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7 March

In the headlines

The government will “push the boundaries of international law” to stop migrants crossing the Channel in small boats, says Home Secretary Suella Braverman, as she unveils new legislation to bar those who make the journey from claiming asylum. Lawyers have reportedly told ministers the plans are at the “outer limit” of what is legally acceptable. People travelling to France this week by plane, train or ferry should expect delays and cancellations, thanks to a fresh wave of strikes over pension reforms. Emmanuel Macron’s proposal to raise the minimum retirement age from 62 to 64 has angered union bosses, one of whom tells the Journal du Dimanche: “We are going into a higher gear.” Britain is bracing for the coldest night of 2023, says The Guardian. Temperatures could plunge to -15C in some “sheltered Scottish glens” tonight, with snow and ice expected in southern England too.


The cheapest Michelin-starred restaurant in the world is a family-owned bistro in Penang, Malaysia, says Insider. Auntie Gaik Lean’s Old School Eatery serves Peranakan dishes – a fusion of Chinese, Malay and Indonesian styles – which start at just $1.60. Stand-out offerings include a Straits Settlement curry made with chicken and home-prepared coconut milk, and a chopped aubergine smothered in a spicy and savoury sauce. “I know about Michelin, but I’m not well versed,” says owner, chef and waitress Gaik Lean. “So when I got it, slowly I Googled them, and then I read up.”

Inside politics

When John Podesta was Bill Clinton’s chief of staff, says Lexington in The Economist, he had a photograph in his office of the president “reaching out to pat an enormous white tiger” backstage at a performance by the Las Vegas magicians Siegfried & Roy. The encounter passed off without incident – secret service agents had their guns trained on the animal throughout – but Podesta kept the image to “remind himself of what he called his biggest mistake: letting the leader of the free world cuddle a man-eating beast”.


The world’s SUVs collectively released almost a billion metric tons of carbon dioxide last year, says The New Yorker. If they were a country, gas-guzzling 4x4s would be “the world’s sixth-largest emitter, just after Japan”.

Gone viral

In Cambodia and Thailand, elephants have found a way to take advantage of their right of way on the roads. The hungry fellow above was spotted repeatedly walking out in front of passing sugar cane trucks and tucking in. Watch the full clip here.

On the money

Travellers going to Luton Airport no longer need a shonky bus to take them from the train station to the terminal, says The Guardian: a “gleaming new” shuttle opens this week. But at £4.90 for the 1.3-mile journey – £3.95 per mile – it’s “the most expensive rail link in Britain”. The Heathrow Express is comparatively a steal, at £1.52 per mile.


They’re sculptures made from second-hand books. Artist Su Blackwell began creating the paper scenes after picking up a copy of Graham Greene’s The Quiet American from a shop in Thailand. She cut paper moths out of its pages and suspended them above the open book to form a cloud. Blackwell has since recycled tomes to depict everything from houses and fairytales to flora and fauna. A selection of her work is available to buy online until 12 March here.


quoted 7.3.23

“It’s a recession when your neighbour loses his job; it’s a depression when you lose yours.”

Harry S Truman