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16 September

In the headlines

Chinese officials have been banned from visiting the Queen’s lying-in-state despite being invited to her funeral, which will take place on Monday just across the road. Commons Speaker Lindsay Hoyle refused the delegation’s request to visit Westminster Hall, says the BBC, because of Beijing’s sanctions against five British MPs. The queue to view the Queen’s coffin has been temporarily closed to new mourners after reaching five miles – and 14 hours – long. Officials have stopped six people attempting to smuggle pet dogs in under their coats, says Politico. It was “woof a try”. Twenty-time Grand Slam champion Roger Federer will retire from professional tennis after next week’s Laver Cup. The 41-year-old, who’s played more than 1,500 matches across his 24-year career, says he must listen to his body’s “capacities and limits”, says the Daily Express. It’s “Roger and out”.

Europe

Should Germany pay Poland reparations?

During the Warsaw Uprising of 1944, German soldiers lined my eight-year-old father up against a wall next to a pile of corpses, says the Polish writer Grzegorz Jankowski in Die Welt. After an hour or two of “paralysing fear”, his life was spared, along with that of his mother and brother, and they were sent to a concentration camp instead. This story, and others like it, form the “moral basis” for the Polish government’s recent demand for €1.3trn in Second World War reparations from Germany. But more important than atoning for past crimes is “making sure the nightmare doesn’t come back”.

Tomorrow’s world

Automotive boffins in China have created a levitating car, says tech website Futurism. By placing magnets on the vehicle’s undercarriage and along a five-mile stretch of highway, researchers made the car “float” 35mm above the road and reportedly reach speeds of 143mph. But judging by the “rocky” test ride, it’s still a little way off any practical application.

Books

At a mutual friend’s birthday, I once found myself seated with the Queen, says Charles Moore in The Spectator. “Philip,” she said, “is reading your book and enjoying it very much. But I gather there’s more to come.” “Yes, ma’am,” I replied, “I’m frightfully sorry, but I’m afraid there will be a third volume.” “Oh, don’t worry,” said the Queen, “I shan’t read it!” I felt proud to be in the same situation as Edward Gibbon presenting his latest volume of The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire to King George III’s brother, the Duke of Gloucester. “Another damn’d thick, square book!” said the Duke. “Always, scribble, scribble, scribble, eh, Mr Gibbon.”

Zeitgeist

Curly-haired heartthrob Timothée Chalamet has become the first man to grace the front of British Vogue solo in the magazine’s 106-year history. The cover photo barely looks like him, though, says Olivia Craighead in Gawker. The vibe I’m getting is of “a magician who found your card on the third try”, or “an au pair who keeps kids in check by telling them about her time in the Soviet Union”.

Noted

Commemorating the Queen’s death is obviously important, says Morgan Jones in the I newspaper. But we’re getting to a point where the insane level of deference “produces farce more often than it fosters solemnity”. Why has Morrisons turned down the beeps at their self-checkout? “Why is the Met Office cutting down on reporting forecasts (did the Queen secretly hate weather reporting)?” More seriously, why have hospital appointments and fire drills been called off? Why has parliament suspended its investigations into the wrongdoing of MPs? And why is the new commissioner of the Metropolitan Police refusing to be interviewed by the press, “citing the period of mourning”?

On the way in

Merriam-Webster’s latest dictionary update of 370 new words includes plenty of pop culture references. The “metaverse” now has an entry, as does “virtue signalling”, defined as “the act or practice of conspicuously displaying one’s awareness of and attentiveness to political issues”. Internet slang term “yeet” is described as expressing “surprise, approval or excited enthusiasm”, and “adorkable” as being “socially awkward or quirky in a way that is endearing”. Read the full list here.

Snapshot

It’s US Vice President Kamala Harris’s stepdaughter Ella Emhoff, on the catwalk for Maisie Wilen at New York Fashion Week. The 23-year-old caught the eye of fashion bosses when she wore a custom Batsheva gown to the presidential inauguration in January 2021, says the Daily Mail, “and completely stole the show”.

Quoted

quoted 16-09-2022

“What we call progress is the exchange of one nuisance for another nuisance.”

English doctor and writer Havelock Ellis