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25 October

In the headlines

Israel says it will deny UN officials visas to “teach them a lesson” after the organisation’s secretary general called for an immediate ceasefire to end the “epic suffering” in Gaza. António Guterres said the Hamas attack on 7 October “did not happen in a vacuum”, and that Israel’s response had included “clear violations of international humanitarian law”. Britons are eating less meat than at any point since records began in the 1970s, according to new government data. The average person ate 854g at home in the year to March 2022, 14% less than a decade earlier. Astronaut Tim Peake is set to come out of retirement to lead the first all-British space mission. The 51-year-old told the Today programme that while there are still “several hurdles to overcome”, it is “fantastic that we have started the ball rolling”.


Despite being allergic to pumpkins, American artist Adam Bierton expects to carve up more than 100 of the spooky squashes this Halloween, says The New York Times. His intricate designs take about six hours to complete, and sell for anything between $400 and $5,000, with corporate clients including Starbucks and the BBC. In what he admits makes for a creepy sight, he stores the finished works in a glass-fronted industrial fridge wrapped in clingfilm. “I have all my guys in there,” he says, “and they’re screaming at me.” See more of his carvings here.

Inside politics

American conservatives are squarely behind Benjamin Netanyahu, says Gabriel Sherman in Vanity Fair, with one notable exception: Donald Trump. The former president has torn into the Israeli PM since the Hamas attack, chiding him for not being “prepared”, and for refusing to help with the American drone attack that killed Iranian general Qasem Suleimani in 2020. He has even praised Hezbollah as “very smart”. What’s behind this animus? Like virtually every position he takes, it’s “driven by grievance” – specifically, Netanyahu’s refusal to endorse his lie that the 2020 election was stolen. In a 2021 interview, Trump noted that the Israeli leader had been among the first to congratulate Joe Biden. “I haven’t spoken to him since,” he said. “Fuck him.”


The secret to the perfect outfit is “all in the eyes”, says The Daily Telegraph. Previously, experts thought matching colours to your skin tone was the more important factor in whether a particular garment would look good, but new research shows that the key component is eye colour. Apparently those with “bright baby blues” should stick to shades like teal and turquoise, whereas individuals with brown eyes should opt for warmer reds and oranges.


On the money

A new restaurant in Mayfair is selling “the UK’s most expensive steak”, says Damian Whitworth in The Times: a 14oz sirloin for £900. Aragawa, the first overseas branch of a fancy Japanese steakhouse, imports the big-budget beef (pictured) from Nishizawa Farm in Japan’s Hyogo prefecture. It is cut from the “super-premium Tajima strain of wagyu cattle”, which are reared indoors with “all manner of fussing”: massages, soothing music, special rice stalks for feed. The chef cooks the steaks in a special kiln fired by Japanese charcoal, and claims he can tell when it’s ready “by the sound of the sizzle on the coals”.

Quirk of history

In 1931, in response to Albert Einstein’s theory of relativity, a group of sceptics published a pamphlet entitled 100 Authors Against Einstein. When the physicist was told about the book, he is said to have responded: “Why a hundred? If I were wrong, one would have been enough.”


It’s the wrestler-turned-actor Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, right, and his rather pale-looking waxwork. The figure was unveiled by Paris’s Musée Grévin last week, and immediately came under fire for being, as one Instagram user put it, “melanin deficient”. Johnson, who has a black father and Samoan mother, kicked up a fuss, and the museum has now said it is “improving” his light-skinned likeness.


Quoted 25-10-23

“I became a journalist partly so that I wouldn’t ever have to rely on the press for my information.”

Christopher Hitchens