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12 July

In the headlines

Mo Farah has revealed he was illegally smuggled to Britain aged nine, given a fake name and forced to work as a servant. The four-time Olympic champion, originally Hussein Abdi Kahin, eventually confided in his PE teacher, who arranged for him to be fostered by another family. The UK’s new prime minister will be announced on 5 September. The Tory leadership race formally begins today: Conservative MPs will whittle the list down to the final two by 21 July, after which party members will make the final choice. A group of Indian conmen fleeced nearly $4,000 from Russian gamblers by staging a fake version of cricket’s Indian Premier League, says The Times. Matches took place on a farm in Gujarat, with a bogus umpire and commentator, and labourers were paid to pose as players. “It’s not cricket.”

British politics

Why aren’t Labour doing better?

Labour should be streets ahead in the polls, says Owen Jones in The Guardian. Boris Johnson has “spectacularly self-immolated, tainting his colleagues and party”; the cost-of-living crisis is hammering people’s wallets; the Tory leadership contest promises to have “all the dignity of a pack of cornered rats”. Yet voters still aren’t convinced by the alternative. Polls show that just 33% think Labour is “fit to govern”, down five points from when Jeremy Corbyn was leader in 2017. Only 50% say the party is concerned about people in need, down 16 points, and 45% that it understands the problems facing Britain, down nine points. How on earth is the opposition doing so badly?


Organic farming has bankrupted Sri Lanka

“Sri Lanka has fallen,” says Michael Shellenberger in his Substack newsletter. Over the weekend, protesters stormed the official residences of the PM and president, both of whom are stepping down. With inflation soaring – over 50% in June – millions are struggling to buy fuel, food and medicine. The nation is effectively bankrupt. Covid is partly to blame: lockdowns hammered the tourism industry. But the main cause is that Sri Lanka’s leaders “fell under the spell of Western green elites” peddling organic farming. In a bid to boost its “Environmental, Social and Governance” credentials – and backed by the likes of the EU and the World Bank – the government banned chemical fertilisers in April 2021.

Gone viral

A British Army officer says he feels “giddy” to be alive after being engulfed by a massive avalanche in Kyrgyzstan. Harry Shimmin, 27, captured extraordinary footage of the avalanche hurtling towards him down the Tian Shan mountains, before ducking behind a boulder at the last moment as the snow cascaded over him. “I’m not averse to risk,” he tells The Times, “so I was prepared to move at the last minute for the sake of some good footage.” Watch the full video here.

Inside politics

The “mud-slinging” within the Tory leadership contest is already intense, says The Sunday Times. At least two teams have passed the Labour Party a digital dossier containing “lurid allegations” about their rivals. These include drug-taking, the use of prostitutes, bondage, sadomasochism and compromising photographs. “It has even been claimed that one candidate requests that staff deliver their government papers to them while they are in the bath.”


On Sunday, Wimbledon finalist Nick Kyrgios kicked off about a spectator who was shouting during his serve, telling the umpire she looked like she’d had “about 700 drinks”. The Sun has tracked her down: Ania Palus, a 32-year-old Polish lawyer, insists she just “wanted to encourage him. I only had one Pimm’s and one rosé. It’s the temperature for me, I had no hat. I’m really sorry.” Palus was escorted off Centre Court, as per Kyrgios’s request, but allowed back later in the match – after first being given a bottle of water.


Women are co-opting an unlikely menswear item to keep cool this summer, says Grazia: boxer shorts, with nothing over them. The perfect breezy briefs should be in an airy material like linen or cotton, with an elasticated waist and roomy legs. Buttons down the front are an added bonus. Pair with a crop top and oversized shirt for the perfect “underwear as daywear” outfit. “What could be a better combination for this week’s heatwave?”


It’s the first image from the most powerful telescope in history. Launched last December, Nasa’s $10bn James Webb Space Telescope has 100 times the visual power of its predecessor, Hubble. The inaugural pic, “Webb’s First Deep Field”, shows light from stars and galaxies from more than 13 billion years ago. “The oldest documented light in the history of the universe,” says President Biden. “It’s hard to even fathom.” Click here to see the image in full – and how much better it is than Hubble.


Quoted 12.7.22

“A man can stand anything except a succession of ordinary days.”