Topics to impress this week.

1. Russian interference

Robert Mueller
Robert Mueller

It has all the ingredients of a great thriller. A mysterious London professor, a Russian initially thought to be Vladimir Putin’s niece and promises directly from the Kremlin about its readiness to unveil "dirt" on Hillary Clinton.

The indictment brought by Robert Mueller, head of an investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 US election, contains allegations of tax evasion, money laundering, and lobbying done in secret. Add to that criminal charges against Donald Trump’s former campaign chairman and a guilty plea by a foreign policy aide. It already has the world riveted.

2. Pass the dry baguette

SA is not alone. A slump in dairy output and a surge in demand has lumped France — that by some measures consumes more butter per head than the rest of us — with a shortage.

The New York Times says news outlets are giving advice on how to churn your own. One headline asked whether there would be butter — and croissants — for Christmas. The agriculture minister faced questions in parliament. Online, shoppers shared pictures of empty shelves, and jokers ran fake ads offering small amounts of butter for ludicrous prices ... it’s all a little disconcerting.

3. Safety in secrecy

Picture: REUTERS
Picture: REUTERS

The UK’s department of Brexit is refusing to release details about 58 secret studies into how leaving the EU will affect its economy, saying officials need to make policy in a "safe space", the Guardian reports.

The sectors covered by the studies range from advertising, aerospace and agriculture to telecoms, textiles and tourism. The department refused to release the details, saying doing so may undermine the formulation or development of policies key to its Brexit negotiating strategy.

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