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17 January

In the headlines

The Met police has been “engulfed in crisis”, says the I newspaper, after firearms officer David Carrick admitted to more than 80 sex offences, including 48 rapes, over two decades. Senior officers dismissed nine separate reports of predatory behaviour by Carrick, 48, who was known by colleagues as “Bastard Dave”. Westminster has blocked a controversial bill in Scotland that would have made it easier for young people to change their legal gender, in what Nicola Sturgeon called a “full-frontal attack” on Scottish democracy. The government says the legislation, which would have allowed people to transition without a medical diagnosis, conflicts with UK equality laws. A Cotswolds-made sauvignon blanc has been hailed the “best in the world” in the £20-£30 unoaked category at an international wine competition. Woodchester Valley’s 2021 vintage was described by judges at the Global Sauvignon Blanc Masters Awards as “very engaging… perfect for matching with asparagus or goat’s cheese”.


A long war suits Ukraine, not Russia

Despite Russia’s many failures since its invasion of Ukraine, says Phillips Payson O’Brien in The Atlantic, the “underlying assumption” remains that Moscow’s chances of victory increase the longer the war goes on. In reality, the reverse is true. Yes, the Kremlin can call up plenty of reluctant conscripts. But those troops will be totally ineffective without proper equipment – and that’s in short supply. Russia has already lost at least 1,600 tanks, eight times more than it usually produces in a year. With Western sanctions crippling manufacturing capacity, Moscow “will have to take more and more equipment out of storage”. Some soldiers are already being carted around in Soviet-era vehicles; even elite airborne units are using shonky old kit. Russia’s forces, in short, are getting weaker and weaker.

Gone viral

This video showing how high you could jump on different planets and moons in the solar system – thanks to the varying force of gravity on each astral body – has racked up almost three million views on Twitter. Watch the full clip here.

On the money

Goldman Sachs laid off 3,200 workers last week, says Sam Leith in The Spectator, some with as little as half an hour’s notice. In doing so, the investment bank hasn’t just saved itself the cost of their salaries. Investors were so impressed by the mass cull that they sent the stock price soaring, boosting the firm’s market cap by around $3.3bn. That’s “a bit more than a million dollars of value added per employee sacked”.


Moviedle is an online game where you have to identify a film that has been sped up to a one-second clip. After each failed guess, you can make the clip one second longer – but you only get six tries per day. Have a go yourself here.


The colour of 2023 was supposed to be Viva Magenta, says Grazia, but a very different trend is emerging: “vanilla”. It involves wearing a “sumptuous” colour palette of milk white, panna cotta cream and, “if you’re feeling adventurous”, biscuit brown. The low-key style is already a favourite on TikTok: videos tagged #VanillaGirl have racked up 350 million views. But now Hollywood stars are jumping on board – at last weekend’s Critics’ Choice Awards, Anya Taylor-Joy sported a neutral scalloped Dior frock, while both Niecy Nash-Betts and Elle Fanning wore gowns the colour of a frothy latte. “Delicious all round.”


Following the news that Boris Johnson is to publish his memoirs, the FT’s Henry Mance asked his Twitter followers what the book should be called. Top suggestions include Etonment, Lying in State, and Crime and No Punishment.


It’s the famous “Invisible House” in Joshua Tree National Park, California, which has come on the market for $18m. The 5,500 sq ft ultra-minimal home is wrapped in mirrored glass, so at certain angles it seems to vanish among the desert’s rugged surroundings. The hi-tech heat-reflective surface not only moderates the property’s internal temperature, it also generates electricity and heats water. The most dramatic element: three of the glass walls are entirely retractable, allowing residents to open the property to the surrounding Mojave Desert. See more photos here.


quoted 17.1.23

“It’s not that we have a short time to live, but that we waste a lot of it.”