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30 August

In the headlines

Military officers in Gabon have appeared on state TV to announce they have seized power and placed the president, Ali Bongo, under house arrest. If successful, the coup – which began just hours after Bongo won a third term in office amid suspicions of vote-rigging – would be the eighth in west and central Africa since 2020. An incorrectly filed flight plan, possibly from a French airline, was responsible for corrupting Britain’s air traffic control system on Monday, says The Daily Telegraph. The travel “meltdown” could cost airlines as much as £100m. Beer goggles are a myth, says the Daily Star. Researchers at Stanford have shown that drinking alcohol doesn’t make other people appear better looking – but it does provide “Dutch courage” to help you talk to people you already fancy. It’s “rather disappointing news for all of us who happen not to look like Brad Pitt”.

Nice work if you can get it

Kim Cattrall earned an impressive $1m for her 70-second cameo in the Sex and the City spin-off And Just Like That, says The Times. But she’s hardly the first to cash in for a fleeting performance. Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson took $9m for his 15 minutes in The Other Guys; Julia Roberts made $3m, or about $12,000 a word, for her minutes-long cameo in Valentine’s Day; and Marlon Brando pocketed $19m for 10 minutes in the 1978 movie Superman. Others take a different tack. For his three-second appearance in Deadpool 2, Brad Pitt asked for $956 – “the union daily minimum rate plus the price of a Starbucks coffee”.


A group of Silicon Valley tech moguls want to build a brand new city about 60 miles northeast of San Francisco, says The New York Times. Flannery Associates, a company whose backers include LinkedIn co-founder Reid Hoffman and investor Marc Andreessen, has spent $800m buying thousands of acres of land, often at many times the market price. The aim is to bypass San Francisco’s finicky planning laws and create a renewable-powered, walkable town comparable to Paris or New York’s West Village.


Paris Hilton has a special anti-paparazzi scarf that obscures flash photography to ruin unwanted snaps. The firm behind the £150 garment, ISHU, says its “highly reflective material” makes the flash extra bright, effectively turning the wearer invisible. Get yours here.

Gone viral

This double yo-yo routine by reigning world champion Hajime Miura has racked up 52,000 views on YouTube. The teenager may look “totally disinterested”, says The Browser, but “what his hands can do with a pair of yo-yos has to be seen to be believed”. Watch the full video here.

Inside politics

Rishi Sunak is going to “drop his trousers” ahead of the next general election, says Mandrake in The New European. Stung by criticism that his suits are too short, the PM has apparently decided to wear longer-length outfits. The short-trouser style was a bid to make the pint-sized PM look taller – at 5ft 6in, he is “the shortest occupant of No 10” since the similarly titchy Winston Churchill.


It’s the Redhead Days Festival in the Dutch city of Tilburg – an annual conference of carrot-tops to celebrate their fiery locks. It started in 2005, says The Washington Post, when the painter Bart Rouwenhorst took a group photo of 150 red-headed models. The 2013 gathering set a Guinness World Record for its picture of 1,672 natural redheads, while this year’s festival had 5,000 attendees, and featured “campfires, photo booths, portrait painting, dancing and even an info session on skin cancer”.



“There is bad in all good authors; what a pity the converse isn’t true.”

Philip Larkin