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25 November

In the headlines

People smugglers are “getting away with murder”, says Boris Johnson, after dozens of migrants drowned trying to cross the Channel yesterday in a “flimsy” vessel that the French interior minister compared to a paddling pool. The answer is to “increase the number of safe routes to the United Kingdom”, says Stephen Bush in The New Statesman. The Times says the PM is planning “legal reforms to make crossings harder”. JPMorgan’s CEO, Jamie Dimon, has apologised twice after joking that his company would outlast the Chinese Communist Party. Presumably nervous about the reported $20bn his bank has invested in China, he said: “It’s never right to joke about or denigrate any group of people, whether it’s a country, its leadership or any part of a society.” Two pigs have invaded a West Yorkshire golf course, injuring a player and forcing 15 others off the course. The runaway porkers disrupted play, “pushing golf trolleys and bags over”, and biting the greenkeeper. 

Comment of the day

US politics

America is now a power that can be ignored

The US is “squandering” its moral authority in global affairs by pushing an “avant-garde concept of rights”, says Jakub Grygiel in The Wall Street Journal. Instead of sticking up for “basic rights”, the Biden administration has swallowed the woolly idea of “rights as wishes”, ranging from the “right to leisure time” to the freedom to define oneself as male, female or anything else. So, while the State Department has more or less ignored the plight of Afghanistan’s women, the White House is insisting that transgender athletes should be allowed “to compete free from discrimination” – meaning men who define themselves as women can, for example, wrestle with women.


Don’t turn the Commons into a crèche

If Stella Creasy has her way, the Speaker of the House of Commons will soon have to deal with “real toddlers”, not just childish MPs, says Clare Foges in the Daily Mail. The Labour MP for Walthamstow is campaigning to allow babies into the chambers of Parliament after being rebuked for bringing her three-month-old son into a debate. Terrified of appearing “like sexist dinosaurs”, male MPs including the Deputy Prime Minister, Dominic Raab, are “falling over themselves to oblige”. But they’re making a mistake: “Babies are the enemies of clear thought.” They screech, cry and let off foul-smelling odours. Their presence will make it impossible for MPs to do their jobs properly.



Tomorrow’s world

Albatrosses are among the world’s most monogamous creatures – but climate change could be making them break up more, says a Royal Society study. Usually only 1%-3% of black-browed albatrosses split up with their partner after mating season, but after years of abnormally high sea temperatures, the “divorce” rate has risen as high as 8%. Warmer waters mean fewer fish and less food, which raises the birds’ stress levels. 

The great escape

The super-rich are fed up with holidaying in luxury hotels. That’s why travel company Black Tomato offers a Get Lost package, which sees clients dumped in the middle of a jungle, desert or mountain range and left to find their way out. Participants must surrender their phones, but are tracked by a support team to keep them safe. Trips cost up to £100,000 per person.


The Norwegian post office is celebrating the 50th anniversary of the country decriminalising homosexuality with a new Christmas advert, “When Harry met Santa”. A shirtless man comes downstairs to find Father Christmas putting presents under the tree. They lock eyes, then Santa blushes before dashing up the chimney. The next year they reunite and kiss. Some viewers were cross about the twist, but as one Twitter user said: if you’re “traumatised cause santa is gay, wait till [you] find out he doesn’t exist”.

On the money

The latest Bond movie, No Time to Die, looks set to lose money – despite taking more than $730m at the global box office. Variety says the film needs to gross almost $900m to break even because of extended borrowing and advertising costs during the pandemic.


Ambulances have been called to Amazon’s British warehouses nearly 1,000 times since 2018, says the Daily Mirror. Paramedics treated employees who lost consciousness, were suffering from “traumatic injuries” and had breathing problems. Workers are treated “like slaves”, according to one whistle-blowing employee: staff are expected to pick up as many as 380 items an hour during 10-hour night shifts. Earlier this month a worker was found dead in the toilets of Amazon’s warehouse in Tilbury, Essex. 


Quoted 25-11

“A lawyer is a person who writes a 10,000-word document and calls it a ‘brief’.”

Franz Kafka

Snapshot answer

It’s a 60ft-high replica of the Taj Mahal, complete with minarets and domes, that a 52-year-old Indian businessman has built to show his love for his wife. Their home in Barhanpur, central India, took three years to build and is a third as big as the 17th-century original. The white marble flooring and façade come from the quarry in Rajasthan that was used for the Taj Mahal.