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16 May

In the headlines

A fifth of taxpayers will end up in the 40p income tax band due to the government not raising its threshold with inflation, according to the Institute of Fiscal Studies. Until 2028, all income above £50,270 will be taxed at 40% or more, in what will effectively be the biggest tax increase since the 1970s. Britain will back Ukraine’s bid for Nato membership after the war with Russia ends, says the I newspaper. Rishi Sunak made the pledge to Volodymyr Zelensky when the pair met at Chequers yesterday. English children are the “best readers in the Western world”, says The Times. A new global literacy survey involving 43 countries and hundreds of thousands of school pupils ranked England fourth, after Singapore, Hong Kong and Russia.


Stars used to be sniped at for “repeating a look”, says Vogue, but in the age of sustainable fashion it has become something of a red-carpet statement. Famous outfit recyclers include the Princess of Wales, Kate Moss, Jane Fonda, Gwyneth Paltrow and Marion Cotillard. Keira Knightley liked one frothy, pale-pink Chanel dress she wore in 2008 so much that she used it as her wedding gown five years later.

Inside politics

It may be harder than the West thinks to contain Beijing through trade, says Gideon Rachman in the FT. “There are more than 120 countries around the world whose largest trading partner is China – far more than America.”


While Charles Dickens’s writing is now enjoyed “in book form”, says My Modern Met, it was originally published in serialised instalments, either weekly or monthly, accompanied by “detailed illustrations”. On the Charles Dickens Illustrated Gallery website, you can find all the original images – tidied up with Photoshop where necessary – from works including The Pickwick Papers, David Copperfield, Oliver Twist and Martin Chuzzlewit. See the whole collection here.

Global update

The main argument being made against providing Ukraine with F-16 fighter jets is that it would take too long to train their pilots, says The Atlantic. US government officials insist we’d be looking at 18 months at least. But that’s nonsense. Ukraine wouldn’t be educating these guys from scratch – they’d be “experienced MiG-29 and Sukhoi Su-27 pilots” with plenty of combat flying under their belts. Current and former officers from Nato air forces say the training would actually take a few months at most. Equally false is the idea that the Ukrainians wouldn’t be capable of operating this advanced kit. When the West supplied Kyiv with high-tech radars in 2014, the Ukrainians ended up teaching their Nato counterparts how to make better use of the equipment.


The Elizabeth Line has proved remarkably popular since opening a year ago, says The Economist. The cross-London route, which stretches for more than 100km from Reading in Berkshire to Shenfield in Essex, accounts for almost one in six of all the rail journeys taken across the whole of the UK.


It’s 81-year-old American TV chef Martha Stewart, who has become the oldest ever cover model for Sports Illustrated’s annual swimsuit edition. The ex-con kitchen guru, who follows in the footsteps of supermodels Tyra Banks and Elle Macpherson, called the Caribbean photoshoot the “opportunity of a lifetime”. “I don’t think about age very much,” Stewart added in her interview, “but I thought that this is kind of historic, and that I better look really good.”


quoted 16.5.23

“If you always do what interests you, at least one person is pleased.”

Katharine Hepburn