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24 August

In the headlines

Today marks both Ukraine’s Independence Day and the six-month anniversary of Russia’s invasion. The country is “bracing” itself for a fresh round of Russian attacks to mark the occasion, says The Guardian, including on the capital Kyiv. Police hunting the killer of nine-year-old Olivia Pratt-Korbel have been given the name of a suspect by two different sources, says BBC News. The girl was shot dead in her Liverpool home on Monday night after a masked gunman chased a man into her house and opened fire “indiscriminately”. Doppelgängers don’t just look alike, says The Times – they are alike. A study of 16 unrelated “virtual twins” found that each pair not only shared genetic traits, but were also more likely to both be smokers or non-smokers, left- or right-handed, and short- or normal-sighted.


Meghan Markle’s new podcast Archetypes is supposedly a “conversation” with Serena Williams, says Hilary Rose in The Times. In reality, it’s just Meghan running through her “greatest hits as an empowered woman”. She realised she was fabulous (“I paraphrase her only slightly”) aged 11, when she lobbied for a “sexist” advert to be changed. “I could paint this as a moment of triumph,” she gushes, “and don’t get me wrong – it was.” Whenever Williams speaks, the Duchess steers the conversation back to herself. For good measure, she rounds the episode off with a quick recap of the many ways in which she was wronged “in the 10 minutes she lived in the UK”. It’s “pure, narcissistic gibberish”.

On the money

Greg Jackson, chief executive of energy company Octopus, provided a sobering stat on Radio 4’s Today programme earlier this week. If the price of beer was rising as fast as that of energy, he said, a pint would now cost at least £25.


Minions: The Rise of Gru has been given a rather different ending by Chinese censors, says BBC News. In the original film – spoiler alert – the antihero Gru rides off into the sunset with his nefarious mentor Wild Knuckles. In the Chinese version, viewers are informed that Wild Knuckles was locked up for 20 years after a failed heist, and that Gru returned to his family to focus on being a good dad.

Love etc

The dust is settling on Jennifer Lopez and Ben Affleck’s wedding in Georgia over the weekend, says Allie Jones in Gawker. But one question remains: “Was anyone there?” Ben’s brother Casey didn’t attend; he apparently had to take his son to football practice. And J Lo’s “alleged bestie”, actress Leah Remini, skipped the nuptials because, according to gossip site TMZ, she “missed some valuable moments raising her daughter while she was knee-deep in Scientology”. The world may be obsessed with Bennifer’s reunion, but it seems the couple’s friends and family are “sort of over it at this point”.

Gone viral

This video of humans imitating sheep has racked up more than eight million views on Twitter. It’s a performance of Les Moutons (“the sheep”) by the Toronto dance company CORPUS back in 2017. Watch an extended video, complete with human-on-human “sheep shearing”, here.


It’s the pickled heart of King Pedro IV of Portugal, founder of the Brazilian Empire, which has been loaned to Brazil for a few weeks while the country celebrates 200 years of independence. Back in the early 1800s, the young Prince Pedro fled Napoleon’s armies to South America, serving as regent of Brazil and eventually declaring the nation’s freedom from Portugal. The preserved organ has been stored in a glass jar of formaldehyde since 1834, when Pedro died aged 35.


quoted 24.8.22

“Don’t take life too seriously. You’ll never get out of it alive.”

American writer Elbert Hubbard