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10 January

In the headlines

Novak Djokovic has been released from detention in Australia after winning a court battle against his last-minute visa cancellation. But Australia’s immigration minister could use separate powers to cancel Djokovic’s visa again “as early as tomorrow”, says The Sydney Morning Herald. The NHS’s “front line will hold” against Omicron, NHS executive Chris Hopson tells The Times. In London, where Britain’s Omicron wave started, hospital admissions are down 17% from the start of the year. Michael Gove was trapped in a BBC lift for more than half an hour this morning on his way to appear on Radio 4’s Today. “You successfully levelled me up,” the levelling up secretary told Nick Robinson when he eventually escaped.



Britain should take pride in its world-class arts

The BBC kicked off 2022 with a poem lauding the “magnificent things” Britain achieved in 2021, says Jonathan Dean in The Sunday Times. Did it mention Coldplay hitting No 1 in 14 countries, or the fact that Dua Lipa’s Levitating was the most streamed song in America last year? No, it did not. The poem name-checked our footballers, runners-up at the Euros; Emma Raducanu, the 19th-best female tennis player; and our Paralympic team, who came second.


We should be thankful for “dirty” donations

The return of the Sackler family to philanthropy is being reported as an “outrage”, says Sam Leith in The Spectator. Really? True, the family made a fortune getting tens if not hundreds of thousands of Americans “debilitatingly addicted to OxyContin” – a pain pill dubbed “hillbilly heroin” – and took a break from charitable giving at the height of the opioid crisis. But last year they quietly gave £3.5m to British causes, including the Oxford Philharmonic Orchestra, King’s College London, and “various churches, academies and conservation projects”. What could possibly be wrong with that? “One way or another, the wages of sin are being redirected into causes of which most or all of us can approve.”

On the way back

Nokia has rebooted its 6310 “brick phone”, one of the most popular mobiles of the early 2000s. The updated version, which has an internet browser but no apps besides Facebook, has a larger screen (2.8 inches), a 20-day battery life and the classic game Snake pre-installed. Yours for £60.


Tex Sutton, an American company that transports horses by plane, has a Boeing 727 cargo aircraft dedicated to the task. It’s nicknamed Air Horse One.

On the money

The value of Apple increased by more than $700m a day from August 2011 to last week, when the company’s worth briefly hit $3 trillion. It’s such a crazy statistic, says the FT’s Patrick McGee on Twitter, that when I wrote about it the comments section was flooded with readers assuming it was a mistake. It wasn’t.


quoted 10.1

“Only a fool learns from his own mistakes. The wise man learns from the mistakes of others.”

Otto von Bismark


At an estimated age of at least 90, Methuselah the lungfish is the oldest living aquarium fish in the world, says The San Francisco Chronicle. The nonagenarian arrived at the Steinhart Aquarium, San Francisco in 1938 – when Al Capone was still locked up in Alcatraz and the Golden Gate Bridge had been open less than a year. According to her keeper, Allan Jan, Methuselah likes belly rubs and eats figs – but only when they’re in season. “She’s picky. And being that old, I allow her to be picky.”

Snapshot answer

They’re giant water lilies, which are some of “the most empire-building, aggressive plants” on earth, David Attenborough tells the Daily Mail. The Amazonian species, which stars in Attenborough’s new BBC series The Green Planet, has buds that come up to the water’s surface “loaded with prickles”, which skewer or drown any other plant in their path. “In the end, the lake ends up as solid giant water lilies butting up against one another, with no room for anything else at all.”