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20 June

In the headlines

“We regret to announce that this country is returning to the 1970s,” says The Sun, as nurses, doctors, teachers, bin men and posties threaten to join railway workers in going on strike. It could be a summer of “union hell”: this week’s planned train shutdown, the biggest in three decades, will cost businesses £1bn. Over the past three years, police have failed to solve a single burglary in nearly half the country, says The Daily Telegraph. In 16,000 of more than 32,000 neighbourhoods analysed, every burglary case was closed without any suspects caught. Today’s builders are “sensitive souls”, not “wolf-whistling white van men”, says the Daily Mail. According to a poll of 2,000 tradesmen, three quarters regularly discuss emotions with colleagues, one in five is an art lover, and one in ten starts the day with Pilates or yoga.

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Inside politics

When he was foreign secretary in 2018, Boris Johnson tried to hire his then mistress Carrie Symonds as chief of staff for £100,000 a year, says The Guardian. That’s according to the first edition of Saturday’s Times – but strangely, this “political scoop of the weekend” was pulled from later editions, and never made it to the paper’s website, after a “high-level intervention” to suppress it. Times bosses won’t say why they scrubbed the embarrassing revelation about the PM, but the story’s author, Simon Walters, stands by it. You can read the original piece here.


Heathrow has cancelled 10% of flights today, leaving 15,000 people stranded, as it struggles to cope with a mountain of luggage, says the Daily Mail. Airport chiefs say a technical glitch left hundreds of bags piling up in Terminal 2 while their owners jetted off around the world without them.


In a rather surreal twist, Netflix is turning Squid Game into a reality show. The dystopian original sees 456 players, all in deep financial hardship, compete at deadly children’s games until one remaining victor wins a ₩45.6bn prize (£28.2m). Netflix says the new spin-off will feature 456 players competing for the largest “lump sum cash prize in reality TV history”: $4.56m ­­– but, they add, the worst fate to befall real-life contestants will be going home empty-handed. “Read: no one actually dies.” Hopefuls can apply here.


The trailer for a new adaptation of Persuasion has left Jane Austen fans a little miffed. In the book, a line describing the estranged relationship between Anne Elliot and Captain Wentworth reads: “Now they were as strangers; nay, worse than strangers, for they could never become acquainted. It was a perpetual estrangement.” In the film, that’s been turned into: “Now we’re worse than exes; we’re friends.” I think writers “should write what they want”, says novelist Brandon Taylor on Twitter, but “whoever wrote this needs to be sent to a penal colony for life”.

Gone viral

An old rap by British documentary maker Louis Theroux has become an unlikely hit with Gen Zs. Jiggle Jiggle, which the 52-year-old first performed as part of a BBC programme in 2000, has racked up hundreds of millions of streams on TikTok. One clip of two 21-year-olds from Surrey dancing to it has more than 60 million views, and last week Anthony Hopkins posted a video of him bobbing along to Theroux’s dulcet tones. Everyone is delighted, Theroux tells The New York Times, except my 14-year-old son. He cannot understand why his dad – “the most cringe man in the universe” – is all over his TikTok.


It’s a solar-powered electric car. Developed by Dutch start-up Lightyear, the €250,000 Lightyear O has curved solar panels on its roof that can provide 43 miles worth of charge per day. The company claims that this equates to two months of driving in Amsterdam during the summer and as many as seven months in sunny Portugal, says Bloomberg. In gloomier conditions it can be plugged in, with a 430-mile range on a full charge.


quoted 20.6.22

“Doubt kills more dreams than failure ever will.”

American poet Suzy Kassem