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7 July

In the headlines

Joe Biden has approved sending cluster munitions to Ukraine, following months of internal White House debate and lobbying from Kyiv. The weapons, which shower small “bomblets” over a wide area, are banned by most countries for being inhumane and indiscriminate. Up to a third of European flights could be delayed or cancelled this summer, after the continent’s air traffic control body announced strike action. Dates for the first wave of walkouts, which will target Europe’s school holiday period, are set to be announced on Monday. Crimea’s tourist industry doesn’t want the advancing Ukrainian army to spoil the summer season. Russian social media is “awash in advertising for cheap holiday packages” in the occupied peninsula, says The Washington Post. Slavic sunseekers aren’t convinced: Crimea accounts for just 1% of Russian hotel bookings so far this year, compared to 19% in 2021.


Portuguese photographer Hugo Suíssas plays with perspective to incorporate everyday objects into different landscapes. His snaps include one perfectly aligning scissor handles with a bridge; a sheet of tinfoil seemingly unrolling into an apartment block; and two hands in the desert appearing to grasp what he calls a “McRock” burger. See more here.

On the money

The latest crime on British roads is “car cannibalisation”, says The Sunday Times. Gangs are stripping parked vehicles of doors, bumpers, headlights and other parts, then selling them on to dodgy garages known as “chop shops”. The trend has been sparked by a shortage in car parts because of the pandemic, with top targets including the Vauxhall Corsa, Toyota Yaris and Ford Fiesta. The thieves can strike where you least expect it: a 27-year-old at Glastonbury returned to his Land Rover Defender to find that both doors had been taken off. “I put my arm through the doors to just check,” he recalls. “No, definitely no door.”



Since Russian security forces stormed Yevgeny Prigozhin’s St Petersburg palace, some pretty weird photos of its contents have been doing the rounds. Alongside a mountain of heavy weaponry, investigators discovered a stuffed alligator, stashes of gold bars, and a framed photo of the severed heads of his enemies. Perhaps most bizarre, however, were images of the Wagner boss wearing an array of disguises. Highlights include him dressed as an assistant diplomat from Abu Dhabi, and as a military official from Libya – complete with epaulettes and a very impressive fake beard.


Insects are generally to be avoided during summer, says Carolyn Steber in Bustle, but apparently not if they’re on your fingernails. “Bug nails” – manicures featuring tiny ladybirds, beetles, butterflies and even ants – have racked up more than 222 million views on TikTok. The cute designs let you “embrace wildlife in a way that won’t ruin your picnic”.

Quirk of history

About 30% of English words come from French because of the Norman Conquest, says Ed West on Substack. But the “peak of borrowing” came in the 14th century, when français was the “prestige language” of the time. That led to the use of a special sort of dialect in English courts known as “Law French”, a Franglais-like melding of the two languages. In 1663, a poet called Sir Charles Sedley was sentenced to a week in jail because “il monstre son nude corps in un balcony in Covent Garden”. 🇫🇷👩‍⚖️


It’s the world’s largest sphere: a 366-feet-tall orb-shaped concert hall in Las Vegas. Its external shell is a 580,000 sq ft LED screen, which will soon be illuminated every day and night with futuristic animations. The $2.3bn blob will officially open in September with a gig by U2, but you can see some of its zany test displays here.


Quoted 07-07-2023

“I used to jog but the ice cubes kept falling out of my glass.”

Rockstar David Lee Roth