The government is poised to announce that fully vaccinated travellers from the US and EU will be able to avoid quarantine. “Covid is all over bar the shouting,” a senior minister tells the Mail. Hundreds of Afghan interpreters who worked for British forces are at risk of being murdered by the Taliban, says the former head of the army, Lord Dannatt. Unless the UK lets them resettle here, responsibility for their deaths will lie “squarely at our nation’s feet”. The IMF says Britain’s economy is set to grow by 7% this year – faster than in any other leading nation. Gymnast Simone Biles has withdrawn from tomorrow’s individual all-round final in Tokyo. The American superstar admitted she is battling mental health “demons”.
While I’ve been writing this column, Dominic Cummings has tweeted six times, says Marie Le Conte in The Independent. Why is he so desperate for attention? He’s not alone – Nick Timothy, Steve Hilton, Alastair Campbell and Peter Mandelson were all once shadowy powers behind the PM, and now they never seem to shut up. It’s the special affliction of special advisers – they can’t talk to the press on the record, so others shape their character for them. “If that were you, wouldn’t you be gagging to try and set the record straight after the event?”
A team of 1,700 volunteer drone pilots have reunited more than 2,000 runaway dogs with their owners, says Emma Yeomans in The Times. The group was set up four years ago by Graham Burton, a retired photographer from Pontypridd – he had heard about a woman being quoted £800 for drone pilots to search for her labrador, so got two friends to find it free of charge. Cats are harder to spot from the sky because of their preference for trees over open fields.
Boris Johnson’s idol is Winston Churchill, but the PM has more in common with Henry VIII, says Paul Waugh in the I newspaper. “A portly, extravagant spender, he’s survived several wives and advisers while overseeing an historic break with the rest of Europe.” Which leaves Dominic Cummings as Thomas Cromwell – “utterly dispensable”.
On the way out
Chewing gum, which no longer appeals to young people. Global sales fell by 14% last year, says The Economist. For decades it was “a symbol of rebellion” that exuded a sense of “boldness, bravado and sex appeal”. But today’s earnest Gen Zs care more about saving the planet than undermining authority, which is why they’ve given up on gum.
“Behold the turtle. He makes progress only when he sticks his neck out.”
American chemist James Bryant Conant
It’s one of Tom Daley’s cats lounging on a “couch” made by its owner. The diver, who won an Olympic gold medal with Matty Lee on Monday, is a keen knitter and crocheter: he has an Instagram account dedicated to his creations, which include jumpers, cardigans, swimming trunks and now a Union Jack case for his latest medal.