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In the headlines

Russia launched its first attack on the city of Lviv in western Ukraine this morning, destroying a building used to repair aircraft. But the UK’s Ministry of Defence says Russian forces have made “minimal progress” this week, largely because of a failure to supply frontline troops with essential fuel and food. Joe Biden will talk to Xi Jinping for the first time since November today. Officials say the US president will warn his Chinese counterpart against providing Vladimir Putin with military support. P&O Ferries abruptly sacked 800 crew members over Zoom with immediate effect yesterday, in order to replace them with cheaper overseas workers. “What a bunch of anchors,” says The Sun.



Letting Biden off the hook

If you think of The New York Times as a fair, impartial news source – no fear, no favour, that sort of thing – think again, says the New York Post. In October 2020, a month before the US election, we reported that Joe Biden’s son Hunter may have leveraged his father’s position to pursue business deals in Europe and Asia. Not only that, but he did so without registering with the government or declaring all his income. “All legitimate topics of discussion about a presidential candidate’s family, no?” Not according to The New York Times. Its editors pooh-poohed the bombshell from day one, happily swallowing the line from the Biden camp that this was an unsubstantiated non-story.


A “uniquely Conservative” way to welcome refugees

After a slow start, says Tom Harwood in The New Statesman, the UK government has knocked it out of the park with its Homes for Ukraine scheme. More than 120,000 people signed up to open their homes to Ukrainian refugees in the first day alone. Counterintuitive as it might sound, this is a “uniquely Conservative way to welcome refugees”. Instead of relying on inefficient government services that result in “ghettoised communities, isolation, and cost to the taxpayer”, the scheme rests on the belief that the individual and the family are the “best units to provide support to those in need”.

Love etc

Growing numbers of women are getting married to a very special someone: themselves. So-called “sologamy” isn’t legally binding, says Insider – you don’t get any tax breaks, and you don’t have to divorce yourself if you one day want to marry someone else. But the weddings are often very traditional: white dress, cake, plenty of tears. “If someone has achieved something so important as self-love and self-compassion, then it’s definitely worth celebrating,” says 55-year-old Roberta Lyndall Fincham, who married herself last July. “Why should couples have all the fun?”


It’s only been eight months since the 14-year run of Keeping Up with the Kardashians ended, and the Californian clan are already back on screens with a new show. The Kardashians looks exactly like the original, says The Cut, but the tone is rather more sinister. In the past, episodes centred on sisterly squabbles. Now, the trailer shows matriarch Kris quoting The Godfather: “Never go against the family.” Later, daughter Kim is seen telling someone on the phone: “We have all the time and all the resources to burn them all to the f***ing ground.”


If you’ve got your eyes on winning Best in Show at Crufts, choose your breed carefully. Since the prize was first awarded in 1928, English cocker spaniels have had the most wins, with seven. That’s almost double the number of the next most successful: the Irish setter, standard poodle and Welsh terrier all have four rosettes apiece. But don’t expect it to make you rich. Despite the fierce canine competition (around 20,000 dogs take part in Crufts) and significant media interest (Channel 4 broadcasts proceedings live), the prize money is a paltry £100.


quoted 18.3

“Man is the only animal that blushes. Or needs to.”

Mark Twain

Quirk of history

For a sense of just how long 81-year-old Democratic bigwig Nancy Pelosi has been on the political scene, says writer Benjamin Braddock on Twitter, here she is at John F Kennedy’s inauguration in 1961. Pelosi, now the Speaker of the House of Representatives, was 20; she attended the event because her father was a Democratic politician.


It’s a hawk guarding solar panels in Japan. Crows have been attacking solar plants by flying over them and dropping stones. The most effective way to keep them at bay is good old-fashioned falconry – one specially trained bird making 60 attack sorties a day can defend 100,000 solar panels from menacing crows.