, are bursting with orange flavour and filled with a unique mix of spices and vine fruits.

Greggs has launched a vegan-friendly version of its classic hot cross bun (Greggs)

Not only do the glazed buns make for the perfect vegan-friendly Easter treat, but a pack of four will only set you back £1. 

The sweet treat is the latest in a string of vegan launches from Greggs, following the success of its meat-free sausage roll in January 2019.

At the beginning of this year, the bakery unveiled its vegan steak bake which is intended to mimic a classic steak bake and is made using 96 layers of puff pastry, diced onions, a gravy filling and Quorn pieces instead of meat.

Just weeks later, Greggs also launched a vegan version of its classic glazed doughnut and the bakery chain has hinted that it is developing plant-based recipes for even more of its most popular products.

Last week, Greggs released a special “black card” that entitles holders to get free food delivered from the chain on request.

The company sent its first card to British rapper Stormzy who shared a clip of himself unboxing the gift on his Instagram and Twitter accounts.

The 26-year-old celebrated becoming the first recipient of the Greggs black card on Twitter, writing: “Are you mad the first Greggs black card @Greggsofficial I have peaked this is brilliant.”

Greggs isn’t the only brand leading the way in terms of vegan-friendly food products. On Monday, Cadbury confirmed that it is currently developing a vegan Dairy Milk bar that would be suitable for people who follow plant-based diets.

Speaking to The IndependentMondelez, which owns the British chocolate brand, confirmed that an increasing demand for non-dairy alternatives has pushed them to look at a new version of the bestseller. 

However thay are still working on the final recipe so are holding back on a launch date for the time being.

A spokesperson said: “We’re always listening to our consumers, so we can develop and provide people with a greater choice of products.

“This includes looking at a plant-based Cadbury Dairy Milk bar however, we have no immediate plans to launch a new product in market [sic].



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Business Energy & Environment

Africa, a Thunder and Lightning Hot Spot, May See Even More Storms


Global data on the economic impact of thunderstorms is patchy, but a 2008 assessment by the National Lightning Safety Institute in Louisville, Colo., placed the annual costs in the United States at $5 billion to $6 billion. That includes forest fires and damage to structures from lightning strikes, and flooding from heavy rains.

Dr. Price and his co-author, Maayan Harel, looked at 2013 thunderstorm data from the World Wide Lightning Location Network, determined which climate-related variables had the most influence on storms and then used those variables to build a model that created a simulated history of thunderstorm activity over Africa from 1948 to 2016.

The project took seven years. Their next study will look at thunderstorms in Southeast Asia, another tropical hot spot.

Because of data limitations and differing methodologies, there is no consensus, for now at least, on how climate change will affect thunderstorms, or whether more thunderstorms would necessarily mean more lightning strikes.

A study in Nature Climate Change in 2018, for instance, forecast a decrease in lightning as the world warms. One of the authors of that paper, Declan L. Finney, a meteorologist at the University of Leeds, said it was important to keep an open mind about how predictions could change as scientists refined their methods.

“There’s still a lot of uncertainty, but this work is useful in contributing to that discussion,” Dr. Finney said of the new study.

Researchers agree, though, that simple measures like developing systems to warn people of impending thunderstorms and installing grounding systems in buildings could go a long way in avoiding deaths and injuries. Thunderstorm patterns can’t be changed, Dr. Price said, “but we can give people protection.”



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Asia Pacific World

Coronavirus ‘Hits All the Hot Buttons’ for How We Misjudge Risk


Shortly after the University of Washington announced that the school’s fourth suspected case of the new coronavirus had turned out negative, two professors, one of public policy and the other of public health, held a small dinner for students and faculty members.

Like everywhere else on campus, and in much of the world, the coronavirus was all anybody could talk about.

But one of the attendees, a public health student, had had enough. Exasperated, she rattled off a set of statistics.

