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2 November

In the headlines

Thousands of police recruits with criminal records and links to organised crime have passed official vetting, a damning new report has found. The police watchdog also concluded that “misogynistic and predatory behaviour are prevalent in all the forces we inspected”. Benjamin Netanyahu is on the verge of an “extraordinary political comeback”, says Sky News, with exit polls in Israel’s general election suggesting the former prime minister will win a slim majority. The 73-year-old is currently on trial for fraud and corruption. Matt Hancock is expected to trouser £350,000 for his stint on I’m a CelebrityGet Me Out of Here! “I’m looking forward to him eating a kangaroo’s penis,” the deputy chairman of Hancock’s local Conservative Association tells the PA news agency. “You can quote me on that.”


Germany must choose between China and America

Back when China was ruled by emperors, emissaries from around the world made pilgrimages to the Forbidden City bearing gifts, says Christoph Giesen in Der Spiegel. German chancellor Olaf Scholz will do the same later this week, when he becomes the first G7 leader to visit Xi Jinping in Beijing since the pandemic. His gift? Overruling six of his government departments to allow Cosco, a Chinese state-owned shipping company, to buy a 25% stake in Germany’s largest port, Hamburg. To Xi, who wants to “rewrite” the international order, it’s nothing less than “a gesture of submission”.

British politics

Sunak’s balancing act

What drove Rishi Sunak to reappoint scandal-plagued Suella Braverman as home secretary, asks Matthew d’Ancona in Tortoise. It’s not just because the PM needs to keep his party’s right wing on board. He is also trying to give voters a version, “without all the mad rule-breaking”, of the Boris Johnson offer that proved so popular in 2019. The problem is, Johnson’s big-spending tendencies are out of the question. Sunak is “defined by his commitment to fiscal responsibility”, and there’s a £50bn hole in the national budget that needs to be filled. So he can’t offer Red Wall voters “shiny investment projects and fizzing infrastructure”. But he can try to placate them with Johnson-style, “full-metal-jacket anti-wokery”.

Inside politics

I think I’ve worked out the exact moment when Matt Hancock decided to appear on I’m a Celebrity, says The Guardian’s Hadley Freeman on Twitter. When Rishi Sunak was greeting Tory MPs after winning the leadership election last week, he appeared to make a point of ignoring the former health secretary – whose face promptly dropped like a stone.


Only around half as many Chinese students are studying at US universities as before the pandemic, says Patti Waldmeir in the FT. Geopolitical tensions play a part, and economic troubles in China have made parents think twice about shelling out up to $90,000 a year for an American education. Then there’s the country’s reputation for “shocking gun violence” – one Chinese educational consultant is arranging self-defence lessons for US-bound clients. Other destinations are growing in popularity: the number of Chinese students in the UK has risen by 50% in five years.

Great escape

To celebrate the 175th anniversary of Switzerland’s first railway, the country’s train operators put together the world’s longest-ever passenger service. The 1.2-mile, 100-car locomotive took almost an hour to complete the 15.5-mile alpine run along the spectacular UNESCO World Heritage Albula Line from Preda to Alvaneu.

Gone viral

Kendall Jenner delivered a truly hilarious Halloween costume inspired by her “rookie culinary skills”, says Bustle. To mark the moment she went viral earlier this year for struggling to slice a cucumber, the model dressed up as one. “Bet she still doesn’t know how to cut a cucumber tho 👀,” added one Instagram user. Watch the original clip here.


Socialite and interior designer Nicky Haslam has released his annual list of what he finds “common”. This year’s list, printed as always on a tea towel that’s on sale for a very un-common £38, includes hydrangeas, neck pillows, divorce, coriander, side plates, porn and Stanley Johnson. Buy yours here.


It’s a lampshade made of mycelium, the vegetative part of a mushroom. The Estonian company Myceen produces the fungal homeware by mixing waste materials like sawdust and straw with the mushroom component. The mycelium feeds on the other elements, growing to fill each 60cm lampshade mould, and is then removed and dehydrated to prevent it expanding further. Because the fungus acts as a natural binding agent, no glue or additives are needed, meaning each piece is perfectly compostable. Order yours for £645 here


quoted 2.11.22

“Always do sober what you said you’d do drunk: that will teach you to keep your mouth shut.”

Ernest Hemingway