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5 August

In the headlines

Prepare for “the big squeeze”, says the I newspaper, after the Bank of England warned that Britain is on course for inflation above 13% and a recession lasting more than a year. In a bid to curb rising prices, the Bank has hiked interest rates by 0.5 percentage points – the biggest jump in 27 years – to 1.75%. The widely reviled American conspiracy theorist Alex Jones has been fined $4.1m for claiming the 2012 Sandy Hook school shooting was a hoax. A Texas jury ruled that the far-right shock jock had inflicted “emotional distress” on the victims’ families. The University of Aberdeen has added a trigger warning to Beowulf, says The Daily Telegraph. Students will be cautioned that the Anglo-Saxon tale about a fire-breathing dragon contains “death”, “blood” and “monsters”.

UK politics

A government missing in action

The Tory leadership contest “has an air of unreality about it”, says James Forsyth in The Times. Take frontrunner Liz Truss’s pledge to scrap the planned rise in corporation tax. Voters will have little patience for businesses’ tax bills being slashed when their own bills are soaring. The energy price cap is predicted to peak at £3,649, and inflation at 13.3%; the Bank of England is forecasting a long recession. “It is not difficult to imagine Angela Rayner chastising the Tories for having given ‘big business’ a £17bn tax cut while refusing to offer nurses a decent pay rise.” That’s why one senior civil servant reckons the new PM might call a snap election on arrival in No 10 – once the economic storm hits, “it will be extremely difficult for the government to get re-elected”.

US politics

The Democrats are undermining democracy

Ever since the January 6 insurrection, says Bonnie Kristian in the Daily Beast, Democrats have made a big song and dance about safeguarding democracy. Donald Trump is a threat to the Republic, they tell us, and all right-thinking Americans should strive to keep him out of office. But one group doesn’t seem to have got the memo: Democrats themselves. After the insurrection, just 10 House Republicans were brave enough to vote to impeach Trump. One of them, Michigan congressman Peter Meijer, lost his GOP primary this week – in large part because the Democrats “dropped nearly half a million dollars” on ads boosting his Trump-backed opponent.


An Icelandic volcano that lay dormant for 6,000 years until last spring has erupted again after days of rumbling earthquakes. The Reykjanes Peninsula, 15 miles from Reykjavik, has had 3,000 earthquakes since Sunday – one was so strong it rang the bell in the capital’s iconic Hallgrimskirkja church. Officials advise lava-chasers to avoid the area due to toxic gases, but say there’s no immediate danger since, sensibly enough, nobody lives anywhere nearby.

Inside politics

Tony Blair took Prime Minister’s Questions “incredibly seriously”, says Alastair Campbell in The Rest Is Politics podcast. He was always nervous before it began, right the way through his premiership. And he had “various superstitions”: he carried a “little red ribbon” in his pocket, and always wore the same shoes. “He polished them every Wednesday morning for the entire time he was prime minister.”

Love etc

Canadian country star Shania Twain’s divorce was an “absolutely bonkers saga”, says The Cut. In 2008 she split with her husband of 14 years, Robert John “Mutt” Lange, after he had an affair with her close friend and personal assistant, Marie-Anne Thébaud. The singer doesn’t appear to have forgiven the pair. When asked what she would say to Marie-Anne if they met again, Twain kept it simple: “I wish I’d never met you.” But the singer did find love again – with none other than Marie-Anne’s ex-husband, Frédéric, who had also been cheated on. “Thank God.”


Loving thy neighbour takes on an “intense new meaning” with this pair of matching houses in Florida, says The Sydney Morning Herald. The mirror image mansions, built by identical twins Robert and Harley Lewin, are on sale together for $54m. They come in an 11-acre compound complete with private lake, and 12 bedrooms in total.


“Residents of Rotterdam, rejoice,” says The Cut: Jeff Bezos’s $500m megayacht, Y721, has finally left. Locals had proposed egging the 417-foot-long boat, under construction in a shipbuilding yard, if the landmark De Hef bridge had to be dismantled to let it sail out to sea. In the end, Y721 was towed away via a different route in the middle of the night, “like a huge, 200-foot-tall bandit”


It’s an extremely rare, multi-coloured sea slug called the Babakina anadoni, which has been seen in British waters for the first time. The polychromatic nudibranch measures just 2cm in length and was spotted by a volunteer diver off the Isles of Scilly, where amateur scientists are encouraged to record weird wildlife.


quoted 5.8.22

“I have a new philosophy. I’m only going to dread one day at a time.”

American cartoonist Charles Schulz