Skip to main content
The Knowledge logo

8 April

In the headlines

Rishi Sunak thinks he is the victim of a “political hit job” over his wife’s “non-dom” tax status, says The Times. The suspicion in Westminster is that No 10 is undermining the Chancellor in order to firm up Boris Johnson’s position. If Sunak “no longer looks like a sure thing” to succeed the PM, says Gaby Hinsliff in The Guardian, Tory MPs will be reluctant to risk triggering a leadership election. Dozens of civilians have been killed in a rocket attack on a train station in eastern Ukraine. The mayor of Kramatorsk says 4,000 people were at the station at the time of the strike. Pink Floyd have released their first new song in 28 years. Hey Hey Rise Up features singing from Andriy Khlyvnyuk, a Ukrainian musician-turned-soldier, and all proceeds will go towards humanitarian relief for Ukraine. Listen here.

Get The Knowledge in your inbox

signup box

We scour the world’s media sources and bring you the best – all in one place. Sign up to our five minute daily newsletter here.



The misery of China’s zero-Covid policy

“We’re being driven mad,” said Zhu Weiping, a senior official at Shanghai’s Centre for Disease Control. “Nobody is listening to us. They’ve politicised this disease.” Her candid remarks about China’s zero-Covid policy were recorded and went viral last week, her desperation resonating with people across the country who are “at their wits’ end” over the government’s handling of the pandemic, says Cindy Yu in The Spectator. “Shanghai is buckling: the Covid chaos there is the worst China has seen since Wuhan in 2020.”


Can Le Pen beat Macron?

Marine Le Pen is getting “too close for comfort” for Emmanuel Macron in this month’s French presidential election, says Giorgio Leali in Politico. The first round of voting is on Sunday; in one new survey of preferences for the second round, where the top two candidates go head to head, Macron is just 2% in front of the far-right leader. When Russia invaded Ukraine, Macron “seemed unstoppable” – he looked like the only candidate with enough foreign affairs experience to shepherd France through the crisis. But for all his long phone calls with Vladimir Putin and hobnobbing with world leaders, Macron has “barely hit the campaign trail”, even refusing to take part in traditional TV debates.

Inside politics

Long before Lyndon B Johnson became US president, the first woman he proposed to turned him down because her father had told her: “That Johnson boy is never going to amount to anything.” It clearly rankled. Whenever he flew to his Texas ranch from the White House, Johnson made a point of landing outside this woman’s home. “The whole house would shake with Marine One landing,” says George Osborne, who found the story while writing a recent essay about the president. “Just to remind her that, yes, this Johnson did amount to something.”

Gone viral

The family of the late rapper Goonew (real name Markelle Morrow) has been criticised for seemingly displaying his propped-up corpse at a memorial event in a Washington DC club. They reasoned that Goonew, who was shot and killed last month, didn’t want to be buried in a suit, and didn’t attend church, says The Independent – so “it would be inappropriate to have him in a casket”.

Staying young

Those who dismiss Wordle as a fad would do well to heed the century-old advice of the Chicago Department of Health, says Zocalo. In 1924, it prescribed doing crosswords for “general health and happiness”. The “slim bulletin” it released on the subject, titled Crossworditis, stated that “part of our lives and much energy must be put into amusement, to satisfy the play instinct within us”.


The word happiness comes from the Old Norse word hap, which meant “chance, luck, fortune or fate”, says The Atlantic. That’s why we have words like perhaps, haphazard, and hapless. And it’s not just English – across every Indo-European language, going right back to ancient Greek, the word for happiness is related to the word for luck. Our language “seems to be telling us something about existence”.

Data update

The most trusted media organisation in the US is The Weather Channel. In YouGov’s most recent poll – which ranks outlets by the percentage point difference between those who trust them and those who don’t – the BBC comes second. Bottom of the pile are right-wing Breitbart and Fox News, and left-wing MSNBC.


It’s a pre-made apology note from ninth-century China to express regret for drunken misbehaviour at a dinner party, says Shaun Usher in Letters of Note. So many people made fools of themselves in the city of Dunhuang, it seems, that a local “Bureau of Etiquette” produced off-the-peg apology templates that the sore-headed could sign and hand, “with heads bowed, to disappointed dinner hosts”.


quoted 8.4.22

“Perhaps in response to Western sanctions against Putin’s daughters, the Kremlin will sanction Boris Johnson’s children and we’ll find out how many of them there are?”

Author Oliver Bullough on Twitter