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27 July

In the headlines

British Gas made a record profit of nearly £1bn in the first half of this year. It’s a 10-fold increase on the same figure from 2022, largely down to Ofgem almost doubling the energy price cap for households from its pre-Ukraine war average. Kevin Spacey says he feels “humbled” after being cleared of nine sexual assault charges. The Oscar-winning actor wept as a London jury found him not guilty of crimes against all four accusers yesterday, on his 64th birthday. The troubled Irish singer and activist Sinéad O’Connor has died aged 56. Irish President Michael D Higgins led tributes to the Nothing Compares 2 U vocalist, describing her as one of the country’s “greatest and most gifted composers, songwriters and performers”.

Gone viral

This video of Jaydeep Gohil, known as Hydroman, has been viewed over 80,000 times on Twitter. See more of the Indian showman’s elaborate underwater routines – which include playing billiards, moonwalking, and hula hooping – on Instagram.


Here’s a stark indicator of the effects of climate change, says Axios: water temperatures off the coast of Florida on Monday hit 101F, or 38C – the same level as a hot tub. Scientists think it’s probably the warmest seawater ever recorded.


When I congratulated a family friend for a witty speech at his 100th birthday party, says Martin Vander Weyer in The Spectator, he told me he’d been taught by the best: Prince Philip, or Lt Philip Mountbatten as he was then, back in petty officer school. The future Duke of Edinburgh apparently had one key bit of advice: before standing to address the audience, remember “ABC-XYZ”, short for “Always be cheerful – and examine your zip.”


Pop star Cher has announced an unlikely new business venture, says People magazine: her own range of ice creams. The line of frozen treats – which has the unimprovable name “Cherlato” – will be made in collaboration with a New Zealand-based company known for its gluten-free puddings. In an Instagram post, the 77-year-old singer posted a clip of a brightly coloured ice cream van adorned with pictures of her tucking into a cone.

Inside politics

At a recent reception to mark 10 years since same-sex marriage was legalised, David Cameron reminisced about the time Barack Obama invited him to bed. It happened when the two leaders were on Air Force One after a basketball game in Ohio. Noticing that a jet-lagged Cameron was flagging somewhat, Obama asked the PM: “Would you like to have a sleep in my bed?” Cameron was only too happy to accept, so Obama took him to the presidential quarters and tucked him in. “People are questioning the special relationship, but I’ll tell you one thing,” the US president told him. “Roosevelt never did this for Churchill.”


It’s Sully, a gorilla at Columbus Zoo in Ohio, who keepers assumed was male until she gave birth last Thursday. Staff had thought the eight-year-old western lowland was a boy since her transfer to the facility in 2019, though they were never sure – males and females are the same size when they’re young, and don’t have prominent sex organs. Sully’s baby has been classified by staff at the zoo as a female. For now, at least.


quoted 27.07.23

“Virtue has its own reward, but no sale at the box office.”

Mae West