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27 June

In the headlines

The Wagner group has begun handing over its heavy military hardware to the Russian army following Saturday’s aborted rebellion. Russian authorities say they have closed their criminal case against the mercenaries, but in an angry five-minute speech last night, Vladimir Putin said the organisers of the march on Moscow had “betrayed the country”. A shortlisted Tory candidate for Mayor of London has been accused of groping a woman in Downing Street. Television producer Daisy Goodwin says that Daniel Korski – who strictly denies the allegation – put his hand on her breast during a meeting 10 years ago. Princess Diana’s “black sheep” jumper is to be auctioned at Sotheby’s in New York this September. The red and white jersey, which Diana first wore at a 1981 polo match her then fiancé Charles was playing in, is expected to fetch up to £70,000.


Why do so many men today wear wedding rings, asks Liz Hodgkinson in The Oldie. All jewellery on men was considered “vulgar” until the “medallion man” of the 1960s, when male regalia became a status symbol thanks to the influence of blingy Europeans. My younger son argues that a wedding ring says: “I may be ghastly, but somebody wanted me.” But if I see one on a man, especially a very ugly one, “it makes me wonder what on earth his wife saw in him in the first place”.

💍 Barack Obama and Emmanuel Macron wear wedding bands, but Joe Biden, Donald Trump and Boris Johnson don’t. Men in the royal family do not wear wedding rings except Mike Tindall and the “royal rebel” Prince Harry. Make of that what you will.

Inside politics

Poor old Rishi Sunak, says Dominic Lawson in The Sunday Times. His political popularity is taking a battering because of the actions required to bring inflation under control, with the Bank of England upping interest rates to 5%. But it was Sunak who, as chancellor, was the “lone voice in government” warning that the threat of inflation was being ignored. Somehow, “fiscal fantasists” in his own party still insist he isn’t a “proper Conservative”, and “self-deludingly” pine for Liz Truss. “No good deed goes unpunished.”


The ancient temple complex where Julius Caesar is believed to have been murdered has opened to tourists for the first time. The Largo Argentina square in Rome contains four buildings dating back to the third century BC, including Pompey’s theatre, where it’s thought the dictator was stabbed to death by his disgruntled senators on the Ides of March, 44BC. History buffs can visit the murder scene for just €5.

Quirk of geography

In the past two decades, says New Scientist, humans pumped so much water out of the ground that we “shifted Earth’s poles by almost a metre”. Because the planet isn’t a perfect sphere, it naturally “wobbles like a top” by several metres each year, and according to new research, draining large aquifers around the tropics has increased the effect of “polar drift”. Apparently it shouldn’t have any major effects, like changing the length of the day, but GPS tech will have to be updated to keep track of where everything really is, which is about 80cm from where it should be.


It’s a minke whale, which was spotted leaping out of the ocean off the coast of Scarborough, North Yorkshire last week. Members of the 35 ft species are a common-enough sight, says Stuart Baines of the Scarborough Porpoise group, but it’s the first time in 40 years he’s seen one jump out of the water.


quoted 27.06.23

“Time is a great teacher, but unfortunately it kills all its pupils.”

French composer Louis Hector Berlioz