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14 July

In the headlines

Almost 1,000 workers at Gatwick Airport will walk out at the start of the summer holidays. Baggage handlers and check-in staff will stage eight days of strikes beginning on 28 July, with passengers being told to plan for “severe delays, disruption and cancellations”. Hollywood actors are also going on strike, joining writers in the first industry-wide walkout in 60 years. Stars at the London premiere of Christopher Nolan’s Oppenheimer left mid-showing as the Screen Actors Guild announced the strike, which is over poor pay for writers and the use of AI-generated scripts. A new record for the largest gathering of golden retrievers was set yesterday in Scotland. Some 466 of the flaxen pooches met at Guisachan House, deep in the Scottish Highlands, where the breed’s first puppies were born 150 years ago.


To celebrate the one-year anniversary of the James Webb Space Telescope’s first image, The Atlantic has collated the $10bn device’s best cosmic snaps. They include a crowded field of galaxies a billion light-years from Earth; a stunning shot of Saturn and its glinting rings; the L1527 protostar, surrounded by blue and orange clouds; and the rugged edge of the star-forming region NGC 3324, roughly 7,600 light-years away. See the rest here.

Inside politics

If you’re an American voter and want some free money, says Politico, “you’re in luck”. Candidates in the Republican presidential primary need to have received donations from at least 40,000 people to qualify for the first debate in August. To get over that mark, Doug Burgum, the little-known but extremely rich governor of North Dakota, is offering $20 gift cards to everyone who donates to his campaign – even if they give as little as $1. Americans, get your free $19 here.

Staying young

A traditional home remedy combining honey and vinegar has been shown to treat infected wounds so successfully that the NHS might start using it. Researchers at the University of Warwick applied the gloopy mixture, known as oxymel, to a particularly aggressive form of bacteria that binds tightly to flesh. The Roman-era remedy killed off a large number of the nasty cells, raising hopes it could be harnessed as a cheap antiseptic.


Rock-paper-scissors is far from a game of chance, says Greg Costikyan in his book Uncertainty in Games. Naive players are more likely to start with rock: the fist is already clenched, so it’s “easiest to keep it that way”, and the word “rock” has connotations of strength. So if you’re playing a newbie, go for paper.

On the money

Bloomberg has compiled a list of the weirdest things that have been reported stolen in the past year. They include a 4m-long sperm whale skull, nabbed from the Eden Killer Whale Museum in Australia; 17.5 tons of olives taken from six farms across Spain; 60 containers of bull sperm, pinched from a specialised storage unit in Germany; and “Gary”, a £3,000, 8ft-tall gorilla statue, lifted from a Scottish garden centre. See the full list here.



It’s a “lemon melon”, a new fruit developed in Japan. A team of scientists in Hokkaido created the experimental cucurbit by fiddling around with the growing methods and harvest times of a melon imported from overseas, and now plan on producing 3,800 this season. The chartreuse exterior hides a surprisingly pale inside, says My Modern Net, and the fruit’s flesh is distinctly sweet, with a sour, zingy aftertaste.


“If you look for the bad in people expecting to find it, you surely will.”

Abraham Lincoln