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4 October

In the headlines

Liz Truss is facing a new Tory rebellion over reducing benefits in real terms. The PM’s plan for universal credit payments to rise in line with wages – not inflation, as Boris Johnson pledged – has been described by government officials as a “non-starter”. “The wheels are coming off,” one former minister tells the I newspaper. North Korea has fired a ballistic missile over northern Japan, triggering air-raid sirens that warned residents to hide underground. The weapon travelled more than 2,500 miles before plunging into the Pacific Ocean. Svante Pääbo was surprised to be awarded a Nobel prize for decoding Neanderthal DNA. The 67-year-old geneticist, who lives in Germany, says he assumed the call from Sweden was about a summer house he owns there. “I thought, ‘Oh, the lawnmower has broken down.’”

UK politics

Another fight the Tories don’t need to have

Britain’s new government has a “split personality”, says William Hague in The Times. Dominating today’s front pages is its “humiliating” U-turn over a “reckless mini-Budget”. But on foreign policy, Liz Truss’s government has proved itself to be pragmatic, careful, and eager to “defuse problems in advance”. The same government that can’t resist embarking on “unnecessary and unwinnable battles at home” has made a concerted effort to improve relations with Dublin and announced fresh talks with the EU over Northern Ireland. On Thursday, the PM will attend President Macron’s “cherished” launch of a wider European political community, having wisely let him persuade her in New York.


The man between Putin and the nuclear button

If Vladimir Putin decides to fire a nuclear weapon at Ukraine, says Lewis Page in The Sunday Telegraph, he can’t just press the button himself. He would first have to seek agreement from the Russian General Staff, the high command of the country’s armed forces. And there’s no guarantee the top brass would play ball. If they don’t feel the threshold for taking nuclear action has been reached – that a conventional war being waged on Russia threatens “the very existence of the state”, for example – they can block the order. That decision will largely fall to one man: the Chief of the General Staff, Army-General Valery Gerasimov.

Gone viral

At the finale of the Coperni show at Paris Fashion Week, says The Cut, Bella Hadid walked to the middle of the runway “wearing only a G-string, holding her breasts” – and two men began spraying her body with white paint. Fifteen minutes later, she walked away in a perfectly fitting white dress. “Wait… what?” The secret is a liquid fibre called Fabrican – a kind of advanced silly string. Apparently, it feels a bit like suede. Watch the full video here.

Inside politics

When Donald Trump had Covid in October 2020, he was determined to announce his recovery in style. According to a new book, he told aides he wanted to be wheeled out of the hospital, whereupon he would dramatically stand up and open up his shirt – revealing a Superman logo underneath. The president was so serious about the idea that he dispatched a staffer to go out and buy a Superman shirt.


In South Korea, “Leeds era” (lijeu sijeol) is a common phrase to describe someone’s heyday or golden era, says The Korea Herald. There’s even a TV show called Leeds Era Once Again, which helps people “reach their potential and relive their prime years”. The expression dates back to 2005, when star Korean footballer Park Ji-sung joined Manchester United. Playing alongside him was Alan Smith, whose career was on the slide after a stellar stint at Leeds United. Korean fans picked up on Smith’s decline since his golden “Leeds era”, and the slang stuck.


TikTokers have an unlikely new source of fashion inspiration, says Kate Fowler in Refinery29: frazzled English women from noughties romcoms. The ultimate archetype of the low-maintenance look is Renée Zellweger as Bridget Jones: think layers of knitwear, opaque tights, knee-high boots and messy hair. Advocates say the trend is “a move away from today’s hyper-perfect aesthetic” of flawless influencers. Even designers have caught on: luxe brand Paloma Wool recently showcased a skirt and knee-high boots combo that epitomised the “30-something-working-in-publishing look”.


It’s hard to believe after his four-decade run as one of the BBC’s top broadcasters, but David Dimbleby is incredibly shy. “I’m not sociable at all,” the 83-year-old tells The Sunday Times. “I don’t find it easy to talk to people… I’m not very good at chat. I’ve got no chat.” His wife Belinda confirms this. “To be honest, he is sociopathic,” she says with a laugh. “Literally sociopathic. He’s really, really shy and he’s really unconfident. I know nobody will believe that. Even his best friends wouldn’t believe it.”


They’re competing in Spain’s biennial “largest human tower” competition, which took place on Sunday in front of an 11,000-strong stadium crowd in Tarragona. The human towers – known as castells – are on UNESCO’s list of Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity as an “integral part of Catalan cultural identity”. At this year’s event, where the winning tower was 43 foot tall, more than 70 people received medical attention and 13 had to go to hospital.


quoted 4.10.22

“Don’t get so busy making a living you forget to make a life.”

Dolly Parton