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25 September


The army has been placed on standby to help the Met police, after more than 100 firearms officers handed in their guns in protest at the decision to charge one of their colleagues with murder for the fatal shooting of an unarmed black man last year. The soldiers will be available for counter-terrorism operations and will have no powers of arrest. The backlash over the possible scrapping of the planned HS2 rail link between Birmingham and Manchester is growing, says BBC News. With a decision on the high-speed line expected this week, former chancellor George Osborne said ditching the extension would be a “gross act of vandalism”. A Nasa capsule containing a 250g sample of the far-off asteroid Bennu safely touched down in Utah yesterday (pictured). The fruits of the Osiris-Rex mission, which took seven years to complete, should provide new insights into the earliest history of the solar system.

Eating out

The Vikings used hay to smoke fish and meat, says Bloomberg, and now the dry grass is “stacking up on menus once again”. Michelin-starred chef Tommy Banks serves a tart infused with the agricultural staple at his Yorkshire restaurant The Abbey Inn, while Fallow, in London, offers a hay-smoked burrata with a smoked tomato dressing. In New York, Jack & Charlie’s No 118 roasts chicken in a bed of hay. Chef Ed Cotton says the smell in the kitchen after the bird has come out of the oven is “unbeatable”.


If you’re struggling to get your teenagers out of bed, says The Economist, spare a thought for American parents. Most US schools start the day “a little after 8am”, but more than a quarter get going even earlier. In Louisiana, lessons begin at 7.45am; in Syracuse, New York, it’s 7.25am.


When Anna Wintour agreed to an interview, says Lauren Indvik in the FT, she said she wanted to meet for lunch at The Ritz. I duly called the restaurant up, but they told me they were fully booked. A quick call from one of Wintour’s two personal assistants later, and the receptionist emailed me to apologise: “I was not aware you were attending with Anna Wintour.”

Gone viral

This video of Pittsburgh Penguins ice hockey player Sidney Crosby hand-delivering season tickets to a family of superfans has racked up nearly nine million views on X (formerly Twitter). The team has sent players to deliver season tickets since 2007, says one user, “which has to be one of the coolest traditions in sport”.


The news that Chinese officials gave a British diplomat a teapot containing a secret listening device reminded me of a similar case around 20 years ago, says Juliet Samuel in The Times. On that occasion, the gift from Beijing was an astrolabe – an ancient astronomical instrument – and the British official passed it to the security services. When they found the inevitable bug, rather than chucking the whole thing out, the official “re-gifted it to a reclusive friend who lived in an isolated coastguard cottage in Dorset”. Ever since, he has chuckled at the thought of China’s spooks “trying to decipher the thick Dorset accents”.


It’s Theresa Dawes, a nanny hired by Boris and Carrie Johnson, who says she was sacked after three days for having a drink with the former PM while his wife was still in hospital with their third child. “It was a lovely, hot day,” the 59-year-old Zimbabwean tells the Sunday Mirror, “and when Boris got home, he went out on to the terrace and opened a bottle of wine. He asked me to join him.” The drink was witnessed by Boris’s mother-in-law, which may or may not explain why Carrie was “extremely rude” when she returned from hospital. Explaining the sacking, she says, Boris blamed it on his wife: “She’s hormonal, she’s just had a baby, it’s out of my control.”


quoted 25-9-23

“I drive way too fast to worry about cholesterol.”

American comedian Steven Wright