Monday morning news briefing: UK heatwave meltdown


In Europe, a heatwave is said to have already killed more than 300 people. Firefighters are battling to control huge wildfires in Spain, Greece and France. 

Temperatures hit 45.7C degrees in Spain, with firefighters supported by the armed forces trying to stamp out more than 30 fires blazing in forests. See the latest pictures and video.

Our verdicts on Tory leadership debate

The Tory leadership race is entering its final stages, with three knockout rounds this week. 

Contenders will be whittled down to four today as MPs cast their votes in the third stage of the contest to find a successor to Boris Johnson. 

The remaining five candidates had a series of bad-tempered exchanges in the latest TV debate last night, with Rishi Sunak accused of plunging Britain into a recession as his rivals turned on him one by one to attack his record as chancellor. 

He was singled out for criticism by Liz Truss, who is attempting to position herself as the only one who can effectively challenge him on the economy. 

Political editor Ben Riley-Smith examines how each of the candidates fared and five of our writers give their verdicts on who came out on top. 

There will be another vote tomorrow and then again on Wednesday, from which point the remaining candidates will face a summer campaign before Tory members pick the next prime minister. Track the latest odds.

How to keep your mind sharp in old age

The risk of developing dementia over the age of 80 is one in six. 

Although age is inescapable, Dementia UK says about a third of cases can be averted, with everything from good diet to staying socially active playing a part in delaying or warding it off entirely.

 The big question is: do puzzles or “brain training” games actually work? Harry de Quetteville investigates the benefits of stretching our cognitive skills.

Daily dose of Matt

In Matt‘s latest cartoon, he takes a lighter look at soaring temperatures. For a weekly behind-the-scenes look at Matt’s work, sign up for his newsletter.

Also in the news: Today’s other headlines

Opera’s ‘racist’ blackface | An Italian opera theatre is embroiled in a blackface row after an African-American soprano quit in protest over the “racist” practice. Angel Blue won a role in Verdi’s La Traviata, but said she had to leave the role after learning another production showing in the venue cast a white Russian singer to play the Ethiopian princess in Aida.

Around the world: Zelensky sacks aides over ‘collusion’

Volodymyr Zelensky, the Ukrainian president, sacked the head of the country’s secret service and its chief prosecutor over collaboration with the Russians alleged to have taken place in their departments. As Moscow stepped up shelling across Ukraine, Mr Zelensky fired Ivan Bakanov, the head of the powerful domestic security agency, and Iryna Venediktova, the prosecutor general. James Kilner reports on the cases of treason. It came as fresh missile attacks were reported in Kharkiv.

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