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27 April


Russia has threatened to attack the West, accusing it of waging a “proxy war” against Moscow. The Kremlin’s top diplomat, Sergei Lavrov, says Nato is “pouring oil on the fire” by supplying heavy weapons to Ukraine, and warns “there can be no winners in a nuclear war”. Moscow has also cut off gas supplies to Poland and Bulgaria, and threatened to do the same for other “unfriendly” countries. Andriy Yermak, chief of staff to Ukraine’s Volodymyr Zelensky, says Russia is “beginning the gas blackmail of Europe”. A lottery-winning granny says she is “addicted” to donating money to charity. Frances Connolly, a 55-year-old former teacher from Northern Ireland, has given away more than half the £115m jackpot she won in 2019. “It gives you a buzz,” she says. “Who needs all that money?”

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The safest way to end the Ukraine war

There’s a growing “Ukraine-victory lobby” that stretches from the US to Finland and Downing Street, says Edward Luttwak in UnHerd. It wants to supply Kyiv with enough military muscle to expel Moscow’s troops from every square inch of Ukraine. But the idea that Russia would accept a “conventional” military defeat is nonsense – and dangerous. Unless nuclear weapons are suddenly “un-invented”, Vladimir Putin will always have that threat to dangle if he thinks he’s losing. There have already been dangerous moments. When Ukraine sunk the Russian warship Moskva, an American reconnaissance aircraft was flying nearby – a perfect excuse, if Putin wanted one, to accuse the US of “complicity” and escalate his military response.

Elon Musk

Musk’s Twitter takeover is “lethal”. Really?

The meltdown of liberal bedwetters over Elon Musk buying Twitter is “my favourite world event of 2022 so far”, says Brendan O’Neill in The Spectator. Max Boot of The Washington Post declared he was “frightened by the impact on society and politics”. On the day Musk’s bid was announced, City University of New York professor Jeff Jarvis reckoned Twitter felt like “the last evening in a Berlin nightclub at the twilight of Weimar Germany”. Musk’s Twitter takeover is so bad it’s “lethal”, opined The Guardian’s George Monbiot. Really?

On the way in

Victoria’s Secret has recruited its first male “ambassador”: Darren Barnet, who stars in the Netflix comedy-drama Never Have I Ever. The 31-year-old American is modelling the lingerie company’s first “Gender Free” collection, full of non-skimpy items like tracksuit bottoms and t-shirts. Victoria’s Secret say they chose him because he’s a “positive role model for teens and young adults”. Thank God for that, says Sarah Hagi in Gawker. “I was so scared they chose him because he is totally gorgeous.”

Love etc

In many spider species, females eat the males after sex. But not the male Philoponella prominens. Spider boffins have discovered that these canny arachnids have a springy joint in their front legs that allows them to vault away from their partner immediately after bonking. Female Philoponella prominens find this jump incredibly attractive, says National Geographic. If the males can perform the move regularly, they are more likely to be considered for future romantic assignations.


“There’s something beautiful about abandoned places,” says Popular Mechanics. They are undoubtedly “haunting”, but there’s a “mysterious beauty” in their neglect. Top wrecks (pictured above) include a half-submerged prison in Rummu, Estonia; an overgrown fishing village on the island of Gouqi in China; Florida’s “dome home”, a one-time luxury development destroyed by hurricanes; and the Maunsell Forts off the English coast, initially designed to protect Kent from the Nazis and later used for broadcasting pirate radio.

Tomorrow’s world

If you’ve ever had an idea for a new emoji, says Wired, “now’s your chance”. The Unicode Consortium – the non-profit group that oversees the official emoji lexicon – has opened submissions for the latest batch of new symbols. Pictured above are 10 ideas that have been accepted in recent years. The Consortium suggests avoiding “trendy” emojis that will soon become outdated, and forbids direct references to “specific people, buildings, landmarks, companies, or deities”. For the full list of rejected submissions, which include a ukulele, a haggis and an angry poo, click here.


The Ukrainian town of Fontanka is renaming one of its streets after Boris Johnson, in honour of the help the UK has provided in the war with Russia. But the PM probably shouldn’t see it as too big a compliment, says The Independent. The road in question, currently named after the Russian poet and playwright Vladimir Mayakovsky, is “a single-track country lane with overgrown vegetation”.


It’s the “world’s loneliest home”, says the New York Post. Duck Ledges Island in Wohoa Bay, Maine is a 1.5-acre outcrop with a small clapboard cottage, an outdoor loo and nothing else. It’s on the market for $339,000 but prospective buyers must spend a night there first, to prove they can cope with the isolation. It’s a test the island’s current owner imposed on his daughter before she got married. He made the bride-to-be and her fiancé spend a night there without their mobile phones, “to find out who each other really is”.


quoted 27.4.22

“There cannot be a crisis next week. My schedule is already full.”

Henry Kissinger