The virus had killed about 1,100 worldwide and infected around a dozen in the United States. Alarming, but a much more common illness, influenza, kills about 400,000 people every year, including 34,200 Americans last flu season and 61,099 the year before.

There remains deep uncertainty about the new coronavirus’ mortality rate, with the high-end estimate that it is up to 20 times that of the flu, but some estimates go as low as 0.16 percent for those affected outside of China’s overwhelmed Hubei province. About on par with the flu.

Wasn’t there something strange, the student asked, about the extreme disparity in public reactions?

Ann Bostrom, the dinner’s public policy co-host, laughed when she recounted the evening. The student was right about the viruses, but not about people, said Dr. Bostrom, who is an expert on the psychology of how humans evaluate risk.

While the metrics of public health might put the flu alongside or even ahead of the new coronavirus for sheer deadliness, she said, the mind has its own ways of measuring danger. And the new coronavirus disease, named COVID-19 hits nearly every cognitive trigger we have.

That explains the global wave of anxiety.

Of course, it is far from irrational to feel some fear about the coronavirus outbreak tearing through China and beyond.

But there is a lesson, psychologists and public health experts say, in the near-terror that the virus induces, even as serious threats like the flu receive little more than a shrug. It illustrates the unconscious biases in how human beings think about risk, as well as the impulses that often guide our responses — sometimes with serious consequences.

Experts used to believe that people gauged risk like actuaries, parsing out cost-benefit analyses every time a merging car came too close or local crime rates spiked. But a wave of psychological experiments in the 1980s upended this thinking.

  • Updated Feb. 10, 2020

    • What is a Coronavirus?
      It is a novel virus named for the crown-like spikes that protrude from its surface. The coronavirus can infect both animals and people, and can cause a range of respiratory illnesses from the common cold to more dangerous conditions like Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome, or SARS.
    • How contagious is the virus?
      According to preliminary research, it seems moderately infectious, similar to SARS, and is possibly transmitted through the air. Scientists have estimated that each infected person could spread it to somewhere between 1.5 and 3.5 people without effective containment measures.
    • How worried should I be?
      While the virus is a serious public health concern, the risk to most people outside China remains very low, and seasonal flu is a more immediate threat.
    • Who is working to contain the virus?
      World Health Organization officials have praised China’s aggressive response to the virus by closing transportation, schools and markets. This week, a team of experts from the W.H.O. arrived in Beijing to offer assistance.
    • What if I’m traveling?
      The United States and Australia are temporarily denying entry to noncitizens who recently traveled to China and several airlines have canceled flights.
    • How do I keep myself and others safe?
      Washing your hands frequently is the most important thing you can do, along with staying at home when you’re sick.

Researchers found that people use a set of mental shortcuts for measuring danger. And they tend to do it unconsciously, meaning that instinct can play a much larger role than they realize.

The world is full of risks, big and small. Ideally, these shortcuts help people figure out which ones to worry about and which to disregard. But they can be imperfect.

The coronavirus may be a case in point.

“This hits all the hot buttons that lead to heightened risk perception,” said Paul Slovic, a University of Oregon psychologist who helped pioneer modern risk psychology.

When you encounter a potential risk, your brain does a quick search for past experiences with it. If it can easily pull up multiple alarming memories, then your brain concludes the danger is high. But it often fails to assess whether those memories are truly representative.

A classic example is airplane crashes.

If two happen in quick succession, flying suddenly feels scarier — even if your conscious mind knows that those crashes are a statistical aberration with little bearing on the safety of your next flight. But if you then take a few flights and nothing goes wrong, your brain will most likely start telling you again that flying is safe.

When it comes to the coronavirus, Dr. Slovic said, it’s as if people are experiencing one report after another of planes crashing.

“We’re hearing about the fatalities,” he said. “We’re not hearing about the 98 or so percent of people who are recovering from it and may have had mild cases.”

