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3 August

In the headlines

The Bank of England has raised interest rates for the 14th time in a row, to 5.25%. They’re now at their highest level in 15 years; inflation remains nearly four times the Bank’s 2% target. Justin Trudeau and his wife Sophie are separating after 18 years of marriage. The 51-year-old is the second Canadian PM to announce a split while in office, after his father, Pierre, in 1977. “Just stop worrying” has been voted the most futile piece of advice you can give someone. Other contenders in the survey of 2,000 British adults included “fight fire with fire” and “forgive and forget”.


Three humpback whales have been filmed jumping in unison off the coast of Massachusetts, in what one marine biologist described as a “once-in-a-lifetime” sight. The video was captured by Robert Addie, who was celebrating his 59th birthday on a fishing trip off Cape Cod last week. “When they launched from the water, I let out a loud expletive,” he tells The Washington Post. “It was just a whale ballet.”

Inside politics

Rishi Sunak is heading off on holiday to California today, for his first family trip abroad in four years, says The Times. The PM tried to get away last year, but came home after “about 15 hours” because Queen Elizabeth had died. He’s not the first leader to cut a trip short. Margaret Thatcher once went on a 10-day break to Corsica with her husband Denis, only to return home four days in because they felt they had “done” the island.

Gone viral

Temperatures were so high at Zion National Park in Utah last week that rangers managed to bake a batch of cookies on a car dashboard. In an Instagram video to highlight the dangers of extreme heat, they said the snack took about three hours to cook, and came out “a little crunchy”. It was at least 93C inside the car – once the mercury hit that level, the plastic thermometer placed alongside the cookies melted. Watch the full clip here.

On the way out

Every year, several wooden skiffs set off down the Thames from west London to count the river’s swans and report their findings back to the king or queen. And this summer, says The New York Times, “the numbers were not good”. The “swan upping”, as the tradition is known, registered only 94 cygnets along the 79-mile stretch, down from 155 in 2022. The drop-off is due to avian flu, which the King’s Swan Marker, David Barber, says has been “quite disastrous” for the royal birds. On the plus side, the young swans that were counted were “all in excellent health”.

Quirk of history

When the atomic bomb was dropped on Hiroshima, says QI on X (formerly Twitter), it interrupted a prestigious three-day game of Go, the East Asian board game, taking place in the Japanese city’s suburbs. Despite some damage to the building, and a few injuries, the final resumed after the lunch break and was played to its conclusion.


It’s a Japanese man who has forked out $14,000 for a hyper-realistic Border Collie costume. Footage of the dressed-up doggy taking his first walk in public has racked up 2.8 million views on YouTube. “I remember writing in my grade school graduation book that I wanted to be a dog and walk outside,” says Toco, the man – or dog – in question. “I fulfilled that dream.” Watch more of his animalistic antics here.



“We never find what we set out hearts on. We ought to be glad of that.”

Scottish poet George Mackay Brown