Scientists finally determine how many hot dogs can be consumed in one sitting


IN THE PAPERS - Wednesday, July 15: We look at reactions in the French press after Emmanuel Macron's televised interview for Bastille Day celebrations. Also, a pro-independence Catalan politician demands an investigation over reports that Spanish authorities spied on his phone using Israeli-made spy technology. The New York Times says it'll be moving part of its operations from Hong Kong to Seoul in light of China's national security law. And a new scientific study shows that we're nearing peak human capacity of how many hot dogs can be consumed in 10 minutes!


We start with the French papers which are focusing on Emmanuel Macron's televised interview on Tuesday. The French president gave a wide-ranging interview in which he talked about unemployment, pension reforms, taxes and the coronavirus pandemic. The big takeaway, as Aujourd'hui en France or Le Parisien puts it, is masks, which will be obligatory in enclosed public spaces from next month, plus there will be a €100 billion recovery plan to address issues like youth unemployment. The televised intervention was seen as Macron trying to set the tone for the rest of his presidency. For the right-wing paper L'Opinion, there was not much reinventing – indeed the headline there reads: "Macron reinvents himself as Macron". Libération, the left-wing paper, meanwhile, sees Macron as delivering an interview that seemed more that of a prime minister than a president. 

To Spain now, where the speaker of Catalonia's regional parliament has demanded an investigation into reports that his cellphone was the target of national espionage. Roger Torrent, a leading supporter of the Catalan independence movement, demanded that investigation after a report in El Pais and the Guardian which said that Torrent had been warned last year that his phone was targeted by spyware. Spanish security forces allegedly used the spyware sold by an Israeli spy tech firm. The spyware can in theory only be bought by governments or security forces to fight crime and terrorism, the Catalan paper Ara explains on its front page.

Meanwhile, an Israeli court has dismissed a petition filed by Amnesty International to revoke the exporting licence of that spy tech company, NSO Group. Amnesty saying that the company is helping governments and security agencies infiltrate the phones of political opponents, journalists and diplomats. Moroccan authorities also allegedly used the company's spyware to monitor investigative journalist Omar Radi, something which was revealed last month.

The New York Times has announced that it'll be moving part of its Hong-Kong based operations to South Korea, in the wake of China's national security law. It's quite a significant move for the Times and proof of how that law has plagued news organisations and created uncertainty about how to continue Hong Kong-based reporting in the region. The Times has announced that it'll move a third of its staff – its digital team – to Seoul in light of the uncertainty. The paper says journalists are facing work permit issues commonplace in China but never seen before in Hong Kong. It's not just media organisations but Western businesses like banks and tech firms which are weighing up what to do next as well.

Finally, a new scientific study has made some interesting observations about hot dog-eating competitions! It's a Fourth of July tradition in the US – scoffing down record numbers of hot dogs in Nathan's Hot Dog Eating Contest. The record holder, Joey Jaws Chestnut, has won 13 times, with a personal best of 75 hot dogs in 10 minutes. Using data from that competition, mostly seen until now as an entertaining spectacle of gluttony, a study predicts that we're nearing the peak of how many hot dogs a human can consume: set at 84. As you can see from the study's graph, our capacity to consume hot dogs has gradually increased from 1 per minute in 1980 to over 7 per minute in 2020! Competitive eating is a sport in its own right, so please don't try it at home!

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