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9 March

In the headlines

Russia has carried out one of its largest air strikes on Ukraine since the war began. Kyiv, Kharkiv and Odesa were targeted with more than 80 rockets, including six hypersonic missiles – the most ever used in one attack. The assault left at least nine people dead and knocked out power at Europe’s largest nuclear plant. Sections of the HS2 railway will be delayed to save money, according to the BBC, specifically the stretches between Crewe and Manchester, and Crewe and Birmingham. The project’s cost has already ballooned to £71bn from a £33bn estimate in 2010. Singer Mae Muller has been chosen to represent the UK at the Eurovision Song Contest in Liverpool this May. The 25-year-old will perform I Wrote A Song, a catchy dance track about a cheating ex-boyfriend. Watch the full video here.


Glitzy Americans have found their new favourite luxury, says The New York Times: fancy ice. The hashtag #IceTok has racked up almost 950 million views on TikTok, featuring lengthy tutorials for making “coffee ice”, “hot-sauce ice”, “SpaghettiOs ice” and, perhaps as an antidote, “Pepto Bismol ice”. At fashion parties, ice cubes stamped with company logos are de rigueur; at high-end weddings, “fairy lights in Mason jars are out and wildflowers suspended in $14 ice cubes are in”.

Tomorrow’s world

Artificial intelligence is coming to the world of phone fraud, says The Times. With free online software, you can recreate someone’s voice with only a 30-second sample of them speaking. Scammers are using this to create a script where the person asks for an urgent money transfer, then ringing up their relatives and playing the fake recording. The family of one victim in Canada transferred £12,800 worth of Bitcoin to fraudsters, after hearing what they thought was their son telling them he needed the cash for a court hearing.


A few months ago, Harry and Meghan were “media darlings” in America, says Arwa Mahdawi in The Guardian. Not any more. First the couple were torn apart on an episode of South Park, fittingly titled The Worldwide Privacy Tour. Now Chris Rock has taken aim in his new Netflix stand-up show, joking that what Meghan went through wasn’t racism but standard “in-law” behaviour. It reflects a wider shift in attitudes: Harry’s popularity has nosedived 48 points since December, and Meghan’s is down 40. “Prince Andrew, the guy who palled around with a convicted sex offender, has higher US approval ratings.”

Quirk of history

In 2001, amid concerns over Europe’s dwindling birth rate, Sweden’s government hired Björn Borg to front a campaign to get Swedes bonking. “We have a bit of a delicate problem,” the five-time Wimbledon winner declared in a full-page advert in the business daily Dagens Industri. “There aren’t enough babies being born.” Luckily, he continued, there’s a “simple solution that is both enjoyable and relaxing… Get to it!” The ad ended with the catchy slogan: “F*** for the future.”

On the way back

Frogs’ legs are making a comeback, says Le Monde. Les grenouilles had become an increasingly rare presence on menus, despite their “emblematic” status in French cuisine, but several renowned chefs are reintroducing the dish in new forms. Auberge À la Bonne Idée in northern France serves a “hand-sized, transparent wafer” that reproduces the traditional taste of frogs in parsley sauce. At Roger La Grenouille, a long-standing institution in Paris, American tourists can scoff a frog burger with tartare sauce and chips (€27). Bon appétit 🐸


It’s an edible juice bottle, says Dezeen. The creation, from Swedish design studio Tomorrow Machine, is made from a “potato starch-based material” coated in a “bio-based, water-resistant barrier” on both sides. Once its contents are drunk, the bottle can be peeled like fruit rind. The material then begins to decompose, and can be eaten or dissolved in water.


quoted 9.3.23

“I hate rich people who live below their means.”

Karl Lagerfeld