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14 April

In the headlines

A US National Guard airman has been arrested on suspicion of leaking highly classified Pentagon documents. Jake Teixeira, 21, will appear in a Massachusetts court today, charged with posting top-secret national security dossiers on his online chat group “Thug Shaker Central”. The UK has become the first European country to approve a hands-free car for use on motorways. Ford’s BlueCruise system has computer-controlled steering, acceleration and lane positioning, but cameras monitor the driver’s eyes to make sure they stay alert. Fashion designer Mary Quant has died aged 93. If “the Beatles supplied the sound” of the 1960s, says Juliet Nicolson in Harper’s Bazaar, “Mary provided the look”, with pioneering creations like the miniskirt and hot pants. “By the end of the decade, thousands of young women all over the world had been Quantified.”


California’s historically wet winter has led to an “explosion of blooming wildflowers” across its hills and valleys this spring, says The Atlantic. Visitors are flocking to the state, particularly to the city of Lancaster, where there’s a “superbloom” of orange poppies so large it can be seen from space.

Inside politics

The Tories may be about to throw their own name “into the dustbin of history”, says Mandrake in The New European. There are “extraordinary whispers” in Westminster that Isaac Levido, the PM’s top election guru, is worried about how “toxic” the word “Conservative” has become. He is apparently toying with alternatives, including “the Patriotic Party”. Many top Tories have already removed “Conservative” from their social media bios, including Boris Johnson, Theresa May, Liz Truss and Dominic Raab.

On the money

The royal family is a comparative bargain for taxpayers. As Laurence Cox writes in a letter to The Guardian, Luxembourg’s monarchy costs each of its 626,000 citizens £27 a year; Norway’s royals cost each Norwegian £4.43 a year; the Dutch monarchy is £2.58 per person; the Danish monarchy £2.42; and the UK monarchy £1.80, less than “a cup of takeaway coffee each year”.


The winners of Rest of World’s first photography competition include snaps of children watching a solar-powered television in the Palestinian cave where they live; a time-lapse of a Taiwanese man’s night-time screen habits during a 14-day quarantine; a Nepalese man listening to music using headphones for the first time; and a woman selling fresh produce in at her Indonesian market stall, holding up a QR code to allow customers to pay online. See the rest here.


If your phone is low on battery at the airport, says 9 to 5 Mac, think twice before using one of those public charging stations. In a practice known as “juice jacking”, hackers install malicious code into those sockets, enabling them to track and steal data from any device plugged into them. The issue is now so rife that the FBI has warned Americans to “completely avoid using public chargers in airports, hotels, and malls”.


It’s the world’s most expensive sandwich. The $214 “Quintessential Grilled Cheese”, from New York’s Serendipty3, is made with French bread infused with Dom Pérignon and edible gold flakes; white truffle butter; and ultra-rare caciocavallo podolico cheese, which is made using the milk of special cows which lactate for just two months a year. Instead of the usual tomato soup, it’s served with a South African lobster bisque for dipping. “Is this level of decadence necessary? Not at all,” says Nicolas Vega in CNBC. “Is it good? Absolutely.”


quoted 14.4.23

“I have flabby thighs, but fortunately my stomach covers them.”

Joan Rivers