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30 September

In the headlines

The Tories have fallen to “their lowest level of public support in a quarter of a century”, says The Times. The latest YouGov poll gives Labour a 33-point lead, suggesting more than half the country would back the opposition in a general election. Vladimir Putin will hold a signing ceremony today in Moscow to officially “annex” four areas of Ukraine, says the BBC. The move comes after sham “referendums” in the Kremlin-controlled areas garnered overwhelming support for Russian rule. The Royal Mint has unveiled the portrait of King Charles III to be used on new currency, says the Daily Mirror, starting with a commemorative £5 coin. “Soon to be worth about 50p.”


Why Russia would blow up its own pipeline

It seems a safe bet Russia was behind the apparent sabotage of the Nord Stream gas pipelines, says Mark Galeotti in The Spectator. The big question is why. What’s the point of blowing up your own infrastructure, especially when neither pipeline was actually pumping gas to Europe at the time? The answer may well be that Vladimir Putin is sending a warning to the West. He wants to signal he’s willing to hit foreign pipelines and “other undersea assets”, in particular the underwater cables that serve as the “arteries of the global internet”. The safest way to do that, without risking retaliation, is to “hit your own”.

Global update

A huge search and rescue effort is continuing in Florida, says the BBC, as the state deals with the aftermath of Hurricane Ian. The death toll currently stands at 10 but is expected to rise considerably, and a blackout is still affecting 2.2 million homes and businesses.


Inside politics

Businesses know which way the political wind is blowing, says the I newspaper. At the Labour Party conference, industry leaders were “queuing round the block to meet Shadow Chancellor Rachel Reeves”, to the extent that she’s had to add more “business day” events to her calendar. Even big banks dispatched representatives, “some for the first time”. As one attendee observed: “There are Tories in suits everywhere!”


Quirk of history

The US Library of Congress allowed pop star and classically trained flautist Lizzo to play a 200-year-old crystal flute once owned by President James Madison. “It’s like playing out of a wine glass, so be patient,” Lizzo said to a cheering crowd in DC, before shouting: “History is freaking cool, you guys!” Listen to it here.


Nice work if you can get it

The Inbetweeners star James Buckley has become the UK’s first Cameo millionaire, says The Independent. Since joining the platform in 2020, the 35-year-old actor has recorded more than 10,000 personalised messages for fans of the show, generally “hurling abuse” at them in the style of his foul-mouthed character. Get yours, for £41 a pop, here.


Gone viral

They’re rival chocolate bunnies made by Lidl (left) and Lindt (right) – and a Swiss court has ruled that the former is too similar to the latter. Judges decided the Lindt bunny deserved protection from copycats, and ordered Lidl to get rid of its stock. The court said the ruling was “proportionate” because the chocolate wouldn’t necessarily “have to be destroyed”, which suggests the German discount retailer could reuse its melted-down bunnies in other confectionery.



quoted 30-09-22

“A saint is a person whose life has been under-researched.”

Theologian Henry Chadwick