Skip to main content
The Knowledge logo

26 November

In the headlines

The discovery of a new Covid variant dubbed the “most worrying we’ve seen” has led to the reintroduction of the UK’s travel red list. Travellers arriving from South Africa and five neighbouring countries will have to enter quarantine, with flights temporarily banned. The variant has more than 50 mutations, meaning it could be more resistant to vaccines. France has huffily cancelled a meeting with Britain about the Channel migrant crisis. French Interior Minister Gérald Darmanin blamed a letter from Boris Johnson to President Macron that called for migrants to be sent back to France. Scotland and northeast England are bracing for 75mph winds and snow as Storm Arwen arrives today. The Met Office warns of “power cuts, flying debris and large waves”.

Comment of the day

UK politics

Ignore the bluster, Boris is as ruthless as they come

Boris Johnson wins by making it all about him, says Andrew Adonis in Prospect. This week’s “ruffled slapdashery” about Peppa Pig stole the headlines from the social-care rebellion. It also consigned poor Keir Starmer, who reportedly practised his speech for the same event three times over in the empty conference hall before proceedings started, to the cutting-room floor. Make no mistake, beneath a veneer of lackadaisical bonhomie, “Bertie Wooster meets Henry VIII” is far more decisive, ambitious and politically professional than he seems – “and leagues more so than any of his rivals in the Tory party or the present opposition”.


Her critics haven’t got a prayer

I can’t understand all the fuss about Madonna, says Sarah Rodrigues in The Daily Telegraph. The 63-year-old singer posted a series of photos to Instagram on Wednesday, “in which she appears clad in fishnets, a thong, Louboutins and a bondage-inspired bra”. Online commenters were furious. “Having self-respect at this age will suit you better,” chastised one. “I am ashamed of what my idol becomes,” wailed another. “Others have simply asked, despairingly, ‘Why?’”



Boris Becker’s son, Elias Becker, is not short of confidence. The 22-year-old model-turned-actor has just been voted Tatler’s fourth most eligible bachelor. The Times’s Andrew Billen asked him if his parents told him he was beautiful growing up. “No,” Elias replied. “I mean, they couldn’t really keep it quiet. I just have to look at myself.”

From the archives

A recently rediscovered Wired article from 1997 made 10 “eerily prophetic predictions” about what could end the 1990s economic boom, says James Crugnale in Digg. They include: “tensions between China and the US escalate into a new Cold War”; “Russia devolves into a kleptocracy run by a mafia”; “Europe’s integration process grinds to a halt”; and an “uncontrollable”, influenza-like plague “takes off like wildfire”.


Diego Maradona was buried without his heart to stop football fans raiding his grave and stealing it, according to Argentine doctor and journalist Nelson Castro. Speaking on television to promote a forthcoming book on the subject, he said “football hooligans” had planned a heist, so the heart was “extracted” before burial as a preventative measure. The location of Maradona’s heart was not disclosed. 

Eating in

A potato milk called DUG is the latest vegan fad. Made from potatoes and rapeseed oil, the dairy alternative is better for the environment than oat and almond milks. Reviews by Refinery29’s team, however, were less than glowing. They described it as tasting like “off oat milk” and “the inside of a balloon”.


Quoted 26-11

“Oppression is what they do in the West. What they do in the Middle East is ‘their culture’.”

Robert Harris


Kim Jong-un’s fondness for long leather trench coats has sparked a fashion craze in North Korea, says Radio Free Asia. High-ranking officials have been buying real leather coats to copy his style, with poorer citizens settling for cheaply made fake versions. The authorities are cracking down on the trend because “it is disrespectful to emulate the fashion choices of the country’s leader”.