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26 August

In the headlines

The energy price cap will soar by 80% to £3,549 a year from October, the regulator Ofgem has announced. Liz Truss, who has already pledged to reverse national insurance rises, is now considering removing VAT on energy bills and hiking universal credit payments, says The Times. Europe narrowly avoided “radiation disaster” yesterday, says BBC News, after the Russian-occupied Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant was disconnected from Ukraine’s power grid. Fires meant the power supply to the reactors was temporarily cut. Kim Jong-un has built eight new luxury mansions to help him avoid would-be assassins, says the Daily Mail. The paranoid North Korean dictator flits between the pads in his Pyongyang complex so that his enemies “never know where he’s sleeping”.


Biden is right to court the Saudis

Autocrats have a habit of falling out, says Janan Ganesh in the FT. Barely a decade into the Cold War, the Sino-Soviet alliance dissolved in a storm of “comrade-on-comrade hostilities”. It’s even worse when the ideologies don’t match: the ethno-nationalist hates the Marxist; “the cleric hates the colonel”; two theocracies of different denominations hate each other. The Second World War “Axis” of Germany, Italy and Japan was really anything but – the powers “rarely viewed each other as racial or civilisational equals”. From Hitler invading Russia to the Iran-Iraq War, what saved the liberal cause in the 20th century “was the elusiveness of a common front against it”.


Nietzsche predicted our post-truth world

“There are no facts,” wrote Nietzsche in the 19th century, “only interpretation.” Some think the German philosopher went mad through syphilis, says Giles Fraser in UnHerd – and “a type of madness” has indeed been his legacy. Reality used to provide us with “certain givens”; now many believe we can “uncouple ourselves from those givens” through will alone. Identity, sex and gender are not dictated by biology, but “by will, by wanting it”. Reality used to be something humans would adjust themselves to. These days, it plays “second fiddle” to our desires, “just as Nietzsche predicted”.

Gone viral

A 129ft superyacht worth $7.8m capsized and sank in the Mediterranean over the weekend, says Bloomberg, an accident on a scale “rare in the boating world”. All nine passengers and crew were rescued by the Italian coast guard. The vessel, My Saga, was one of only 1,068 motor yachts in the 115-130ft size range. Watch the full video here.

Inside politics

Bill Clinton used to be a “terrible junk food eater”, says Alastair Campbell on The Rest is Politics podcast. When the former president was in Blackpool as a special guest at the 2002 Labour conference, he suddenly insisted we go and get a McDonald’s. So off we trudged, about two miles through the rain, “all his Secret Service guys in tow” – before making the biggest order I’ve ever seen. Word quickly spread, and by the time we left the restaurant, there were “about 100 Blackpool landladies outside waiting for Bill Clinton to come out”.

Love etc

There’s a new type of relationship around, says Gawker: the “quaternary marriage”. Identical twins Jeremy and Josh Salyers met identical twins Briana and Brittany Deane at the annual Twins Day Festival in Twinsburg, Ohio – and on 2 February (02/02), Jeremy got engaged to Briana and Josh got engaged to Brittany. The two couples have identical rings, got married side by side, and now all live in a house together.

Tomorrow’s world

One “Tesla fanatic” has made sure he’ll never lose his car keys again, says the New York Post – by implanting them in his hand. Brandon Dalaly has spent $400 to have a chip put in his right hand, which can unlock the electric vehicle with the same technology used by contactless credit cards. Dalaly has rubbished the online conspiracies which greeted his futuristic operation. “I’m not over here worshipping Satan,” he says. “I just don’t want to have to worry about forgetting my car keys.”


The news that many shoppers are “baffled” by special offers brings to mind an old joke, says Jack Blackburn in The Times. A long-in-the-tooth greengrocer has one watermelon for sale at £3, and three for £10. A young customer buys three of the fruits one by one, totalling £9, before taunting the grocer that “maybe business is not your thing”. The old man smiles to himself. “Every time they buy three watermelons instead of one, yet they keep trying to teach me how to do business.”


They’re 113-million-year-old dinosaur prints, revealed after the Paluxy river in Texas dried up because of drought. The fossilised footsteps were left by an Acrocanthosaurus, a 15ft tall creature that weighed close to seven tons. According to one palaeontologist, the tracks are so detailed “you can see the toenails”.


Quoted 26.8.22

“Everything looks better after lunch.”

Winston Churchill