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17 November

In the headlines

Jeremy Hunt is looking at halving inheritance tax and cutting taxes for small business in his autumn statement next week, says The Times. The Treasury has been told there is an extra £20bn of “fiscal headroom” because of rising tax revenues and falling borrowing costs. Israeli troops raided the Jenin refugee camp in the West Bank last night, exacerbating concerns about violence in the Israeli-occupied territory. More than 155 Palestinians have been killed in the West Bank by the Israeli army and Jewish settlers since Hamas’s October 7 attack, says Haaretz – the highest monthly figure since the Second Intifada 20 years ago. Sailors trying to stop orcas from attacking their boats have taken to blasting out heavy metal. One member of a sailing group on Facebook said “playing full-volume east European thrash metal” had been a “game-changer”.


The Accidentally Wes Anderson Instagram account collates pictures that mimic the director’s iconic “pastel-coloured aesthetic”, says The Daily Telegraph, and an exhibition of the highlights is opening in South Kensington on 8 December. Subjects include the multi-coloured buildings and open skies of Curaçao; a bright-orange Slovenian railway carriage; the Hotel Opera in Prague; a steep cobbled street in Lisbon; and the Art Deco Eastern Columbia Building in Los Angeles. Book your tickets here.


American businessman Arjun Mahadevan asked 22 million people on Reddit for the “life hacks” they wished they had been given at the age of 20. Useful suggestions included: putting the website’s name as your middle name when you sign up to something online, so that when you receive spam you’ll know who sold your data; avoiding last-minute hotel cancellation fees by moving your reservation to a later date, then calling back after a few days to cancel that booking instead; and scrunching and un-scrunching tin foil before cooking things on it, so that the juices gather in the folds and your food doesn’t stick as much. Read more here.


Which historical figures are most frequently depicted on screen? To find out, says Daniel Parris in Stat Significant, I looked at IMDb film credit data on the top four leading roles in a variety of movies. Unsurprisingly, Jesus came out on top, with major parts in 22 titles. Wild West outlaw Jesse James came second (10 films), and Adolf Hitler, third (eight films). The best-represented woman, at six films, was an unlikely tie between Elizabeth I and American frontierswoman Calamity Jane.


A musical inspired by Gwyneth Paltrow’s legal battle with a retired optometrist over a ski accident is opening in London next month, says The Guardian. Gwyneth Goes Skiing will depict the trial in which Terry Sanderson sued Paltrow for $300,000 earlier this year. The courtroom showdown “shared qualities with the most enthralling theatre”: there was “teary testimony”, an array of chic outfits, and even a devastating final line, whispered by Paltrow to the claimant after the jury ruled in her favour: “I wish you well.” Get tickets here.


Balenciaga has unveiled a £695 skirt that looks exactly like a bath towel, says The Cut. At that price, you might expect it to be made of something fancy, like cashmere. But no – it’s just plain old terry-cotton. Still, it does at least have two buttons inside the waistline, “so no worries about it falling”. If you’d like to give someone the “most expensive gag gift there ever was”, pre-order the skirt here.


It’s Auguste Toulmouche’s 1866 painting The Hesitant Fiancée, which has become a surprise hit on TikTok thanks to the “withering glare” of its subject, says The New York Times. Women have been reposting the artwork to “express their own moments of outrage or vindication”, by adding captions like “literally me when I’m right”, and using it as a punchline in response to phrases including “you’re overreacting” and “you really should smile more”.


Quoted 17-11-23

“I was wise enough to never grow up while fooling people into believing I had.”

American anthropologist Margaret Mead