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24 May

In the headlines

Boris Johnson has been referred to the police over claims that friends visited him at Chequers during the pandemic. Civil servants gave officers details from the former PM’s ministerial diary, after the entries were found by lawyers preparing his defence for the public inquiry into the pandemic. Rishi Sunak has decided that Suella Braverman did not breach ministerial rules by asking colleagues whether she could attend a private speed awareness course. After discussing the issue with his ethics adviser, the PM judged that an inquiry into the Home Secretary’s actions wasn’t necessary. The best time for sex is 7.30am, says the Daily Mail, according to a new study which asked 1,000 participants how much they enjoyed doing it at different times of day. “Set your alarm!”


The French Martini, a “1990s-era icon”, is finally making a comeback, says Amanda Arnold in Punch. It’s “neither French nor an honest martini”, but a straightforward mixture of vodka, pineapple juice and the raspberry liqueur Chambord. Once a staple of New York’s swankiest establishments, the tipple fell out of favour as bartenders distanced themselves from “candy-like drinks”. For its revival, the cocktail has been given a few tweaks: top bartenders advise adding a sour or spicy element – usually lemon juice or a chilli-infused spirit – to address the “absence of acidity”.

Inside politics

The real winner from the current unrest in France isn’t the left, says The New York Times, but the “far right”. Recent polls show that if last year’s head-to-head presidential election were run now, National Rally leader Marine Le Pen would beat Emmanuel Macron “handily” by 55% to 44%. The far-left leader Jean-Luc Mélenchon, by contrast, has gained a mere one percentage point. Le Pen has won support by positioning herself as the “adult in the room”, condemning street violence (“though never the police’s”) and attacking Macron for “losing the meaning of democracy” by forcing through his reforms.


If you go to Phillip Schofield’s Wikipedia page, says Julie Burchill in The Spectator, you find a line saying: “This article is about the television presenter. For the medieval historian, see Phillipp Schofield.” It makes me wonder what life must be like for “this other PS” – a professor at Aberystwyth University – whenever he wants to, say, book a restaurant table. The same might be said about the novelist Kate Mosse (“You’re not as tall as I’d expected,” a taxi driver once told her), and the late writer Elizabeth Taylor, born 20 years before her more famous namesake. “Men write to me and ask for a picture of me in my bikini,” she said. “My husband thinks I should send one and shake them, but I have not got a bikini.”

Staying young

A new study has found that the “ultimate post-workout snack” is a small block of cheese, says Men’s Journal. According to nutritionists, an 85g wedge encourages the body to synthesise protein cells that help muscles recover faster, avoiding the dreaded next-day achiness. “Recovery tastes Gouda.”


To The Guardian:

Thank you for explaining that, at 1.68trn lb, New York City’s built infrastructure is roughly equivalent in weight to 140 million elephants. That makes it so much easier to visualise.

Mark de Brunner, North Yorkshire


It’s a fake photograph of an explosion near the Pentagon, which briefly sent the US stock market lower after circulating online on Monday. In one of the most high-profile cases yet of AI-generated disinformation affecting the real world, the image first appeared on Facebook, then spread via Twitter accounts including the Kremlin-run media network RT and the financial news site ZeroHedge. The S&P 500 dipped 0.3% while the image was doing the rounds, but rallied when it emerged it was a hoax.


quoted 24.5.23

“Hope is itself a species of happiness, and, perhaps, the chief happiness which this world affords.”

Samuel Johnson