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24 June

In the headlines

Angela Merkel has asked the EU to make every British visitor quarantine on arrival, as Germany does already. It’s a ploy to “kick us off sunbeds”, says The Sun – although the UK’s Covid case rate is 15 times higher than Germany’s and five times higher than France’s. A British warship sailing off the coast of Crimea has been confronted by Russian coastguard vessels and warplanes. Moscow claims its jets dropped bombs in HMS Defender’s path, but the BBC’s Jonathan Beale, who was on board the British ship, says it was only shadowed and warned to turn back. Britney Spears has called for the end of the “abusive” conservatorship that has given her father legal control over her for 13 years. “I just want my life back,” the singer told a court in Los Angeles. 

Comment of the day

Apple Daily

A dark day for Hong Kong

Hong Kongers have queued round the block today to get the final edition of Apple Daily, the territory’s fiercely independent tabloid newspaper, which authorities have forced to close. A million issues have been printed to meet demand. The plight of it and its imprisoned owner, Jimmy Lai, symbolises the tragedy of this great city as “pitiless Communist party chiefs extinguish the freedoms that once made Hong Kong so extraordinary”, says Ian Birrell in the Daily Mail.



The Duke and Duchess of Sussex allegedly rejected the title Earl of Dumbarton for their son, Archie, because it contains the word “dumb”. Sources told the Telegraph that Harry and Meghan declined the Scottish ennoblement because they feared that, in California, Archie, Earl of Dumbarton, “might be bullied or attract unfortunate nicknames”.  

Gone viral

Traditional folk story openings are trending on Twitter after a blogger shared international alternatives to “Once upon a time”. Czechs prefer “Beyond seven mountain ranges, beyond seven rivers”, while Nigerian Goemai stories begin: “A long time ago, in the days of our ancestors, when men were men and women tended the kitchen.” Danish tales tend to end “And if they’re not dead, they are still alive”, while in Faroese, yarns are wrapped up thus: “Snip, snap, stout, then the story was out.” 


Two brothers from San Francisco have walked a half-mile “highline” above Yosemite Valley, California. Wearing a safety line, Daniel Monterrubio, 23, was the first to walk the inch-wide strip of nylon, up to 1,600ft above the valley floor. He slipped three or four times, but after a few goes his brother Moises, 26, managed to complete the walk in 37 minutes without losing his footing. The brothers and 18 friends spent six days negotiating cliffs and dense forest to put up the line. “It was pretty intense and dangerous, but we made it happen,” Daniel told the San Francisco Chronicle. 

Tomorrow’s world

A new travel app in Barcelona is combating the city’s intense summers by showing walkers the shadiest route to their destination. Cool Walks offers users three possible journeys: the quickest route in the heat, a longer but shadier stroll or “vampire mode”, which avoids sunlight entirely.


Quoted 24-06

“Here’s to alcohol: the cause of, and solution to, all of life’s problems.”

Homer Simpson

Snapshot answer

It’s Sha’Carri Richardson, the fastest woman in America. The 21-year-old sprinter ran the 100 metres in 10.64 seconds at the US Olympic trials last weekend as she qualified for the Games in Tokyo. She is the fastest current American sprinter. After the race Richardson revealed her mother had died just days before. “I’m still here,” she told reporters. “Still choosing to pursue my dreams, still coming out here, still here to make the family that I do still have on this earth proud.”