Rishi Sunak says he’ll splash a “game-changing” £5.9bn on the NHS in Wednesday’s Budget. But the “chill of austerity” is in the air, says The Guardian’s John Harris – expect a clash over cash between the boosterish Boris Johnson and his “Conservative grown-up” Chancellor. A former top Saudi spy has labelled Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman a “psychopath killer” and a “threat to the planet” on CBS’s 60 Minutes. Police are investigating an “offensive” banner unfurled by Crystal Palace fans during their match against Newcastle on Saturday. It listed the alleged offences of Newcastle’s new Saudi owners: terrorism, beheadings, civil rights abuse, murder, persecution and censorship. Ben Stokes has been added to England’s Ashes squad, having recovered from a fractured finger and mental health problems. “I’m ready for Australia,” he said.
Pablo Escobar’s “cocaine hippos” are legally people, a court has ruled, making it trickier for the authorities to exterminate them. The Colombian drug kingpin kept four hippos as pets before his death in 1993. They’ve since bred in the wild and there are now more than 100 of them – the largest herd outside Africa. That figure could reach 1,500 by 2040. If only Geronimo the alpaca had had a cartel behind him.
Frazzled Hong Kongers can now take a “sleeping bus tour”. The five-hour ride is aimed at exhausted insomniacs who struggle to nod off after work but are easily rocked to sleep on public transport. It includes a sleeping mask and earplugs. “BYO pillow and slippers,” says Quartz.
Turkmenistan is “one of the world’s worst emitters” of methane, which has up to 80 times as much warming power as carbon dioxide, says Bloomberg. This 230ft-wide crater, known as the Gates of Hell, is the result of a drilling accident in the central Asian country in the 1970s. The crater has been burning methane gas continuously ever since.
The innovative dishes on offer to delegates at the Cop26 summit in Glasgow will have “an estimated carbon footprint”, says Josh Barrie in the I newspaper – the kale pasta comes in at a saintly 300g of CO2. A delicious plate of Scottish seaweed will have never seen a drop of fertiliser, while the energy that produced the Aberdeenshire potatoes and carrots came from wind turbines. The worst offender is a Scottish beefburger, producing a guilt-inducing 3.3kg of CO2.
“Never worry about criticism from someone you wouldn’t take advice from.”
Professor Chris Whitty
It’s Mussomeli in Sicily, one of more than 30 remote Italian towns running €1 house schemes to stop themselves becoming deserted. Young professionals from UK, the US, Norway, Dubai and Jordan have snapped up three-storey fixer-uppers there during the pandemic – Mussomeli has fibreoptic broadband. I “feel a small gold-and-silver coin burning a hole in my pocket”, says Tim Moore in the Telegraph.