Skip to main content
The Knowledge logo

25 January

In the headlines

Scotland Yard has announced it will investigate some of the Downing Street lockdown parties. The probe will cover eight of the 17 events at No 10 where rules were allegedly broken, says the Telegraph. It comes after news that Boris Johnson’s wife threw him a surprise birthday bash in the cabinet room during lockdown in June 2020. There were 30 guests, says The Times, including the Johnsons’ interior designer Lulu Lytle, and a Union Jack cake. Rishi Sunak, who was due to attend a meeting in the room, appeared briefly, but sources say the chancellor had “not been invited”. A 55-year-old from Michigan scooped $3m in the state lottery after finding an email alerting her to the win in her spam folder. Laura Spears says she has now “added the Michigan Lottery to my safe senders list just in case”.



Putin’s posturing is all for show

“There will be no war between Russia and the West,” says former US ambassador to Nato Robert Hunter in the Financial Times. What Vladimir Putin really wants is to “play in the big leagues” – and to be recognised as a player by the US. There’s little chance he ever intended to invade Ukraine, which would only make Russia a “pariah state” for years to come. Frequently overlooked, as western media bang the drums of war, is the fact that Putin has tabled two draft treaties with only the final terms to be worked out. A little dose of international diplomacy would bring a peaceful solution well within reach.


The BBC is “quietly editing” old comedies to remove any jokes that might be perceived as offensive, says The Times. Lines have been scrapped from shows including Dad’s Army and the John Cleese and Bill Oddie radio comedy I’m Sorry, I’ll Read That Again. One example is the word “poofy” being cut from a Steptoe and Son scene in which a character is accused of “carrying on like some poofy Victorian poet”. An anonymous Radio 4 Extra listener has documented the changes, labelling them “woke cuts”.

Staying young

Running backwards burns more calories than going forwards, says InsideHook. And that’s not the only benefit. It improves your balance and spatial awareness, and trains muscles you don’t normally use, including your quads, shins and calves. It’s also great for your knees – unlike normal running – because it strengthens underused muscles and tendons. Shame it looks “goofy” and often involves falling over.



It’s Ye, the rapper formerly known as Kanye West, and his girlfriend Julia Fox at Paris Fashion Week. The couple wore matching double denim at the Kenzo show on Sunday, and yesterday turned up to the Schiaparelli Haute Couture show in matching leather – with Ye, 44, wearing a black head covering. Fox, 31, has rejected claims she is dating the rapper for his money. “Honey, I’ve dated billionaires my entire adult life,” she said on her podcast Forbidden Fruits. “Let’s keep it real.”


Quirk of history

Women and children weren’t necessarily loaded on to the Titanic’s lifeboats first: 323 men escaped the sinking ship, mostly on lifeboats from the starboard (right) side of the boat, where the captain’s “women and children first” rule wasn’t enforced. Another misconception is that the third-class cabins were grim. “The food was excellent and they even had flushing toilets, unheard of for 1912,” historian Claes-Göran Wetterholm tells The Mail on Sunday. “The stewardesses in third class had to teach people how to use them.”

On the money

In the 1990s, 90% of annual shareholder meetings in Japan took place on the same day, says Nikkei Asian Review. Yakuza gangs were prolific blackmailers of corporate executives, so holding the meetings all at once was the only way to prevent racketeers from turning up and reading out the dirt they had on top company men.

Love etc

Anthony Hopkins’s performance as a cannibalistic serial killer in The Silence of the Lambs won him an Oscar – but it also cost him his relationship with Martha Stewart. I had to break up with him because of it, the lifestyle guru told The Ellen Show. “I have a big, scary house in Maine that’s way by itself on 100 acres in the forest, and I couldn’t even imagine taking Anthony Hopkins there. I couldn’t – all I could think of was him eating, you know…”



“The inherent vice of capitalism is the unequal sharing of blessings. The inherent virtue of socialism is the equal sharing of miseries.”

Winston Churchill