That tendency can cut in both directions, leading not to undue alarm but undue complacency. Though flu kills tens of thousands of Americans every year, most peoples’ experiences with it are relatively mundane.

Being told how dangerous flu is does little to change this, studies find. The brain’s risk assessment approach simply overwhelms rational calculation — a source of endless consternation to health officials trying to raise flu vaccination rates.

“We’re conditioned by our experiences,” Dr. Slovic said. “But experience can mislead us to be too comfortable with things.”

The coronavirus also taps into other psychological shortcuts for assessing risk.

One involves novelty: We are conditioned to focus heavily on new threats, looking for any cause for alarm. This can lead us to obsess over the scariest reports and worst-case scenarios, making the danger seem bigger still.

Maybe the most powerful shortcut of all is emotion.

Assessing the danger posed by the coronavirus is extraordinarily difficult; even scientists are unsure. But our brains act as if they have an easier way: They translate gut emotional reactions into what we believe are reasoned conclusions, even if hard data tells us otherwise.

“The world in our heads is not a precise replica of reality,” Daniel Kahneman, a Nobel Prize-winning economist, wrote in a 2011 book. “Our expectations about the frequency of events are distorted by the prevalence and emotional intensity of the messages to which we are exposed.”

In extreme cases, this can lead to a “crowding-out effect,” Dr. Bostrom said, as our emotional impulses overwhelm our cognitive faculties. The coronavirus hits a number of those triggers, often quite hard.

One is dread.

If a risk seems especially painful or disturbing, people tend to raise their estimate of how likely it is to happen to them. Reports on the coronavirus often feature upsetting imagery: unhygienic food markets, city-scale lockdowns and overcrowded hospitals.

Another trigger is a threat that is not fully understood. The less known it is, the more people may fear it, and overestimate its threat.

Threats that feel out of control, like a runaway disease outbreak, prompt a similar response, leading people to seek ways to reimpose control, for instance by hoarding supplies.

Risks that we take on voluntarily, or that at least feel voluntary, are often seen as less dangerous than they really are. One study found that people will raise their threshold for the amount of danger they are willing to take on by a factor of one thousand if they see the risk as voluntary.

If that number sounds high, consider that driving, a danger most take on voluntarily, kills over 40,000 Americans every year. But terrorism, a threat imposed on us, kills fewer than 100.

There are countless rational reasons that terrorism provokes a sharper response than traffic deaths. The same goes for a fast-spreading and little-understood outbreak versus the familiar flu.

And that is exactly the point, psychologists say.

“All of these things play on our feelings,” Dr. Slovic said. “And that’s the representation of threat for us. Not the statistics of risk, but the feelings of risk.”

All those emotions can have real consequences.

Consider the response to the partial meltdown of the nuclear plant at Three Mile Island, in Pennsylvania, in 1979. Though the incident caused no deaths, it led to public demand to turn from nuclear power to fossil fuels whose impact on air quality, alone, is thought to cause thousands of premature deaths every year.

That calculus confounded old-school economists, who saw it as irrational. One leading nuclear power expert called it “insane.”

But it also helped give rise to new psychological models for how people measure risk.

“Our feelings don’t do arithmetic very well,” Dr. Slovic said.

That can be especially true when judging low-probability, high-risk threats like nuclear war, terrorism — or dying from the coronavirus or the flu.

Our minds tend to either “round down” the probability to “basically zero” and we underreact, Dr. Slovic said. Or we focus on the worst-case outcome, he said, which “gives us a strong feeling, so we overreact.”



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Europe World

A Store, a Chalet, an Unsealed Pipe: Coronavirus Hot Spots Flare Far From Wuhan


The new coronavirus, though most serious in China, “holds a very grave threat for the rest of the world,” Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, the director general of the World Health Organization, said at a forum in Geneva on Tuesday.

