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16 June

In the headlines

A new blood test that can identify 50 cancers will be offered to a million people, according to the head of the NHS. A two-year trial beginning next summer is expected to uncover more than 5,000 early cases a year among those who don’t yet have any symptoms. Spotify has ended its $20m deal with Harry and Meghan, says The Wall Street Journal, after declining to renew the Duchess’s podcast, Archetypes, for a second series. The renegade royals failed to meet the “productivity benchmark” laid out by the streaming giant, so won’t receive the full value of their contract. The fossilised remains of a new species of dinosaur have been found on the Isle of Wight. The armoured creature, which roamed the Solent between 66 and 145 million years ago, has been named Vectipelta barretti after the Natural History Museum’s top palaeontologist Paul Barrett. “Any physical resemblance,” says Barrett, “is purely accidental.”

A CGI rendering of Vectipelta barretti. PA
Nice work if you can get it

Ireland has launched a scheme offering people €80,000 to move to one of its islands. It’s part of a government project aiming to ensure “sustainable, vibrant communities can continue to live” on the remote isles. There are a “few stipulations” to be aware of, says EuroNews: the islands aren’t linked to the mainland by bridges, and prospective residents aree required to funnel some of the cash into sprucing up a dilapidated house on their island of choice. But if you still fancy it, apply here.


Robert Gottlieb, the book and magazine editor who has died aged 92, was unafraid to speak literary truth to power, says The Washington Post. Among the tomes he oversaw was Bill Clinton’s 2004 autobiography. “This is the single most boring page I have ever read,” he wrote at one point in the manuscript. The former president added his own note beside it: “No. Page 632 is even more boring.”


Brexit bashers love to ask why the £350m a week promised to the NHS never turned up, says Sam Freedman in the I newspaper. But it did. Since December 2019, even discounting Covid expenditure, more than £350m extra a week has been pumped into hiring new nurses and doctors. The “devastating truth” is that our health service is in such a mess it hasn’t really made much difference.

From the archives

In 2009, says @historyinmemes on Twitter, Hungarian art historian Gergely Barki was watching the 1999 Hugh Laurie film Stuart Little, when he saw the long-lost painting Sleeping Lady with Black Vase by Róbert Berény in the background. After a flurry of emails with the film studio, he managed to track down the set designer. She said the work, which had been missing since the 1920s, had been hanging on her wall at home after she snapped it up for next to nothing at an antiques shop in Pasadena, California. It was the original, and five years later she sold it for $285,700

Quirk of history

Baristas are called baristas because of Mussolini, says America Domani. As northern Italian espresso culture developed in the early 20th century, the person making the coffee came to be known as the “barman”, as the drink was typically ordered, and gulped down, at a bar. When the fascists took over, they wanted to purify the language, so the term was Italianised to barista.


It’s a microscopic handbag produced by the viral fashion collective Mschf. Measuring just 657x222x700 micrometres, says Vogue, “it’s only slightly bigger than a crumb”. The teensy tote is neon green – perhaps so you don’t lose it – and stamped all over with the iconic Louis Vuitton monogram. The one-off piece will first be displayed in a “sealed gel case and pre-mounted beneath a microscope” in a Parisian gallery, before going under the hammer later this month.



“Democracy is the theory that the common people know what they want and deserve to get it good and hard.”

HL Mencken