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7 November

In the headlines

Britain has “opened the door to paying climate change reparations” to poor countries hit by weather-related disasters, says The Daily Telegraph, by supporting talks on the issue at this week’s Cop27 summit. With the economic cost of warming temperatures forecast to reach $1trn by 2050, UK negotiators have accepted “a deal must be done”. Russia is losing aircraft in Ukraine at a “significantly” faster rate than it can replace them, according to British defence officials. Kyiv claims Moscow has lost 278 planes, more than twice the 119 destroyed during the nine-year Soviet-Afghan War. Comedian Peter Kay has announced his first live tour in 12 years. His last one played to 1.2 million people, netting the Guinness World Record for the biggest stand-up run in history. “If there’s ever a time people need a laugh,” says Kay, “it’s now.”


How I judged my celebrity guests

We often read that famous people are “monsters”, says Jeremy Clarkson in The Sunday Times. James Corden, who flew off the handle in a restaurant because of a wrongly cooked omelette, is only the latest example. You hear about that diva who “can’t be in the room with a daffodil”, or that other one who insists “no one ever uses the word ‘Tuesday’” in front of them. Of course, everyone can “become exasperated when things don’t go to plan” – something I know “better than most”. But it’s easy to lose perspective when you always have a car sent to pick you up, and countless assistants “eager to indulge your every whim”. A friend of mine, who’s in a very successful band, calls the condition “c*** flu”.

US politics

Why I’m voting Republican tomorrow

Violent crime is surging in Washington DC, says Andrew Sullivan in The Weekly Dish. The murder rate is at its highest since 2003; carjacking and robbery are up sharply; “tent cities” are everywhere. Yet the city’s Democratic council has decided “now is the time” to eliminate most mandatory minimum sentences for crimes and reduce the maximum penalties for many serious offences – all in the name of supposed racial “equity”. That’s why I’m going to vote for the Republicans in the midterm elections tomorrow. And I’m sure many other Biden and Clinton and Obama voters are doing the same.

Gone viral

This video of cyclists drifting across the world’s largest salt flat has racked up 2.2 million views on Twitter. After rainfall, the smooth surface of Bolivia’s 4,000-square-mile Salar de Uyuni effectively becomes the world’s largest mirror. It’s so big it can be seen from outer space: Nasa and others use its reflective expanse to help calibrate sensors on their satellites.

Inside politics

In Harry Cole and James Heale’s new biography of Liz Truss, they briefly mention the longstanding rumours of an affair between Truss and her first chancellor, Kwasi Kwarteng – but essentially dismiss the claims because “sources close to both” say they’re not true. What a cop out, says Matthew Parris in The Times. These rumours “circulated persistently and widely” before Truss became leader, along with stories about “dalliances with special advisers”. It may all be rubbish. But any serious biography would have done a little more to investigate. If the affair happened, “Truss’s appointment of Kwarteng to the chancellorship would have made it a matter of serious public interest”.

Tomorrows world

Technology may be bringing us closer to a future where we can talk to animals, says Vox. Thanks to new tech like drones and miniaturised microphones, we can record sounds we previously didn’t even know existed, like the “cracks and hisses” of coral reefs. Scientists are using AI to find audio patterns in things like whale songs and honeybee dances, in the hope they can work out what – if anything – the animals are saying to each other. Researcher Karen Bakker says these new databases could one day form “a zoological version of Google Translate”.

Drinking in

For anyone who doubts the power of marketing, says Sam Stone in Bon Appétit, introduce them to Liquid Death. Launched just three years ago, the canned drink has more TikTok followers (2.9 million) than any other beverage brand in the US, along with 1.3 million Instagram followers. Some 225,000 fans – many of them Gen Zs – have “legally sold their souls” to join its membership program; hundreds have tattoos of its logo or slogan (“Murder Your Thirst”). Not bad, given that Liquid Death has no fancy ingredients or special production secrets: it is, quite simply, fizzy water.

Love etc

The secret to marital harmony might be a “sleep divorce”, says The Sunday Times. One in five couples now sleep in separate beds, according to YouGov, and why not: each partner can control their own room temperature, and there’s “plenty of space to starfish”. Like Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip before them, King Charles and Queen Camilla are “solo sleepers”. The royal couple have three bedrooms: one shared, and one “private boudoir each”.


It’s a drone releasing someone’s cremated remains. Aerial Ashes, which operates in the East Midlands, was founded by Christopher Mace, a former RAF pilot who took inspiration from scattering the remains of military personnel at sea. The “spectacular” sight of ashes billowing through the air is always a “good takeaway” for grieving families, Mace tells BBC News.


quoted 7.11.22

“We can forgive anything as long as it isn’t done to us.”

PD James