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9 November

In the headlines

Labour MPs have accused Suella Braverman of undermining respect for the police by attacking the Met’s handling of pro-Palestinian protests. The Home Secretary wrote an article in The Times accusing the force of double standards in its handling of the demonstrators, whom she branded “hate marchers”. Hollywood’s actors’ union has agreed a tentative deal with studios after a 118-day strike. The walkout brought the industry to a standstill, pushing back the release of projects including Dune: Part Two, the next Mission Impossible movie, and the new series of The White Lotus. A cheeky Venus flytrap is the unlikely star of this year’s John Lewis Christmas advert. The two-minute heart-warmer tells the story of a young boy who inadvertently grows and then befriends the carnivorous plant, named Snapper, set to a track sung by opera legend Andrea Bocelli. Watch it here.


Dezeen magazine asked the designer Thomas Heatherwick to share his favourite examples of “humanised architecture” – buildings designed to “engage passers-by” in an emotional way. They include a housing block in Clerkenwell, central London, with an exposed limestone façade; an “amazingly textured” white apartment building in Montpellier; a six-house terrace in north London’s Dartmouth Park reminiscent of Victorian railway arches; and the “MaoHaus” in Beijing, featuring holes that create a triptych of Chairman Mao. See the rest here.

Inside politics

More people will vote in elections in 2024 than in any year since records began in the 1960s, says The Rest is Politics. There are set to be national ballots in more than 30 countries – including the UK, the US, India and South Africa – along with EU parliamentary elections. Some two billion people will be eligible to cast their vote, which is around two thirds of the democratic world.


Book clubs have been a fixture of American social life for decades, says The Wall Street Journal. But bibliophiles tired of slogging their way through books they don’t want to read – and having to come up with “smart-sounding hot takes” – are rewriting the format. At a so-called “silent book club”, you just turn up and read quietly, then chat to fellow attendees about whatever title you have on the go. “I will not read a book that other people say you have to read,” says Leslie Leslie, a 76-year-old artist from upstate New York. “I did that in college, and I never have to do it again.”


When the trailer for Ridley Scott’s new historical epic, Napoleon, was released, the TV historian Dan Snow posted an elaborate TikTok breakdown of its inaccuracies: Napoleon didn’t shoot at the pyramids during the 1798 invasion of Egypt, for example, and wasn’t present at Marie Antoinette’s execution. In a recent interview, The New Yorker asked the 85-year-old British director what he thought about Snow’s criticism. His response: “Get a life.”

On the way over

Brits are taking over American media, says Axios. Will Lewis, the former Telegraph editor and Wall Street Journal publisher, has just been named CEO of The Washington Post. In August, former BBC director-general Mark Thompson moved from The New York Times to head up CNN. And in February, Emma Tucker moved from The Sunday Times to become the first female editor-in-chief of The Wall Street Journal. Tucker has reportedly been underwhelmed by the work ethic in the WSJ’s newsroom, asking a colleague: “What do they all do all day?”


It’s Leonardo DiCaprio’s new girlfriend, 25-year-old Italian model Vittoria Ceretti. The 48-year-old actor is famous for only dating women who are 25 or younger – a reputation which “really bothers him”, according to a source who spoke to the Daily Mail earlier this year. Nevertheless, DiCaprio appears to be sticking to his guns, getting himself a lover who is younger than his breakout 1997 film, Titanic.


Quoted 09-11-23

“The secret to a happy marriage is bed springs creaking from laughter, not sex.”

Jilly Cooper