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20 July

In the headlines

Senior hospital doctors have gone on strike for the first time since 2012, leading to the postponement of tens of thousands of appointments. NHS executives say the 48-hour walkout will be even more disruptive than other strikes, as many junior medical staff will be unable to work without supervision from experienced consultants. Rishi Sunak has criticised the EU for referring to the Falkland Islands by their Argentinian name, “Islas Malvinas”, in a joint statement signed by Latin American countries. A spokesman for the PM says Brussels has since clarified that its position on the Falklands has not changed. An escaped lioness is believed to be on the loose in Berlin. Residents of the city’s southwestern outskirts have been urged to stay inside after reports emerged of a big cat chasing a wild boar through a wooded area.



TikTokers are going wild for the “wrong shoe” trend, says Vogue: basically, choosing the most unlikely footwear possible to go with your outfit. It started off rather subdued, like pairing a feminine summer dress with chunky New Balance trainers. Celebs including Elle Fanning and Jennifer Lawrence took it up a notch at the Cannes Film Festival, accessorising sharp tailoring and massive ball gowns with poolside flipflops. So this winter, prepare to wear “padded après ski-chic boots” to work with a “girlboss skirt suit”, or a bodycon dress on a night out with some “gardening-friendly mules”.


Inside politics

“Expensive dentistry, designer manbags and more corporate gobbledygook than an episode of Succession,” says Henry Deedes in the Daily Mail. “Welcome back folks to Tony Blair’s ludicrously titled ‘Future of Britain’ jamboree… a merry-go-round of smugness and self-importance.” During Keir Starmer’s inevitable speech, the audience “slipped into a gentle coma”, says Tim Stanley in The Daily Telegraph, until Blair joined him on stage for a chat. With “mad eyes, white hair and alarming teeth”, Blair at 70 looks as if he has been “raised from his tomb after a bunch of teenagers, sheltering from a storm, found an ancient book beneath a floorboard and read from it backwards”. Still, the “master of the dark arts” proved as compelling as ever. And giving Starmer his blessing won’t hurt.

Staying young

Injecting a protein naturally produced by the kidneys into elderly brains could reverse mental decline, says Ars Technica. In a recent study, Yale boffins injected old monkeys with the “Klotho” protein, named after the ancient Greek goddess “responsible for spinning the thread of life”. A single jab gave the primates a two-week boost in memory function, indicating a “promising avenue” for tackling cognitive decline in aging humans.


Only 30 cinemas in the world have the right kit to project the new Oppenheimer movie in full IMAX glory, says The Wall Street Journal. So cinephiles are having to go the distance if they want to see the blockbuster as director Christopher Nolan intended. One film buff in Milwaukee is taking the day off work to drive five hours to the nearest IMAX cinema screening the movie with a “perfect 1.43:1 aspect ratio”; another is considering a nine-hour drive from North Carolina to Indiana. Europeans don’t have it any easier: Anderson Souza plans to fly from Lisbon to London for the same reason. As one fan puts it: “Some people go to synagogue or to church, I go to IMAX.”


Lord Palmer, who has died aged 71, came from a family that made its money in biscuits, says The Times’s Patrick Kidd on Twitter. In 2021, he secured a debate in the Lords on food waste, in which his sole contribution was: “Sell-by dates are far too cautious. I remember once eating a biscuit that was 20 years old. It was perfectly edible.”


It’s the newly opened Surat Diamond Bourse building, which has just stolen the Pentagon’s title as the world’s largest office. The sprawling 15-storey complex is built across more than 35 acres in north India’s Gujarat state, and its nine interconnected structures can accommodate more than 65,000 workers in Surat’s diamond trade. The £300m project also has 131 lifts, and nine courtyards complete with water fountains for socialising.


quoted 20.07.23

“Many people would sooner die than think. In fact, they do.”

Bertrand Russell