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8 June

In the headlines

Police officer Wayne Couzens has pleaded guilty to raping and kidnapping Sarah Everard. He has also admitted “responsibility” for killing the 33-year-old marketing executive, who went missing in March while walking to her home in south London, but he has not been formally charged with her murder pending medical reports. A two-week delay to easing lockdown is likely after a “downbeat” Cabinet briefing by Chris Whitty and Patrick Vallance, says The Times. This would allow all over-50s to develop immunity from their second jabs before restrictions end. An internet outage this morning took websites including Amazon, The Guardian and offline for more than an hour. It was caused by a glitch at Fastly, a cloud computing company.


Belarus is a thorn in Putin’s side

Vladimir Putin and Alexander Lukashenko put on a good show of “brotherly love between dictators”, says Kirill Rogov in The Moscow Times. But for all the hugs and luncheons on the Russian president’s yacht, Putin can’t stand the strongman of Minsk. He’s had to give him a $500m loan to cover Belarus’s sanctions, and sit through a five-hour meeting to demonstrate Russia’s support. All for a “scandal-plagued” dictator who loves to play the EU and Russia off each other.

The pandemic

Boris should stick to his lockdown plan

Boris Johnson “is riding an astonishing wave of public approval”, says Trevor Kavanagh in The Sun. That’s because he talks up Britain and trounces any naysayers with our world-beating vaccine rollout. “Even the French rate him more than their own president.” He’ll be the star at the G7 summit this week, eclipsing Emmanuel Macron, “doomed” Angela Merkel, the European Commission’s president, Ursula von der Leyen and President Biden, “who is already showing his age”.

Inside politics

For better or worse, Boris Johnson writes his own books, says The Fence. But his process is rather unique. “We would sort of bounce ideas around, a bit like a supervision at university,” says Warren Dockter, who was Johnson’s research assistant on his bestselling The Churchill Factor. “I acted as a sort of guide through the literature and evidence.” Johnson would wake up early, pad around his study and extemporise: draft chapters arrived in Dockter’s inbox at 5am.

On the money

El Salvador is set to become the first country to use Bitcoin as legal tender, says BBC News. It’s a no-brainer, according to President Nayib Bukele, 39, who is known for wearing backwards baseball caps and has been dubbed “the coolest president in the world”. He says the unregulated digital currency would open up financial services to the 70% of Salvadorans who don’t have bank accounts, boost investment and remove pesky transfer fees from the $4bn that expats working abroad send home annually. That’s about a fifth of El Salvador’s GDP. 

Gone viral

A parrot owner who trained his birds to fly while cycling around north London has proved a huge hit on TikTok. Happy and Scarlet soar from the shoulders of the @ParrotsofPrimrose trainer, alight on trees and promptly return as he cruises through the leafy streets. 

Love etc

Brits should learn from the French when it comes to affairs, a top divorce lawyer tells The Sunday Times. With offices, bars and hotels shut, Ayesha Vardag’s firm saw complaints about extramarital activities plummet by 63% during the latest lockdown. But being separated from illicit lovers led to a spike in “arguments, tension and toxicity”. This proves the French approach to adultery is the right one, she says: “Never mind how many lovers we have, just keep it discreet and we’ll continue to stay committed to our marriage.” 


Quoted 08-06

“Friend is sometimes a word devoid of meaning; enemy, never.”

Victor Hugo

Snapshot answer

It’s Mark Bezos, Jeff’s younger brother, who will be joining the Amazon founder aboard the first Blue Origin space flight on 20 July. “Ever since I was five years old, I’ve dreamt of travelling to space”, the elder Bezos said on Instagram yesterday. The day trip with Mark, 53, a tech investor and volunteer fireman, will be “the greatest adventure, with my best friend”.