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25 May

In the headlines

Net immigration to the UK hit a record high of 606,000 last year, according to new data from the Office for National Statistics. The figure – roughly equivalent to a city the size of Glasgow – has been boosted by arrivals from outside the EU, and influxes of refugees from Ukraine and Hong Kong. A paralysed man has been able to walk again thanks to AI. The cutting-edge technology trialled by Gert-Jan Oskam, who broke his spinal cord in a motorbike accident 12 years ago, wirelessly transmits his brain activity to electrodes attached to the nerves that control his muscles. Tina Turner has died aged 83. The “Queen of rock ‘n’ roll” overcame a troubled childhood and an abusive relationship with her husband and collaborator, Ike Turner, to have an “astonishing” six-decade career, says The Sun. “You were simply The Best.”


Look at the photos from the Cannes red carpet, says Alice Cary in Vogue, and “you’ll spy bras peeping from the tops of certain celebrities’ dresses”. There was Scarlett Johansson’s bubblegum-pink Prada gown that left the top half of her white bra glinting in the sun; Euphoria star Sydney Sweeney in an “almost white slip” from Miu Miu with a baby-blue bra clearly visible underneath; and Rosie Huntington-Whiteley in a Fendi couture gown with a built-in sparkly bra poking out the top. It’s a “fresh take” on the trend for “totally sheer, underwear-exposing” outfits championed by so many other stars. “Finally, a wearable way to embrace the look without baring all.”

Inside politics

Vladimir Putin has released a new list of Americans sanctioned by the Kremlin, says Andreas Kluth in Bloomberg – and “quite a few of them have nothing whatsoever to do with Russia”. But they do have one thing in common: they’re opponents of Donald Trump. There’s Letitia James, the attorney general of New York, who’s suing the former president for fraud; Georgia’s secretary of state Brad Raffensperger, who resisted when Trump leaned on him to “find” votes to flip the outcome of the 2020 election; and Michael Byrd, the police officer who shot and killed a pro-Trump rioter at the US Capitol on 6 January 2021. “Your enemies are my enemies,” Putin seems to be saying. “And of course he’d quite appreciate Trump returning that favour if he gets back into the White House.”

Tomorrow’s world

Beijing’s commuters can now pay for their journeys with their palms. In what is thought to be a world first, the Chinese capital has introduced a system on one of its metro lines that reads the unique pattern of lines and veins on each person’s palm, then charges the account associated with it. All you have to do, once you’ve registered, is wave your hand over the scanner and the barriers will open. That the system also gives China’s authoritarian government one more way to track its citizens is, presumably, entirely incidental.


British artist Nathan Walsh creates hyper-realistic paintings that capture the shifting perspectives of bustling cities. Each canvas is based on snapshots taken from multiple angles and layered on top of each other, merging different perspectives of city life into the final composition. “The resulting painting has a hallucinatory quality which is ‘neither here nor there’,” Walsh tells My Modern Met. “It exists as a world in transition, between fully formed states.”


Jonathan Franzen really takes his writing seriously, says The Guardian. Back in 2015, the American author admitted that when he was in his forties he considered “adopting an Iraqi war orphan to help him understand young people better”. He said he had felt alienated from the younger generation: “I thought people were supposed to be idealistic and angry. And they seemed kind of cynical and not very angry.” He was talked out of the idea by his editor, who suggested a rather less permanent solution: meeting a group of new university students.


It’s veteran sherpa guide Kami Rita, who has climbed Mount Everest for a record 28th time. The 53-year-old notched up his 27th successful ascent only a week ago, says AP, but that record was almost immediately matched by a rival sherpa, Pasang Dawa. There are only a few days left in the spring climbing season, after which the 8,849-metre peak becomes too dangerous to tackle.


quoted 25.5.23

“Until one has some kind of professional relationship with books, one does not discover how bad the majority of them are.”

George Orwell