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18 January

In the headlines

Boris Johnson should resign if he knowingly misled parliament about the lockdown-busting party in the Downing Street garden, Justice Secretary Dominic Raab told Good Morning Britain. Dominic Cummings, the PM’s former top aide, says he is prepared to “swear under oath” that he talked to Johnson about the “bring your own booze” event before it took place, a claim No 10 has denied. The UK has sent “troops and hi-tech weapons” to Ukraine, says the Mail, in a bid to thwart a feared Russian invasion. Defence Secretary Ben Wallace warned MPs that a “very, very bloody war” could be imminent. Police had to break up a hotel drinking session involving England and Australia cricketers at 6am yesterday morning. The players, still in their whites after the final game of the Ashes, were told they were being “too loud” and ordered to go to bed.


Dominic Cummings

Johnson is the target of a coup

Boris Johnson deserves little sympathy over Partygate, says Dan Hodges in The Mail on Sunday. But it’s time we acknowledged an important point: the prime minister is “facing a coup”. Specifically, he is being targeted in a “meticulously planned” putsch by his former aide Dominic Cummings. It was the PM’s “arch nemesis” who first revealed that a party took place in Downing Street in May 2020. He’s also responsible for countless other “leaks and steers about other parties and Covid indiscretions”. Cummings openly admits he is trying to oust Johnson from office. He wants revenge, and thinks Johnson is “squandering the opportunities provided by his Brexit and general election triumphs”.


Vladimir Putin has saved Nato

Vladimir Putin may well have saved Nato, says Gérard Araud in Le Point. When the Soviet Union fell apart in 1991, the organisation became an alliance without an enemy. Besides a couple of missions in the Balkans to stop “inter-ethnic unrest”, its “raison d’être” gradually disappeared. Donald Trump, echoing public opinion, “marvelled that the United States was prepared to wage war for Montenegro”, and questioned why America was paying to protect rich European countries that weren’t making proper contributions of their own. Emmanuel Macron labelled the bloc “brain dead” and pushed for the EU to go its own way and build “strategic autonomy” from the US.

Tomorrow’s world

There’s an innovative solution for people who feel overwhelmed by their inbox: “slow email”. With the Pony Messenger app, you can send or receive emails just once a day – it’s essentially a postman and post box for the digital age. I’m a fan, says Ian Bogost in The Atlantic. Pony offers a “somewhat novel way of doing one specific thing online slightly more deliberately than you did before. If a thousand such flowers were to bloom, perhaps the internet’s landscape would become more humane.”


I think “joots” – a “magical combination” of jeans and boots – might be the best idea humans have had in years, says Emilia Petrarca in The Cut. “Maybe ever.” The garment is a new favourite with celebrities like Kim Kardashian. Think of all the time and worry we will save now we no longer have to bother matching our shoes to our trousers.


It’s Hitler, depicted as Satan in a stained-glass window in the German town of Weil der Stadt. More than a dozen German churches still display images of the dictator, says The Times. Some are complimentary – in one he is a crucified figure on a cross next to Christ – but others were surreptitiously “mocking the Führer during the Third Reich”.

Quirk of history

Claude Monet’s haystack paintings from the 1890s are among the impressionist’s most famous works. But not everyone was a fan. “Apparently,” says Waldemar Januszczak in the BBC documentary Monet – The French Revolutionary, “the local peasants, who didn’t like Monet or modern art, would demolish their haystacks early on purpose, just to annoy him.”

On the money

TikTok’s biggest stars now earn more than America’s leading chief executives. Charli D’Amelio, a 17-year-old with 133.7 million followers, made £12.8m last year. The median pay for top CEOs was a meagre £9.6m. But the real money remains on YouTube: 23-year-old Jimmy Donaldson, aka MrBeast, earned £39m from videos of his elaborate stunts last year.

Eating in

Pizza hasn’t always been popular in Italy, says Karima Moyer-Nocchi in Food52. The dish evolved as a street food in Naples, where many locals were too poor to have kitchens or cutlery. As a result, pizza had a decidedly undesirable reputation. It was only after World War Two, when Italy saw mass migration from south to north, that it became a country-wide delicacy. When I interviewed Italian women in their 90s for a book, “none of them had eaten pizza before 1960. For them, it was like a foreign food.”


quoted 18.1

“Rupert Grint has said that he likens ‘JK Rowling to an auntie — I don’t necessarily agree with everything my auntie says, but she’s still my auntie’. It’s so sweet. I am sure next time I hang my own auntie out to dry at the hands of a baying hate mob for callous reasons of professional opportunism and deep moral cowardice, I will think of Rupert Grint, and smile. Like a wolf.”

Giles Coren, in The Times