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19 September

In the headlines

The Metropolitan Police are investigating an allegation that Russell Brand committed a sexual assault in Soho in 2003. YouTube has suspended the comedian’s ability to make money on the platform, where he has 6.6 million subscribers. Canadian PM Justin Trudeau says there are “credible allegations” the Indian government was behind the assassination of a prominent Sikh leader in Canada. Hardeep Singh Nijjar, who campaigned for a Sikh state to secede from India, was shot dead in a suburb of Vancouver in June. China appears to have snooped on a British civil servant by hiding a listening device in a teapot. The ceramic spyware was given as a gift to someone working at the British embassy in Beijing, who only discovered its hidden tech when it was accidently smashed back home in the UK.


American photographer Sutton Lynch has earned a loyal Instagram following by getting up before sunrise, heading to the beach near his home in the Hamptons, and sending out his drone to take photographs of passing sea life. The 23-year-old former lifeguard posts the resulting images of “humpbacks, hammerheads, dolphins, bluefish and many other species”, says The New York Times, alongside captions that range from “childhood memories and research on the effects of fishing policy” to explanations of animal behaviour. See more here.


The US military has found debris from one of its F-35 stealth fighter jets, a day after appealing to the public for help in finding it. Officials said the pilot safely ejected after a “mishap” somewhere over South Carolina, but weren’t sure where the $100m plane had ended up because its transponder wasn’t working. “If you have any information that would assist the recovery teams,” wrote Joint Base Charleston on Facebook, “please call the 2nd Marine Aircraft Wing Public Affairs Office at 252-466-3827.”


The V&A’s latest fashion extravaganza – Gabrielle Chanel. Fashion Manifesto – is “somehow only the UK’s first exhibition dedicated to the work of the legendary couturière”, says Vogue. The London gallery has expanded on the recent retrospective of the same name at Paris’s Palais Galliera, adding 120 rare items that chart the designer’s career from her first boutique on Rue Cambon in 1910 to her final collection, presented weeks after her death in 1971. “When it comes to understanding the times and what it called for, and seizing that opportunity,” says curator Oriole Cullen, “no one did that better than Chanel.” Tickets are still available for the museum’s members here.

Gone viral

It’s been nearly 2,000 years since the height of the Roman Empire, says The Washington Post. But it turns out “many men still contemplate it – quite a lot”. As part of a new social media trend, women are asking their boyfriend or husband how often they think about the ancient civilisation. “Three times a day,” says one woman’s fiancé in a TikTok video. “There’s so much to think about.” “They built an entire world-dominating society,” protests another man. The unlikely trend started when a 32-year-old Roman re-enactor known as “Gaius Flavius” wrote on Instagram: “Ladies, many of you do not realise how often men think about the Roman Empire… You will be surprised by their answers!”


To The Economist:

Swimming, grouse shooting and beer drinking may all be specific interests that benefit from the protection of the hobby lobby, but another slightly more important institution is under the same or even greater protection: the BBC. As one moderate backbench Tory MP was reportedly quoted as saying: “Conservatives will never abolish the BBC – the minute we mess with The Archers we’re all done for.”

Ross Cathcart, London


It’s probably the world’s biggest-ever onion – an eye-watering 8.9kg whopper grown by Guernsey gardener Gareth Griffin. Produced in a polytunnel with 24-hour lighting and an automatic irrigation system, the 21-inch-long allium won its category at the Harrogate Autumn Flower Show last week. Green-fingered Griffin says he “really got into” competitive growing after going to the world championships 12 years ago. “I nearly got it in 2014 but was a couple of ounces off the record,” he told the BBC. “I’ve tried ever since and this year it went well.”


quoted 19.9.23

“Riches should come as a reward for hard work, preferably by one’s forebears.”

Historian Steven Runciman