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30 July-5 August 2021

Behind the headlines

Global Update

Tomorrow’s world

AI takes a great leap forward

Artificial intelligence company DeepMind has overcome “a huge scientific hurdle”, says Matthew Sparkes in New Scientist. It took “decades of painstaking research” for scientists to map the complex structure of just 17% of the 20,000 proteins in the human body – a vital step in creating medicines for many diseases. In less than a year, DeepMind has raised that figure to 98.5%, and this “treasure trove of data” is being made freely available, “which could lead to rapid advances in the development of new drugs”.


Quoted Wodehouse 30.7

“I always advise people never to give advice.”

PG Wodehouse

Inside politics

Sadiq Khan’s social whirl

Sadiq Khan has been busy socialising, says Alex Wickham in Politico. Last week he met President Biden’s climate envoy, John Kerry, and this week he was hobnobbing with Yael Lempert, the most senior diplomat at the US embassy. More meetings with top American officials are in the works. “Which all seems like sensible stuff for a London mayor to be doing, but won’t help cool rumours that he’s planning a tilt at the Labour leadership if and when a vacancy arises.”


Noted France 30.7

France has launched an app offering 18-year-olds €300 to spend on cultural pursuits. But they haven’t been rushing to the nearest opera house. French newspapers are complaining about a “manga rush” as teenagers sink their state handouts into Japanese comic books. That’s despite the cultural bias built into the app: the only video games that can be bought with it are non-violent French ones.



Noted Florence 30.7

The richest five families in Florence in 1427 remain the richest today. Research by the Bank of Italy shows the pattern holds further down the social scale: any family in the 1427 top third is almost certain to be there today.

After Hours

The hideaway

This six-bedroom villa in Fiesole has views of the Tuscan countryside and nearby Florence. Reached via a narrow lane from the town’s main square, it has eight bathrooms, balconies, terraces, a pool, pergolas, olive groves and orchards. There are two smaller houses in the 2½ acres of grounds. €3m.

The cottage

Saltponds is a fisherman’s cottage on the sea’s edge in the Cornish village of Mousehole, with views of St Michael’s Mount. It has a log-burner in the living room, a stone fireplace in the main bedroom, a bathroom with underfloor heating and a top-floor bedroom that could be used as a studio. The landscaped garden and terrace look out over the water. £685,000.

The country house

Dunbeg House is a five-bedroom Arts and Crafts villa in 4½ acres on the shores of Bishop’s Bay, nine miles from Fort William. It has a shingle beach, a jetty and a pier, and is surrounded by trees. There’s a cinema room, a wine cellar, a music room, a balcony and a two-bedroom cottage linked to the main house by a footbridge. £2m.

The townhouse

Dickens once stayed in St James’s Square, one of Bath’s grandest Georgian ensembles. This Grade I listed townhouse on its northern edge has views of the High Common, five bedrooms, a formal drawing room, three sitting rooms, a wine cellar and private terraces and gardens. The owner can use the beautiful communal gardens in the centre of the square. £2.75m.

The pied-à-terre

This bright flat with two ensuite bedrooms is in a new development in York’s historic city centre. It has floor-to-ceiling glass windows and doors, a modern kitchen with a breakfast bar and a balcony overlooking the River Foss. It’s a 10-minute walk to the station, for trains to London, Manchester and Edinburgh. £525,000.


Quoted Henry Ford 30.7

“If you think you can do a thing or think you can’t do a thing, you’re right.”

Henry Ford


Noted boland 30.7

The UK’s first Olympic gold medallist in tennis, John Pius Boland, hadn’t planned to compete at all. He was visiting a friend in Athens, who happened to be a member of the organising committee of the first modern games in 1896. The friend signed him up for the tennis, and Boland promptly won both the singles and the doubles.

Five of the best


Metalmorphosis, Charlotte, US

Designed by Czech sculptor David Cerny, this 23ft mirrored fountain has six rotating sections that distort and eventually recreate a human head. The reflections of the sky and the city are best enjoyed at sunset.

Water Boat Fountain, Valencia, Spain

Using just a few metal rods, this sculptural fountain on the beach in Spain’s third largest city creates a convincing illusion of a boat passing through the waves.

Dubai Fountain, UAE

Home to the tallest building in the world, Dubai also has the tallest fountain – it shoots water 500ft into the air. Built in 2009 for $218m, it’s part of a spectacular synchronised music and light show.

Charybdis, Co Durham

Named after the mythical whirlpool-creating monster that nearly scuppered Odysseus, this gravity-defying fountain can be found in front of Seaham Hall, a luxury hotel on the coast south of Sunderland.

Trevi Fountain, Rome

Based on sketches by Bernini, this baroque masterpiece was built in 1762. Anita Ekberg cavorted seductively in its waters in the 1960 film La Dolce Vita and Fendi staged a couture show there in 2016, with Bella Hadid and Kendall Jenner strutting on a suspended glass platform.


Noted China 30.7

China has banned for-profit tutoring of schoolchildren in a radical overhaul of its $100bn education industry. Until recently more than 75% of students aged 6-18 were privately tutored ahead of exams. Beijing is concerned about the declining birth rate and fears educational expenses are putting Chinese parents off having more than one child – even though it’s now legal to have three.


Kate’s wearing… Skims

Kate Moss is the new face of Kim Kardashian’s lingerie brand, Skims, which is designed to suit every body type. The pair recently visited the Vatican together. Bras start at £31.

They’re waterproof… speakers

Chill out by the beach or pool with this fully waterproof Bluetooth Wonderboom 2 speaker from Ultimate Ears. It delivers up to 13 hours of great tunes and you can hook up two of them for wireless stereo sound. £89.99.

We’re loving… Mrs Alice vases

Brighten up any room with this trio of delicate glass vases, part of a homewares range designed by Vogue contributor Alice Naylor-Leyland. £24.

It’s trending… crochet

“Crochet is the holy grail of nostalgic fashion,” says Buro247 – Tom Daley is a fan. This cute Under the Sea cardie from London label Cro-Che costs £145. Or download JW Anderson’s patchwork cardigan pattern and make one yourself.

She’s back… Bobbi Brown

Bobbi Brown’s new make-up line, Jones Road, has just launched in the UK. It specialises in elegant staples made from natural ingredients. Pick up the bestselling Miracle Balm, £34, or her concealer, The Face Pencil, £23.


From the archives

Drinks at the G7

Footage of an old G7 drinks reception has gone viral on Twitter. Watch here for the best bits – Margaret Thatcher making small talk, the Queen chatting in French and Ted Heath being told he’s expendable.

Quirks of history

Quirks of history jackal 30.7

In Frederick Forsyth’s 1971 thriller The Day of the Jackal, the fictional assassin who tries to kill President de Gaulle assumes a false identity – that of a dead child. I did it myself to prove it was possible, Forsyth tells Marcus Scriven in The Mail on Sunday. The author scoured a graveyard near London to find the name of a child who had died, obtained the boy’s birth certificate, then applied for a passport in his name: James Oliver Duggan, as in the novel. He even invented a false witness, a church minister in Wales. Off went the application with the fee; back, two weeks later, came a fat package containing a passport. “I never used it,” says Forsyth. “I just tested the system and it worked.” The loophole has since been closed.


26 July: Yantai, China, 33C ☂️

25 July: Hageville, France, 15C 🎈

23 July: Chubut, Argentina, 14C 🌄

27 July: Fonyod, Hungary, 30C 🌅

24 July: Zgorzelec, Poland, 15C 🌙

25 July: Mumbai, India, 31C 🌊

25 July: Ningbo, China, 25C ☔️