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30 March

In the headlines

Russia’s security service has arrested a Wall Street Journal reporter on suspicion of spying. US national Evan Gershkovich is accused of collecting “information constituting a state secret” about the Russian military-industrial complex, though Russian intelligence has provided no evidence. Four in 10 secondary schools allow children to switch gender without parental consent, according to a new report. Research by Policy Exchange also found nearly 30% of schools risk breaching laws by not providing single-sex toilets, while almost 20% no longer have single-sex changing rooms. A giant hole 20 times the size of Earth has opened up on the sun, says the Daily Star, unleashing a 1.8-million-mph cosmic windstorm that could knock out satellites and cause power cuts tomorrow. “Haven’t we got enough to worry about without the sun playing up?”


Few sunglass designs have more “questionable associations” than flip-up shades, says The Wall Street Journal. Unlike aviators, which evoke Tom Cruise in Top Gun, and the understated black frames preferred by “icons like Joan Didion and Jackie O”, hinged styles were seen as dorky, despite their versatility. But the once-shunned specs have undergone a revival, with activewear brands like Pit Viper and Smith Optics, as well as couturiers like Burberry, offering twists on the retro style.

Staying young

Being born in a rich neighbourhood “adds 12 years to your life, on average”, says The Times. New research has found that children in Hampstead, north London can expect to live to 88, while those born in Glasgow make it to 76 on average. Some 15 of the top 20 constituencies with the highest life expectancies are in London and the South East, while 17 of the worst are in Scotland, with Glasgow’s seven seats filling the seven bottom spots. See the life expectancy in your neighbourhood here.

Tomorrow’s world

Sam Altman, CEO of ChatGPT creator OpenAI, isn’t wholly convinced that his company’s creation will usher in a golden age of civilisation. When asked by The New Yorker if he was scared about AI turning on humanity, he replied: “I try not to think about it too much. But I have guns, gold, potassium iodide, antibiotics, batteries, water, gas masks from the Israeli Defence Force, and a big patch of land in Big Sur I can fly to.”


Close-up photographer Pang Way treks out into the rainforest of his native Malaysia to capture the weird, delicate dances of different species of mantis. Although the carnivorous insects are known for sexual cannibalism – the females frequently eat the males after mating – they do at least get to enjoy a boogie first. See more here.

Global update

Sweden is in the middle of a huge wave of gang violence, says Vice. In the early 2000s, the country had less than 10 gun-based murders a year; in 2022, there were a record 391 shootings – with 63 people shot to death – and 90 explosions involving “hand grenades and homemade explosives”. Already this year there have been 71 shootings and 38 explosions. Stockholm is thought to contain three times as many illegal firearms as London, “a city with around ten times the population”.


It’s a lump of gold worth £130,000 that was recently unearthed by an amateur using a “budget metal detector”, says People magazine. The unnamed detectorist made his lucky find in the Australian state of Victoria, where the world’s largest gold nugget was found in 1869. He took the lump of lucre to valuer Darren Kamp and asked if he thought it might be worth A$10,000. “As soon as it hit my hand I said, ‘Try A$100,000,’” Kamp told 9News Australia. “Oh wow,” said the gold digger, “the wife’s going to be happy with that.”


quoted 30-03-2023

“I never quite comprehend how it is possible to tire of my company, but it clearly is, and with reliable frequency.”

Charles Saatchi