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28 November

In the headlines

Chinese cities have been rocked by a second night of anti-lockdown demonstrations, in the most significant public display of defiance since Tiananmen Square 33 years ago. Protesters openly called for President Xi Jinping’s removal, waving blank sheets of paper in a symbolic challenge to censorship. Matt Hancock finished third in last night’s final of I’m a Celebrity… Get Me Out of Here! The former health secretary has held “secret talks” with a publicist to help him move into show business, says The Sun. “I’m a Celeb… now get me out of politics.” This spring, the Natural History Museum will host a replica of one of the largest animals ever to walk the Earth. The titanosaur, Patagotitan mayorum, measured 35 metres from nose to tail. “We should be able to get it in,” says curator Sinéad Marron, “but there won’t be much wriggle room.”


The real game going on in Qatar

There’s a “refrain” that the Qataris are regretting hosting the World Cup, says Josh Glancy in The Sunday Times. The tournament has triggered a “torrent of outrage” over the Gulf state’s record on human rights and LGBT+ issues. But the truth is there are “two World Cups” taking place in Doha: the football, and the “hard power politics”. Foreign Secretary James Cleverly was at the opening ceremony. Qatar’s PM watched a match with Jared Kushner and Ivanka Trump. One of the most important political moments was the country’s Emir meeting Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman at the opening game. It was a diplomatic coup: until last year, Saudi Arabia was leading a blockade of Qatar over its support for the Muslim Brotherhood. Yet there was MBS at the Al-Bayt stadium, “wearing a Qatar scarf and cheering on the home side”.


Sturgeon is just as delusional as Trump

Many columnists still insist that Nicola Sturgeon is a “formidable politician”, says Simon Heffer in The Sunday Telegraph. But for all the spin, Scotland’s First Minister has a “pitiful record”. She presides over Europe’s highest rate of drug deaths, with fatalities more than tripling since the SNP came to power. Scotland’s failing health service “makes England’s appear a paragon of efficiency”; standards in schools are “so execrable” that the SNP has withdrawn from international league tables. Sturgeon refuses to build nuclear power stations or develop new oil fields despite energy shortages. And her “Orwellian approach” to hate speech – criminalising remarks made in one’s own home – has riled even her own MSPs.


The humble fleece is often seen as a functional item, “more usually found in outdoors shops and on the Pony Club circuit”, says Hannah Rogers in The Times. But A-listers are embracing the cosy outerwear as this winter’s must-have. Gwyneth Paltrow and Hailey Bieber both wear one; Gucci sells a £2,700 version. But there’s no need to break the bank: these haute offerings are indistinguishable from the “one hanging in your downstairs lavatory”. Just remember, away from the park “it is best not to accessorise it with poo bags”.

On the way back

West London has shaken off its stuffy, conservative reputation with a clutch of trendy new restaurants, says David Ellis in the Evening Standard. There’s the top-notch seafood joint Orasay on Kensington Park Road; the “much-hyped” Straker’s on Golborne Road, which serves modern British dishes; and the “Italo-Japanese” concoctions of Kuro Eatery on Hillgate Street. The area isn’t short of drinking dens either: The Pelican on All Saints Road has become a go-to for the area’s “stylish set”. It’s the new “wild west”.


Wolves infected with a common parasite are more likely to lead a pack than their uninfected counterparts, scientists have found. Being contaminated by Toxoplasma gondii makes the host bolder and reduces its fear of other predators. According to researchers, infected animals are 11 times more likely to leave their birth family and start a new pack, and 46 times more likely to become their pack’s leader.


The Natural Landscape Photography Awards have released their selection of this year’s top scenic snaps. The Project of the Year prize went to Daniel Mîrlea for his series capturing Romania’s virgin forests in the Carpathian Mountains; Photograph of the Year was jointly awarded to Philipp Jakesch for his image of magma spurting from a volcano on Iceland’s Reykjanes Peninsula, and Jim Lamont for his snap of the shadow cast by mountains on the surface on Lowell Glacier in Canada. See the full list here.

Staying young

The guidance that we should drink eight glasses of water a day is wrong, according to researchers at Aberdeen University. The inflated figure was partially based on asking people how much they eat in a day, as half our daily water intake is from food – and respondents often fib about eating less. What we really need is between 1.5 to 1.8 litres a day, which is closer to six or seven cups. Personally, says Rod Liddle in The Sunday Times, I rely on this incredible mechanism the human body has developed to let you know when it needs hydrating. “It is called ‘thirst’.”


It’s 2,500 naked volunteers, posing in the early morning light on Sydney’s Bondi Beach as part of an artwork designed to raise awareness of skin cancer. Photographer Spencer Tunick arranged the event to encourage people in Australia, the country worst affected by the disease, to get regular checks. Tunick has staged around 100 large-scale nude photographs. In 2010 he gathered 5,500 unclad subjects at the Sydney Opera House, and he once convinced a reported 18,000 people to pose bums-out in Mexico City.


quoted 28.11.22

“Marriage is a wonderful institution, but who wants to live in an institution?”

Groucho Marx