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16 September

In the headlines

Yesterday’s cabinet reshuffle was the most brutal since Margaret Thatcher’s 1981 “purge of the wets”, reports Jessica Elgot in The Guardian. Anyone who thinks Boris is a people-pleaser should think again. Education secretary Gavin Williamson is gone, as is justice secretary Robert Buckland, party co-chairman Amanda Milling, and the housing secretary – and only millennial cabinet minister – Robert Jenrick. “People won’t mess around now,” said one unnamed Tory. “Anyone can get chopped.” The UK, US and Australia have formed a security pact to counter China. AUKUS, as it’s called, got off to a slightly rocky start – Biden appeared to forget the Aussie PM’s name, referring to Scott Morrison as “that fellow down under”.

Comment of the day


The right way to deal with China

The new military agreement between the US, UK and Australia puts paid to the “worrying spectre” of declining American power, says Adam Creighton in The Australian. Washington’s top mandarins are wise to see the “necessity” of the world’s top English-speaking countries sticking together to counter “growing Chinese belligerence”. Canada has fallen behind in the international defence pecking order, and the less said about New Zealand “kowtowing to Chinese interests” the better.

Met Gala

No defence for this Versailles-like behaviour

At Monday’s Met Gala, we saw America’s glitziest stars prancing around maskless in the middle of a pandemic, “while those paid hourly wages to serve them were required to keep their faces covered”, says Glenn Greenwald in his Substack. It was a depressing parade of a “maskless elite attended to by a permanently faceless servant class”. The so-called liberals are the worst hypocrites – progressive Democrat Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez posed on the gala’s red carpet without a mask in her “Tax the Rich” dress, turning her appearance into “a celebrity-building branding opportunity”. Other Democrat bigwigs such as Nancy Pelosi and Gavin Newsom have also been caught ignoring Covid guidelines at parties.

Great escape

Last night, Elon Musk’s rocket firm SpaceX launched the world’s first crew of four “amateur astronauts” into space, to circle the Earth for three days. The mission is being paid for by crew leader and minor tech billionaire Jared Isaacman, 38, who made his fortune with a payment-processing firm he founded as a teen. He is bringing along a 29-year-old cancer survivor and two sweepstakes winners. They will orbit at an altitude of 357 miles above Earth’s surface, a full 100 miles higher than the International Space Station, before splashing down off the Florida coast at the weekend.

Gone viral

Time magazine has honoured the Duke and Duchess of Sussex with a glossy photoshoot and glowing write-up, hailing them for giving a “voice to the voiceless”. Twitter users were less sure. One viral post, liked more than 70,000 times, read: “This looks like Harry is her hairdresser and he’s looking into the mirror explaining what he did to her layers.”

Love etc

One in ten gym-goers have had an orgasm while exercising, says a new study. Sit-ups, followed by lifting weights and climbing poles or ropes, were the exercises most likely to induce a “coregasm” in men. Women also found abdominal workouts the biggest turn-on, followed by cycling and running. One man among the 2,000 people interviewed by Indiana University said he orgasmed “while loading an 18-wheeler [lorry] with 55-gallon steel drums”.

Tomorrow’s world

A German tech start-up, Vay, has been secretly testing a new remote-driving car-rental business in Berlin, reports Handelsblatt. A customer orders a car via an app that a remote operator guides to the journey start point using cameras on the car. The customer then takes the wheel before hopping out at the journey’s end and handing it back to the operator. Vay plans to launch next year and thinks its service will be up to 60% cheaper than taking an Uber.


The family of the late Stuart Mitchell, 30, a dance music fan, asked that his ashes be scattered at the music festival Creamfields, “so that he truly went there one last time”. Organisers went one better, says the Liverpool Echo. During Dutch DJ Tiesto’s closing set, Mitchell’s remains were blasted out of a confetti cannon as “up to 70,000 ravers danced away in the fields of Daresbury”.

Snapshot answer

It’s a camouflaged boat named L’invisible, created by French artist Julien Berthier. He covered an old boat he found with carved epoxy resin, polystyrene and a splash of paint. There’s a hatch on top for getting in and out and navigating.


quoted 16.9

“I became a journalist partly so that I wouldn’t ever have to rely on the press for my information.”

Christopher Hitchens