Horse On The Highway, And Much More: ICYMI

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Welcome to the weekend!

A winter sun is shining, civilisation has clung on for another week and the suitcases full of booze are on your old buddies Metro.co.uk.

These are ‘blink and you’ll miss it’ days, but fear not – we’re here to get you all caught up on a truly heady week of events so you can get back to sipping on that chilled Hooch.

Now, since we’re in a good mood, we’re going to let you behind the magician’s curtain. 

Every week, your correspondent is tasked with writing a digest of all the biggest stories, a pre-pub primer to explain everything you might have missed.

On Friday afternoons, our hero is usually tying himself in knots trying to think of various tortured booze metaphors to tie in with the news.

It’s a solemn task, one he enjoys – but doubt has been creeping in. 

How long could he keep this schtick up for? Was this a furrow still worth ploughing? Where would the next alcohol-based gag come from?

Enter Boris.

So whip that bottle of Echo Falls out of your desk drawer, set the out of office to ‘work event’ and slip into the garden with us for another round of high-proof news.

© Provided by Metro Team Metro.co.uk having a glass of Yellow Tail and pretending everything is absolutely fine (Picture: Getty Images/Maskot) Pass the Pimms, old boy

If you had ‘of course he bloody did’ in the Partygate sweepstake, a case of champagne is on its way to you as we speak.

For weeks, the country has been trying to keep up with various allegations that Downing Street staff may or may not have been absolutely sending it in the depths of lockdown.

There have been partial revelations, half-denials and contested accounts – but this week we got something truly significant.

The prime minister – a man who, if one was being uncharitable, might be said to look like a hangover on legs – admitted attending an event in the garden of Number 10 in May 2020.

© Provided by Metro We would be absolutely stunned if that white shirt and tie went home clean at the end of the night (Picture: AFP)

With the nation still eagerly clapping from doorsteps for frontline workers – including the ones who saved the PM’s life six weeks earlier – Downing Street staff were instructed by a senior official to grab a bottle and meet round the back of the Covid-19 response nerve centre for a jolly in the sun.

After a screenshot of a message seeming to show the event being organised emerged, Mr Johnson came clean in a remarkable Commons appearance after weeks of dodging the inevitable with an apology, and the claim he understood it to be a work event.

Seismometers around the planet were set twitching as a nation’s worth of jaws dropped at his attempt to earnestly explain how he believed this alcohol-fuelled knees up was permitted under workplace guidance.

The result? A weakened, humiliated PM facing calls to resign from within his own party. The news that he’d come into contact with confirmed infection must have come as a relief.

© Provided by Metro The lesser spotted Sue Gray, who has seemingly become the most powerful person in the country this week (Picture: LNP)

A day later, Downing Street was forced to admit an outgoing spin doctor threw himself a shindig in Number 10 in April 2021, the night before images of the Queen sitting in government-mandated isolation at her husband’s funeral gave the country heart that the rules applied to everyone.

In a sure sign things are not going at all well for a government, the PM has formally apologised to Her Majesty.

Sue Gray, a hitherto obscure civil servant enjoying her newly assumed semi-mythical status as Whitehall’s Pontius Pilate, is the poor soul tasked with investigating all of this (because God knows the Met won’t).

TL;DR: Raise a glass for Sue Gray – she’s having a busy one.

The exiled prince

Buckingham Palace confirmed this week what we have all suspected for quite some time: Prince Andrew is finished and he isn’t coming back.

The Duke of York has not been convicted of a crime and may yet win a civil lawsuit launched against him in the US.

He vehemently denies every sexual abuse allegation made against him by Virginia Giuffre, insisting he has no recollection of even meeting her.

But you don’t get to be a century-old royal house without some pretty brutal dynastic survival instincts – and this week they kicked in with a vengeance. 

The Queen signed off on a move that stripped her third child of his honorary military roles and made it perfectly clear he was no longer welcome to use the ‘His Royal Highness’ styling.

© Provided by Metro Andrew joins Harry and Meghan in the list of royals stripped of their HRH titles (Picture: AP)

In practice, it means very little – he was already off public duties, he remains a member of the Royal Family by birth and is still ninth in line to the throne. 

Symbolically, however, it amounts to total banishment. He has been exiled from The Firm. 

Earlier in the day, 152 veterans were rounded up by an anti-monarchy campaign group and urged the Queen to strip her son of his baubles.

The 95-year-old made what must have been a personally painful decision after reportedly holding crunch talks with Prince Charles and Prince William at Windsor.

