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16 March

In the headlines

The reaction to the Budget in today’s papers is a “mishmash”, says Politico. Jeremy Hunt’s freeze on fuel duty gets a “Tanks a lot!” from The Sun, while The Guardian labels his removal of the £1.07m cap on tax-free pension savings a “giveaway for the 1%”. The I newspaper leads on the “stealth 4p rise in income tax”, with nearly six million people paying a combined £29.3bn more a year because tax bands are not rising with inflation. Credit Suisse has secured a £45bn loan from Switzerland’s central bank to shore up its finances. The firm, which hasn’t been profitable since 2020, had reported “material weakness” in its accounts. A Japanese fertiliser company has grown the world’s heaviest radish, says The Sun. The 45kg vegetable, which was harvested and weighed in Hiroshima, easily “beet the rest”.

On the money

Peter Gabriel was once arrested on suspicion of terrorism. It happened in 1977, when his band – dressed in military fatigues and hoodies – parked up outside a bank in Switzerland to make a phone call. Passers-by thought they were the Baader-Meinhof gang and called the police, who arrived armed with machine guns. They discovered “the tour manager’s briefcase, which was full of cash”, Gabriel tells Uncut. “Then they found a drawing of how to get into the gig, which they thought was how to get into the bank.” Only after several hours of questioning – and an impromptu performance to prove their musical credentials – were the band released.

Gone viral

This video of Polish pilot Luke Czepiela landing a plane on the tiny, 27-metre-wide helipad on Dubai’s Burj Al Arab hotel has racked up more than 650,000 views on YouTube. To make the feat possible, engineers had to remove parts of the aircraft to reduce its weight to just 425kg, and move the main fuel tank to the rear to allow for more aggressive braking. After 650 practice attempts on the ground, Czepiela brought the plane to a halt with six metres to spare. Watch the full clip here.

On the money

Silicon Valley Bank has joined an illustrious group, points out Ian Bremmer on Twitter – it is the latest multi-billion-dollar US hype-machine to collapse catastrophically after being celebrated by Forbes magazine. Just three days before it was declared insolvent, SVB tweeted that it was “proud to be on Forbes’ annual ranking of America’s Best Banks for the fifth straight year”. Previous examples of the Forbes curse include Theranos’s fraudulent founder Elizabeth Holmes, WeWork’s slimy CEO Adam Neumann, and, most recently, the crypto conman Sam Bankman-Fried.


Joe Biden has just granted the oil company ConocoPhillips approval for a massive new drilling project in Alaska. But the permafrost there is melting at such a rate that the equipment might get damaged, so engineers are having to install cooling mechanisms to keep it frozen. Artificially chilling the Arctic in order to pump out more climate-warming oil, says Elizabeth Kolbert in The New Yorker – that really is “the perfect metaphor for our time”.


It’s Bengal Tiger Van, a 2018 work by British-Indian artist Chila Kumari Singh Burman, which Rishi Sunak has plucked from the government art collection to hang in his Downing Street flat. Singh Burman created the piece in homage to her father, who was an ice cream salesman for 30 years. He “wouldn’t believe” his van would one day make it onto the walls of No 10, she tells the Evening Standard.


Quoted 16.3.23

“Fools learn from experience. I prefer to learn from the experience of others.”

Otto von Bismarck