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27 March

In the headlines

Israel’s PM Benjamin Netanyahu is expected to scrap controversial judicial reforms after violent demonstrations broke out across the country last night. Thousands of protestors marched on Netanyahu’s Jerusalem home and blocked Tel Aviv’s main highway, opposing plans to make it easier for politicians to overrule the Supreme Court’s decisions. Rishi Sunak will ban laughing gas as part of a “war on anti-social behaviour”, says The Daily Telegraph. The “crackdown on crime” will also see police given new powers to move on “nuisance” beggars and create a new offence for criminal gangs organising begging networks. Doctors have restored a blind man’s sight by transplanting part of one eye into the other. Surgeons in Turin inserted tissue from 83-year-old Emiliano Bosca’s left eye into the less-damaged right, which then began to work again. “When I woke from the anaesthetic and realised I could see the outline of my fingers,” he said, “I felt as thought I was being born again.”


The latest in-crowd interior look is “Italian nonna chic”, says Vogue, whether it’s a “hand-painted bowl from Puglia, a needlepoint tablecloth from Veneto, coffee cups from Sicily, or a pasta cutter from Umbria”. The tide has turned in recent years from a “minimal Scandi aesthetic” to houses that are all about “warmth, eclecticism and character”, says a spokesman for second-hand furniture marketplace Vinterior. “In a post-Covid world, we want to invite friends and family back into our homes and nurture them – and who is more nurturing than an Italian nonna?”

Inside politics

While Boris Johnson was getting grilled by a parliamentary committee last week, says Tim Shipman in The Sunday Times, Rishi Sunak was “batting and bowling in the Downing Street garden with youngsters from the Ace academy for aspiring black cricketers”. As chancellor, Sunak used to sneak out to the Oval cricket ground to practise in the nets, where he met the Ace kids and chatted about his favourite players. His choices are revealing: England captains Michael Atherton and Andrew Strauss, who “saw off fast bowling on sticky wickets”. Both were “careful players who got their heads down” – not bad as a sporting metaphor for Sunak’s style of leadership.

Quirk of history

The Duke of Windsor (who abdicated in 1936 over his love for American divorcee Wallis Simpson) gave the layout of Buckingham Palace to the Nazis, says royal historian Alexander Larman. When the palace was bombed in 1940, the “family quarters” were hit several times. “The Nazis knew what they were doing,” Larman told the Oxford Literary Festival on Sunday, “and that was because they had inside information.” When he expressed surprise at the amount of intelligence available while digging around in the archive at Windsor Castle, Larman was told by an archivist: “We are not in the business of protecting the Duke of Windsor’s reputation.”

Love etc

Lonely lads in China can “rent a girlfriend” for around £120 a day to stop their parents forcing them to go on blind dates when they’re home for the holidays. Mumu, a 29-year-old graduate who takes these gigs as a side hustle, told the South China Morning Post business is booming – she doubles her rates at peak times, and frequently books multiple “commissions” per day, particularly during the Lunar New Year. Most just want someone nice to introduce to their mum, but some “hold wedding banquets with her posing as the bride and obtain fake marriage certificates” to quiet nagging parents for good.

On the money

London’s annual income tax bill “has soared to a record £51bn”, says the Evening Standard. Kensington alone contributed nearly £3.5bn to the Treasury’s coffers, “more than the whole of Northern Ireland put together”.


They’re pieces of 3D-printed cheesecake, made using “edible food inks”. A team from Columbia University tested various designs using seven key ingredients: crushed crackers, peanut butter, Nutella, squashed banana, strawberry jam, icing, and something called “cherry drizzle”. The food engineers found the best bet was to construct each slice like a building – using the cracker crumbs as a “foundation”, then applying peanut butter and Nutella as “supporting layers” to hold the softest ingredients: banana and jam.


quoted 27.3.23

“I love sleep. My life has the tendency to fall apart when I’m awake.”

Ernest Hemingway