“Relax before your flight,” suggests the Dublin Airport Web-site section on lounges. It’s such a welcoming invitation that some Dubliners, with no pubs currently open and pulling pints for them, decided that the flight part was optional and focused instead on the bit about relaxing. Booking cheap one-way tickets to Gatwick, a thirsty group was recently able to settle in for a few rounds at the airport lounges—deemed essential businesses—according to The Times of London. Then, instead of boarding the flight to the U.K., they walked home. The Dublin Airport Authority is investigating.
Belgium has never been easy to unify. Think Walloons vs. Flemings, three official languages, and a complicated political system that has left the country without a real government since June (not nearly as long as the United States, but still). Now, however, the nation has been brought together by a little windmill shortbread biscuit known as the speculoo, essentially Belgium’s national cookie. When Lotus Bakeries announced that the word “speculoo” would be dropped from the biscuit’s packaging in Belgium, France, and the Netherlands as part of an effort to gather the global brand under the “Biscoff” banner, the reaction was united, multi-lingual, and harsh—save-the-speculoo Facebook groups were formed, angry and despairing tweets launched, and the Lotus C.E.O. was roundly reproached. “Belgium doesn’t really have a deeply rooted identity or culture that is shared by us all,” Julie Haspeslagh, a marketing strategist, explained to Euronews. “So I guess when we do have something like speculoos, we can react emotionally to it.” Lotus now says that while the Biscoff branding will remain, the phrase “original speculoos” will appear on the packaging for the three countries where it seems to matter very, very much.
You’ve probably already got your copy of “Brief Report: The Virucidal Efficacy of Oral Rinse Components Against SARS-CoV-2 In Vitro,” but in case you haven’t, here’s the gist: researchers at Cardiff University found “promising signs” that over-the-counter mouthwash can kill the coronavirus in saliva within 30 seconds. The study still needs to be peer-reviewed, clinical trials lie ahead, and there’s nothing to suggest that mouthwash can treat the virus, but nevertheless: Is it possible the pandemic will start to disappear when all the world’s people gargle as one?
That development might not come as a big surprise to the non-scientists among us. Given that Matt Parker, a “stand-up mathematician,” recently calculated that the volume of coronavirus particles from all 53 million worldwide cases could fit onto a brimming teaspoon, what chance does it have against a swig of bright-green chlorhexidine gluconate? (Conversely, the beauty industry is finding that lipstick has no chance against the coronavirus, or, anyway, against the mask-wearing that the virus has made necessary. But sales of above-the-mask eyeliner and mascara are up.)
Officer of the Legion of Honor! Member of the National Order of Merit! Subway groper (alleged)! Jean Cabannes, 65, a high-ranking civil servant, has been charged with assaulting several women on the Paris Metro. Cabannes, who denies the charges, was arrested in May and in June resigned from the High Council on the Judiciary, though his case has only just come to light. “Police say that CCTV images show him groping three women on trains and one at a station entrance,” reports The Times of London. Cabannes was released and ordered to undergo psychological counseling, and is expected to be tried in 2021. If convicted, he could face five years in prison and a fine. Cabannes’s lawyer said his client “protests his innocence and is suffering from the infamy of this accusation.”
Embrace me, my sweet submersible you: sales of mini-submarines have doubled in the last two years. “Early adopters include Roman Abramovich, Chelsea Football Club’s owner, the late Microsoft founder Paul Allen and Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed bin Sultan al-Nahyan, emir of Abu Dhabi,” according to The Times of London. The submarines are generally about nine feet tall, seat two, can dive more than 100 yards, and cost from $1 million to $3 million. And please don’t consign the mini-subs to the shiny-new-toy category—many of today’s Captain Nemos see themselves as amateur explorers. No doubt we’ll soon be adding to the long list of important scientific discoveries made by the super-rich.
Might as well cut to the chase: Two pilots for the Russian airline Pobeda are under investigation for having dramatically altered their flight path from Moscow to Yekaterinburg so that it traced the approximate outline of an enormous penis, presumably in support of the Russian national-soccer-team captain who’d just been dropped from the squad after a video of him masturbating leaked online.
George Kalogerakis is a Writer at Large for AIR MAIL