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12 May

In the headlines

“Finland must apply for Nato membership without delay,” the country’s president announced this morning, after meeting with Boris Johnson yesterday to sign a mutual defence pact. The move bucks decades of Cold War neutrality, says the FT, and would more than double the Western alliance’s land border with Russia to 2,600km. Sweden is expected to announce its own application within days. Scotland Yard has issued a further 50 fines for lockdown-breaking parties in government, bringing the total to more than 100. “That makes Downing Street one of the biggest – if not the biggest – rule-breaking venue in Britain,” says ITV’s Paul Brand on Twitter. A woman has been caught eating a bowl of breakfast cereal while driving on a motorway near Edinburgh, says the Daily Star. The “cereal offender” was fined £100.

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Gen Z

Gen Zs are on team Depp

In the trial between Amber Heard and Johnny Depp, you’d expect “ultra-woke” Gen Zs to automatically side with the woman, says The Daily Telegraph. After all, Heard, 36, has accused her 58-year-old ex-husband of domestic and sexual abuse. But Depp denies the allegations – and Gen Zs are firmly in his corner. On TikTok, videos titled #justiceforjohnnydepp have been viewed more than 10 billion times; fans routinely refer to the actress as “Amber Turd”; Instagram is saturated with posts criticising Heard’s clothing, behaviour, and testimony. An online petition demanding the actress’s removal from the upcoming film Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom has been signed by nearly four million people.


It turns out the Queen Mother did a “quite wicked Ali G impression”, says Claire Carusillo in Gawker. One Christmas, the young Princes William and Harry explained Sasha Baron Cohen’s “chav” character to their great-grandmother, and showed her how to do his finger click. Later that day, after Christmas lunch, the Queen Mother stood up, expertly clicked her fingers and declared: “Darling, lunch was marvellous – respec.”

Gone viral

A (thankfully vacant) seafront house in North Carolina has collapsed into the Atlantic Ocean after its foundations were battered away by waves. “Having a property right on the water has its perks,” says Kiro 7 News. This is one of the downsides.

Inside politics

The “Beergate” scandal has produced an enjoyable glut of curry puns from the papers. According to The Sun, Keir Starmer has been “backed into a korma” and given a “prawn baltimatum”. Politico thinks the Labour leader may fall victim to the “korma police”. But The Times reckons it’s all a bunch of “naan-sense”.

Quirk of history

The US policing textbook Preliminary Criminal Investigations includes – for educational purposes – a list of top tips for robbing houses, written by a burglar in the 1950s. Cunning techniques include leaving “a phoney coat button at the scene” to confuse cops, and finding out rich people’s birthdays. “Chances are they have birthday parties downstairs. Then ransack second-floor rooms.” And in case you need to pacify a canine guard? “Dogs love the smell and taste of cinnamon.” Read the full list – purely out of interest, of course – here.

Eating in

YouTube series Hot Ones sees celebrities struggle through interviews while eating chicken wings doused in progressively hotter sauce. Most can’t handle the heat – Idris Elba started choking and crying – but some aren’t as easily fazed. The 25-year-old singer Lorde wolfed down the wings like she was “popping something as mild as marshmallows”, says Eater.


It’s a Stella McCartney handbag made out of mushrooms. “Plant-based leather” is everywhere in fashion, says The Guardian, as designers are desperate to cement their green credentials. McCartney is a particular fan: the Brit designer is also flogging grape skin trainers.


quoted 12.5.22

“History teaches us nothing except that something will happen.”

Historian Hugh Trevor-Roper