The world of cricket has dominated sports headlines for weeks, but there's been little mention of the game itself - today there's three more stories to cover.
Is there really no such thing as bad publicity?
Here's an audio version of today's newsletter.
THURSDAY'S TOP LINES
In them, Rafiq and another cricketer are talking about a third person who they think won't pay for anything. Rafiq writes "he is a jew... probs go after my 2nds again ha".
Rafiq made headlines earlier this week for his emotional testimony to a parliamentary committee, explaining the racism he was subjected to at Yorkshire County Cricket Club.
Meanwhile, England's former batsman Alex Hales has apologised after a photo of him wearing blackface in 2009 was circulated.
Hales dressed as Tupac for a New Year's Eve party, saying "I didn't understand the offensive nature of this".
Also this week, Hales denied there was a racial connotation behind naming his black dog 'Kevin'. Azeem Rafiq claimed another cricketer, Gary Ballance, used the name 'Kevin' as a derogatory term to describe ethnic minorities.
Australia's cricket captain, Tim Paine, has stepped down following the publication of sexually explicit messages to a female colleague back in 2018.
Paine apologised for the pain caused to his wife, who he married in 2016 and has children with. The development comes just three weeks before Australia's Ashes.
As Reuters noted, the messages were found to be both consensual and private, and a complaint was not made against Paine until 2018, after the female former colleague "was charged with theft".
Julius Jones - a man who was convicted of the 1999 murder of Paul Howell, was granted clemency on Thursday just hours before he was expected to be executed.
More than 6.5 million people had signed a petition to spare Jones' life - a man who has always maintained his innocence.
For anyone curious to know more, please read the explainer in our Instagram caption below.
ON TODAY'S AGENDA...
British Home Secretary Priti Patel is expected to declare the political wing of the Palestinian group, Hamas, a terrorist organisation during a speech in Washington DC later today.
Patel will say this is a move to combat antisemitism.
The Telegraph noted there was "some resistance" in the Home Office over the decision.
Is this an unusual move? The US, Canada and the European Union have already designated Hamas a terrorist organisation.
Worth noting: Hamas was formed back in 1987 during the first intifada - uprising - against Israeli occupation of the West Bank and Gaza. According to The Guardian, the group's charter calls for the destruction of Israel.
Irish Tánaiste (Deputy PM), Leo Varadkar, said the 5% of the adult population who are not vaccinated "are causing a lot of the trouble". Varadkar added that roughly 50% of the 118 who are currently in ICU with coronavirus are not vaccinated.
Meanwhile, The Irish Times yesterday led with a headline saying "Christmas parties and events cancelled as Covid cases soar".
As you will know by now, Chinese tennis player Peng Shuai has not been seen publicly since accusing a prominent political figure of forcing her to have sex with him.
What's the latest? The Women's Tennis Association said they are prepared to pull out of China over the suspected disappearance of Shuai, adding the situation is "bigger than business".
Meanwhile, tennis star Serena Williams tweeted her concerns.
Brazil has seen its worst levels of deforestation in the Amazon in 15 years.
How bad? Al Jazeera cited a report stating between August 2020 and July 2021, deforestation was recorded in an area 17 times the size of New York City.
Remember: At the recent COP26 summit, Brazil pledged to end deforestation entirely by 2030.
- BBC News: Drivers to be banned from using hand-held devices
- The Guardian: Alex Hales pictured in blackface as English cricket handed a new blow
- The Financial Times: Turkey defies warnings and cuts interest rates
- Al Jazeera: India's Modi says will repeal controversial farm laws
- The Irish Times: Ireland will face severe Covid lockdown if people behave irresponsibly
NOT THE HEADLINE YOU EXPECTED TO READ...
Kim Kardashian paid for the cost of flying around 130 Afghans to the UK.
The group of female football players and their families left Afghanistan and went to Pakistan when the Taliban took over again in August. When they were granted visas, Leeds football club offered to support them.
According to Sky News, a rabbi who helped the last Jewish person leave Kabul got in touch with Kardashian - who he worked with on criminal justice reform in the US. Within an hour, Kardashian responded to say she would fund the entire flight.
WATCHING OUT FOR...
A new documentary about Janet Jackson, Justin Timberlake and the infamous 'nipplegate' controversy releases later today.
What's this all about? Back in 2004, the pair performed together at the Super Bowl half-time show. The plan was for Justin to rip off part of Janet's top, but the entire part of the costume came off, exposing her breast to 100 million people.
This documentary (trailer below) explores the difference in how Janet and Justin were treated in the aftermath.
Adele's new and long-anticipated album, 30, releases today.
What's the verdict? Well, depends who you ask. The Evening Standard described it as a "devastating comeback," The Guardian gave it three out of five stars, yet Variety described it as the singer's "rawest, riskiest and best record".
Here is a link to Adele's new music.
"The topic of divorce is so all-consuming that any listener who doesn’t count themselves among the millions pre-emptively rubbing their hands at the prospect of an hour of fresh woe to wallow in might find themselves wishing she’d occasionally give it a rest about how hard she tried and how much she’s cried." - The Guardian's review
ON A LIGHTER NOTE...
I'm very proud to share NewsFix is now a fabulous team of six - welcome Dan and Sara! As you can see, the larger we scale, the more productive we become...