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16 October

In the headlines

A million Palestinians are believed to have fled southwards from northern Gaza ahead of an anticipated offensive by Israeli forces. Both Israel and Hamas have denied reports of a ceasefire to allow humanitarian aid in from Egypt, where the Rafah border crossing remains closed. Poland’s right-wing Law and Justice party is on course to be ousted after eight years in power. The populist ruling party won the most seats, but the centrist Civic Coalition, led by former prime minister and European Council president Donald Tusk, has a better chance of forming a coalition. A group of sumo wrestlers flying to a sports festival had to be transferred to a different plane because they weighed too much to take off. Japan Airlines laid on an emergency extra flight to spread the load of the 27 sumo rikishi, who weigh an average of nearly 19 stone.


This Friday more than 100 old Tube posters will go on display at the London Transport Museum, including an iconic space-themed graphic by the surrealist Man Ray. The visionary behind the advertising campaign, Frank Pick, took charge of publicity for the Underground in 1908 and revolutionised poster ads, which had previously been text-based. Pick commissioned eye-catching work by futurists, cubists, dadaists and more, pushing the message that the theatre, the zoo and the countryside were all within easy reach.

Inside politics

Steve Reed, the shadow environment secretary, is obsessed with making the perfect roast potatoes, says The Sunday Telegraph. He once took a whole week off work to determine the perfect spud, cooking two different varieties each day, and apparently one way to gee him up for a big interview is to whisper in his ear: “Your roast potatoes are shit.” His recipe: boil Maris Pipers for 14 minutes in salted water, then roast for 50 minutes at 190C, “turning them exactly twice”.

Love etc

Jada Pinkett Smith made headlines last week with the revelation that she had been separated from her husband Will Smith since 2016. Almost as “jaw-dropping”, says Hadley Freedman in The Sunday Times, is that the couple’s children, Jaden and Willow, slept in their bed until they were six and four. What effect did that have on their sex life? “We had a love nest in our closet,” the 52-year-old actress explains. “This beautiful blue dome with twinkle lights in the ceiling with a circular mattress bed. We built that house, so I created that nest knowing [we’d need it], and we would sneak into the love nest at night-time. So trust me, I had that handled.”


The only British overseas territory without the Union Jack on its flag is Gibraltar. Instead, says International Intrigue, it has a red castle to reflect the outpost’s “legendary fortifications”, and a dangling key to symbolise its strategic significance as the British “key to the Mediterranean” and the Moorish “key to Spain”.


To the Church Times:

Patrick Kidd of The Times is quoted congratulating “the third Bishop Bishop”, later referring to the former Lord Chief Justice, Judge Judge. Many years ago, a friend told me of having had a parish priest whose surname was Fathers. In church, one Sunday morning, an elderly stranger, also a priest, had introduced himself to the congregation as “Fr Fathers, Fr Fathers’s Father”.

Allan Wilcox, Gwynedd


It’s an annular solar eclipse, a rare display in which the moon passes directly between Earth and the sun, which was visible along a narrow strip of the US on Saturday. Nasa livestreamed the event from Albuquerque, New Mexico where organisers handed out 80,000 pairs of tinted safety specs. “We’re in annularity,” declared space agency sun boffin Michael Kirk, referring to the moment when the moon is fully in front of the sun, creating the fleeting ring of fire seen above. “It is a gorgeous sight to behold.”



“Beware of all enterprises that require new clothes.”

American essayist Henry David Thoreau