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31 May

In the headlines

The Indian variant has put the June 21 reopening “on a knife edge”, Sage’s Susan Michie tells Sky. NHS leaders are worried that even a small surge in coronavirus hospitalisations will affect urgent non-Covid treatment. One proposal is to delay reopening by two or three weeks to allow those over 50 to develop protection from second jabs. Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu looks likely to leave office after 12 years, with his opponents negotiating a “change government” to oust him. Netanyahu has decried it as “the fraud of the century”. China is raising its two-child limit to three. It reported its slowest population growth since the early 1960s this month. 


Michael Caine has given up alcohol to spend as much time with his grandchildren as he has left. The 88-year-old actor knows how time can fly when you’ve had a few drinks. After a Saturday performance at the Royal Court in 1959, Caine and Peter O’Toole embarked on a colossal booze-up, waking up in a Hampstead flat. Caine wasn’t worried about a hangover: “It doesn’t matter about the show, it’s Sunday.” Then he was told that it was Monday. “Somewhere in my life there’s a Sunday missing,” he recalls. “I never went out with Peter again.”

On the money

One of Winston Churchill’s discarded cigars has sold for £4,200 at auction. The 7cm butt was only expected to fetch £800. It was tossed aside by the wartime PM in the 1940s and picked up by an eagle-eyed policeman who was escorting him. 

Inside Politics

Inside politics

Dominic Cummings’s select committee testimony last week was more than a little “selective”, said Ian Hislop on Have I Got News for You last Friday.


Quoted 31-05

“Times are bad. Children no longer obey their parents and everyone is writing a book.”

Cicero, circa 43BC

Snapshot answer

It’s a sky pool in Battersea, south London, with views of the US embassy. The transparent 82ft pool was shipped over from Colorado this month and links two luxury blocks of flats at a height of 115ft, making it the world’s first “floating” pool. It’s sturdier than it looks: the acrylic structure is 10ft deep and weighs 50 tons.