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2 September

In the headlines

Argentina’s vice-president has narrowly survived an assassination attempt after the gunman’s weapon jammed. Former president Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner, currently on trial for corruption, was returning home after a day in court when the assailant aimed the firearm at her head and pulled the trigger (see video below). Foreign Office officials enjoyed a “£50,000 boozy jolly” on the PM’s official jet, says The Sun. The 700-mile “sightseeing” trip on Wednesday, which took off and landed at Stansted, saw civil servants cruise over the Lake District while being “served a fancy meal with a selection of alcoholic drinks”. People are being urged not to wee on jellyfish stings, says the Daily Star, after a new poll revealed that millions of Brits mistakenly believe it stops the pain. The confusion probably stems from a Friends episode in which that method is used. “You shouldn’t believe everything you see on TV,” says top jellyologist Jack Willans.


Ignore the pundits: Starmer is a vote winner

At any given time, says Janan Ganesh in the FT, “the reigning US Democrat and UK Labour leaders will resemble each other”. JFK and Harold Wilson were “slick but shallow” icons of change. Jimmy Carter and James Callaghan were “decent plodders in difficult times”. Bill Clinton and Tony Blair were “silver-tongued centrists”. Today, Joe Biden and Keir Starmer are “of a piece” too. Biden is mocked as an “affable klutz” despite having been on three winning presidential tickets and passing major climate legislation this summer. Starmer is scolded for being “mere favourite” to win the next election, and for being a bit boring.


China’s big win in the South Pacific

Beijing “sure is getting its money’s worth” from the security pact it signed with the Solomon Islands back in spring, says The Wall Street Journal. The tiny Pacific nation has started turning away port visits by US and allied ships. Two recent incidents, involving a US Coast Guard cutter and Britain’s HMS Spey, were blamed on “paperwork snafus”. But they should not be mistaken for the ordinary “bureaucratic confusion” of a small state. The American embassy in Australia says the country has placed a moratorium on naval visits until “new procedures” can be worked out.


The Small is Beautiful exhibition, at 79-85 Old Brompton Road in London, features miniature artworks including the inside of a pencil transformed into a tiny train tunnel; a half-submerged trainer lace doubling up as a deep-sea monster; minuscule figures playing tennis on a watermelon; and a Lego Crocodile Dundee stringing up sweets resembling the animals. The exhibition ends on Sunday: book tickets here.


Never dating anyone over the age of 25 isn’t the only thing Leo DiCaprio is known for in Hollywood, says Popbitch. In Los Angeles, all the venues for big events have hidden entrances and exits to allow A-listers to dodge crowds and paparazzi. This manoeuvre is known as “Doing a Leo” – as in, “Do you have the facilities at this venue for a Leo?”


Heinz is making its mark on fashion, says Input magazine, by releasing a line of clothing pre-stained with ketchup. The condiment company’s range features 157 second-hand garments, including items from Louis Vuitton and Saint Laurent, each daubed with sauce that looks like it “dropped straight out of a hot dog or off a French fry”. Proceeds from the defaced designer range go to the charity Rise Against Hunger: get yours here.

Gone viral

This video, which has racked up more than 2.1 million views on Twitter, shows the formation of a so-called levanter cloud over the Rock of Gibraltar. The dramatic effect is the result of warm, moist air being blown up and over the Rock, then rapidly cooling and condensing to form a cloud.


This week marked the 25th anniversary of the death of Princess Diana – and of “one of the great U-turns in tabloid journalism”, says Patrick Kidd in The Times. After the late news from Paris, the National Enquirer announced it was rushing out a 72-page supplement titled “A Farewell to the Princess We All Loved”. This mushy tribute replaced the magazine’s existing issue, which had the front-page headline: “Di Goes Sex-Mad.”


It’s an AI-generated image, titled Théâtre D’opéra Spatial, which took first place at the Colorado State Fair’s fine art competition. Jason Allen used software called Midjourney to craft the intricate image, which he then printed on a canvas and entered for the digital art prize. Twitter users were less impressed by Allen’s technological feat. “We’re watching the death of artistry unfold right before our eyes,” one commented.


quoted 2.9.22

“The trouble with some women is that they get all excited about nothing – and then marry him.”