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In the headlines

The Tories have “suffered a triple whammy” in local elections in London, says Politico, losing control of Wandsworth, Westminster and Barnet councils. Labour’s success is a “huge symbolic victory” – Wandsworth and Westminster have been in Tory hands for decades. Results are more mixed elsewhere, says Patrick Maguire in The Times, with Labour making only “modest gains” and even a few losses in the Red Wall. Families are set for a “record squeeze”, says the Daily Mail, after the Bank of England’s “bombshell” forecast that in the next year inflation will reach 10% and the UK economy could be tipped into recession. Freshly banged-up Boris Becker might be hired as a TV pundit for this month’s French Open, says the Daily Star. Eurosport is investigating whether a “home studio” can be set up for the “Wimblecon” in HMP Wandsworth.

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The Catholic Church

Putin and the Pope

Just after America’s disastrous withdrawal from Afghanistan last year, says The Wall Street Journal, Pope Francis criticised the war with a quote he attributed to Angela Merkel: “It is necessary to put an end to the irresponsible policy of intervening from outside and building democracy in other countries, ignoring the traditions of the peoples.” The problem was that it wasn’t Mrs Merkel who had said that – it was Vladimir Putin. That gaffe came to mind this week when, in an interview with an Italian newspaper, Francis suggested that Putin invaded Ukraine in part because Nato was “barking at Russia’s gate”. “I have no way of telling whether his rage has been provoked,” mused His Holiness, “but I suspect it was maybe facilitated by the West’s attitude.”

Social media

Twitter isn’t real life, it’s theatre

“Twitter is not the world,” says Jemima Kelly in the FT. Compared to platforms like Facebook and YouTube, which have “billions of active users”, Twitter has just 229 million. They’re richer, more male, more educated, and more left-wing than the average citizen. And most of them barely post at all – in America, a quarter of users account for 97% of tweets. So why do both Twitter’s new owner, Elon Musk, and his critics give the social network such importance? The most common argument is, as Musk puts it, that Twitter is “the digital town square where matters vital to the future of humanity are debated”.

On the way back

Four California condors, members of a giant species once “pushed to the brink of extinction”, have been released into the wild, says the Los Angeles Times. It’s the first time in 130 years that the birds, whose wingspan can reach up to nine and a half feet, have roamed free among some of the planet’s tallest trees in northern California’s redwood forest.

On the money

Robert Samuel, a 46-year-old former mobile phone salesman, gets paid to queue, says The Guardian. He has waited in line for iPhones, theatre tickets, limited-edition hoodies and more – if a client wants something but can’t stomach a days-long queue, they pay him thousands of dollars to do it for them. Before the pandemic, he was trousering £80,000 a year. The Hamilton line was the toughest – the inside of his tent once frosted over while he was waiting – but the hit musical also became Samuel’s “golden goose”. “I feel like I need to cut him a commission check,” he says of Hamilton author Lin-Manuel Miranda.

Inside politics

A leading MP in Emmanuel Macron’s party has been forced to resign, says The Times, after an investigation found she was charging €2,000 a month for underwear and clothes to her parliamentary expenses. Coralie Dubost says she has since reimbursed the government for her pricey undergarments. But the 39-year-old maintains the purchases were justified. “There are parliamentary outfits and personal outfits,” she says. “I do not wear the same clothes in my personal and professional life.”

Eating in

Cheezam, an app designed by French data scientists who felt inspired after a big lunch in Paris, uses AI to identify different varieties of cheese. Feed in a photo of some fromage and it’ll tell you what type it is – and, thanks to a recent update, also recommend a wine pairing. Try out Cheezam here.


They are just a handful of Karl Lagerfeld’s collection of more than 500 iPods, 210 of which sold for €12,000 at auction this week in Cologne. The éminence grise of Chanel, who died in 2019, kept different iPods for different types of music, or sometimes individual artists. According to Pierre Mothes, the Sotheby’s specialist responsible for the sale, Lagerfeld used to say: “I’m the king of the iPods.”


quoted 6.5.22

“I like work. It fascinates me. I can sit and look at it for hours.”

Jerome K Jerome