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25 August

In the headlines

As Britain scrambles to airlift 4,000 of its nationals from Kabul, former ambassador to Washington Lord Renwick says in The Daily Telegraph that every jihadist on the planet is celebrating President Biden’s abandonment of Afghanistan. He quotes Barack Obama’s reported statement about his then deputy: “Never underestimate Joe’s ability to screw things up.” Iran, which supplied weapons to the Taliban, is especially jubilant – and handling Iran will be Biden’s next big test. The classic children’s book The Tiger Who Came to Tea could encourage sexual violence by “reinforcing gender inequality”, according to women’s rights charity Zero Tolerance. “They’re OK with the tiger inviting himself into a family home,” says The Sun. “But not with him being male.”

Comment of the day


Inside politics

When staff at the Ceilidh Place, a restaurant in the Highlands, complained about having to serve Dominic Cummings – who was on holiday in the area – the PM’s former adviser offered to debate their political differences. Returning the next day, he “went head to head” with them for three hours on issues such as Brexit and Scottish independence. Jock Urquhart, the restaurant’s owner, told the Ross-shire Journal that nobody changed their opinion, but by the end there was “a grudging mutual respect”. 


Drummer Charlie Watts, who has died aged 80, was “the glue that held the Rolling Stones together”, says Neil McCormick in the Telegraph. He had to be asked twice to join the band, initially preferring the security of his design job in an ad agency. Unlike his wilder bandmates, he had met Shirley, to whom he was married for 57 years, before he joined the Stones. But his low-key manner had its limits, says Keith Richards in his autobiography, Life. One night a drunk Mick Jagger called Watts, asking: “Where’s my drummer?” Watts shaved, put on a Savile Row suit and cologne, then burst into Jagger’s hotel room and “dished him a walloping right hook”. “Don’t ever call me your drummer again,” he growled. “You’re my f***ing singer!”

Tomorrow’s world

Centuries of whaling drove the blue whale to extinction on Spain’s Atlantic coast in the 1980s, says Stephen Burgen in The Guardian. But three have been spotted there in four years: they’re thought to be descendants. There’s “a high possibility” that climate change is a factor, as the whales’ food and habitat disappears near the Equator. But these bottlenose dolphins, spotted “riding” the largest animal in the world, seem happy to see them again.  

Staying young

Eating a hot dog shortens your life by 36 minutes. A nutritional index published in the journal Nature Food ranked 5,800 foods in the US based on minutes of “healthy” life gained or lost per serving. Beef, processed meat, pork, lamb, cheese and sugary drinks came out bottom, with nuts, fruits, vegetables and whole grains giving the most minutes back. 


Quoted 25-08

“Never underestimate the determination of a kid who is time-rich and cash-poor.”

Science fiction writer Cory Doctorow 

Snapshot answer

It’s the end of the line for this locomotive, which plunged off a cliff at a quarry in Stoney Middleton, Derbyshire. The stunt was part of the UK film shoot for Mission: Impossible 7, starring Tom Cruise. The actor landed his helicopter in a Warwickshire family’s large garden, says the BBC, because he was “running late” for a meeting and Coventry airport was closed. He stopped for pictures and his pilot gave the family’s children a ride.