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1 July

In the headlines

Teenagers are using Tiktok to share ways to fake positive Covid tests using lemon juice, says the I newspaper. Hundreds of thousands of pupils in “bubbles” are already missing school, a practice the government plans to stop by telling schools to treat the coronavirus like flu. President Xi Jinping declared China’s “unshakeable commitment” to unification with Taiwan at an event marking the Chinese Communist Party’s centenary. A Los Angeles judge has denied pop singer Britney Spears’s request to stop her father from legally controlling her life, while Bill Cosby has been released from prison after Pennsylvania’s Supreme Court overturned his conviction for sexual assault on a legal technicality.

Comment of the day


A cultural conflict tearing the EU apart

An “identity war” between eastern and western Europe is tearing the EU in two, says Luc de Barochez in Le Point. Hungary has outraged the leaders of 17 states, including France, with a new anti-LGBT law. But most central and eastern Europe countries aren’t fussed. None of them has legalised gay marriage. Poland has even been trying to quit the Istanbul Convention, which aims to prevent violence against women, arguing that its fine print pushes American “gender ideology”.



Gone viral

Rural life is disappearing so quickly in China that locals are resorting to peculiar measures to preserve photogenic landscapes, says Vivian Wang in The New York Times. In Xiapu County, south of Shanghai, models charge $30 to wear a straw hat and pretend to be farmers, hay is burnt to simulate mist in the banyan trees (pictured above), and tourists can direct hired fisherman to stage the perfect photo via walkie-talkie. 

Staying young

Regular exercise can limit the damage poor sleep does to your health, says the British Journal of Sports Medicine. A study of middle-aged people found that 150 minutes of moderate physical activity a week, like a brisk walk, or 75 minutes of high-intensity activity, like running or cycling, “eliminated most of the deleterious associations of poor sleep with mortality”. 


A stolen Picasso donated to the Greek people by the artist to honour their resistance against the Nazis has been found in a gorge, along with an early Mondrian. A builder admitted breaking in through a balcony to remove the masterpieces from the National Gallery in Athens nearly a decade ago. Greek police were proudly displaying their priceless finds to reporters when the Picasso slipped and fell to the floor. A gloveless police officer can be seen grabbing it and putting it back. 


When the late actor John Mills bought a Buckinghamshire mansion in 1971, he had some builders tarmac the drive, says Ephraim Hardcastle in the Daily Mail. He asked them to add chips of white marble, but after a downpour he discovered the truth: “The blighters used Polo mints.”


Quoted 01-07

“If your morals make you dreary, depend upon it, they are wrong.”

Robert Louis Stevenson

Snapshot answer

It’s a see-through public lavatory in Tokyo that, thankfully, turns opaque when occupied and lights up at night like “a beautiful lantern,” according to its architect. An electrified film on the glass turns it cloudy. One of 17 public loos commissioned by the Tokyo Toilet Project for the Olympic Games, which start on July 23, it was designed with the Japanese liking for cleanliness in mind. The see-through doors allow users to check it’s pristine before they spend a penny.