  • Updated Feb. 10, 2020

    • What is a Coronavirus?
      It is a novel virus named for the crown-like spikes that protrude from its surface. The coronavirus can infect both animals and people, and can cause a range of respiratory illnesses from the common cold to more dangerous conditions like Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome, or SARS.
    • How contagious is the virus?
      According to preliminary research, it seems moderately infectious, similar to SARS, and is possibly transmitted through the air. Scientists have estimated that each infected person could spread it to somewhere between 1.5 and 3.5 people without effective containment measures.
    • How worried should I be?
      While the virus is a serious public health concern, the risk to most people outside China remains very low, and seasonal flu is a more immediate threat.
    • Who is working to contain the virus?
      World Health Organization officials have praised China’s aggressive response to the virus by closing transportation, schools and markets. This week, a team of experts from the W.H.O. arrived in Beijing to offer assistance.
    • What if I’m traveling?
      The United States and Australia are temporarily denying entry to noncitizens who recently traveled to China and several airlines have canceled flights.
    • How do I keep myself and others safe?
      Washing your hands frequently is the most important thing you can do, along with staying at home when you’re sick.

As the outbreak’s health implications have mounted, so has its political toll: It is already one of the most significant crises for the central government in decades. China’s ruling Communist Party dismissed two health officials in Hubei, the province at the center of the epidemic, and replaced them with a leader sent from Beijing. They were the first senior officials to be punished for the government’s handling of the outbreak.

This week, the Chinese authorities urged factory workers and farmers to get back to work. But at the same time, other officials warned that there may be new outbreaks in the coming weeks — particularly in three populous provinces, Zhejiang, Guangdong and Henan — as migrant workers return to their jobs after the Lunar New Year break.

They also highlighted the role of clusters, which they defined as two or more infections within a relatively small area, in accelerating the disease’s spread.

Wu Zunyou, the chief epidemiologist of China’s Center for Disease Control and Prevention, said at a news conference on Tuesday that there had been nearly 1,000 clusters in China, with 83 percent occurring within families. But schools, factories, shopping centers and medical facilities also contributed to the spread, he said.

In Tianjin, more than 600 miles from Wuhan, officials have taken drastic steps to contain a cluster of cases linked to the department store in the district of Baodi. An outbreak in that city could be especially troublesome for the central government: It is only a half-hour from Beijing by high-speed train.

At least 33 of the city’s 102 confirmed patients worked or shopped at the department store, or had close contact with employees or customers, according to local health authorities. Of those, many — including the latest patient, a 31-year-old woman announced on Tuesday — had no history of travel to Wuhan.



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Business Energy & Environment

Africa, a Thunder and Lightning Hot Spot, May See Even More Storms


Global data on the economic impact of thunderstorms is patchy, but a 2008 assessment by the National Lightning Safety Institute in Louisville, Colo., placed the annual costs in the United States at $5 billion to $6 billion. That includes forest fires and damage to structures from lightning strikes, and flooding from heavy rains.

Dr. Price and his co-author, Maayan Harel, looked at 2013 thunderstorm data from the World Wide Lightning Location Network, determined which climate-related variables had the most influence on storms and then used those variables to build a model that created a simulated history of thunderstorm activity over Africa from 1948 to 2016.

The project took seven years. Their next study will look at thunderstorms in Southeast Asia, another tropical hot spot.

Because of data limitations and differing methodologies, there is no consensus, for now at least, on how climate change will affect thunderstorms, or whether more thunderstorms would necessarily mean more lightning strikes.

A study in Nature Climate Change in 2018, for instance, forecast a decrease in lightning as the world warms. One of the authors of that paper, Declan L. Finney, a meteorologist at the University of Leeds, said it was important to keep an open mind about how predictions could change as scientists refined their methods.

“There’s still a lot of uncertainty, but this work is useful in contributing to that discussion,” Dr. Finney said of the new study.

