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22 June

In the headlines

Covid quarantine rules will be dropped for those who’ve had two vaccinations, says The Times. Double-jabbed Brits could enjoy looser restrictions from August under government plans to rescue summer breaks. Boris Johnson has “inexplicably” cancelled a crunch meeting to get a grip on Britain’s failing care homes, according to Politico. He was due to discuss the issue today with Rishi Sunak and Matt Hancock. “That’s not care – it’s cowardice,” says the Mail. Liverpool is set to be stripped of its Unesco World Heritage status. The city ignored warnings about building skyscrapers on its historic waterfront as part of a £5bn redevelopment.

Comment of the day


Staying young

Rishi Sunak has revealed his favourite online cycling instructor on the Peloton app. “I’m a huge Cody Rigsby fan,” he told the Twenty Minute VC podcast. For those unaware of Rigsby, he’s a self-proclaimed “opinionated homosexual” from New York who scores his cycling classes with Britney Spears songs. “No bad thing,” says the Chancellor. 


The Royal Academy of Arts has withdrawn an artist’s work from its gift shop because of her “transphobic views”. Jess de Wahls, who sews portraits using old clothes, wrote in a 2019 blog post that she could not “accept people’s unsubstantiated assertions that they are in fact the opposite sex to when they were born”. It took 250 years for the RA to embrace women, says Sarah Ditum in UnHerd, but only eight complaints for it “to trash a female artist’s reputation and pull her work from its shop”. De Wahls is reportedly considering legal action. Transphobic or not, if the RA starts cancelling “problematic” artists, it will soon be completely empty, says Michael Deacon in the Telegraph. Gauguin slept with 13-year-old girls, Dalí attacked a woman for calling his feet “beautiful” and Caravaggio fled Rome to avoid being executed for murder.


A 187ft Buddhist statue at a temple near Fukushima, Japan, has been given a face covering. It took a team of four men three hours to apply the mask, which weighs 77lb. The statue is dedicated to Kannon, the goddess of mercy, and the mask will stay on until the pandemic is brought under control.


Athletes have been warned not to use the 160,000 condoms due to be handed out in the Olympic village in Tokyo this summer. Since the Seoul Games in 1988, free contraceptives have been made available to encourage bed-hopping athletes to practise safe sex. But this year the organisers have threatened fines, disqualification and deportation for those who engage in “unnecessary” physical contact that could lead to a Covid outbreak.


Quoted 22-06

“It takes a long time to become young.”

Pablo Picasso

Snapshot answer

It’s Boonchuay, a male elephant who crashed through a kitchen wall in a Thai village early on Saturday morning, looking for a snack. He rummaged through kitchen drawers and chewed up a plastic bag. Boonchuay lives in the Kaeng Krachan national park, southwest of Bangkok. He has visited the kitchen before, causing more than £1,000 worth of damage.