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20 December

In the headlines

Eight out of ten ambulances won’t show up or will be delayed during tomorrow’s strike action, NHS bosses have warned – and the 750 soldiers drafted in to help have been told they can’t break the speed limit or use blue lights. The walk-out is “based on lies”, says Dominic Lawson in the Daily Mail. Contrary to union leaders’ claims, ambulance worker wages have risen 8% in real terms over the past 10 years – compared to a 5% fall in nurses’ pay. A US congressional select committee has recommended that Donald Trump should face four criminal charges, including insurrection, over his role in the Capitol riot. The Department of Justice will decide whether to take up the advice, which the former president dismissed as “fake charges” from an “Unselect Committee”. The first bank notes featuring the King’s face have been unveiled, says The Sun, and are expected to go into circulation by mid-2024. Call him “Kerching Charles”

Gone viral

This drone footage of fans celebrating Argentina’s World Cup win in Buenos Aires on Sunday has racked up more than 10 million views on Twitter. “Football eh!” tweeted Gary Lineker. “There’s nothing like it. Nothing.” Watch the full clip here.

Inside politics

Legal troubles aside, Donald Trump is clearly enjoying post-presidency life, says The Washington Post. The 76-year-old typically plays golf six days a week, either 18 or 27 holes. One employee rides alongside him “in a golf cart equipped with a laptop and sometimes a printer”, so that she can show him positive media coverage in between shots. On “quiet days”, another aide calls his allies and asks them to ring the former president “to boost his spirits with positive affirmations”.

Eating in

Just when you thought the “sourdough overlords” had consigned white bread to the bin of shame, says Michael Fitzpatrick in the I newspaper, “Japan is re-exporting it as the next must-try nosh”. Shokupan, a fluffy, white Japanese-style loaf also known as “milk bread”, is going for up to £11.40 a pop in London – and £15 in LA. Ginza Nishikawa, the Tokyo bakery which created the style, has a “secret ingredient” for each loaf: a dollop of honey.


If you’re itching to slip into your favourite stilettos but “your tootsies are twitching with the imminent threat of frostbite”, says Vogue, allow us to introduce the “party shoe 2.0”. This “festive footwear” is a bold, twinkling boot, which sits somewhere between your comfy go-to and the spindly party sandal. They’re a favourite among A-listers including Kylie Jenner, Dua Lipa and Bella Hadid. As fashion houses such as Roberto Cavalli, David Koma and Jimmy Choo have made clear, the “out-out boot” is staying in for 2023.

Quirk of history

Practically all the world’s languages pronounce “tea” in one of two ways, says Quartz. The English word is like in Spanish and thee in Dutch. The other is “some variation of cha”, like chay in Hindi and Russian, and shay in Arabic. The two words reflect how tea leaves originally travelled to various countries from China: cha, the Mandarin word for tea, spread overland via the Silk Road; te, the word once used in coastal Chinese dialects, was brought to Europe over the ocean.


It’s Evelyn Waugh’s Cotswolds mansion, Piers Court, which has sold at auction for £3.16m. But there’s a slight problem, says The Guardian: the current tenants, self-proclaimed “superfans” of the Brideshead Revisited author, are refusing to leave. The literature buffs are friends of the previous owner, who defaulted on a loan against the Gloucestershire property. Waugh sold the eight-bedroom pile in 1956 after two Daily Express reporters showed up and tried to get an interview. “I sent them away and remained tremulous with rage all the evening,” he wrote in his diary. His next entry simply reads: “And all next day.”


quoted 20.12.22

“Fifteen years ago, the internet was an escape from the real world. Now, the real world is an escape from the internet.”

Economist Noah Smith