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4 July

In the headlines

Thousands of Palestinians have fled the Jenin refugee camp after it was stormed by around 1,000 Israeli soldiers tasked with rooting out militants. Israel’s largest operation in the West Bank in two decades, which has left 10 dead and 100 injured, has been decried by the Palestinian authorities as a war crime. Facebook owner Meta will launch a rival to Twitter this Thursday. The new service, Threads, will be linked to Instagram, but instead of sharing photos, users will be able to have “text-based conversations”. Australia’s PM Anthony Albanese has warned Rishi Sunak to “stay in your crease” after Sunak accused the Aussies of “breaking the spirit of cricket” in the second Ashes Test. “And in breaking news,” comments one Times reader, “Australian cricket captain Pat Cummins is about to give a press conference to discuss the long-term inflationary problems affecting the UK economy.”


If you’re looking to get into the Wimbledon spirit, says Vogue, inject a little “tenniscore” into your outfits. Cute tennis skirts from chic sporty brands like Lacoste are a perfect choice: match with a shirt or sweater vest, and they work just as good at the office as they do in SW19. Another key element of on-court style is the jewellery, with both Monica Vinader and Daphine offering dainty but durable necklaces suitable for sport and leisure alike. When it comes to “white miniskirts and stacked diamonds”, it really is “love-love”.

On the money

When oil companies made big profits from rising energy prices, says Private Eye, the government was quick to slap them with a windfall tax. But now that banks are in the same situation – trousering vast sums from soaring interest rates – they’re being treated much more generously. The profits in question are massive: up 27% for Lloyds, 35% for Barclays and nearly 50% for HSBC. Yet the banking corporation surcharge – a levy designed to reflect the fact that banks are essentially backed by the state – has just been slashed from 8% to 3%. Trebles all round.

Gone viral

Whimsical programmer Neal Agarwal has invented a game where users are tasked with creating an increasingly complex password to satisfy harder and harder requirements. “Why would you release this upon the world?” asks one exasperated player. If you fancy your chances, try here.


To The Economist:
Bagehot cited the assertion of Theresa May that “there is no magic money tree”. In fact there is one. New College, Oxford, has in its cloister a splendid old tree. It featured in the Harry Potter films. The college’s fees for filming the tree, plus incremental entrance fees from fans who now come to admire it, are sizeable. That money, produced by a tree via magic, suffices to fund a couple of academic positions.

Caroline Fiennes


An artificial intelligence enthusiast has come up with a cunning new use for the technology, says The Wall Street Journal: winding up telemarketers. Roger Anderson, a 54-year-old from California, runs a paid “call-deflection” system called Jolly Roger, which uses a cloned voice to keep scam callers engaged with preset expressions such as “there’s a bee on my arm, but keep talking”. When ChatGPT was released last year, Anderson immediately realised its potential – and he has now trained the software, paired with the clone voice, to conduct whole conversations with the nuisance callers.


It’s an office plant in Gloucestershire that has grown to a whopping 600ft long. First potted by staff at Protective Solutions Ltd back in 2009, the indomitable ivy grows six inches a month and needs watering only once a week. It has done so well that it has its own sponsorship deal with a local gardening firm, which sends over regular batches of seaweed extract food. Staff love the plant, company owner Allie Brennan tells The Daily Telegraph, but if it grows much bigger they may have to “bring machetes to the office”.


Quoted 04-07-2023

“My wealth has come from a combination of living in America, some lucky genes, and compound interest.”

Warren Buffett