Friday, May 27
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A kind and inclusive England is heartwarming, and as usual our politicians don’t get it | John harris

JLess than a fortnight ago, I watched the Euro 2020 semi-final in England against Denmark in another country. I was in Wales. In a Swansea hotel bar, I took my reserved place alongside an English guest apparently sent by a central casting. There he was: like the great Billy Bragg singing, “One of those guys / The guy who just laughs at his own jokes,” eating and drinking alone, but screaming frantically at the giant TV screen even during pre-game preparation. He booed Denmark's national anthem and loosely used the C word about his team's players, but then mysteriously disappeared as England players knelt. Once he returned, his performative belligerence worsened after the bar staff (Welsh) asked him to be quiet, and he soon left without paying his bill - an embodiment of Albion's wr...
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Without married women and with only one hotel: the fascinating details of the Olympics of Ancient Greece

Nige TassellBBC History Revealed13 minutesImage source, Getty ImagesCaption, Keeping the flame alive in the relay race.The Tokyo Olympics begin on July 23. This artThe article is a fascinating and vivid account of what the Games were like 1,585 years ago. Enjoy it.The Olympics began more than 2,700 years ago in Olympia, in the Peloponnese, in Greece. Every four years, some 50,000 people from the Greek world attended the great event, which was also a religious festival celebrated in honor of Zeus, the king of the gods.There were no gold, silver and bronze medals. The winners received an olive wreath and a welcome to the home of a hero. Athletes competed for the glory of their city and the victors were considered to have been touched by the gods.Can you imagine having been able to atte...
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Black women are rarely seen in ‘beauty, power and grace’ roles, says new Phantom Stage star | Theater

The first black actor to play Christine in The Phantom of the Opera in the West End hopes that playing the role will help transform the casting of women of color in the theater.Lucy St Louis will give her first performance in the hugely successful musical later this month when the show resumes its run at Her Majesty's Theater in London, where it opened 35 years ago. He has wanted to play the role since his mother and grandmother saw Sarah Brightman in the role; Andrew Lloyd Webber's score was introduced to St Louis as a child."Finally being in this position and opening that door to so many other women of color is very special," said St Louis, adding that it is rare to see black women in roles that give them "beauty, power and grace." and being "wanted on stage by two men." In the mu...
Europe

First positive COVID tests for athletes in the Olympic Village

Two athletes living in the Olympic Village tested positive for COVID-19, the first to do so with the opening of the Tokyo Games on Friday. Organizers confirmed the positive tests on Sunday and both were listed as non-Japanese. No names or other details were provided.Organizers on Sunday also said that another athlete had tested positive but that this person did not reside in the Olympic Village. This athlete was also identified as "non-Japanese".Also on Sunday, the first member of the International Olympic Committee was reported as positive. On Saturday he registered a positive test when entering a Tokyo airport.The International Olympic Committee confirmed the test and identified him as Ryu Seung-min from South Korea. He won an Olympic gold medal in table tennis at the 2004 Olympi...
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The pioneer to succeed Merkel apologizes for joking after Germany suffered new floods | Germany

More flash floods have devastated cities in Austria, Bavaria and eastern Germany as the favorite to replace Chancellor Angela Merkel was forced to apologize after she appeared to have taken lightly a catastrophic situation that has taken its toll. the lives of more than 150 people.The alpine district of Berchtesgadener Land declared a state of emergency on Saturday night after heavy rains caused street flooding and landslides, leaving at least one person dead.Across the border in Austria, a stream flooded with rainwater flooded the historic city center of Hallein, south of Salzburg, trapping residents in their buildings, overturning cars and flooding ground-floor shops. The city's mayor, Alexander Stangassinger, told ORF broadcaster that the floods had caused millions of euros in damag...
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7 ½ myths about the brain dismantled

Dalia VenturaBBC News World7 minutesImage source, Getty ImagesThere are ideas that last because they have the potential to reveal amazing concepts, while others do not survive scientific rigor.In the 4th century BC, Aristotle considered the brain as a secondary organ that served to cool the blood that the heart used for its mental functions. But it was also a place where the spirit circulated freely, and where the common sense (the origin of our much more metaphorical term, "common sense"). Centuries of research later, the Roman physician Galen (c.130-c.210 AD) concluded that the mental was actively produced in the brain and not in the heart, as Aristotle had suggested.The common sense, however, he survived. In the 16th century, when Leonardo da Vinci was drawing and studying the brai...
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Olympic architecture in Tokyo: look, no bird’s nest… | Architecture

WWhat if the Olympics were overshadowed by a cat? It is a real danger. There has recently been considerable interest in a 3D animated giant calico creature meowing and wagging from a newly installed billboard to passengers coming and going from Tokyo's Shinjuku Station. It's hard to detect similar enthusiasm about the architectural offering at the city's Olympics, which are due to open a year later on July 23.Nor is it likely to coincide with the impact of the city's last Olympic Games in 1964. This was, according to the New York Times, "A debutante ball for postwar democratic Japan," one that "capped Tokyo's 20-year transformation from a burned-out ruin to an ultra-modern megalopolis." It was a festival of construction and design, as well as sport: not only the impressive Olympic v...
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Chris Packham: ‘People like me have a very aggravated sense of injustice’ | Conservation

OROver the years, the BBC has seeded and nurtured some rare presenter specimens. Chris Packham, after a decade of Springwatch, has started to grow in that space in the public mind once occupied by, say, John Noakes or Patrick Moore or John Peel. It's direct and lyrical, and you know for a fact that the camera is just eavesdropping on his authentic life, the same way it looks at nest boxes and fox dens, and once it goes off, it continues in the same way.He invited me to lunch in his natural habitat on the edge of the New Forest. He's never been far from here. He grew up on the other side of Southampton cycling into the woods, living a I spy childhood, collecting tadpoles, examining beetles, for a time with a beloved kestrel as his closest friend. He went to college in Southampton an...
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Rashid Khan: ‘I didn’t get a chance to celebrate with family’ | Cricket

RAshid Khan just had his 108th Covid test of the pandemic. Sitting in his London hotel, quarantined on a diet of Indian movies and rounds of weights, this country is the last stop on the roaming cricketer's dizzying roundabout. He's here for the Hundreds, he was the top pick in the men's draft and, through a couple of Blast games for Sussex, will join Trent Rockets for his first game next Saturday.The sixth of 10 siblings, the world's best Twenty20 bowler, he learned cricket as a refugee in the border city of Peshawar when his family crossed the Afghan border after the US invasion and the war with the Taliban. He played his first one-day international match for Afghanistan at the age of 17 and at 19 he was chosen by Sunrisers Hyderabad, becoming the most expensive associate cricketer...