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28 March

In the headlines

Humza Yousaf has been voted leader of the Scottish National Party and will formally become first minister of Scotland this afternoon. The Labour Party is delighted, says Steven Swinford in The Times: strategists think they can win 20 Scottish seats at the next election by highlighting Yousaf’s hopeless record as health secretary. Germany’s first shipment of 18 Leopard 2 tanks has arrived in Ukraine, according to Berlin’s defence ministry. Kyiv has already confirmed delivery of the initial batch of Challenger 2 tanks sent from Britain. Space holds the key to curing Earth’s diseases, says the Daily Star. SpacePharma, an Israeli start-up, is running experiments aboard satellites, where the lack of gravity makes it easier to cultivate proteins and study infections. “It’s life-saving boffinry.”


The internet has a new favourite kitchenware trend, says Eater: gaudy cookie jars. Online favourites include an eight-inch-tall ceramic squirrel, a cottagecore-inspired yellow toadstool, and a rotund pufferfish priced at $160. For artier shoppers, there’s Hazy Mae’s whimsical, monochromatic line depicting famous figures from Dolly Parton to Jackie O and Frida Kahlo, which will set you back $850 a pop. The joy, says one collector, is in finding an ornament to perfectly “reflect the person’s personality”. Every kitchen should have one.


Germany attracts plenty of immigrants from the rest of the EU, says Foreign Policy, but not many from elsewhere. In 2021, just 40,000 non-European qualified workers moved to Germany, compared to nearly 140,000 who moved to Canada. When German finance minister Christian Lindner visited Accra, Ghana recently, he asked a room full of university students to raise their hand if they would consider working in Germany. Not a single one did.

On the money

The standard tip at an American restaurant now runs at around 20%, often representing “the bulk of workers’ remuneration”, says the FT. But things weren’t always so ridiculous. In the 19th century, economist and trade unionist George Gunton argued that the whole practice of tipping was “disgustingly un-American”, preferring the “proud spirit of working for wages” over “fawning for favours”. Some US states even passed laws against tipping in the early 1900s. A century later, it has become an “implacable monster” that commands tens of billions of dollars in the US food and drink industry alone.

Gone viral

A video of Parisians enjoying terrace culture while a protest fire blazes in the background has racked up almost seven million views on Twitter. “Welcome to Paris,” says Ian Bremmer, “hey, you gotta eat.”

Inside politics

Boris Johnson’s admirers like to suggest he “single-handedly won the 2019 election for the Tories”, says Tim Bale in the FT. But detailed polling from that campaign reveals the win owed far more to the slogan “Get Brexit Done” and widespread antipathy to Jeremy Corbyn than any great love for Boris. By election day, Johnson was actually less popular with voters than either Corbyn or Theresa May had been when they ran against one another in 2017.


It’s a meatball made from woolly mammoth, says The Guardian. Scientists at the “cultivated meat company” Vow used the DNA sequence of the long-extinct mammal to grow the flesh in a lab, demonstrating the potential for producing protein without slaughtering animals. In 2018, a different company used a similar process to create gummy bears from the gelatine of the mastodon, another extinct “elephant-like animal”.


quoted 28.3.23

“If you are in a bad mood, go for a walk. If you are still in a bad mood, go for another walk.”