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3 July

In the headlines

Israel has launched major ground and aerial attacks on a large refugee camp in the West Bank city of Jenin, killing at least eight Palestinians and injuring 50. Israeli forces say the site is being used as a militant “operational command centre”. Air traffic control is expected to become “overloaded” in major European cities this summer, says The Times. The body which manages European airspace says that with around 33,000 daily flights across the continent – an 8% increase on last year – passengers may face delays or reroutes in popular destinations such as the south of France and Greece. Orkney could become a self-governing territory of Norway. Officials on the Scottish archipelago have agreed to explore “alternative forms of governance” because they feel they’re being let down by the SNP government in Holyrood, says the Scottish Daily Express. Prepare for “Orkxit”.


Architectural Digest has compiled a list of the “nine coolest pools in the world”, including one which juts out eight feet over the Dallas skyline; the world’s deepest, which sinks down 138 feet, in Padua; a glass-bottomed tank suspended between two buildings in London; and the heated Blue Lagoon, wrapped around the stern of the world’s only luxury icebreaker, that lets travellers bathe in warm water while they take in the Arctic surroundings. See the rest here.


One of the biggest problems with the transition to renewable energy, says the FT, is that electrical grids just aren’t ready to cope with the vast amounts of new wind and solar power coming online. Developers in the US are being told they’ll have to wait around two years before their projects can be connected up; in the UK, it’s as long as 15 years. Within the industry, there is a dawning realisation that these delays could have a “calamitous impact” on efforts to curb greenhouse gas emissions.

Quirk of history

The proposed cage fight between Elon Musk and Mark Zuckerberg wouldn’t be the first “celebrity duel”, says Ben Macintyre in The Times. In 1870, the artist Édouard Manet threw down the gauntlet to a critic and “ended up skewering him in the chest”. The French writer Charles Augustin Sainte-Beuve once duelled with a newspaper proprietor under an umbrella (pictured), “insisting he did not mind being killed but would rather not get wet”. When Otto von Bismarck challenged a rival to a duel, his opponent exercised his right to choose weapons and opted for two sausages, “one of which was laced with cholera bacillus”. Rather sensibly, Bismarck “ducked out”.


Dads sizzling burgers on the barbecue are getting it all wrong, according to two-Michelin-star chef David Chang. Speaking on his podcast, the New York restaurateur declared that “grills suck for burgers” and suggested using a pan instead. The idea that you get a special taste from grilling something over an open flame is, he says, nonsense. “You would need to cook a burger over charcoal for 12 hours to get that smoky flavour.”

Tomorrow’s world

Scientists have made a huge leap in the effort to make long-distance space travel possible, says NBC News: turning nearly all astronaut sweat and wee into drinking water. A new system on the International Space Station can capture and filter 98% of the wastewater produced by its inhabitants. NASA acknowledges that the idea “might make some people squeamish”, but stresses that the end result is far cleaner than tap water on Earth.


It’s the mayor of a small Mexican town getting married to a crocodile. The 230-year-old annual tradition in San Pedro Huamelula commemorates the day when two rival indigenous groups made peace through a wedding. During the service, Victor Hugo Sosa swore to be true to the seven-year-old caiman, known as “the princess girl”, and planted a kiss on her (firmly tied up) snout.


quoted 30-07-23

“I feel these days like a very large flamingo. No matter what way I turn, there is always a very large bill.”