Skip to main content

Heroes and villains

Putin, Pets and Rome

The “enormous nerds” who play Quidditch, the real-life version of a magical sport from the Harry Potter books, says Gawker. Quidditch organisations in America and Britain have backed a move to change its name to Quadball, to formally distance themselves from JK Rowling over her views on transgender issues.

Vladimir Putin, who stubbornly refuses to fall ill. Despite fevered speculation that the 69-year-old Slavic warmonger is in bad physical shape, or even suffering from cancer, there’s little hard evidence to back it up. “As far as we can tell he’s entirely too healthy,” CIA director William Burns has ruefully observed.

A young woman and her dog in Tehran (for now). Getty

Pets, which are unacceptable symbols of Western decadence, according to Iran’s rulers. A wave of pet confiscations has recently swept the capital, Tehran, while a bill proposed in the Iranian parliament requires pet owners to have a special permit, or else face a minimum fine of £670. Even cats are in the crosshairs, says the BBC, despite Iran being the birthplace of the Persian, one of the world’s most famous breeds.

Vladimir Solovyov, a Russian state television host, who has thoughtfully decided to spare Britain’s Celtic bits from nuclear apocalypse. On Tuesday, Solovyov proposed obliterating England with an atomic missile, but added: “We won’t touch Scotland. Scotland will be independent. Wales has been quiet so far. Wales, too, will be independent.” Northern Ireland also gets a pass.

Rome, which Time Out has ranked as the world’s filthiest major city. The Italian capital’s “overflowing rubbish bins, unbridled rat population and acrid stench” helped it beat New York and Glasgow, says The Independent. Some local politicians have even called for the army to be drafted in to help clear up “the eternally dirty city”.