Researchers agree, though, that simple measures like developing systems to warn people of impending thunderstorms and installing grounding systems in buildings could go a long way in avoiding deaths and injuries. Thunderstorm patterns can’t be changed, Dr. Price said, “but we can give people protection.”



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Asia Pacific World

Coronavirus Live Updates: China’s No. 2 Official Visits the Hot Zone


An outbreak of a new coronavirus that began in the Chinese city of Wuhan has already killed 80 people in China. The virus has since spread around the world. But of the nearly 3,000 people who have so far contracted the virus, the vast majority live in China.

  • The death toll in China had risen to at least 80 by Monday. The majority of those deaths, 76 people, were in the central province of Hubei, the epicenter of the outbreak. Shanghai, a city of 24 million, recorded its first death on Saturday.

  • Across China there have been 2,744 confirmed cases, of which 1,423 cases were in Hubei.

  • The youngest confirmed case is a 9-month-old girl in Beijing.

  • The mayor of Wuhan, the provincial capital of Hubei, said there were about 3,000 patients in the city being treated for the virus. Half of those patients, he said, would eventually test positive for the disease.

  • Thailand and Hong Kong have each reported eight cases of infection; the United States, Taiwan, Australia and Macau have five each; Singapore, Japan, South Korea and Malaysia each have reported four; France has three; Vietnam has two, and Nepal has one.

In an effort to temporarily limit travel, the Chinese government extended the weeklong Lunar New Year holiday by three days, meaning it will go through next Sunday rather than ending on Thursday.

The holiday, China’s biggest annual celebration, began on Saturday. Workers will now get an additional three days off, returning to work on Feb. 3.

Hundreds of millions of Chinese people travel during the holiday, either for tourism or to visit family. The week, known in China as Spring Festival, typically includes large public events, but many festivities have been canceled this year.

Many tourist attractions have been shuttered including the Disney theme parks in Shanghai and Hong Kong, along with the Forbidden City and sections of the Great Wall in Beijing.

China’s second-highest ranking official, Premier Li Keqiang, on Monday visited Wuhan, the epicenter of the outbreak, to inspect local efforts to contain the disease, the government said.

In pictures released by the state-run news media, Mr. Li is seen wearing a face mask and a blue protective gown while posing for photos with health workers. He was also seen speaking with a patient in an isolation ward via video conference.

The premier’s visit comes as the central government is under increasing pressure to prove it is adequately coping with the crisis. Videos circulating on Chinese social media, show doctors straining to handle the enormous workload and hospital corridors loaded with patients, some of whom appear to already be dead.

Rare signs of public anger have also percolated on social media, as Wuhan residents complained that an impromptu ban on cars in the city left many unable to get access to food and hospitals.

On Saturday, Xi Jinping, China’s leader, convened a meeting of the Politburo’s standing committee, the senior-most executive body of the Chinese Communist Party, as a demonstration of the government’s hands-on approach to the outbreak.

Hospitals in Wuhan have posted messages online urgently appealing for medical equipment. Mr. Li, who has been assigned to oversee the national response to the outbreak, pledged to provide Wuhan’s health centers with 20,000 pairs of safety goggles.



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Business

The Week in Business: Hot Topic at Davos


In a week dominated by impeachment headlines, big money kept moving. The stock market hummed along, Google hit the $1 trillion valuation mark and banks reported fat quarterly earnings. Next, the who’s who of global politics and finance will fly to the snow-capped ski town of Davos, Switzerland, for the World Economic Forum. To catch up and prep for the week ahead, read on.

The stock market didn’t react much to President Trump’s signing of the Phase 1 trade deal with China on Wednesday, in part because it may not change a whole lot. Sure, the agreement marks a welcome break in the two-year trade war between the world’s two largest economies, and lifts some (though not all) of the tariffs Mr. Trump had imposed on Chinese goods. But it’s mostly a preamble to harder negotiations down the line and vague on how many of its key points — like China’s promise to spend some $200 billion on American products and crack down on intellectual property theft from American corporations — will be implemented and enforced.

