Donald Trump began the day by insulting and taunting Puerto Rico and its residents, who are US citizens, on Twitter. “Puerto Rico is one of the most corrupt places on earth,” the president wrote in part. “Their political system is broken and their politicians are either Incompetent or Corrupt. And by the way, I’m the best thing that’s ever happened to Puerto Rico!”
Trump’s tweet contained multiple falsehoods. While Congress has allocated $42.5bn for disaster relief for Puerto Rico, the island had received less than $14bn through May, according to federal data. And in any case Trump’s headline amount of $92bn would not qualify the Maria relief package as “an all-time record” for the costliest tropical cyclones, according to the federal government’s own figures. Spending on recovery for Hurricane Harvey, which hit Texas and Louisiana in the same storm season as Maria, has so far cost $125bn.
A few years ago, Tim Owens was selling office supplies in his home town of Akron, Ohio. At night he would pull on black leather and take to the stage as the singer in a Judas Priest tribute band. Then, unbeknown to him, a bootleg of his performance found its way to the real Judas Priest. The band liked Owens’s impersonation so much that they flew him to England, rechristened him “Ripper” and gave him the job. And so it came to pass that the fan became the frontman, and the zero turned hero. “It’s every kid’s dream in a way,” says Priest guitarist and principal songwriter Glenn Tipton. “That idea that you can come out of nowhere and suddenly be the singer for your favourite band. It gives hope to everyone, doesn’t it?”
The jail received about 50 new inmates over the last two days, complicating Sunday’s release, the sheriff said. Most of those released were being held on low-level, nonviolent felony charges, and none had been charged with murder or rape. The sheriff said authorities tried to contact the victims in every case.
Except that it kind of is; fleetingly, in portions and more than enough to muddy the waters. Directed by Stephen Herek, Rock Star casts Mark Wahlberg as Chris “Izzy” Cole, a midwestern office-supply salesman who moonlights in a tribute band covering songs by his favourite metal outfit, the British-born Steel Dragon. Like Ripper, Izzy sings as a boy in the high-school choir. Like Ripper, his mother runs a daycare centre from her home. Like Ripper, Izzy gains an audition with his idols via a bootleg videotape. Like Ripper, Izzy replaces a gay lead singer who has quit the band under a cloud of bad feeling. You have to admit that the similarities are striking. “Of course, it is totally similar,” says Owens. “So you can tell people that this part and this part and this part are not true, and they still come away believing that the film’s about me.”
“The commission is surely not suggesting the UK authorities may be diverting this material for non-peaceful uses. We know where it is, and we have been analysing with the commission for several years how best to deal with it. But we will not be rushed into any action.”
Facebook Twitter Pinterest Punkt MP01: peculiar and teclado mecanico tfue appealing. Photograph: Katherine Anne Rose/The Observerpunkt.ch, £229
The phone that ignited this debate is something of an absurdity. Its unique selling point is that it does nothing but ring people, text people and wake you up, yet it costs a small fortune. One of the foremost attributes of a dumbphone is that it doesn’t matter much if you drop it in a puddle or render it up to a thug at knifepoint, whereas the Punkt is a design accessory. I was expecting to dislike it on these grounds, but strangely I didn’t, because despite its paucity of features it is both peculiar and appealing. The trigger-happy predictive text, for example, is efficient, while the ringtones are cheerful and accurate simulacra of birdsong. More than that, it feels wonderful in the hand, only to be imperceptible in the pocket. Just how a phone should be.
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• I am not a vicar. I used to be one; but I retired more than five years ago. On Sunday mornings nowadays I sit with my wife on the back pew of our local church, carefully avoiding her sharp right elbow, which is always poised to dig me in the ribs if she thinks I am about to make a comment. Like most of the congregation, I dress casually.
The commission claims that for four years its inspectors have been trying to verify how much material is in the pond so that the UK can be seen to have complied with the non-proliferation treaty, which specifies that the material must not be diverted for bomb-making.