Fair play to Santa Claus, who has an “innate immunity” to Covid-19, US infectious disease expert Anthony Fauci told USA Today, but despite being in possession of “Santibodies”, this Santa pictured in “does what it says on the tin” shop Tinsel & Tartan in Stirling, Scotland, is doing the responsible thing and wearing a mask, even if the trademark beard is getting in the way. With non-essential shops due to open in the Republic next week, sellers of baubles will either be overrun by consumer demand or receive a nonplussed reaction from bored shoppers who cracked early and put up their decorations ages ago. Christmas may not be quite “saved” this year, but the season of not-quite-Christmas will be longer than usual.



Position occupied by Elon Musk in the Bloomberg Billionaires Index, after a surge in the share price of his electric vehicle company, Tesla, in which he has a 21 per cent stake. Musk, after overtaking Mark Zuckerberg in September, has now leap-frogged Bill Gates, according to Bloomberg.


Spot still allocated to Musk by wealth-trackers Forbes, which says that it is applying a 25 per cent discount to the value of his Tesla shareholding because he has pledged more than half his stake as collateral for personal loans.

$183 billion

Amazon founder Jeff Bezos remains comfortably out in front, his wealth estimated at this number as of November 25th.


Long-time Joe Biden ally Antony Blinken (58) – Tony to his friends – is the next US secretary of state. He’s also a father of two toddlers. This, according to Samantha Power, former US ambassador to the UN, “will be inspiring for working parents everywhere”. Apparently. Before anyone’s brain is short-circuited by the dubious logic at work here, let us move swiftly on to some more relevant facts about Tony. He plays the guitar, “mostly blues and rock”, and has been known to kick a soccer ball. Apologies, this is also irrelevant. Oh, but he speaks French – proper French, having lived in Paris for part of his childhood. He is a strong believer in transatlantic alliances of the kind Donald Trump disdained, and his views on the “total mess” of Brexit are unequivocal. The UK’s attempts to manage the process, he told the Pod Save the World podcast, were akin to “the dog that caught the car and then the car goes into reverse and runs over the dog”.

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News that US rapper and entrepreneur Jay-Z is to become the “chief visionary officer” of cannabis company TPCO makes this as good a time as any to pay tribute to the, ahem, visionary job titles that have graced CVs in these years of personal branding.

1. Chief evangelist. A Silicon Valley phenomenon. Like “brand ambassador”, only more pompous. Some chief evangelists favour “chief evangelist officer”, which yields a flattering acronym.

2. Mischief champion. The invention of bookmaker Paddy Power. These days the job is “PR and mischief champion”, which seems like a game of two halves.

3. Dream alchemist. Another nightmarish tech sector fad. The dream alchemy profession appears to have gone into a decline of late.

4. Any kind of Jedi. Being paid by Disney is the only reasonable explanation for putting “Jedi” on your business card, and even then …

5. Chief happiness officer. The job of the chief happiness officer is to make sure you have none.



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