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1 June

In the headlines

Scientists are urging Boris Johnson to delay ending lockdown restrictions on June 21 as fears about a third wave of the coronavirus increase. There were 3,383 new Covid cases in the UK yesterday, the sixth day in a row case numbers have exceeded 3,000. Tennis player Naomi Osaka has withdrawn from the French Open after being fined $15,000 for missing a post-match press conference. The 23-year-old world No 2 said she skipped the event to protect her mental health. House prices in the UK have risen by 10.9% since last year, says Nationwide. In May 2020 the average property price was £218,902; now it is £242,832. 

US politics

Biden must face down “killer” Putin 

I’ve no idea why Joe Biden is suddenly “going soft” on Russia, says David Kramer in The Bulwark. In March he called Vladimir Putin a “killer”, but now we’re waiving sanctions on his demonstrably weaponised Nord Stream 2 pipeline and inviting him to meet our president this month. The US shouldn’t be normalising relations with a regime that “arrests, tortures, and kills” its opponents. Russia has interfered in our elections, hacked our energy networks and backed malign regimes everywhere.


The Spanish post office is in trouble after issuing a set of skin-coloured stamps as a symbol of anti-racism. The “equality” stamps come in four shades – but online commentators were quick to note that the value of the stamps increases the lighter the skin tone gets. The darkest shade was €0.70, the lightest €1.60.


An animal theme runs through many strategies in chess: the Bullfrog Gambit, the Clam Variation, the Monkey’s Bum and the Sicilian Pterodactyl. Some of them are less fanciful, says Leonard Barden in The Guardian: the Orangutan Opening takes its name from a visit to the Bronx Zoo by the Polish chess player Savielly Tartakower in 1924. The climbing technique of the orange primate, he later said, reminded him of moving a pawn from b2 to b4. 


Yesterday’s sunny bank holiday was the “perfect end to one of the soggiest months ever”, says The Sun. Monday was the UK’s hottest day of the year, with temperatures in Scotland hitting 25.1C – five degrees warmer than the Algarve. The rest of the week is set to be even hotter, with estimated highs of 27C.

Eating in

Chip lover Frank Smith has found a colossal 7½in chip in his family bag of McCain frozen fries. “I’ve never had such a massive chip in all my life,” the 77-year-old told the Daily Star. “I’m never going to eat it. I keep it in its own little space on the top shelf of the freezer. It’s a prized possession.”


Quoted 01-06

“Be regular and orderly in your life, so that you may be violent and original in your work.”

Gustave Flaubert

Snapshot answer

It’s Agatha Christie’s house in Wallingford, Oxfordshire, which is on sale for £2.75m. A group of 10 locals are trying to cobble together a deposit and turn it into an Agatha Christie centre. The crime writer wrote some of her best-known works there, including Death on the Nile. She regularly consulted the doctor next door for medical advice: specifically, what different toxins do to the body. More than 80 of her fictional victims died by poison.