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1 September

In the headlines

Thousands of children face home schooling for weeks,” says the I newspaper, after the government ordered 104 schools to shut buildings made with a type of concrete prone to sudden collapse. The decision came after it emerged that several school facilities made with Reinforced Autoclaved Aerated Concrete – a bubble-filled material likened to Aero chocolate bars – had given way without warning. Junior doctors and consultants are to go on strike together for the first time in NHS history. The walk-outs over pay will take place over four days later this month and in October. A nurse in Tennessee has set the world record for the longest woman’s mullet, with locks measuring 5ft 8in. Tami Manis, 58, began growing the humongous hair-do in the 1980s after seeing the music video for ‘Til Tuesday’s 1985 song Voices Carry. “The girl had a rat tail,” she explains. “And I really wanted one of those.”


The winners of this year’s Black and White Photo Awards include a thunderous sky in the landscape category; streetlights in Ottawa in the architecture category; boys playing with hoops in the street category; and a gelada, a type of Ethiopian primate, staring straight down the lens, which took the overall top prize. See more top pics here.

Inside politics

When Donald Trump was processed during his arrest at Fulton County jail in Atlanta last week, he claimed he was 6ft 3in and weighed just over 15 stone. “Those are some impressive stats,” says Dan Kois in Slate – almost identical to Muhammed Ali in his prime. Totally made up, of course: everyone knows Trump is shorter and heavier than that. But this is perhaps the most relatable thing he has ever done. Who wouldn’t place on the public record their “target weight”, rather than whatever “inconvenient number” happened to be on the scales that week?


“Is there a more glamorous piece of pâtisserie than the tarte tropézienne?” asks Olivia Poots in The Spectator. It isn’t really a tart, “but rather an enormous brioche bun, topped with pearl sugar and sandwiched with a thick custard”. The confection was created in 1952 by a Polish pâtisserie owner, Alexandre Micka, in Saint-Tropez. Three years later, Brigitte Bardot was filming And God Created Woman in the area, and Micka was doing the catering. The brioche and custard cake became hugely popular on set, and Bardot proposed calling it la tarte de Saint-Tropez. Updated to the “snappier” tarte tropézienne, a “cult favourite” was born.


Until March, says The Economist, the direct line between the Nuclear Risk Reduction Centres in Washington and Moscow was “alive with messages informing each other about the movements of missiles and bombers”. There were around 2,000 of these missives in 2022 alone. No longer. Now that Russia has suspended the New START arms control treaty, the only communication between the two centres is when officials “ping” each other every couple of hours to check the line is working. “Then, almost always, silence”. It is the “dying heartbeat of global nuclear arms control”.

Love etc

We’re officially in a “cost-of-sex crisis”, says Joe Bromley in the Evening Standard. Take the “critically endangered faux date night”, when you both valiantly slog through some overpriced rioja and tapas to make you feel “that little bit more respectable” before heading home for no-strings nookie. Thanks to inflation, an evening like that is now an unaffordable extravagance. The only solution? “Reduce, reuse, recycle.” In other words, remember “Tom, Dick or Harry from six months ago”? Save yourself the G&T bill of a new date and just “get him around again”.


It’s (allegedly) the Loch Ness Monster, captured in a snap from 2018 that has just been released to the public. Chie Kelly was having lunch with her husband on the banks of the loch when she spotted a “creature” moving through the water “at a steady speed”. She took photos but, fearing ridicule, didn’t publicise them – until now, having finally been persuaded by hardened Nessie hunter Steve Feltham.


quoted 1.9.23

“When you make people laugh, you open the door.”

French screenwriter Jean-Claude Carrière