The cartoon is almost an exact copy of the famous American Gothic painting by Grant Wood, which has been parodied countless times. In Brookes's version, the man bears a striking resemblance to Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin. Farmer Putin tells his wife, "I don't know how much longer we can stay under cover!" Brilliant!
VOCABULARY If you are under cover, you are hiding your true identity. The expression is often used in relation to secret agents or spies. • All of the accused were allegedly deep under cover, purporting to lead normal family lives in the U.S. northeast while also gathering and transmitting intelligence about U.S. foreign relations back to Moscow.
A woman at the centre of a transatlantic probe into spy allegations previously worked in the UK, the London Evening Standard reports. Full story >>
VOCABULARY A redhead is a person, especially a woman, whose hair is a colour that is between red and brown. • Lovato has gone from a beautiful brunette to a fiery redhead and she looks really cute. The Standard's headline is a play on the phrase 'reds under the bed', an ironic allusion to the obsession some people have that there are reds (communists) everywhere plotting violent revolution. See Wiktionary entry.
Following England's disappointing World Cup campaign, there is much debate about the future of their Italian manager Fabio Capello. Capello has said that he wants to continue in the job, but the Football Association has refused to offer him its backing and says it will make a decision on his future in two weeks. Read more >>
This cartoon by Andy Davey from The Sun combines the Capello story with government plans to relocate unemployed people to areas with job vacancies.
Capello is discussing his contract with Club England boss Sir Dave Richards. Behind Richards stands the government's Work and Pensions Secretary Iain Duncan Smith. The trophy cabinet is bare and full of cobwebs (England's football team haven't won a major tournament since 1966). Smith tells Capello, "Mr Duncan Smith would be happy to help you relocate to find work."
The Guardian leads on calls from Frank Field, the new Government's poverty advisor, for Britain to end its obssession with single mothers and instead target feckless dads with those who refuse government offers of work to forfeit all their benefits. The paper also asks what's next for England manager Fabio Capello. Full story >>
VOCABULARY 1. If someone shirks a job or task, they avoid doing it. You can also shirk a duty or a responsibility. The use of shirk suggests disapproval. • G-8 leaders must not be allowed to shirk their responsibility to the world's poor. 2. See here for a discussion of tsar.
This cartoon by Kal from The Economist relates to President Obama's statement in a speech earlier this month at Carnegie Mellon University that the "vision we have for our children and grandchildren" shouldn't be a future based solely on fossil fuels.
The problem is that America (represented here by Uncle Sam) is addicted to oil, and it won't be easy convincing individuals and companies to use alternative sources of energy—even if they agree in principle.
The joke here is that Uncle Sam is swept along by Obama's rhetoric—but then spoils it all by saying that he's getting the car.
A man is having a barbecue in his back garden. His neighbour, a disappointed football fan, asks if he can throw his England flag on the fire. (Many people in England showed their support for the national team during the World Cup by flying flags on their cars and houses.)
LANGUAGE "Mind if I ... " is an example of ellipsis. In colloquial English, the auxiliary verb and subject pronoun are often omitted. Here, the full form would be "Do you mind if I ...", a polite way of asking permission to do something. Here are some similar examples: • Fancy a beer? (Do you fancy a beer?) • See the match? (Did you see the match?) • Know any good pubs? (Do you know any good pubs?) • Ever been to Paris? (Have you ever been to Paris?)
All the UK national dailies feature England's humiliating 4-1 World Cup defeat by Germany on their front pages. According to The Sun, England crumbled in an appalling display that let their country down. Full story >>
VOCABULARY If you let someone down, you disappoint them, by not doing something that you have said you will do or that they expected you to do—like beating Germany or winning the World Cup. • After three dramatic group stage games against England, Slovenia and Algeria, some fans felt let down by the US team's performance against Ghana.