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27 July

In the headlines

The government has launched an “anti-crime push” that proposes putting GPS tags on burglars released from prison, says BBC News. Labour, reversing Tony Blair’s old slogan, says the Tories are “soft on crime and soft on the causes of crime”. The telephone hotline between North and South Korea has been restored today, in a sign of improving relations between the two nations. Last June the North stopped picking up the phone after activists from the South dropped propaganda pamphlets by hot-air balloon. British swimmers Tom Dean and Duncan Scott took gold and silver in the men’s 200 metres freestyle in Tokyo this morning. Covid cases in England have fallen for the sixth day in a row, although hospital admissions are on the rise. 

Comment of the day


Our extradition laws are a disgrace 

It’s outrageous that Britons can be seized from their homes and imprisoned in a foreign country at the whim of that country’s lawyers, says David Davis in The Mail on Sunday. But that’s what’s happening. The UK is more prepared than almost any other nation to “surrender” its citizens to overseas courts. It doesn’t even insist on reciprocity: in recent years, 10 times as many Britons have been extradited to the US as Americans to Britain.


Inside politics

What’s Angela Merkel going to do when she retires this year, wonders Katja Hoyer in The Spectator. Konrad Adenauer, West Germany’s first chancellor, spent his post-1963 retirement building an “immaculate rose garden” that’s still in bloom today. Otto von Bismarck, who unified Germany in the 19th century, spent his twilight years “writing furious commentary” on the politics he no longer masterminded. Merkel has only suggested reading and napping as future hobbies. After 16 years in the top job, she might find it hard to stop worrying about Germany’s in-tray. But as she told American reporters recently: “I will remember very quickly that things get done by others now. I think I will like that.”


JK Rowling was once visiting a department store with her son when she found herself in the Harry Potter section, which was rammed with young fans. As the author attempted a quiet exit, she told poet Simon Armitage on Radio 4, her son tugged her arm and said: “How much will you pay me to stop me shouting, ‘She’s here! JK Rowling’s here’?”


Japanese skateboarder Momiji Nishiya has become the second youngest gold medallist in Olympic history. The 13-year-old won yesterday’s street skateboarding competition. Judging by the podium, the sport is for sprogs. In second place was Brazilian Rayssa Leal, who’s 13 and has braces, while the bronze went to 16-year-old Japanese schoolgirl Funa Nakayama. That’s the youngest podium the event has ever seen.


Quoted 27-07

“People change and forget to tell each other.” 

Playwright Lillian Hellman

Snapshot answer

It’s a violin-shaped boat that plays Vivaldi while it sails. The motorised vessel is 40ft long and was designed by Italian sculptor Livio De Marchi, who plans to sail it around Venice. It’s a symbol of art surviving the pandemic, he told Italy24News. “As Noah put the animals on board the Ark to save them, we will spread the art through music on this violin.”