Monday briefing: Novak Djokovic in visa court victory

Morning everyone. I’m Martin Farrer and these are the top stories today.

Novak Djokovic has just won his legal battle to enter Australia and defend his Open tennis title after a judge quashed the government’s decision to cancel the player’s visa when he arrived in the country last week. After a dramatic day of legal argument in the federal circuit court in Melbourne, Judge Anthony Kelly also ordered the government to pay the player’s costs, and for Djokovic to be released from the detention hotel where he has languished since last Wednesday. You can read the latest reaction and how the day unfolded at our live blog.

The world No 1 men’s player was denied entry to Australia last week amid confusion over the validity of a Covid vaccine exemption granted by Tennis Australia. After hearing arguments from the player’s lawyers earlier today, Kelly queried “what more” the player could have done to prove his medical exemption given that it was provided by a qualified physician and backed up by an independent Victorian government panel. Kelly also criticised the Australian government for reneging on a deal to give Djokovic more time to defend his visa from cancellation. The judge’s ruling means Djokovic will meet tomorrow’s deadline to enter the tournament he has already won nine times.

Cladding call – Michael Gove must spend billions more on fireproofing homes across England, campaigners will say today, as they warn that his £4bn move to replace all Grenfell-style cladding does not address other risks facing leaseholders in tower blocks. People living in unsafe properties have been landed with bills of up to £200,000, and campaigners say residents may still have to stump up to fix defective fire doors, flammable balconies and missing firebreaks. Under Gove’s plan, which aims to force developers to pay the £4bn bill but could require funds to be diverted from existing government budgets, only cladding remediation costs will be covered. ampaigners want a change to the law to protect them from all costs caused by fire safety defects that were not their fault. It comes as 19 people died in a fire in a tower in New York in one of the city’s worst fire disasters in recent times.

Vaccine push – The UK government is urging all pregnant women to get vaccinated with their first, second or third shots as it highlights the Covid-19 risks to mothers and babies. One study showed that 96.3% of pregnant women admitted to hospital with symptoms between May and October were unvaccinated. The education secretary, Nadhim Zahawi, called for the UK to show the rest of the world how to move from pandemic to endemic Covid, and suggested it would be helpful to cut the isolation period to five days to ease workforce shortages. But there are still deep divisions in the scientific community about what “living with Covid” could entail.

Power play – Ed Miliband says it “beggars belief” that the government is opposing a windfall tax on oil and gas companies on the grounds that they are struggling, after Labour proposed a £1.2bn levy on producers to help households and businesses with soaring bills. As the political battle builds around cost-of-living issues, the shadow climate secretary said ministers’ rejection of the idea showed they were “weak and incompetent”. With more dependency on renewable power, the UK will need more storage solutions – here are four new technologies that could help pave the way.

Dog day – The Power of the Dog and Succession were the big winners at the Golden Globes, which went ahead in Los Angeles overnight with no stars or audience after years of controversy over diversity led to a boycott by celebrities. The acclaimed Netflix drama The Power of the Dog was named best picture in the drama category, while Jane Campion became the third woman to win best director. Will Smith was named best actor in a drama for King Richard, while Nicole Kidman won best actress in a drama for Being the Ricardos. Steven Spielberg’s remake of West Side Story dominated the musical/comedy categories, while on the television side, HBO’s Succession won best drama, best actor for Jeremy Strong and best supporting actress for Sarah Snook.

Here be dragons – A gigantic prehistoric “sea dragon” discovered in the Midlands has been described as one of the Britain’s greatest ever fossil finds. The ichthyosaur, which is about 180m years old and around 10 metres long, is the largest and most complete fossil of its kind ever found in the UK. The skeleton was found during a routine draining of a lagoon island at the Rutland Water reservoir in February 2021.

Damien Gayle talks about what the case of the Colston Four means for future protests and one of the defendants, Sage Willoughby, describes the jubilant moment the verdict arrived.

After breakthrough singles such as Chaise Lounge and Too Late Now, Wet Leg are set to be one of 2022’s hottest new bands. Zoe Williams talks to Rhian Teasdale and Hester Chambers about their feelgood anthems, their musical influences and turning down record labels to rollerskate.

Joe Root hailed a “small step forward” for his injury-hit England team after they clung on for a heart-stopping draw in Sydney, nine wickets down, and avoided the ignominy of an Ashes whitewash in Australia. Mikel Arteta lamented his side’s lack of “purpose and determination” after Arsenal were sent tumbling out of the FA Cup by an impressive Nottingham Forest. Liverpool beat Shrewsbury 4-1, with Kaide Gordon’s equaliser followed by two for Fabinho sandwiching Roberto Firmino’s effort, while a first-half Manuel Lanzini strike and an injury-time finish from Jarrod Bowen gave West Ham a 2-0 win over Leeds United. The Hammers will play Kidderminster next after the fourth-round draw was made. Arsenal’s manager, Jonas Eidevall, conceded that the shock 2-0 defeat of the Women’s Super League leaders at Birmingham City was “100% my responsibility”. Hosts Cameroon beat Burkina Faso in the opening match of the first Africa Cup of Nations to be held there in 50 years.

Wasps beat the Premiership leaders Leicester 16-13, with fly-half Jimmy Gopperth kicking the hosts to victory and denying Leicester a record-equalling 16th-straight win. Cameron Smith overcame world No 1 Jon Rahm in a final-round duel at the Tournament of Champions in Hawaii to win the opening US PGA Tour event of the year in record fashion.

British manufacturers say Brexit will add to soaring costs thanks to extra customs delays and red tape from the UK’s departure from the EU. Make UK said a survey of 228 firms said Brexit had moderately or significantly hampered their business. The pound is on $1.359 and €1.970, while the FTSE100 looks like starting the week flat.

The Mail shows the direction of travel in the Tory press with a headline saying “Save us from cost of living crisis, Boris”, and the Express has “PM urged: act now on cost of living squeeze”. It’s a different story in the Mirror, which says the government’s levelling up plan is “Failing on every level”. The Guardian leads with “Gove’s £4bn cladding plan ‘far too little to end fire safety crisis’”.

Covid occupies several other titles, with the Times reporting “We’ll avoid Covid crisis, say upbeat NHS chiefs” and the Telegraph leading on “Sunak backs call for 5 day isolation”. The i claims “PM expected to announce ‘living with Covid’ plan by March”, while Metro has “Going, going, Cron”. The Scotsman report “Pupils face months of uncertainty over exams” and the Yorkshire Post warns “‘15 years of rail chaos for North’”. The FT’s splash is “Nato stands ready for conflict in Europe, alliance chief warns Russia”. The Sun’s lead is “Bake orf” about the competition to make a pudding for the Queen’s platinum year.

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