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22 August

In the headlines

Lucy Letby has become only the fourth woman in Britain to receive a “whole-life” sentence, meaning she will die in prison. Stephen Brearey, the consultant who first raised concerns about her, told the Today programme that hospital managers should face the same routine scrutiny as doctors and nurses, after reports that Letby’s bosses failed to act on warnings about her behaviour. Japan’s Fukushima nuclear plant will begin releasing radioactive water into the sea on Thursday, despite opposition from locals and neighbouring countries. The UN’s atomic watchdog has approved the plan, says BBC News, which will see about 1.34 million tonnes of wastewater released over 30 years. A joke by the 28-year-old comic Lorna Rose Treen has been voted the funniest at this year’s Edinburgh Fringe. “I started dating a zookeeper,” it goes, “but it turned out he was a cheetah.”


Forget the “Vanilla Girl” and “Strawberry Girl” trends, says Vogue: it’s time to embrace your “Asparagus Girl” credentials. Hailey Bieber, Rita Ora and actress Sophie Turner have all recently stepped out in a “distinct fluoro green”; designers Acne Studios, Collina Strada and Karoline Vitto featured the hue in recent runway shows. It’s the perfect shade for those who “harbour a faint bitterness and go limp in the heat”.


To The Times:

In your story about Suella Braverman you describe her as a polarising figure, with some of her colleagues deriding her as “totally useless” and others hailing her as a future party leader. I’d like to point out that, based on recent experience, the one doesn’t rule out the other.

Ian Jones, Lingfield, Surrey

On the money

The trader Michael Burry, played by Christian Bale in The Big Short (above), made $2.7bn correctly predicting the 2008 financial crisis. Now, despite the “sunny backdrop of an apparently rallying stock market”, says The Times, Burry is ploughing $1.6bn – more than 90% of his portfolio – into a bet that Wall Street will crash.


Only 35 non-English songs have reached the Top 10 of the Billboard chart since it began in 1958, says Popbitch. “Six of those have been this year.”

On the way up

Britain is being plagued by a sharp rise in bed bugs because of the booming second-hand furniture market. Pest killers Rentokil report a 65% year-on-year jump in infestations of the blood-sucking creatures, which bug boffins have put down to more people buying fusty furnishings on Facebook Marketplace and eBay. The small brown critters are also benefitting from the hotel industry’s post-Covid boom: they hop into a traveller’s clothing or luggage, cling on until their host gets home, then lay thousands of eggs within weeks.


It’s an ultra-rare spotless giraffe, which was recently born in Tennessee. Staff at Brights Zoo believe the monochrome mammal is the only solid-coloured giraffe of its subspecies on the planet; the last one recorded was born in Tokyo in the 1970s. Visitors are being asked to vote on a name: Kipekee, which means unique; Firyali, which means extraordinary; Shakiri, which means “she is most beautiful”; or Jamella, which means “one of great beauty”.



“Marriage is a fine institution, but I’m not ready for an institution.”

Mae West