Skip to main content
The Knowledge logo

11 April

In the headlines

Emmanuel Macron did better than expected in the first round of the French elections, winning 27.6% of the vote. He will face far-right Marine Le Pen, who won 23.4%, in the second round on 24 April – an exact rerun of the 2017 election. Polls suggest it will be much tighter this time, says Tony Barber in the FT. A far-right French government “now appears closer to becoming reality than at any point in the Fifth Republic’s 64-year history”. Boris Johnson is back in the UK after his surprise visit to Kyiv on Saturday. The PM walked around the streets of the capital with President Volodymyr Zelensky, and pledged to provide Ukraine with armoured vehicles and anti-ship missile systems. Easter temperatures in parts of Britain are expected to hit 21C. “Phew! It’s a corker,” says the Daily Star. That’s “hotter than Majorca”.

Get The Knowledge in your inbox

signup box

We scour the world’s media sources and bring you the best – all in one place. Sign up to our five minute daily newsletter here.



Russian nationalism goes far beyond Putin

Boris Johnson’s recent video message to the Russian people was a “futile stunt”, says Dominic Lawson in The Sunday Times. Talking partly in Russian, the PM spoke directly to the country’s citizens: “Your president stands accused of committing war crimes. But I cannot believe he is acting in your name.” It’s a lousy strategy. As one Russia-watching friend told me, hardly any locals will see it, and the ones that do will find it irksome – “proof that the British are anti-Russian”.


Boris is a hostage to his own MPs

So far, 20 government staff have been fined by police for attending lockdown parties, says Camilla Cavendish in the FT. One rulebreaker was the head of “propriety and ethics”. Another ran the task force that drew up Covid restrictions. Boris Johnson, we’re told, was given the wrong information by staff about whether parties were actually held – so he didn’t mislead Parliament, despite having attended some of the illicit bashes himself. “You couldn’t make it up.”


Since becoming Twitter’s largest shareholder, Elon Musk has polled his 81 million followers on what the company should change. His questions have included: should there be an edit button? Should he convert Twitter’s San Francisco HQ into a homeless shelter “since no one shows up anyway”? And should he “delete the w” in Twitter? “This man is drunk with power,” says one user. Or “maybe high”.

Staying young

A great-grandfather from Cheltenham has become Britain’s oldest wing walker, says Wales Online. Last week Ivor Button, 95, beat the previous record set by a 93-year-old, when he took to the Gloucestershire skies strapped on top of a plane. Button, who has 17 grandchildren and step-grandchildren and five great-grandchildren, says he wasn’t scared by the stunt. “I was more concerned about getting cold.”

On the way back

Jennifer Lopez and Ben Affleck are engaged for the second time. Bennifer, as the celebrity couple are known, dated in the noughties but called their first wedding off in 2003. Now Affleck, 49, has proposed to Lopez, 52, again – this time with a green diamond ring worth up to $10m. Be careful, warned one Twitter user: “Don’t let Jennifer Lopez and Ben Affleck trick you into getting back together with your ex.”

Inside politics

Rishi Sunak knows how to keep his constituents onside, says The Sunday Times – he throws plenty of parties. The Chancellor regularly hosts his North Yorkshire neighbours at “late-night supper clubs”, plying guests with red wine and roasted venison. Before the pandemic, Sunak threw two garden parties to fundraise for the Richmond Conservative Association, where uniformed staff served champagne and canapes. “I couldn’t get a ticket,” says local Tory councillor David Hugill. “They sell out straight away.”


Norland College, the world’s most exclusive nannying school, has started awarding university-level degrees in childcare, says Business Insider. The 130-year-old institution, which has trained nannies used by the royal family, teaches students getaway driving and how to fend off kidnappers while pushing a pram. It’s like “Mary Poppins – with a little James Bond”.


It’s the Yorkshire branch of the British Library. The enormous warehouse contains more than 120 million books and 373 miles of shelving, says The Sunday Times – the distance from London to Edinburgh. To protect the books from catching fire, the vaults have a 14% oxygen level, 7% lower than normal air and unsafe for humans to breathe for more than 30 minutes. So in 2009, library staff introduced teams of robots to tend to the tomes instead.


quoted 11.4.22

“Patriotism is supporting your country all the time and your government when it deserves it.”

Mark Twain