What is next for Andrew? A judge unequivocally rejected his legal team’s attempt to have the case halted on a legal technicality, teeing up the trial of the century.

Unless he launches another challenge to have the lawsuit thrown out, he has two avenues – proceed to a full trial, during which he and his family could be forced to testify, or settle out of court.

Given Ms Giuffree’s lawyer has indicated she may not be open to the latter, that decision may now be out of his hands.

TL;DR: Prince Andrew has as much chance of being invited to open a new railway station as you do.

No-vax Djok-covid

Novak Djokovic is continuing to do his level best to make people talk about tennis when Wimbledon isn’t on.

In a sporting sense the Serbian is on the cusp of greatness. One more grand slam win takes him to 21 in his career, the most of any men’s player ever, and the Australian Open is very much his manor (he’s won eight out of the last 11).

All he had to do was get a vaccine like a normal person, fly into Melbourne and inevitably play everyone off the court to cement his place in the history books forever.

Not old Novak. He managed to kick off a political crisis after Australian authorities got in a tailspin over whether or not to grant him an exemption to strict rules on allowing unjabbed people into the country.

© Provided by Metro Andy Murray represents all of us in this image and we thank him for it (Picture: Getty)

He was detained in a hotel and eventually let out after a legal battle (the multi-millionaire was inexplicably compared to Roman slave rebel Spartacus by his dad).

The row has rumbled on this week after evidence came to light that the tennis star’s visa application did not accurately reflect his movements in the previous few weeks.

Djokovic was also forced to admit he was interviewed in person by a journalist after testing positive for Covid-19 in December.

Now the Australian government has cancelled his visa again on the grounds of public interest over fears he could whip up anti-vax sentiment (not an entirely unfounded concern given clashes with police between a mob and police outside his hotel).

Now the 34-year-old faces being banned from entering Australia for three years, potentially meaning he’s played at the tournament he’s made his own for the last time.

TL;DR: Just get vaccinated, for goodness’ sake.

Kim and get me

Kim Jong-un is being a pain in the world’s collective arse again, firing rockets into the sea with the sort of gleeful abandon only psychopathic despots are capable of.

The North Korean dictator has been flexing his muscles in two ways this week.

First, yer man has been hitting the gym. Kim is newly slim and slick, seemingly having decided that he’d had one too many bouts of gout for a 40-year-old.

Second, he’s been showing off some new military tech which has got everyone a bit worried.

The demented military regime has test-fired ballistic missiles on three occassions this month, culminating in a double launch on Friday from an inland base in North Pyongan province.

© Provided by Metro Kim looking and feeling good in a coat he bought after seeing the new Matrix film (Picture: AP)

According to the North Korean military, the missiles flew 267 miles cross-country on a maximum altitude of 22 miles before landing in the sea.

Why? The US has introduced new economic sanctions on key figures linked to the dictatorship and Kim is lashing out.

Asked for his assessment of the motives behind the escalation, US secretary of state Antony Blinken said: ‘I think some of this is North Korea trying to get attention. It’s done that in the past. It’ll probably continue to do that.’

And you know what, who among us hasn’t kicked off a bit to get some attention. You do you, slim Kim.

TL;DR: Kim has toned up and turned up.

And finally… runaway ostriches

Honestly, sometimes these things just write themselves.

I mean picture the scene: your correspondent is wondering how he rounds off this feature, tying the lighthearted story at the end in with the Downing Street parties gag at the top.

He’s out of ideas, down on his luck, running out of road. 

© Provided by Metro Ever feel like you’re a bird running down a motorway and you want to fly away but you can’t? Us neither…(Picture: Newsflare)

And then he’s alerted to the fact that a flock of ostriches brought carnage to a Chinese city by escaping and legging it down the motorway.

More than 80 of the giant birds clocked speeds of up to 60mph as they bolted down the streets of Chongzuo city in south China’s Guangxi province, we’re told.

I mean, really? C’mon. C’MON.

A prime minister with his head in the sand? A cabinet running away from oncoming traffic? A flock of flightless birds in a flap as the net closes in?

It’s all too easy, you can finish it off yourselves – we’ve got a work event to go and disgrace ourselves at.

TL;DR: Seriously, we’re gone.

Get in touch with our news team by emailing us at webnews@metro.co.uk.

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Source : https://www.msn.com/en-gb/news/world/icymi-parties-prince-andrew-north-korea-the-week-s-five-biggest-stories-explained/ar-AASOHEF

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