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24 February

In the headlines

“We have no doubt that we will win,” President Zelensky has told Ukrainians in an address marking the first anniversary of Russia’s invasion. Rishi Sunak will today urge Nato members to supply Kyiv with ex-Soviet fighter planes, and renew his offer to replace any combat aircraft Poland donates to Ukraine with British Typhoon jets. Food prices are rising at a 16.7% annual rate, more than five points higher than last year’s “peak” overall inflation, says BBC News. A 500g bag of pasta now costs almost double what it did two years ago; oven chips are up 45%. Ben & Jerry’s ice cream is being reformulated so that it won’t melt in warmer temperatures. The frozen treat currently has to be kept at -18C; sweet-toothed boffins are working to knock six degrees off. Less frosty freezers would slash owner Unilever’s carbon footprint by up to 30%.


Green-fingered Japanese artist Azuma Makoto arranges colourful flowers and foliage on a frozen lake, before dousing them with water which freezes into thousands of dangling icicles. Makoto has to work through the night, says Colossal, waiting until temperatures reach their lowest so that the liquid freezes almost instantly. Come morning, the sun reveals his finished composition, and “by design, ultimately melts it”.

On the money

Britain’s anti-money laundering measures may need beefing up, says the FT. When Yevgeny Prigozhin – boss of Russia’s brutal Wagner mercenary group – hired a London law firm to help him sue UK journalist Eliot Higgins in 2021, he passed the company’s obligatory background checks by submitting a gas bill in the name of his 81-year-old mother. At the time Prigozhin was under sanctions by the US, EU and UK, and had been placed on the FBI’s most wanted list of international fugitives. The case was thrown out of court.


Releasing a movie is not just releasing a movie, says The Hollywood Reporter. Each film has to be repackaged into different versions, languages and files for specific types of cinemas and regions. For Avatar: The Way of Water, creators produced a whopping 1,065 editions, including 2D, 3D, HDR, and 4K, varying light levels and aspect ratios, subtitles in 51 languages and 28 dubbed languages. In the five days before release, technicians were frantically checking 800 edits of the three-hour-long film.

Eating in

The world’s most popular cuisine – based on social media engagement, at least – is Korean. Famed for dishes like bibimbap, kimchi and, of course, Korean chicken wings, the country’s culinary style topped a list compiled by the travel firm The Bucket List Company. More conventional favourites Italian and Mexican came second and third, with Indian, Vietnamese and Turkish also making the top ten.

Inside politics

Never Give an Inch, the new memoir from likely Republican presidential candidate Mike Pompeo, debuted at number three on the New York Times hardback non-fiction chart. This might have something to do with the fact that Champion American Values, Pompeo’s campaign group, spent $42,000 on bulk orders the day the book was published. It then bought Facebook ads in which Pompeo says: “Even The New York Times admits that my new book is a must-read!”


Anti-war activists yesterday created a 500 sq m Ukrainian flag directly outside the Russian Embassy, on London’s Bayswater Road, by spilling 170 litres of yellow paint on the eastbound lane and a similar amount of blue paint on the westbound side. The rogue artists said they used “non-toxic, solvent-free, eco-friendly, fast-dry edible paint designed for making road art”.



“It is better to offer no excuse than a bad one.”

George Washington