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22 July

In the headlines

Empty supermarket shelves are prompting fears that panic buying will return as the “pingdemic” strikes supply lines. It’s “shelf isolation”, says Metro. A close ally of Dominic Cummings has called his claim that he and a “few dozen” colleagues plotted to oust Boris Johnson days after the 2019 election “total bollocks”. The insider tells Henry Zeffman in The Times that “his friends have been telling him for weeks to stop”. The director of the opening ceremony for the Olympics has been sacked for anti-semitism a day before the Tokyo Games begin. Today is Prince George’s eighth birthday – he’s “officially old enough to stop wearing shorts”, says Marie Claire. 

Comment of the day



Gone viral

Here’s professional cliff diver David Colturi leaping into the Cave of Light, a natural pool on Ibiza. A team of divers sponsored by Red Bull made the perilous 82ft jump from a narrow rock in the cliff face. They had to dive 20ft away from the platform to ensure that they cleared the rocks and hit the tiny landing spot – a leap of faith Colturi, a 32-year-old American, described as “nerve-racking”. 

Tomorrow’s world

Dubai is so hot – temperatures in the emirate recently topped 50C – that the government is paying top boffins to make it rain. And it works. Scientists from the University of Reading have zapped clouds with electricity using drones. Jolting the water droplets in the clouds clumps them together, creating larger raindrops that fall to the ground instead of evaporating midair (the normal fate of water droplets under the baking desert sun).


Tomatoes can make themselves taste worse to ward off insects, says the Telegraph. Australian researchers report that when the fruit senses bugs nearby, it sends electrical signals to the main plant, which floods itself with chemicals, including hydrogen peroxide – used in bleach and hair dye – so the fruit tastes appalling.


Quoted 22-07

Happiness is having a large, loving, caring, close-knit family in another city.”

George Burns

Snapshot answer

It’s a wedding dress made out of face masks. The dress was stitched together by British designer Tom Silverwood using 1,500 recycled face coverings. It has two purposes, he says on the wedding website Hitched: to mark the lifting of restrictions of weddings and to raise awareness of mask waste. Britons throw away an estimated 100 million disposable masks every week. 


A police chief in southwest Russia who used traffic permit bribes worth £187,000 to build a “palatial” home, with a gold toilet, baroque mirrors, a double-ended bath and a bathroom chandelier, has been sacked for corruption. After appraising Colonel Alexei Safonov’s garish residence in Stavropol, one Russian newspaper lamented: “It’s sad that in 30 years we’ve learnt how to steal, but not how to spend the money.”