A new report found that popular online dating services like Grindr, OkCupid and Tinder are sharing their users’ personal information with advertising and marketing companies. Which shouldn’t be a huge surprise to anyone familiar with how the internet works, right? But some of the data these sites peddled is really personal, including users’ sexual orientation, drug use habits, dating preferences and precise locations — and that could violate privacy laws. Grindr is already defending its practices by claiming that users “are directing us to disclose” the information provided. (Just a wild guess, but those users probably wanted their profiles shared with potential dates, not online databanks.)

Tens of thousands of Americans got a big tax break this week — on student loans that they shouldn’t have to pay to begin with. Every year, students get scammed into borrowing money to pay tuition at fraudulent for-profit schools that mischaracterize their academic offerings, close abruptly or issue worthless credits. Victims of these schools are entitled to have those loans forgiven, but until this past Wednesday, they still had to pay taxes on them while the paperwork was processed. (Which could take over a year, especially under the current administration, which has been slow to review such cases.) Now the Internal Revenue Service will waive these taxes and issue credits for those who paid them dating back to 2016.

Apple is gearing up for a legal fight with the Justice Department to defend the privacy of its customers’ iPhones — or more specifically, two phones used by the gunman behind a deadly shooting last month at a naval base in Florida. Federal authorities are demanding that Apple unlock the man’s phones for the sake of public safety. But the tech giant says it is committed to protecting its users’ information, stating that Americans “do not have to choose between weakening encryption and solving investigations.” The conflict puts Apple’s chief executive, Tim Cook, in a tricky spot if he wants to stay in Mr. Trump’s good graces. Their alliance has kept Apple relatively unscathed by trade tensions with China — so far.

BlackRock, the giant money management corporation that oversees nearly $7 trillion in investments, announced that it “will make investment decisions with environmental sustainability as a core goal” moving forward. Which is a little rich, considering it’s also a major investor in fossil fuel companies like Aramco, Saudi Arabia’s state-owned oil firm. But BlackRock’s chief executive, Larry Fink, said that pressuring companies to be greener could still have a major effect on the market, and hopes other money managers will follow suit. He also said that the decision wasn’t a political one, but rather a response to investor demand.

Larry Fink will also give a talk at the World Economic Forum in Davos this week. Following the release of new data showing that 2019 was the second-hottest year in recorded history, the global warming crisis will be one of the summit’s central topics. Which could lead to quite the standoff, especially as Mr. Trump — who has openly scorned climate change science — is among the attendees, along with the 17-year-old environmental activist Greta Thunberg. Also on the speaking docket: Satya Nadella, the chief executive of Microsoft, which pledged this past Thursday to erase its carbon footprint and invest $1 billion in carbon removal technology.

The Senate passed Mr. Trump’s United States-Mexico-Canada-Agreement, more widely known as “the new NAFTA,” by a huge margin, delivering a victory to the president just in time for his impeachment trial to begin. In other news, a new study found that rich people don’t just live longer — they also get eight to nine more healthy years, on average, than poor people do. And finally, the 1,758-carat Sewelo diamond, the second-largest in history, was purchased this week by Louis Vuitton for an undisclosed sum in “the millions.”

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Business Media & Advertising

Nature Shows Are Hot Again


At a time when millions of species are at risk of extinction and deep-pocketed streaming services are spending billions on content, an old television genre, the nature show, is booming.

On Saturday, the latest big-budget nature documentary series from BBC Studios, “Seven Worlds, One Planet,” will make its debut in the United States across various AMC cable networks like BBC America and SundanceTV. The first installment of the series, which is a follow-up to the recent ratings hits “Planet Earth II” and “Blue Planet II,” will focus on Australia.

