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21 July

In the headlines

Rishi Sunak has suffered two damaging by-election defeats in Tory safe seats. Labour overturned a previous Conservative majority of 20,000 in Selby & Ainsty, while the Lib Dems took Somerton & Frome. There was some consolation for the PM: his party narrowly kept hold of Boris Johnson’s former seat in Uxbridge & South Ruislip. Coutts boss Alison Rose has apologised to Nigel Farage for “deeply inappropriate” comments made about him in a dossier. The government has since issued new rules to clamp down on what it calls “unfair bank account closures”, outlawing any discrimination based on “political or any other opinions”. “Barbenheimer begins!” says the Daily Mail, as critics predict a record-breaking weekend at the box office. One cinephile, Mitch Corrigan, left his home in Somerset just after midnight to watch Oppenheimer followed by Barbie at the Leicester Square IMAX, finishing the double bill around 8 am. He assured reporters he has “never gone this mental before” over a film release.

The great escape

To celebrate the release of Barbie today, Time Out has collected a list of the “pinkest places in the world”, including the Don CeSar hotel in Florida; the highly salty, vibrant Lake Hillier in Western Australia; the Hawa Mahal in Jaipur, otherwise known as the Palace of Winds; the Muralla Roja apartment building in Spain’s Alicante; the Tan Dinh Catholic Church in Vietnam’s Ho Chi Minh City; and Craigievar Castle, nestled on a picturesque hillside in Aberdeenshire. See the full list here.

Inside politics

Republican claims that Donald Trump’s legal cases are undemocratic don’t hold water, says Foreign Policy: charging and convicting former leaders of crimes is “quite common” across the free world. At least 78 leaders in 53 “democratic or semi-democratic countries” have been indicted since 2000, with 47 convictions. Guilty names include Nicolas Sarkozy, Silvio Berlusconi and many more. South Korea has convicted two former presidents of corruption in the last five years alone.


Cornishware, the bold blue-and-white pottery that was last in fashion half a century ago, is once again becoming a home sensation, says the FT. Top British designer JW Anderson ordered more than 500 personalised teapots, mugs and bowls in the traditional design – handmade and painted by TG Green’s 28-person team, actually based in Somerset – using them as invitations for his recent runway show. Today, most of the company’s customers come from Instagram and are between 25 and 35-years-old. During the pandemic, the family-owned business “doubled in size”, says boss Charles Rickards. “I think everyone was at home looking at their mugs thinking, maybe I need a new one.”


The stress of watching your team compete can be a bit much for some, says Mark Mason in The Spectator. At the 1882 Oval Test between England and Australia, which gave birth to the Ashes, things became so tense “that one spectator died of a heart attack” and another “chewed through his umbrella handle”.


Despite the UK’s well-established reputation for rainfall, says The Guardian, parts of the country are bone-dry. South-east England gets about as much rain as Lebanon or Kenya, and less than Sydney. London gets less rain on average every year than all eight of Australia’s state capitals.


It’s an original iPhone still in its unopened, plastic-wrapped box, which has just sold at auction for a “staggering” $190,000, says Gizmodo. It’s a 4GB version of the very first edition of the device, which went on sale in 2007. Because customers overwhelmingly preferred having 8GB of storage, the 4GB model was quickly discontinued and has now become much more valuable. An 8GB original iPhone sold last year for just $32,000.


quoted 21.07.23

“Life is a tragedy when seen in close-up, but a comedy in long-shot.”

Charlie Chaplin