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9 January

In the headlines

Brazil’s capital was rocked by political violence yesterday, when thousands of supporters of former far-right president Jair Bolsonaro stormed government buildings in an attempt to overturn his election defeat in October. The riot in Brasilia has caused significant damage to the congress, the presidential palace and the supreme court. Prince Harry said in an ITV interview last night that the royals were “complicit” in the “pain and suffering” of his wife, and accused his stepmother Camilla of leaking stories in order to improve her public image. But the Duke of Sussex conceded that his family aren’t racists – merely guilty of “unconscious bias”. US airport security officials have revealed the 10 weirdest items they found last year. Among them were three cattle prods hidden inside a guitar case, the disassembled parts of a handgun hidden in jars of peanut butter, and a pistol stuffed inside a raw chicken.


Why Reagan’s daughter regrets her tell-all memoir

When I was younger, says Ronald Reagan’s daughter Patti Davis in The New York Times, I wrote an autobiography that “flung open the gates of our troubled family life”. My justification was very similar to Prince Harry’s: I wanted “to set the record straight”, and naively believed expressing “my own feelings and my own truth” might help my family understand me better. It didn’t, of course – and not just because my parents resented being “embarrassed and exposed in public”. It’s because, as I’ve realised since, the truth is “way more complicated than it seems when we’re young”. Presenting our recollections as the one true narrative betrays the other people who “inhabit our story”, who all have their own truths as well.


Asia’s “worst regime since the Khmer Rouge”

“As a general rule,” says Simon Tisdall in The Observer, “the more medals a dictator wears, the more absurd and dangerous they are.” It’s certainly true of Myanmar’s “junta boss”, General Min Aung Hlaing, strutting about in a uniform “adorned with meaningless decorations and gaudy gold braid”. Since his military coup in 2021, 2,600 Burmese people have been murdered and 17,000 detained. Children are imprisoned, tortured and sexually abused. The general recently “celebrated” Myanmar’s 75th independence anniversary – days after slapping another prison term on Aung San Suu Kyi, the democratically elected leader he deposed – thanking countries who have refused to follow the EU, US and UK in imposing sanctions. “He might have mentioned Russia, too, his main arms supplier.”

Nice work if you can get it

A 149-year-old lighthouse in San Francisco Bay is looking for a couple to work as innkeepers at its five-bed B&B. The lucky pair will live full-time at the East Brother Light Station for two years, earning a combined salary of around £115,000 per annum. Hopefuls must apply as a couple, though the job listing states that they do not need to be in love, only able to “live and work together in close quarters”. Apply here.


Fitzdares, a members-only gambling club for sports lovers once dubbed “the world’s poshest bookies”, is looking for a new home. The £600-a-year institution, which serves lobster croissants and screens sport for its 2,000 members, is being kicked out of its current digs just off Bond Street. CEO William Woodhams tells the Evening Standard he is hoping to find some “dead space” in Mayfair to re-house the club. Wouldn’t bet on it.

Love etc

Emmanuel Macron was recently asked by a journalist whether it was “exemplary” for him to have married his wife Brigitte, who he met when he was a 15-year-old schoolboy and she was a 39-year-old teacher. “When you are in love,” the French president replied, “you don’t choose. It is not a question of setting an example or not setting an example.” Besides, Macron added, “she wasn’t really my teacher – she taught me theatre. That doesn’t count.”

On the money

Theresa May has pocketed £2.5m in outside earnings – mainly from speeches – since the 2019 election, more than any other MP. Boris Johnson was the third-highest earner, with £1m, after former attorney general Geoffrey Cox, with £2.2m. Of the £17.1m total, says Sky News, £15.2m went to Tory MPs, and only £1.2m to Labour MPs. All but three of the top 20 earners were Conservatives. To see how much your local MP trousered on top of his or her £84,144 salary, click here.



It’s a Nazi treasure map released last week by the Dutch National Archives, which is thought to show the location of a long-lost hoard of looted booty. The trove – stolen from a bombed-out bank in the city of Arnhem – consists of four ammunition cases stuffed with coins, watches, jewellery and diamonds. Said to have been buried by four German soldiers in April 1945, it is thought to be worth more than £15m. Unsurprisingly, the National Archives say they are “overwhelmed by interest” from aspiring Indiana Joneses, but warn that the area may be littered with “unexploded bombs, landmines or grenades”.


quoted 09.01.23

“Too many people spend money they don’t have on things they don’t want to impress people they don’t like.”

American humourist Will Rogers