There has never been more to watch for fans of the genre. Netflix, Disney and Apple are investing heavily in wildlife programming as part of their efforts to lure subscribers to their streaming services. And nature shows are thriving on cable and public broadcast networks, with roughly 130 original nature series airing in 2019, more than the previous three years combined, according to Nielsen.

“I don’t think I’ve ever seen quite the attention on natural TV programming across such a broad range of audiences and platforms and organizations,” said Michael Gunton, the creative director of the natural history unit at BBC Studios.

The genre goes back more than 50 years to early staples like “The Undersea World of Jacques Cousteau,” which chronicled the explorations of the French oceanographer, and “Zoo Quest,” a BBC production that followed the natural historian David Attenborough as he traveled the world in search of specimens for the London Zoo.

Interest has been renewed as environmental coverage has migrated from scientific journals to mainstream news outlets, a change that coincided with the rise of high-definition television and streaming services. Netflix and its rivals consider wildlife programming a smart bet because it is appropriate for all ages and works well internationally.

“It does travel well,” Mr. Gunton said, “because it’s educational and the animals do not speak in any particular language.”

In October, BBC America, known for thrillers like “Killing Eve” and “Orphan Black,” turned over its Saturday lineup to wildlife programming. The result was a 35 percent gain in viewership during Saturday’s prime-time hours. Nature shows also bring the network a different audience, said Courtney Thomasma, the channel’s executive director.

“It’s more heartland than our typical network skew,” she said.

Bill Gardner, the vice president for programming at PBS, the broadcaster of “Nature” and “Nova,” attributed the surge to the fact that more people are engaged with environmental issues.

“For this particular subject area, I think there’s just this broad awareness in the zeitgeist that this is about more than entertainment,” he said. “It’s just the issue of the age.”

The show that kicked off the gold rush was “Planet Earth II,” a 2016 BBC series narrated by Mr. Attenborough. It scored record ratings in Britain and was an unexpected hit in the United States. Television executives theorized that the show, with its lush footage, was popular because it gave viewers a respite from the stormy atmosphere surrounding Brexit and the rise of Donald J. Trump.

“This profound unsettledness is something that is informing and fueling the relevance of the content and why people are loving it,” said Sarah Barnett, the president of the entertainment group at AMC Networks, which includes BBC America.

Since then, there has been a stampede.

“Our Planet,” an eight-part documentary that Netflix started streaming in April, was one of its most viewed original shows of 2019. More recently, Netflix has rolled out the documentary “Dancing With the Birds.” This month, Netflix will premiere “Night on Earth,” a six-part series on nocturnal animals.

When Apple unveiled its streaming service, Apple TV Plus, in November, it included the 96-minute documentary “Elephant Queen” among its first offerings. The company is returning to the genre with “Tiny World,” a series about teensy critters, and its own take on nocturnal creatures, “Earth at Night.”

The Walt Disney Company was a nature film pioneer — “Seal Island” won an Oscar in 1949 — and it has grown into an even bigger player with its $71.3 billion acquisition of much of Rupert Murdoch’s empire last year, including National Geographic. Now hundreds of hours of wildlife content is available on the Disney Plus streaming service.

“Seven Worlds, One Planet,” the BBC’s latest, includes scenes filmed in 41 countries. In response to the devastating wildfires in Australia, BBC America will broadcast the Australia episode first, instead of the originally planned episode on North America. Though the episode was filmed well before the crisis, BBC America will inform viewers how they can help with relief efforts. “Seven Worlds, One Planet” is narrated by Mr. Attenborough, 93, a particular beneficiary of the boom, winning back-to-back Emmys for his work on “Blue Planet II” and “Our Planet.”

Discovery, a leader in the genre, has the streaming rights to the back library of BBC’s “Earth” series and plans to roll out a “definitive collection” this year on a streaming service now in development, Discovery’s chief executive, David Zaslav, said.

