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21 April

In the headlines

Dominic Raab has resigned from the government. In a far-from-contrite statement, the outgoing deputy prime minister criticised an official report into bullying allegations made against him, saying that “setting the threshold for bullying so low” creates a “dangerous precedent”. Russia has accidentally bombed one of its own cities. A fighter jet struck Belgorod, just east of the Ukrainian border, late yesterday evening, leaving a 60ft-wide crater and hospitalising two residents. Elon Musk’s Starship, the most powerful space rocket ever built, successfully launched yesterday – but blew up less than four minutes into its flight. According to SpaceX officials, the two components of the 390ft spacecraft failed to separate as planned, triggering what they politely called a “rapid unscheduled disassembly”.


With the highly anticipated Barbie movie due to hit cinemas in July, it’s unsurprising that “smack-you-in-the-face pink” is this season’s “official uniform”, says Alicia Lansom in Refinery29. Valentino, Versace and Balenciaga have been churning out clothes in the eye-popping shade, and stars like Lizzo and Anne Hathaway have been embracing the “Barbiecore” style. “In a world filled with bad news and burnout, Barbie girls put fun first.”

On the way out

After 25 years, Netflix is finally ending its original business: posting DVDs in its “signature red envelopes” to subscribers. Though the vast majority of customers now use the service to stream movies and TV, a dedicated minority have doggedly stuck with the physical format, says The Washington Post. It’s handy for those with a dodgy internet connection, and offers cinephiles “older niche titles” that aren’t available online.

Inside politics

The most talked-about Labour politician these days is Rachel Reeves, says Katy Balls in The Times. In recent months the shadow chancellor has sat down with more than 400 chairmen and chief executives – who, worryingly for the Tories, are “climbing over each other” to meet her. “Keir is very pleasant but he doesn’t know how to speak the language,” explains one exec. “Rachel understands what bankers are saying.” When John Smith, one of Reeves’s predecessors, made similar efforts to woo business in the early 1990s, an unimpressed Michael Heseltine dubbed it the “prawn cocktail offensive”. Reeves is more of a morning person, says an ally. “It’s a scrambled eggs and smoked salmon offensive.”

Gone viral

A list of “infrastructure that looks like sci-fi” has racked up more than five million views on Twitter. Futuristic examples include the inside of a liquid natural gas tanker, a neutrino particle detector, Tokyo’s “discharge channel” in case of overflowing rivers, a giant bucket-wheel excavator, and a vast, circular “concentrated solar plant” in the desert. See the rest here.

On the money

After Vladimir Putin’s troops invaded Ukraine last year, says the BBC, Russian vodkas were “quickly removed from shelves around the world”. Pleasingly, it is Ukrainian alternatives that have largely taken their place in the £37.5bn vodka market. Yuriy Sorochynskiy says he is “filled with immense pride” that his Nemiroff spirit, distilled 150 miles southwest of Kyiv, has seen sales soar since the invasion, thanks to customers abroad choosing it “out of solidarity with Ukraine”. Budmo!


It’s a football shirt signed by Lisandro Martínez, an Argentinian Manchester United player – the perfect present for the football-mad Argentinian pontiff. His Holiness was presented with the gift during a visit to the Vatican by Andy Burnham, the mayor of Greater Manchester, and other regional leaders to discuss climate change. But as one of the football club’s fan accounts tweeted: “Wonder if the Pope is aware we’re called the Red Devils.”


Quoted 21.04.23

“If there were no bad people, there would be no good lawyers.”

Charles Dickens