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16 January

In the headlines

The police are to be given powers to shut down protests before they cause any disruption, under government plans announced this morning. The amendment to the Public Order Bill is designed to help officers counter the “guerrilla tactics” of groups such as Just Stop Oil and Insulate Britain. Italy’s most-wanted mafia boss has been arrested in Sicily. Nicknamed U Siccu (“the skinny one”), 60-year-old Matteo Messina Denaro had been sentenced in absentia to life in prison for his involvement in dozens of murders. Young people are ditching God and turning to Satan, says the Daily Star. Some 5,054 respondents said they were followers of Beelzebub in the 2021 census, compared to just 1,893 in 2011. London-based Satanist Chaplain Leopold says only a minority actually worship the Prince of Darkness – they just “like rituals”.


The winners of the International Dog Photography Awards 2022 have been announced. They include Dalia Fichmann’s snap of a border collie in avalanche rescue mode; shots of leaping hounds in an agility competition in Italy (by Francesco Junior Mura) and in snowy Slovenia (by Kjara Kocbek); and Daniela Schmid’s picture of a tiny puppy cradled in a human’s hands. See the full list of winners here.


Forget the power lunch, says The New York Times – for high-flying executives in the US, it’s all about the spa. Clients are being entertained in infrared saunas; brainstorming sessions take place in ice baths; possible hires are being interviewed over vitamin drips. “No one is interested in team yoga any more,” says Kane Sarhan, a founder of the spa chain Well. “It’s much more dynamic stuff like IVs, group support circles, sound baths, energy work.” The most popular spot? The foot rub area. I’ve seen “dozens and dozens of meetings” take place there, says Sarhan. “People have their computers out on their laps.” 🧖‍♀️ Mmmmm, bliss.


On the money

American bosses have found a cunning way to avoid forking out for overtime, says Bloomberg. Because of a legal loophole, managerial staff don’t get paid for extra work – so employers are bestowing lowly workers with fancy-sounding job titles such as “lead shower door installer”, “price scanning coordinator” and “carpet shampoo manager”. The ruse saves US firms about $4bn a year.


Prince Harry’s memoir reveals he recruited a “woman with powers” to communicate with his mother from beyond the grave. “He’s not alone,” says Tatler: mysticism is taking high society by storm. West London types flock to Moya Guichet, based in Ladbroke Grove, who specialises in contacting the deceased; Ruth Nahmias, an astrologer trusted by the likes of Princess Eugenie, charts a “DNA map of your soul” that apparently reveals your “past life, purpose and future”. Helena Bonham Carter (pictured) went so far as to hire a psychic to contact the late Princess Margaret and check she was happy for the actress to depict her in The Crown.


Tomorrows world

Korean tech start-up 10minds has developed a pillow that detects when the user is snoring and gently nudges their head into a different position to stop the racket. The Motion Pillow uses machine learning to tune into the timbre of each person’s particular snore. When the grunts begin, it slowly inflates to improve the sleeper’s airflow.


It’s the hole in the ozone layer above Antarctica, which has rapidly closed up and should be fully healed by 2066, says The Sunday Times. Eagle-eyed British boffins noticed the gap in the 1980s, and quickly identified CFCs – common chemicals used in fridges and aerosols – as the cause. In “a rare example of swift international environmental cooperation”, CFCs were banned globally under the 1987 Montreal Protocol, and the ozone layer has been on the mend ever since. Jonathan Shanklin, the scientist who discovered the hole, gives Margaret Thatcher much of the credit. Because she was a chemist and “understood the science very clearly”, he says, “she was able to convince the other political leaders that this was something that they needed to act upon”.


quoted 16.1.23

“We never know the whole man, though sometimes, in quick flashes, we know the true man.”

Agatha Christie