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10 October

In the headlines

Israel says it has regained control of its border with Gaza, and found the bodies of more than 1,500 Hamas terrorists involved in Saturday’s attack. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has warned that retaliation for the atrocity has “only just begun”; Hamas has threatened to execute a civilian hostage for every unannounced air strike on the Palestinian territory. Keir Starmer will pledge to “build a new Britain” in his party conference speech in Liverpool today, says BBC News. The Labour leader will promise to grant extra powers to local mayors and put up the “next generation of new towns”. The rapper 50 Cent has sponsored an under-14 girls football team in Cardiff. The father of one of the AFC Rumney players asked the star while working with him on a recent tour, says Wales Online. “As the old adage goes – if you don’t ask you don’t get.”


In the wake of the felling of Northumberland’s famous Sycamore Gap tree, The Guardian has compiled a list of other arboreal icons around the world. They include the 275ft-tall General Sherman in California, a giant sequoia estimated to be around 2,700 years old; the Great Wisteria Tree (which is technically a vine) in Ashikaga Flower park, north of Tokyo; the Tree of Life, a ghaf tree that has somehow survived – and thrived – for 400 years in the otherwise barren Arabian Desert in Bahrain; and the Major Oak in Sherwood Forest, the 1,000-year-old specimen within which Robin Hood supposedly hid from the Sheriff of Nottingham. See the rest here.


Joseph Schmidt, a former US Army sergeant, was arrested on Friday and charged with trying to hand over military secrets to the Chinese, says Task & Purpose. It doesn’t look like the most sophisticated attempt at espionage. According to the indictment, Schmidt searched on Google for “countries with the most negative relations with US” and “can you be extradited for treason”, and visited a Reddit thread called “What Do Real Spies Do and How are they Recruited”. Perhaps most damningly, he allegedly created a 22-page document with the title “Important Information to Share with Chinese Government”.


Cricket is coming to the Olympics, says The Guardian. The sport has been added to the lineup for the 2028 games in Los Angeles, along with squash, lacrosse, baseball, and flag football (essentially touch American football). The main factor is India, where Olympic broadcast rights are currently worth around £15m but should now be worth ten times more. Cricket has been played in the Olympics only once before, at the 1900 games in Paris, when France and England played a single match for the gold medal. England won.

On the money

It’s often said that America’s $800bn defence budget is larger than those of the next 10 countries combined, says Foreign Policy. But that’s probably not true. The US government privately estimates that China spends the equivalent of $700bn a year on defence, not the $300bn or so often cited. And that money goes a lot further in China than it does in the US, because wages and other costs are so much lower there.

Staying young

Young people are turning to private healthcare in record numbers, says Tortoise. A whopping 41% of 18- to 24-year-olds say they have used private doctors, according to a poll by the Independent Healthcare Providers Network, compared to only 6% of over-65s. Fears about long delays and shoddy services mean young people are willing to forgo socialising, holidays and new clothes to pay for healthcare.


They’re Nike’s controversial new trainers, which Kenya’s Kelvin Kiptum wore to run the Chicago marathon on Sunday in a world record 2hr 0min 35sec. The fancy footwear, which isn’t yet on general sale, is the latest salvo in the battle of the athletics “super shoes”, says The Daily Telegraph: two weeks ago, Ethiopian runner Tigist Assefa set a new women’s marathon record wearing a pair of Adidas’s £400, single-use Adizero Adios Pro Evo 1. Super shoes hold their shape thanks to a stiff plate or rods – usually made of carbon – embedded in a curved sole, which helps “propel the runner forward”.


“How pleasant is the day when we give up striving to be young – or slender.”

American philosopher William James