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8 August

In the headlines

A fragile ceasefire between Israel and Palestinian militants in Gaza has held overnight, says the BBC. The Egypt-brokered truce follows the “most serious flare-up” in tensions for over a year – at least 44 people were killed in three days of fighting. Prepare for another “super-scorcher” this week, says The Sun, with temperatures once again set to soar above 35C in parts of southern England. Because of the “tinder-dry” conditions, fire chiefs are urging people not to spark up their barbecues. It’s “banger out of order”. June Spencer is retiring from The Archers after playing matriarch Peggy Woolley for 65 years. The 103-year-old was the last remaining member of the original cast: she appeared in the show’s first episode back in January 1951, and aside from a six-year break in the late 1950s has been a mainstay ever since.

Net zero

The next battleground in British politics

The world is “cooking”, says Clare Foges in The Times. In Iraq, it is “pushing 51C in the shade”. In France, lorries are ferrying emergency drinking water to towns where “the taps have run dry”. Here in the UK, the source of the Thames has dried up the first time, shifting five miles downstream. But what do the Conservative leadership candidates have to say about the “menace” of climate change? Zilch. Liz Truss and Rishi Sunak have “quietly pledged” to retain the government target of net zero carbon emissions by 2050, but both appear desperate to avoid discussing the issue.

International relations

No wonder China doesn’t take us seriously

What a lot of rubbish the West talks about Taiwan, says Peter Hitchens in The Mail on Sunday. If we’re really prepared to defend the island state against China, why not invite it to join Nato? After all, the defence alliance operates all over the world these days, bombing Libya and sending troops to Afghanistan. Alas, the truth is that the West abandoned Taiwan long ago. Our first shameful retreat came in 2008, when Gordon Brown sought Beijing’s help in dealing with the banking crisis. Until then, Britain had recognised Tibet as “special and different from the rest of China”. But as part of a settlement reached with the IMF, Britain caved in, cravenly recognising that Tibet was in fact “part of the People’s Republic of China”.


The eighth annual Comedy Wildlife Photography Awards has received some entertaining entries, says Digg. Highlights include a kangaroo getting a scratch from a friend, a duck using turtles as a bridge, a spider with its leg poised as though it’s doing the tango, and an antelope wearing some shrubbery as a hat.

Inside politics

Boris Johnson’s “dad-dancing” to Sweet Caroline at his wedding party was “entirely in keeping with the eccentricity of the whole event”, says Gordon Rayner in The Daily Telegraph. Boris’s sister Rachel said guests busted their “best moves” on the dance floor, with Carrie so good at the slut drop – where women “collapse to the floor like a broken deckchair” – she could “win a Commonwealth gold”. Away from the giant conga and steel band, there was plenty of political chat. Guests were “bitching about Rishi Sunak”, and in his wedding speech Johnson described his ousting as “the greatest stitch-up since the Bayeux Tapestry”.


Almost every sea turtle born in Florida in the past four years has been female. Turtle eggs incubated below 27C develop into males, but if the temperature is consistently above 31C, the hatchlings will be female. In normal times temperatures waver between the two extremes, resulting in a rough mix of males and females being born. But with ever hotter weather, the trend for more and more girls looks baked in.


Grammy-winning rapper Doja Cat has stunned fans by shaving off all her hair while live-streaming on Instagram, says The Cut. The newly bald star told her followers: “I feel like I was never supposed to have hair anyway.” Not satisfied, Doja then grabbed the razor and removed her eyebrows, claiming she “barely” had any in the first place, so why not? “Fair enough.”

Gone viral

A 2018 Twitter thread, listing “things that happen in Silicon Valley and also the Soviet Union”, has recently resurfaced. Items include: “mandatory workplace political education”; “promises of colonising the solar system while you toil in drudgery day in, day out”; “the plight of the working class is discussed mainly by people who do no work”; and “Henry Kissinger visits sometimes for some reason”.


It’s a pickle from a McDonald’s cheeseburger, which was flung on to the ceiling of an art gallery in New Zealand and priced at $10,000 NZD (£5,200). Matthew Griffin’s self-described “sculpture” stayed in place at the Michael Lett Gallery in Auckland for an entire month. It’s unclear whether anyone has bought the work, entitled Pickle, but the gallery suggests that whoever does should fork out an additional $4.44 NZD for another cheeseburger, so that they can “recreate the art in their own space”.


Quoted 8.8.22

“Often it does seem a pity that Noah and his party did not miss the boat.”

Mark Twain