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25 November

In the headlines

Foreign students may be barred from some British universities after net migration hit a record 504,000 in the year to June, says the I newspaper. Home Secretary Suella Braverman is pushing for a clampdown on visas for international students’ dependents, those taking “low-quality” degrees, and foreign graduates seeking to remain in the UK. Nurses in England, Wales and Northern Ireland will stage their largest-ever strikes on 15 and 20 December. The industrial action could lead to 30,000 non-urgent operations being postponed. Qatar has banned England fans from wearing crusader costumes, says The Times, after Fifa ruled that dressing as a Christian invader is offensive to the tournament’s Muslim hosts. Two fans were held outside England’s opening match against Iran “before handing in their swords and shields”.


What Greta can learn from Bono

Today’s young activists absolutely hate Bono, says Ian Leslie in his Substack newsletter. They think brokering deals between elites is “irrelevant and corrupting”, and a distraction from the all-important work of “systemic change”. But it’s dealing with elites – some, like George W Bush and Bill Clinton, now pariahs among the woke youth – that has allowed Bono to achieve so much. Take Aids. By working closely with Bush, going on Oprah, touring Republican states with his band, and flying back and forth to Africa, Bono convinced the US to announce $15bn for Aids relief in 2003. “Until Covid-19, it was the largest-ever public health intervention against a single disease.”


The “nightmare” scenario of robot warfare

When British forces first used the Maxim machine gun on the battlefield, in present-day Zimbabwe in 1893, it fundamentally changed the nature of warfare, says Mark Bowden in The Atlantic. By World War I, machine guns had “driven infantry underground”: armies fought from deep trench networks spanning “the entire European continent”. Something similar could happen with drones. Small, cheap, and difficult to shoot down, drones have already played a huge part in the Ukraine war. They have been used to attack Russian ships in the Black Sea, and to “debilitate” Ukraine’s water and electricity grid. But military strategists think this is just the start.

On the money

Tech company Storekit has combed the bars and crunched the numbers to find the cheapest pint nearest to each London Tube station. These range from £1.49 – at Wetherspoons pubs by Stepney Green, Acton Town, Chadwell Heath and Harrow-on-the-Hill – all the way up to £6.50 at Heathrow Terminal 5. See the full map here.

Inside politics

Michael Gove has become “a bit of a fixture” on the book launch party scene, says Popbitch. At shadow levelling up secretary Lisa Nandy’s event on Tuesday, he told her he would buy three copies of her book – “one for each of his Cabinet colleagues who could read”. He promised to get the rest of them the audiobook.


We all love a “minimal effort, maximum impact” outfit, says Vogue: “the sort of look that takes 30 seconds to pull together in the morning”. This season, It-girls from Margot Robbie to Hailey Bieber are embracing just such a look. The best part for those of us without “unlimited access to elaborate designer gowns” is that it only takes three items to copy: a blazer, a T-shirt and a pair of jeans. “If it’s good enough for Margot, then it’s good enough for us.”


Some Qatari officials privately say they are massively regretting ever bidding to host the World Cup, says The News Agents podcast. Before the tournament, the country was “anonymously rich”. It “quietly got on with things in a Western-friendly way”, their enormous gas supplies making them an ideal trading partner. Now “they’ve blown it all up in the spotlight”. Functionaries bemoan spending £200bn on the event, only to be vilified for their strict anti-LGBTQ+ laws and “Victorian” labour conditions. To top it all off, “they’re rubbish at football”.


It’s Mount Etna blowing “perfect smoke rings”, says Wonder of Science on Twitter. This video of one such tubular emission, during a mild eruption, has racked up 1.2 million views. See the full clip here.


quoted 25.11.22

“I always wanted to be somebody, but now I realise I should have been more specific.”

American actress Lily Tomlin