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25 August

In the headlines

Donald Trump has handed himself in to police in Georgia on 13 charges of plotting to overturn the state’s 2020 election results. His arrest means the first ever mugshot of a former US president (below). The week that eight Republican politicians hoped would “kickstart their presidential ambitions”, says David Charter in The Times, “will instead be remembered for one stunning, historic image of the man they can’t catch”. Energy bills will fall by 7% from 1 October after Ofgem reduced the price cap. The average annual payment will be lowered to £1,923 a year, due to a steady fall in wholesale gas and electricity prices. An original sketch by Winnie-the-Pooh illustrator EH Shepard has been found wrapped in an old tea towel in a bookseller’s cellar. The drawing of Pooh and Piglet walking into the sunset, made in 1958, is expected to fetch around £30,000 when it’s auctioned off next month.


French photographer Laurent Ballesta takes underwater pictures that capture the ocean’s “remarkable aquatic personalities”, says Colossal. Striking snaps include a hefty crab weighed down by barnacles; a colony of shrimp looking as though they want to say hello; a shiver of sharks swarming round a meal; and an iridescent squid floating through the water. See more here.


To The Economist

Your article on smuggling banned products into Iran reminded me of the problems encountered by foreign embassies in Saudi Arabia when the importation of alcohol was prohibited. Import papers had to be crafted so as not to raise alarms. As a result the British embassy was informed by Saudi customs that “your consignment of pianos is leaking”.

Roger Hartley, Sydney

Staying young

When US food boffins investigated the health benefits of different superfoods, says Country & Town House, the most “nutrient dense” of all turned out to be the humble watercress. Its many benefits include preventing tissue damage related to the development of some cancers, reducing inflammation in general and supporting eye health. It’s rich in vitamins K (good for bones) and A (good for everything) and contains so much vitamin C that just 100g of the leafy green would be enough to cover our entire daily requirement.


As marriage rates steadily decline, diamond firms are having to adopt new tactics to sell their wares, says The Atlantic. Recent ads from Hallmark, Jared and Brilliant Earth feature female friends, sisters, and mothers and daughters buying bling for each other. According to one industry analyst, “bridal” diamond sales have declined from half to a third of the overall market over the last few decades, while “self-purchase” has risen from 10% to over 30%.


China’s military academies have enjoyed their best recruitment period since 2017, says the South China Morning Post, signing up 17,000 high school graduates this year. It might have something to do with dreary job prospects of civilian life: youth unemployment in the country is at an all-time high, with more than 20% of 16-to-24-year-olds in urban areas out of work in June.


It’s an eerie and “possibly cursed” portrait of a little girl, says The Daily Telegraph, which buyers keep returning because of its “creepy aura”. The painting was dropped off at a charity shop in Hastings, and has since been bought and returned twice, with both customers reportedly being left “shaky and distressed” by its presence. It’s now up for grabs again, with a note attached reading: “She’s back!!!… Are you brave enough???”


quoted 25.8.23

“No one would remember the Good Samaritan if he’d only had good intentions. He had money as well.”

Margaret Thatcher