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27 April

In the headlines

Sinn Fein’s Northern Irish leader, Michelle O’Neill, has been invited to attend the King’s coronation, as has deputy Chinese president Han Zheng. O’Neill, who has already accepted, hails from a prominent IRA family, says the Daily Mail, and Han masterminded the crackdown on civil rights in Hong Kong. It’s enough “to put you off your Coronation quiche”. Andrew Bridgen has been expelled from the Conservative Party for saying Covid vaccines were the “biggest crime against humanity since the Holocaust”. The MP, who has repeatedly questioned the safety of the jabs, has been accused of “promoting false propaganda” by House of Commons leader Penny Mordaunt. “Blessed are the singletons,” says The Times, for Jesus was single too. That’s the position of a new Church of England report, which says unattached worshippers shouldn’t be viewed as lesser beings than those in relationships. After all, flying solo “was good enough for the Son of God”.

Staying young

There’s no shortage of tips on how to run faster, says The Times, from “anti-chafe shorts and plant-based diets” to “barefoot training and energy gels”. But at the London Marathon on Sunday, some runners could be spotted trying a new trick: “keeping their mouth firmly shut” and breathing only through their nose. According to “breathwork gurus”, the practice is “more efficient at diffusing oxygen around the body”, and may help “filter pollution” before it reaches the lungs.

Inside politics

Attacks on democracy aren’t always as dramatic as military coups, says Ayesha Hazarika in the Evening Standard. New laws introduced by the Tories ahead of next week’s local elections require voters to have photo ID to cast their ballot. “If you don’t have it, you go home.” This is ostensibly to prevent voter fraud, but there is zero evidence that is a problem here in Britain. And the 2.1 million people likely to be affected are mostly ethnic minorities, renters, and younger and poorer people – all of whom tend to vote Labour. Case in point: travel passes for the elderly count as ID, but those for the young do not. “Hmm, wonder why?”


In the 1930s, spectators at golf tournaments were allowed to sprint on to the green and try to grab the ball after the final putt of the game. The clip above, from the 1937 PGA Championship, shows fans muscling in to get their hands on three-time major champion Denny Shute’s ball after his winning shot.


Federico Italiano has compiled a series of photos depicting the “unintentional dystopian beauty of oil rigs”. They include Norway’s Troll A, Draugen, Brage and Heidrun platforms; Franklin Field out in the North Sea; and Russia’s Berkut platform, the largest oil rig in the world, specially designed for the harsh subarctic conditions found in the Sea of Okhotsk. See the rest here.


Employees at The Sunday Times received an urgent email this week, says The Fence. “Samples of the ‘world’s most expensive chocolate’, which are needed for an article, have gone missing from the fridge,” it read. “If anyone has them please return ASAP – their value speaks for itself.” The message went on to remind staff, rather ominously, that “the office does have CCTV if required”. So far, no culprit has been identified.


It’s a lamb that Scottish police found on the back seat of a car alongside £10,000 worth of drugs and a bag of chips. Officers pulled over the vehicle near Glasgow on Saturday night and PD Billy, a sniffer dog, snuffled out £7,000-worth of cocaine and £3,000 of heroin. Two men in their 50s were charged with drug offences, and the unfortunate ungulate is now in the care of a local farmer. Police Scotland say “enquiries are continuing to establish how it ended up in the car”.


quoted 27.4.23

“I take care to only travel on Italian ships. In the event of disaster, there is none of that nonsense about women and children first.”

Noël Coward