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30 November

In the headlines

The first drug to slow the progression of Alzheimer’s has been hailed as a “momentous and historic” breakthrough by researchers. Trial results confirmed that lecanemab, delivered as a fortnightly intravenous drip, reduced memory decline by 27% over 18 months. England and Wales are now minority Christian countries, according to the 2021 census. Some 46% of people describe themselves as Christian, down from 59% a decade ago. Leicester and Birmingham are also the first “minority majority” cities, where less than half of people are white. “Bish Rash Bosh,” says the Daily Mirror, after Marcus Rashford’s two goals helped England roar into the World Cup’s last 16 with a 3-0 win over Wales. The Three Lions take on Senegal at 7pm on Sunday.


An attack on British civilisation

London’s Wellcome Collection has shut down a 15-year-old exhibition of medical artefacts gathered by its American-born founder – including the death mask of Benjamin Disraeli and Florence Nightingale’s slippers – on the grounds that it was “racist, sexist and ableist”. Even more disturbing to the museum’s curators, says Melanie Phillips in The Times, is the fact that the collection was funded by a “wealthy white man in the Victorian era”. No mention of the fact that the benefactions of this despised wealthy white man fund half the medical research in the UK. Nor that last year, seven executives in Wellcome’s investment team were each paid between £1.9m and £7.9m.


Europe was better off with Trump

Joe Biden is proving trickier for Europe to deal with than Donald Trump ever was, says Nicholas Vinocur in Politico. Take the current spat over the $369bn in subsidies Washington has earmarked for US-produced green tech. It’s a “potential disaster” for European exports. As Emmanuel Macron has complained, Biden is maintaining a “double standard”: talking up a trans-Atlantic trade partnership while simultaneously trying to “suck investment” out of Europe. Washington is encouraging EU countries to create their own subsidy programmes, but Europe’s cash-strapped leaders can’t afford to inject anywhere near enough to offset the loss in US trade. At least with Trump what you saw was what you got. Biden is “a friend who says all the right things but leaves you in the lurch when it counts”.


When Jimi Hendrix was 24, he compiled a list of his “loves and hates” for the teenage girls’ magazine Jackie, says Shaun Usher in Lists of Note. His loves included “daydreaming”, “chocolate milkshakes”, “hair”, “beautiful, sleek, American cars”, “spaghetti”, and “California, where the weather is really fantastic”. Among his hates were “cold sheets”, “sharing my sleeping quarters with cockroaches or fleas”, “mashed potatoes”, “pale colours”, “not having the most fantastic voice in the world”, and “TV. It’s a drag.” See the full list here.


Deaths from road accidents have roughly halved in developed nations over the past three decades, says The New York Times – with one exception. In the US, where 43,000 died on the roads last year, numbers have effectively plateaued in the past 10 years. This divergence “became even starker during the pandemic”, when fewer people were driving. Whereas most countries saw a big decline in road deaths – down 17% in the UK, for example – in the US there were 5% more. Experts say that in other countries the focus has turned to protecting pedestrians and cyclists; in the US cars still rule the road.

Eating in

After Merriam-Webster announced its rather gloomy, po-faced choice for word of the year – “gaslighting” – it’s a relief to learn that Australia’s Macquarie Dictionary went in a different direction. Its 2022 People’s Choice Word of the Year is “bachelor’s handbag”, an Aussie term for a takeaway roast chicken. The packaged poultry is often purchased by single people, as it requires no additional preparation, and in Australia generally comes in a handled bag.


Hailey Bieber’s gym look is “right out of Princess Diana’s playbook”, says Vogue. Some of the most iconic outfits worn by the late Princess of Wales are “big sweaters and bike shorts”, often paired with chunky running shoes and thick white socks. At a Pilates class in Los Angeles last week, Bieber totally “nailed the vibe”.

Drinking in

Elon Musk recently shared a snap of his bedside table, says Olivia Craighead in Gawker, which proved, once again, the man “has no taste”. My problem was less the toy handgun and replica flintlock pistol, and more the array of caffeine-free Diet Coke cans. Everyone knows there’s a strict Coca-Cola hierarchy: full-strength Coke from the McDonald’s fountain; then Diet Coke; then all the “weird Diet Coke flavours (except lime)”; then “several tiers of shit, maggots and scum”; and finally, “at the absolute bottom”, caffeine-free Diet Coke. The drink is a “waste of carbonation” – a beverage for freaks and losers. “So it’s no surprise that Elon Musk apparently can’t get enough of the stuff.”


It’s the warehouse of unsold beer Budweiser has been left with after Qatar’s last-minute decision to ban booze from World Cup stadiums. The American brewer has decided it will ship the leftover stocks to whichever country wins the tournament. “Bud is known for being one of the worst beers in the world,” says one Twitter user. “You have now given every team competing in the World Cup the incentive to lose.”


quoted 30.11.22

“Time may be a great healer, but it’s a lousy beautician.”

American writer Dorothy Parker