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24 September

In the headlines

Transport secretary, Grant Shapps, insists Britain has “plenty of petrol”, as BP and Esso begin shuttering fuel stations. Shapps admitted there were “systemic problems” – the country is about 100,000 lorry drivers short – and told the BBC he was considering drafting in the army to drive petrol tankers if needed. Drivers furiously honked their horns as more than 40 protesters from Insulate Britain sat down in the middle of the A20 at 8.30 this morning, blocking an entrance to the Port of Dover. The Extinction Rebellion splinter group have been threatened with jail if they return to the M25, which they’ve blocked five times in the past fortnight. “The name’s Craig, Commander Craig”, says the Mirror, on the news that Daniel Craig has been made an honorary commander of the Royal Navy, the same rank held by James Bond.

Comment of the day


Why Merkel fell out of love with America

Growing up in communist East Germany, Angela Merkel dreamed of America, says Bojan Pancevski in The Wall Street Journal. As soon as the Berlin Wall came down, her first overseas trip was to California. By the time she became chancellor in 2005, Merkel was still enamoured. She bonded with George W Bush – who cooked her hamburgers at his ranch in Texas – and firmly supported the invasion of Iraq. Now relations have cooled so much that Merkel declined to be Biden’s first international phone call. Instead, the chancellor was gardening.

Sabina Nessa

Two murders…two very different reactions

Last Saturday, Sabina Nessa, a 28-year-old primary school teacher, was found dead in southeast London. The previous evening, Nessa had been due to meet a friend at a local pub and it’s believed she was attacked at about 8.30pm. It all bears a painful resemblance to what happened to Sarah Everard, says Ella Alexander in Harper’s Bazaar. Everard, a 33-year-old marketing executive, was murdered after she disappeared while walking home through Clapham on the evening of March 3. Only, unlike with Everard, whose face was on the front cover of papers and whose case sparked protests, there has been very little comment on Nessa. On Wednesday morning, five days after her death, Metro devoted just seven lines to the story.

Tomorrow’s world

There is enough empty property in China to house more than 90 million people, says the Financial Times. It could accommodate the entire population of France, Germany, Italy, the UK or Canada – all G7 countries.

Love etc

Ben Affleck and Jennifer Lopez, “everyone’s favourite back-together couple”, don’t follow each other on Instagram. It’s a wise move, says Esther Walker in the I newspaper: setting boundaries helps to retain “some sort of mystique” in a relationship. “Do you know why pandas in zoos never want to mate? Because they are sick of the sight of each other.”


Linda Evangelista, one of the top supermodels of the 1990s, revealed on Wednesday that a CoolSculpting fat-removal procedure she underwent five years ago has left her “permanently deformed”. The model, 56, who once quipped that supermodels “don’t wake up for less than $10,000 a day”, says she developed a rare side-effect that caused her fat cells to multiply. Not all readers of The Times were convinced. “A very similar thing happened to my frozen fat cells, and was related to the ingestion of pork pies,” said one. “Woman gets old & gains weight. Shocker!” said another.


This grade I listed, Regency-era terraced home, just north of Bath, is on Sion Hill Place, named one of the best streets to live on by The Times in 2019. It has views of both the city and rolling hills, a grand drawing room, dining room, kitchen, and five bedrooms – two of which are in a self-contained flat. The city centre is just a 20-minute walk away. £2.4m.

Snapshot answer

It’s Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie’s Château de Miraval in Provence. The former couple have been engaged in a five-year divorce battle, and now Pitt, 57, has filed a lawsuit in Luxembourg accusing Jolie, 46, of only being interested in making a profit from the vineyard’s sale, having done nothing to boost its value as a successful producer of rosé wines. They bought it for £30m in 2011 and married there three years later. It’s now worth £120m. Pitt is also arguing that a mysterious sale by Jolie of a 10% stake in the vineyard to an unnamed buyer for just €1 is void under local law. Jolie is yet to file a response to his claim.


quoted 24.9

“If at first you don’t succeed, hide all evidence that you ever tried.”

Billy Collins