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24 October

In the headlines

Hamas has freed two elderly Israeli women taken hostage during its attack on 7 October. Yocheved Lifshitz, 85, said she had “been through hell” since her capture, and described being held in a “huge network” of underground tunnels. Israel says at least 220 hostages remain in the terrorist group’s hands. Iceland’s prime minister is on strike today. Katrín Jakobsdóttir is one of tens of thousands of women in the country downing tools in protest against unequal pay and gender-based violence. The world’s oldest dog has died aged 31. The Portuguese owners of Bobi, a purebred Rafeiro do Alentejo, say his secret was eating the same food as them and never being put on a lead. 🐶🦴

Gone viral

The latest DIY trend taking over TikTok is “girl measuring”, says the New York Post. In the videos, women gauge things like room dimensions and the size of furniture by stretching out their arms and hands. “When I actually use measuring tapes and levels,” comments one user. “It’s WRONG.”


The Metropolitan Police said a protester filmed chanting “jihad” at a rally on Saturday had done nothing illegal. For context, says Ben Sixsmith in The Critic, here is a short list of things that British cops have in recent years found to be “more arrestable offences than demanding holy war”: silently praying near an abortion clinic; “misgendering” someone in public; misgendering someone online; calling someone a “lesbian”; burning a Quran; publicly denying that gay marriage is biblical; protesting against the murder of women; carrying rape alarms in a public place; and “making nasty jokes in a group chat”.

On the money

A 97-year-old bottle of Macallan whisky is expected to fetch £1.2m at auction next month, says The Guardian. The top-tier tipple was bottled in 1986 after ageing in sherry casks for six decades. It is already the world’s most valuable whisky – another of the 40 bottles produced went for £1.5m in 2019. But the buyer probably won’t ever get to taste it. Experts reckon only one of the other 40 bottles produced has ever been opened. Register to bid here.

Quirk of history

When Walt Disney was filming Treasure Island in the UK in July 1949, says the BBC, he and his family took a trip to the Lincolnshire village of Norton Disney, to see whether it had any link to his ancestors. They learned that the village had got its name from the De Isignys, who came to England with William the Conqueror in 1066, and the name had morphed into Disney around the 13th or 14th centuries. Walt spied the De Isigny family crest – three lions facing left – on a rather grand family tomb, and was so taken with it he later stuck it on Sleeping Beauty’s castle at Disneyland.


To The Economist:

Brevity is important in exams. I am reminded of an old Oxford essay question: “Was Hegel a good philosopher? Be brief.” One smug student wrote, simply, “Yes”. When the paper came back, the examiner had given it a high mark but scribbled a comment in the margin: “This was a good, brief answer. But a better, briefer answer would have been No.”

Sam Williams, London


It’s a 1985 Domino’s Pizza delivery van. In the 1980s, Dommies founder Tom Monaghan ordered 10 customised Tritan A2 cars with warming ovens in the boot, and set them loose around Ann Arbor, Michigan, where the firm has its HQ. Only a few survive today, says CNN, and this one is up for sale at a Las Vegas classic car auction in November. The owner admits “it’s pretty terrible to drive”, and probably “wasn’t even that great at delivering pizza”. But it does look awfully cool. Sign up to bid here.


Quoted 24-10-23

“You’re nobody until somebody hates you.”

Tom Wolfe