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Heroes and villains

Japan | Westminster’s hairdresser | A plain-speaking chef

Joseph Prezioso/AFP/Getty

Virginia Oliver, a 103-year-old Maine fisherwoman who recently celebrated 95 years in the game. Oliver, known as the “Lobster Lady”, began catching the crustaceans aged eight alongside her father and older brother. Now she goes out fishing with her 80-year-old son, Max Jr: three mornings a week in peak season, she wakes up at 3.30am, applies red lipstick, chugs out to sea and hauls lobster traps.

Japan, which is more sexist than Saudi Arabia, according to a new report by the World Economic Forum. The Land of the Rising Sun was ranked 138th out of 146 countries on “political empowerment” for women, one place below Mohammed bin Salman’s autocratic petrostate. Tokyo has taken the news on the chin: “We need to humbly accept our country’s current situation,” says chief cabinet secretary Hirokazu Matsuno, and “aggressively push forward” solutions.

Kelly Jo Dodge, Parliament’s official hairdresser, who might be the only deserving recipient on Boris Johnson’s honours list. Dodge has been awarded an MBE for “services to Parliament” – or, says Kara Kennedy in Air Mail, for her heroic efforts to tame Johnson’s “unruly mop” of blonde hair. Her popularity in Westminster isn’t just down to scissor skills, however. As one journalist tells me, “she’s filled up weeks in advance because she has the best gossip”.

John Mountain, a chef who is refreshingly direct about the dietary content of his dishes. The Preston-born restaurateur, who runs Fyre in Perth, Australia, has instructed potential vegan diners to “f*** off”, after one of them complained about the lack of plant-based menu options. “This is my train set,” he went on. “I spent half a million dollars building it, and I don’t answer to anyone but my missus.”