Skip to main content
The Knowledge logo

22 August

In the headlines

The daughter of a Russian nationalist philosopher known as “Putin’s brain” has been killed by a car bomb in Moscow. The attack on Darya Dugina – her father Alexander Dugin was thought to be the intended target – may have been deliberately engineered by the Kremlin, says The Daily Telegraph, so that Vladimir Putin can blame Ukraine and escalate his “stalled” invasion. Tory voters have “sellers’ remorse” over Boris Johnson’s departure, says The Times. In a new poll, 49% say he should stay, with only 20% backing Rishi Sunak for PM and 18% supporting Liz Truss. The award for the funniest joke at the Edinburgh Fringe has gone to West Midlands comedian Masai Graham. It goes: “I tried to steal spaghetti from the shop, but the female guard saw me and I couldn’t get pasta.”

UK Politics

The most effective minister of our time?

It was “bliss” to read Michael Gove’s searing critique of Liz Truss this weekend, says Clare Foges in The Times. Her economic plans, he wrote, are a “holiday from reality” that will safeguard the stock options of FTSE 100 executives rather than support the poorest in society. As the former levelling up secretary acknowledged, he’ll have no role in a Truss government – and that’s a big loss for the Conservatives and the country as a whole. In my decade or so working at the heart of the Tory party, he was by far the most impressive politician I encountered. “Need gags for a speech? Policy ideas? A tricky parliamentary issue ironed out? Send for Gove!” Crucially, he had a sense of urgency about getting things done “regardless of applecarts upset”. He doesn’t see politics as a “parlour game”; he genuinely cares. That there’ll be no place in government for such a formidable talent bodes ill for what’s to come.

Global relations

Europe’s America dilemma

Europe is facing a conundrum, says Tom McTague in The Atlantic. Many Europeans have long believed that the US is in “terminal decline”, plagued with “relentless mass shootings”, social division and populism. This spurred the continent’s leaders to embark on a “grand strategy” of autonomy from America, which involved seeking out trade and energy deals with China and Russia. But the Ukrainian invasion has left that approach “in tatters”. To reduce its reliance on Moscow, Europe has had to start importing American gas. And to the continent’s “eternal shame”, the US has sent “drastically more lethal aid to save a European democracy than any other NATO power”.


There’s a new British record for sheep shearing: 902 animals in nine hours. It was set on Friday by Lloyd Rees, a 28-year-old Welshman who’s been honing his talents since he was 16. His feat, which beat the previous record of 881 set only the week before, raised more than £1,700 for charity.


The Queen has a comical nickname for her car’s sat-nav system, says the Daily Mail: “the woman under the bonnet”. Royal aides say the 96-year-old has always hated anyone lecturing her while driving, “even her late husband”. But she apparently makes an exception for the sat-nav’s female voice because she finds it “rather amusing”.


The #hotgirlwalk has taken over TikTok, racking up more than 400 million views. This very modern mindfulness trend has strict outfit requirements, says Ruby McAuliffe in the New York Post: cycling shorts, matching sports bra, chunky trainers and noise-cancelling headphones. All it really consists of is an “outdoor stroll paired with a motivational podcast or playlist”. Still, the walk has “garnered a cult following of fashion-forward women putting their best foot forward (literally)”.


Receding water levels have “revealed some usually-buried treasures” in Europe’s rivers, says BBC News. They include the remains of over 20 German warships sunk in 1944 in the Danube; the “ghost village” of Aceredo in Spain, which was flooded to make way for a reservoir in 1992; and what’s left of an ancient bridge in Rome, which may have been built by the Emperor Nero around 50AD.

From the archives

This digitally enhanced footage from 1905 is believed to show the earliest-born person ever recorded on film. Despina Manaki was 114 when she was filmed spinning wool by her grandsons, the Balkan filmmakers Yanaki and Milton Manaki. She was born in the Ottoman Empire, in 1791.


It’s a giant squid that washed up on Scarborough Beach in Cape Town, South Africa, last week. The monsters usually live up to 1,000 metres underwater and can grow up to 13 metres long – this specimen has a huge eye and, under its tentacles, a parrot-like beak. “It was an amazing ghost creature,” says birdwatching Bristolian Tim Dee, who saw the squid in the flesh. “The movie Alien came to mind.”


Quoted 22.8.22

“One cannot think well, love well, sleep well, if one has not dined well.”

Virginia Woolf