Skip to main content
The Knowledge logo

14 December

In the headlines

“Britain fights back” against omicron, says the Daily Mirror, after thousands queued up for booster jabs yesterday and half a million more booked online. With health officials estimating that 200,000 people are catching the new variant every day – 50 times more than official case numbers – Boris Johnson has urged the public to “get boosted now”. The American spy accused of killing British teenager Harry Dunn in a car crash will face a UK court via video link more than two years after fleeing the country. A legal adviser to Dunn’s family tells The Times the case shows “how to stand up to the might of the US government”. It’s time to ditch the phrase “it’s not rocket science”, says the Daily Star, after a UCL “boffins survey” found that aerospace engineers are no better at IQ tests than ordinary people. “We’re all rocket scientists now.”

Comment of the day




At least 74 people have died and 100 more are still missing after tornadoes tore through Kentucky and several surrounding states on Friday night. “I’ve got towns that are gone, that are just, I mean gone,” said the state’s governor, Andy Beshear, on Sunday. “My dad’s home town – half of it isn’t standing.”

On the money

A first edition of Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone has fetched £356,000 at auction – the highest price ever for a 20th-century work of fiction. The book, which is in pristine condition, was in the first run of 500 copies. 

Love etc

When David Ginola left I’m a Celebrity after three weeks cut off from the world, the French former footballer was asked what he’d missed most about home. “Making love,” the 54-year-old replied. “Especially when you do it every day.” The French really do love sex, says Samantha Brick in The Sun. I’ve been married to a French man and lived in France for 13 years: “Sex is part of the fabric of life.” Nudity is normal – couples always sleep naked, and you see bums and boobs in TV adverts – and the same goes for flirting. Brits should take note. “Sex is the secret to a long and happy life.”


Converting a church into a mosque was historically an act of conquest, says Tanjil Rashid in The Spectator. The Byzantine empire “definitively” fell to the Ottomans when the largest church in the world, the Hagia Sophia in Constantinople, became a mosque in 1453. Now similar conversions are happening in Britain: “In the mosque that was formerly St Mark’s, Camberwell, Muslims worship beneath gothic arches and a vaulted ceiling.” Quite right too. Far better to preserve the spiritual function of these churches than turn them into luxury flats or supermarkets. 

Snapshot answer

It’s one of three maps of Renaissance Tuscany that are back on display at the Uffizi in Florence after more than 20 years. They were commissioned in the late 16th century by Ferdinando I de Medici to celebrate Florence’s conquest of its rival, Siena. The maps feature more than 1,200 cities and towns, the names of which are written in gold, and recently underwent a £600,000 restoration.


The Sex and the City reboot is a car crash, says Amanda Platell in the Daily Mail. Twenty years on, our feisty feminists have been gruesomely transformed into “a trio of surgically enhanced harridans”. Tedious dilemmas include greying hair (yawn), Miranda being “incontinent and constantly desperate for the loo”, and a host of black characters chastising our gals about their white privilege. We wanted a window into the lives of real women a little more at ease with themselves, not “old crones trying to squeeze their bunions into Manolo Blahnik 6in heels”. 


Quoted 14-12

“A man wrapped up in himself makes a very small parcel.”

John Ruskin