“Serengeti,” a nature series produced by Simon Fuller, the manager of the Spice Girls and the creator of “American Idol,” was a ratings hit for Discovery in August, performing especially well among young male viewers and families. A sequel is underway, and Discovery will also broadcast “Endangered,” a BBC Studios series produced by Ellen DeGeneres on vulnerable and endangered species. Other Discovery series in the works include “Mysterious Planet,” “Perfect Planet” and “Deep Planet.”

“There’s a massive appetite for it,” Mr. Zaslav said.

NBC announced last week that it would join with BBC Studios for a documentary series about the Americas, to be broadcast after the Paris Summer Olympics in 2024.

In addition to widespread concern about the natural world at a time when Greenland is melting and an estimated one billion animals have died in the Australian fires, there may be another reason for the boom: Nature programming seems to go well with pot.

“We found that one of the reasons this content is resonating at this time, one of the many forces, is legalization of marijuana,” Ms. Thomasma of BBC America said. “We think this will perform particularly well in the late-night programming block.”

BBC America offered a marathon of nature shows on April 20, a stoner holiday of sorts, and it worked.

“I will say there were some Twitter comments of ‘Whoever programmed “Planet Earth” today is a genius,’” Ms. Thomasma said.



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Music

Jennifer Lopez responds after Phoebe Waller-Bridge says she inspired ‘Hot Priest’ from Fleabag



Phoebe Waller-Bridge revealed that Jennifer Lopez was a major inspiration for her hit show Fleabag, as she accepted her latest trophy for the popular BBC sitcom.

The writer, creator and star of the series won Best Actress in a Comedy Series at the Critics Choice Awards on Sunday 12 January. 

Accepting the award, Waller-Bridge let the audience in on one of the secrets behind her much-loved character, the “hot priest” (played by Andrew Scott).


“This is a bit of a random shout out, but you have no idea how much you can accidentally inspire people just by doing your work, and somebody inspired this show in a way that she will never know, and that is JLo,” she said.

“I decided The Priest’s favourite song was ‘Jenny From The Block’ and it opened the entire character up for me,” she continued. “That’s really genuine, so thank you JLo.”

After the ceremony, Lopez wrote on Twitter: “I’m a huge fan of yours too, #PhoebeWallerBridge! Congrats on the wins for @fleabag! #CriticsChoiceAwards.”

See the full list of Critics Choice winners here.



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Dining & Wine

Sriracha Hot Chilli sauce recalled over exploding bottle fears



Sriracha Hot Chilli sauce has been recalled by authorities in Australia and New Zealand over concerns that bottles could “explode” when opened. 

The joint food standards agency for both countries, warned some bottles could build up lactic acid and then “bloat” and “continue to ferment”. 

This would mean when opened they could splatter people or property, potentially irritating skin or eyes if it were to make contact.


“Do not open bottles that feel bloated and return the products to the place of purchase for a full refund,” the Food Standards Australia New Zealand says on its website.

The Food Standards Agency for England, Wales, and Northern Ireland has not issued a recall on any of the bottles.

Created in 1980 by Vietnamese refugee David Tran, who moved to the United States, Sriracha is made from chillies, vinegar and garlic, and is now sold widely around the world. 

Tesco and other big name UK supermarkets started selling the sauce in 2014. At the time, sales of hot sauces were estimated to be rising 7 per cent year on year in Britain.

The recall applies to 502ml (17oz) and larger 828ml (28oz) sized bottles with a best before date of March 2021.

This isn’t the first time Sriracha has been recalled on similar grounds – the condiment faced a similar recall in Ireland in November. 

The Food Safety Authority of Ireland recalled a batch of the product due to the risk of “contents exploding once the bottle is opened”. 

In 2013 there was a “global shortage”, and the following year, officials in California declared the product a public nuisance in what fans dubbed the “srirachocalypse”. 

Officials in Irwindale city, where the manufacturer was based, declared the sauce a public nuisance because of the smell from the factory.

The Independent has contacted the Food Standards Agency UK for a comment.



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