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12 July

In the headlines

Racist abuse of England’s players has been condemned by Prince William, Boris Johnson and Gareth Southgate. A mural in Manchester honouring Marcus Rashford was defaced after he, Bukayo Saka and Jadon Sancho missed penalties against Italy last night, while online trolls attacked their social media accounts. Richard Branson successfully reached the edge of space in his Virgin Galactic plane for the first time on Sunday. “I was once a child with a dream looking up to the stars,” said Branson, 70. “Now I’m an adult in a spaceship.” Thousands of people took to the streets throughout Cuba yesterday to demand the end of the country’s dictatorship in the biggest protests seen for decades.

Comment of the day


A bright future for jihadists

A “wind of optimism” is sweeping through the global jihadist community, says Raffaello Pantucci in the Financial Times. The West’s retreats from Afghanistan and Mali are seen as jihadi victories, while Isis-affiliated groups are gaining ground in Nigeria and Mozambique. In Idlib, northeastern Syria, an al-Qaeda-linked group is rebranding itself as an “acceptable government”. As the West tries to turn away and focus on great power conflict with China and Russia, a “narrative of victory” is gaining momentum among jihadis.


Novak Djokovic, winner of the men’s singles title at Wimbledon for the sixth time yesterday, swears by some perplexing “rituals”, says Jack Rivlin in The Upshot. His two poodles, Tesla and Pierre, sit at his dinner table every evening on chairs and eat from bowls “like they are people”. A spiritual man, Djokovic once hired a coach, Pepe Imaz, who is thought to have taught him about telepathy and levitation – his techniques include “extremely long hugs”. Djokovic is also opposed to vaccination and learnt he had a coeliac allergy after a doctor asked him to hold a slice of white bread against his stomach while the doctor pressed on his outstretched right arm.


England’s players were superb but their management was clueless, says Maurice Glasman in UnHerd. “Sending out two players who had not kicked the ball in open play and a 19-year-old to take penalties was a cruelty that none of them deserved.” England, once again, shrank from victory. What they needed was courage from the top, not conservatism. As usual, we tripped ourselves up.

Tomorrow’s world

The waters around the chichi peninsula of Cape Cod (the location for the movie Jaws) are becoming “very, very sharky”, says The Atlantic. A highly successful project to protect seals, which had previously been hunted nearly to extinction, has attracted booming numbers of great whites, one of the main predators of seals. “There used to be one or two sharks every summer,” says a local who has been surfing off the Cape’s Atlantic coast since the 1960s. Now, between July and October, during “peak shark season”, the waters have become host to one of the greatest concentrations of great white sharks anywhere in the world.


James Gillespie’s High School in Edinburgh is banning Harper Lee’s To Kill a Mockingbird in an effort to “decolonise” the curriculum. Surely teenagers are smart enough to see the book contains racist language “precisely to expose the racism of its society”, says Amanda Platell in the Daily Mail.

Snapshot answer

It’s Elon Musk. The Tesla CEO and second-richest person in the world recently sold almost all his properties and moved into a 400 sq ft flat-pack home. Musk got his new pad from Boxabl, a start-up that retails tiny houses for $50,000 a pop. “It’s kinda awesome”, tweeted Musk.


Quoted 12.07

“To see what is in front of one’s nose needs a constant struggle.”

George Orwell