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5 August

In the headlines

Fully vaccinated travellers arriving from France will no longer have to quarantine after landing in the UK, while India and Dubai are moving from the red list to amber. “At last,” says the Express, “summer is saved.” Eight people have died and thousands have been evacuated as firefighters on Turkey’s Mediterranean coast battle the most intense forest blazes on record. More than 100 fires are raging in neighbouring Greece, in locations including the ancient site of Olympia and the suburbs of Athens. Rihanna has become the world’s richest female musician, worth $1.7bn. Nearly all the singer’s cash comes from her make-up brand, Fenty, and its sister firm, Savage x Fenty, which makes pants.

Comment of the day


Inside politics

Dominic Cummings’s attitude to Westminster is straightforward. “I don’t like the people and they don’t like me,” he tells Lynn Barber in The Spectator. He certainly doesn’t like Carrie Johnson, who he thought was “a wrong ’un” from the day he met her in 2016. He says Boris Johnson offered him a peerage when he left No 10, and talked of finding Carrie “a job with lots of foreign travel”. Cummings now spends his days reading, talking to his wife and young son, and writing on his Substack blog, to which more than 1,500 people subscribe for £100 a year. “As I leave,” says Barber, “Dom is eagerly opening a parcel that has just arrived: an out-of-print book on Bismarck that he’d thought was unobtainable.” 


A female monkey has become the leader of a Japanese colony of macaques for the first time in its 70-year history. Nine-year-old Yakei recently roughed up Sanchu, the alpha male who had led the 677-strong troop at a zoological garden on the island of Kyushu for seven years. Yakei has since taken to climbing and shaking trees, and walking aggressively with her tail up. Her pre-eminence was confirmed when peanuts were thrown to the troop and Sanchu deferred to Yakei for the first taste.


More than three months ago, Mauro Morandi moved off Budelli, an island off the north coast of Sardinia. He was its only resident and unofficial caretaker for more than 30 years, living in a Second World War shelter until the national-park authorities turfed him out. Now the 82-year-old is in a one-bedroom flat on the nearby island of La Maddalena. The “continuous noise… distracts you so much you don’t have time to think”, he tells The Guardian. “You journalists keep pestering” as well.

Tomorrow’s world

The UAE is testing a machine that could create drinking water out of nothing but air. Housed in a shipping container near Abu Dhabi’s main airport, the bank of 20 “hyper-dehumidifiers” will produce 6,700 litres of water when the surrounding air is at 26C and 60% humidity. The solar-powered “water generator” would be carbon-neutral, easy to move around and capable of producing limitless supplies of clean water in semi-arid to humid climates, says its US developer, Aquovum.


Quoted 05-08

“You never really learn much from hearing yourself speak.”

George Clooney

Snapshot answer

It’s the coconut shell that saved John F Kennedy’s life. Before becoming president, he commanded a patrol torpedo boat in the Second World War. On August 2, 1943, his boat was rammed by a Japanese ship in the South Pacific – it split in half, killing two crew members. Kennedy, then 26, swam three miles to the nearest island, dragging his crewmate by a lifejacket strap. For six days the survivors were stranded, until Kennedy decided to carve a message on a coconut shell. It read: “NAURO ISL COMMANDER. NATIVE KNOWS POS’IT. HE CAN PILOT. 11 ALIVE. NEED SMALL BOAT. KENNEDY.” He gave the shell to two locals, who delivered it to a US base by canoe. The team were swiftly rescued. Years later, JFK used the shell as a paperweight in the Oval Office.