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Heroes and villains

Robert De Niro | Chinese consumers | George Santos

De Niro in Meet the Fockers (2004)

Robert De Niro, who has had a seventh child at the age of 79. “Has the man lost his mind?” wonders Michael Deacon in The Daily Telegraph. “Surely at his time of life, you want to put your feet up.” Still, men his age tend to get up in the night quite a lot anyway, so “perhaps it won’t make that much difference”.

Chinese consumers, who are giving Italy’s economy a much-needed boost. Desperately short of effective Covid vaccines, they are buying from Italy large quantities of ursodeoxycholic acid. This is normally used to treat gallstones and liver problems but may also, according to one study, help prevent coronavirus infections. Sales of the drug saw Italy’s monthly exports to China nearly double from €1.7bn in December to €3bn in February.

Republican congressman George Santos, who is not just corrupt but “spectacularly dumb”, says David Firestone in The New York Times. Santos has been charged with fraudulently raising money for his campaign and spending it on personal items like luxury clothes. But there’s a huge, commonly used loophole he could have exploited: setting up a tax-exempt political organisation and claiming a fat “overhead” in its budget, which doesn’t need to be itemised. Had Santos structured his slush fund “the way the grown-ups do every day”, he might have got away with it.

A 48-year-old woman who survived for five days in the Australian bush, with only wine and lollipops for sustenance. Lillian Ip’s car got stuck in the mud in the state of Victoria, and she had no mobile phone signal to call for help. Eventually a search helicopter spotted her vehicle and she was rescued. “Thank god the policewoman had a cigarette,” she said.