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7 June

In the headlines

More than 40,000 people are being evacuated from their homes in eastern Ukraine after yesterday’s attack on the Kakhovka dam. Kyiv says hundreds of thousands of locals have been left without access to drinking water, and that 500,000 hectares of agricultural land will be ruined by flooding and damage to irrigation systems. Prince Harry faced “five bruising hours” of cross-examination in the High Court yesterday, says the Daily Mail, as part of his phone hacking case against Mirror Group Newspapers. The prince accused journalists of casting him as a “thicko” and an “irresponsible drug taker”, while defence lawyers dismissed his testimony as “total speculation”. A Scottish council has issued a health warning after “toxic scum was found near Twatt”, says Metro. Signs were put up around the unfortunately named village in Shetland, warning that people and animals should keep away from the water because of poisonous algae.


The winners of this year’s Milky Way Photographer of the Year awards include shots of pink-tinged nebulae between tree branches on the island of Socotra; a meteor shooting across the Tenerife sky; a cluster of purple and blue galaxies lighting up the New Zealand night; and the Magellanic Clouds above Chile’s Atacama Desert, one of the few places they’re visible. See more space snaps here.


The Ukraine war has had “repercussions for every part of Europe”, says Sebastian Whale in Politico, including the “sleepier corners of rural England”. British police say criminal gangs are stealing equipment from farms across the country and shipping it over to Russia, to get around “crippling” Western export bans on agriculture supplies. Some £500,000 worth of GPS kit alone was stolen in the first four months of this year, more than double the figure for the same period of 2022.

Tomorrow’s world

A compound that’s found in octopus ink can be used to kill cancer cells, says New Scientist. When researchers in Mexico injected ozopromide into cancerous human breast, cervix, prostate and lung tissue, around 50% of the diseased cells were destroyed. And crucially, unlike many existing cancer treatments, the substance didn’t cause inflammation in nearby cells – in fact, it reduced it.

The great escape

Brian Brettschneider, an Alaska-based climatologist, has plotted a year-long road trip of North America during which the temperature should never dip much below 21C. The 13,909-mile excursion starts in southern California in January, heads east and then northeast to reach Pennsylvania in May, gets all the way up to Alaska for July, before a continent-crossing trek southeast to hit central Florida by the end of the year.


The French papers are not as easily scandalised as Britain’s tabloids. The coverage of Phillip Schofield’s defenestration from daytime TV was met with disbelief in Le Monde. A British presenter had “confessed to concealing his relationship with a young, consenting colleague of legal age”, the paper explained, sparking a “media frenzy” – despite there being “no question of sexual harassment or even inappropriate conduct”. 🤷‍♀️🇫🇷


It’s “Barbie Land”, the set for much of the new Barbie film coming out next month. It’s “no place for the bashful”, says Architectural Digest: the “three-storey fuchsia fantasy” in which Barbie lives has no walls or doors. There’s a huge walk-in wardrobe, a twisting slide and a heart-shaped bed with a sequinned coverlet – and of course everything down to the lamp posts is bright pink. So much so, says production designer Sarah Greenwood, that building Barbie Land caused an “international run” on her preferred shade of fluorescent paint. “The world,” she says, “ran out of pink.”


quoted 7.6.23

“There are moments when everything turns out right. Don’t be frightened: they pass.”

French author Jules Renard