A month that began with Canada recording its highest temperature – 49.6C – closes with the huge Bootleg fire still burning in southern Oregon, while areas of Siberia and southern Europe are ablaze. Meanwhile the mopping-up after devastating flash flooding continues in western Europe and China. For our big story this week, Jonathan Watts explains why summer has become a season to fear and examines how a controversial study written in 1972 predicting the collapse of civilisation was – apparently – right and its lessons need to be heeded, with urgency. Our reporters from across the world also record the stories of ordinary people who stepped in to help their fellow citizens in the face of fire and flood.

We return to the Pegasus project to report on NSO Group, the Israeli company behind the military-grade surveillance software. Our investigation discovered it has been used by states to spy on opponents and activists. We look at who used the spyware and the uses to which it was put. Meanwhile, political analyst Dahlia Scheindlin explains why Israelis care more about an argument over ice-cream than the uses to which Pegasus has been put.

If it hadn’t been for the persistence of journalist Julie Brown, the true extent of Jeffrey Epstein’s sexual abuse may never have come to light. She explains how she tracked down his forgotten teenage victims and persuaded them to talk as she pieced together a story that Epstein’s circle had sought to bury.

Idris Elba was working as a bouncer when he got a small part in a new show called The Wire. Now two decades on he’s a blockbuster regular while still finding time to DJ and venture into writing for children, as he tells Tom Lamont in this week’s Culture interview.

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