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23 September

In the headlines

Boris Johnson has urged the UN general assembly to get to grips with the climate crisis. After his speech, he admitted to reporters he had sometimes downplayed the severity of the crisis. “If you were to excavate some of my articles from 20 years ago, you might find comments I made … that weren’t entirely supportive of the current struggle.” Labour leader Keir Starmer has finally published his 14,000-word vision for the Labour Party, The Road Ahead. “There is substance and significance in it,” tweeted one Labour heavyweight, but The Guardian’s Rafael Behr dismissed it as “a necklace of platitudes strung together with banalities, fastened with cliché”. Tyrannosaurus rex moved at only 3mph, says a new study by scientists. T-rex was a “a dino-slower”, says The Sun.

Comment of the day

France and America

Biden and Macron are trashing the liberal West

The left is hopeless at choosing heroes, says Allister Heath in The Daily Telegraph. Joe Biden was meant to be the anti-Trump, “saviour of western multilateralism”, while Emmanuel Macron was the poster boy for European centrism who would rescue the continent from the descent into populist turmoil. Both have turned out to be “calamitously bad” – “accidental presidents” who fancy themselves as technocratic administrators but are really “shockingly incompetent”. Both are “hypocritical semi-nationalists” who believe in their own nations’ sovereignty but nobody else’s, and both are presiding over the accelerating economic, social and moral declines of their countries.

On the way out

Beethoven and Wagner. More and more academics consider the works of 19th-century composers the tainted product of an imperial society, says Paul Harper-Scott, until recently a professor of music at Royal Holloway. So he’s quit. If no one takes a stand against cancel culture, he says, Beethoven and Wagner will be axed from Britain’s “decolonised” curriculum “in the frankly insane belief that doing so will somehow materially improve current living conditions for the economically, socially, sexually, religiously or racially underprivileged”.

Quirks of history

The biblical city of Sodom, destroyed by God because of its inhabitants’ wickedness according to the Old Testament, was likely obliterated by a meteor in 1650 BC, say archaeologists. Charred skeletons and melted buildings uncovered at a site in the Jordan Valley thought to have been the location of the city indicate it was roasted by temperatures of 2,000C. Spherical iron particles suggestive of a large meteor explosion have also been found. Researchers from the University of California are silent on whether the disaster was divine in origin.

Tomorrow’s world

A group of Cambodian students have designed a prototype drone that can fly 1km while carrying a pilot weighing up to 60kg. They hope future models will be able to ferry people around Phnom Penh, thus reducing the city’s appalling traffic, and help fight fires.

The great escape

The tiny Caribbean island of Montserrat has accepted just 21 people from seven families to stay in the country since opening its “digital nomad visa” scheme in April. Applicants must have an income of $70,000 and stay a minimum of two months if accepted. There has been one Covid death and only 33 positive tests among the population of almost 5,000, and few on the island wear masks. “There’s nothing that can kill you here except the volcano,” Krystal Bajkor, a former financial analyst from North Carolina, tells The New York Times.

Snapshot answer

It’s Lila Grace Moss Hack, Kate Moss’s child. The 18-year-old was making her IRL debut as a catwalk model at the Richard Quinn show during London Fashion Week while her 47-year-old mother watched from the front row. Kate, who made her own catwalk debut in 1992, also popped backstage before showtime and was seen proudly adjusting Lila’s neckpiece. Lila lives with her mother in London – her father, Jefferson Hack, co-founder of Dazed Media, had a relationship with Kate in the early 2000s.


quoted 23.9

“Nothing is illegal if 100 well-placed businessmen decide to do it.”

Andrew Young