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25 May

In the headlines

America is reeling from its worst school shooting since Sandy Hook in 2012. Nineteen children, aged between seven and 10, and two adults were killed by a lone gunman at the Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas. “Why are we willing to live with this carnage?” said Joe Biden in an emotional speech. Sue Gray’s Partygate report, which slates the “failures of leadership and judgement” in No 10, has finally been published in full. The 37-page document details Downing Street staffers being sick, getting into a fight and sneering at a security guard who asked them to stop partying. The BBC has apologised for broadcasting messages reading “Manchester United are rubbish” and “Weather rain everywhere” on its news channel ticker yesterday. The gaffe was blamed on a trainee who accidentally published practice news alerts.


The faction Putin should fear most

says Andrew Ryvkin in Air Mail. They’re “militant Russian ultra-nationalists” who support the Ukraine war but think it’s being fought atrociously. Aleksandr Sladkov, a military-linked Russian reporter in Ukraine’s breakaway Donbas region, has labelled the war effort “shamefully indecisive”. A social media channel linked to Russian mercenaries has declared: “Either there will be a mass mobilisation, or we lose the war.” Combine that with the Kremlin’s “silent acceptance” of Sweden and Finland joining Nato, and you have a regime that, to ultra-nationalists, “is unfit for its own vision of Russia”.

Body positivity

What women really want

lie down, says Bryony Gordon in The Daily Telegraph. According to Victoria Beckham, you’d be wrong: “thankfully for the world’s headline writers”, what women really want is a “nice, round, curvy bottom”. The 48-year-old’s new-fangled desire for a buxom backside is being applauded as a liberating, feminist statement. For years, her super-skinny frame was a “national obsession”: tabloids speculated about how many edamame beans she indulged in, and whether her waist was, as rumoured, only 23 inches. But now, apparently being thin is “old-fashioned”. And, helpfully, curvaceousness complements the designer’s new clothing line. (“The curvier you are, the better my VB dresses look,” she says.)

Eating in

Good luck trying to make the new “platinum pudding” for the jubilee weekend. The time-consuming trifle takes around three hours to create and demands bakers whip up their own jelly, prepare a chunky mandarin coulis, and even construct some “jewelled chocolate bark”. In the BBC’s official recipe, there are 31 ingredients and 11 steps.

Love etc

The best way to prevent heartbreak – according to TikTokers, at least – is to avoid men whose names begin with J. Users have been making videos warning: “If his name starts with J, better stay the hell away.” And it seems celebrities aren’t immune to the J-curse: Taylor Swift and Olivia Rodrigo have written savage break-up albums inspired by heartbreakers Jake Gyllenhaal and Joshua Bassett respectively. “If you’re a decent man” cursed with the J-label, says Girlfriend Magazine, “perhaps it’s time to go by your middle name”.


When Stephen Fry met Princess Margaret, he casually mentioned that his ancestor, the parliamentarian John Fry, was among those who signed Charles I’s death warrant. Hearing this, Margaret stabbed his leg with a fork and said: “There, we’ve got some of our own back.”

Gone viral

Kourtney Kardashian and Travis Barker’s third wedding this weekend in Portofino, Italy was “an extravagant goth affair” apparently sponsored by Dolce & Gabbana, says Mia Mercado in The Cut. But the highlight of the celeb-packed extravaganza was a video of Kendall Jenner, in an incredibly restrictive dress, valiantly struggling to ascend a flight of stairs. “Oh, shit,” murmurs the supermodel, as she takes slow, awkward steps. “These stairs are crazy.” She looks like a dog trying to get socks off its feet. “I love it.”

Staying young

If you go to the doctor in France for pretty much any ailment – from arthritis to constipation, frostbite to gum disease – the doctor can prescribe you with a three-week stay at a thermal spa, says The New Yorker. The 21-day course is available at 113 accredited venues, with treatment including “mineral water, mud and steam from naturally occurring hot springs”. Best of all, the government will stump up 65% of the cost, thanks to a 1947 law proclaiming a “right” to thermal treatment. And the French lap it up: around 600,000 had a spa prescription in 2019.


It’s a bird’s eye view of Manhattan photographed from a helicopter by Andrew Griffiths. Posted on Twitter by @SpaceHub_SL, the striking image has picked up more than 180,000 likes.


quoted 25.5

“In order to achieve the impossible, one must attempt the absurd.”

Miguel de Cervantes