Boris Johnson is under attack from all sides over plans to raise National Insurance contributions to pay for social care. “How casual the Tories seem to be about torching their historic reputation for low taxes,” says The Sun. “I’ve seen it reported that five Cabinet ministers are opposed to the idea,” a minister tells the Mail. “The truth is you would struggle to find five of us who are in favour”. The Taliban boasts that it now controls Afghanistan’s last pocket of resistance, the never-conquered Panjshir Valley, after taking out rebel leaders in an airstrike. The rebels say they have retreated into the mountains. “Get set for a microwave,” says the Daily Mirror, with temperatures predicted to reach 29C this week. “OK, it’s only a little one but it’s still an official heatwave.”
My ex, Michael Gove, and I have our differences, says Sarah Vine in The Mail on Sunday, “but for one thing I am hugely grateful: he is not Matt Hancock”. The former health secretary is hardly keeping a low profile – he’s been photographed canoodling with his new flame, Gina Coladangelo, on the Swiss slopes. I hope poor Martha, his ex-wife, isn’t crushed. Michael has at least been “a perfect gentleman”. Trust me, no one is looking at Matt and thinking: “Great guy, I wish I were married to him.”
Nearly one in three Americans experienced a fire, drought or hurricane this summer, says The Washington Post. Climate change has “turbocharged” weather disasters: 388 people have died in heatwaves, storms or fires since June. The five largest wildfires in Californian history have occurred in the past five years and the odds of a storm becoming a hurricane have grown by 8% every decade since 1979.
Marine biologists have explored the sea floor around the remote Phoenix Islands, in the Pacific, for the first time. As well as discovering a host of new species on a 34-day expedition, boffins aboard the Schmidt Ocean Institute’s Falkor research vessel made two rare sightings of the glass octopus, a see-through species whose only visible features are its optic nerve, eyeballs and digestive tract. Before this expedition, there was virtually no footage of the creature: scientists learnt about it by studying remains found in the guts of dead predators.
On the way back
Hedgerows: the Campaign to Protect Rural England is lobbying the government to boost Britain’s hedgerow network by 40% by 2050, to suck up air pollution, dampen noise and provide a safe home for endangered species. More than half of our hedgerows have been lost since the Second World War.
It’s the world’s biggest vacuum cleaner, just outside Zurich, which sucks more than 900 tonnes of carbon out of the atmosphere every year. The Swiss company behind the cutting-edge tech, Climeworks, isn’t just doing it to be green. The firm is selling captured carbon to Coca-Cola to create bubbles for fizzy drinks.
“Clothes make the man. Naked people have little or no influence in society.”