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Les républicains américains divisés sur le droit à l’avortement alors que les États rechignent aux interdictions

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L’échec des projets de loi limitant le droit à l’avortement dans deux États américains profondément conservateurs cette semaine a souligné l’inquiétude croissante ressentie par les républicains face à la menace que la question fait peser sur leurs ambitions politiques.

Les droits reproductifs devraient occuper le devant de la scène lors des élections de 2024, les démocrates du président Joe Biden et leurs opposants républicains cherchant à capitaliser sur une question qui polarise les Américains comme presque aucune autre.

Mais les politiciens conservateurs qui espèrent promulguer de sévères restrictions après que la Cour suprême des États-Unis a vidé les protections fédérales l’année dernière ont changé d’avis au milieu d’un contrecoup d’électeurs galvanisés par la menace à leurs libertés.

Le Sénat de Caroline du Sud et la législature du Nebraska – tous deux républicains aux deux tiers environ – ont respectivement rejeté jeudi une interdiction quasi totale et une interdiction de six semaines alors que les conservateurs défiaient leurs propres partis de bloquer la législation.

C’était la troisième fois que des restrictions draconiennes échouaient en Caroline du Sud depuis la décision de la Haute Cour en juin et les avortements dans les deux États restent légaux pendant au moins les 20 premières semaines de grossesse.

“Certains d’entre vous suivent le leader du haut de la falaise à maintes reprises, à chaque fois, en matière d’avortement”, a averti la sénatrice de l’État de Caroline du Sud, Sandy Senn, lors d’un débat avant le vote.

Les lois sur l’avortement ne sont rien de plus que du “contrôle”, a-t-elle soutenu, soulignant la disparité entre les sexes dans la chambre de 46 membres, qui ne compte que cinq femmes.

Les cinq sénatrices, dont trois républicaines, ont fait exploser le vote sur l’avortement avec des discours enflammés défendant les droits reproductifs.

“Remords du signataire”

“La seule chose que nous pouvons faire lorsque vous tous – lorsque vous les hommes dans la chambre – continuez métaphoriquement à gifler les femmes en soulevant l’avortement encore et encore et encore, c’est que nous vous giflons avec nos mots”, a déclaré Senn.

À Lincoln, dans le Nebraska, l’échec d’une interdiction à six semaines a provoqué une réaction viscérale des deux côtés du débat, mais les acclamations de dizaines de militants des droits à l’avortement qui se sont embrassés devant la chambre ont noyé les voix anti-avortement.

Merv Riepe, co-sponsor du projet de loi, a fini par développer ce qu’il a appelé le “remords du signataire” et a désavoué sa propre législation après avoir compris que de nombreuses femmes ne savaient peut-être pas qu’elles étaient enceintes à seulement six semaines de gestation.

“Dans un monde idéal, chaque enfant aurait la possibilité de vivre, de s’épanouir et de vivre une vie épanouie”, a déclaré l’ancien administrateur de l’hôpital, selon la publication interne officielle de la législature.

“Cependant, nous devons reconnaître que nous ne vivons pas dans une société utopique et que nous sommes confrontés à des défis dans la vie qui rendent difficile la réalisation de cet idéal.”

Scout Richters, avocat principal de l’American Civil Liberties Union of Nebraska, a salué le vote comme un signe que la plupart des Nébraskiens soutiennent l’accès légal à l’avortement, ajoutant qu’il était “plus que temps que les votes des sénateurs des États reflètent cette réalité”.

“Problème gagnant”

Selon les sondages, une majorité confortable d’Américains pensent que l’avortement devrait être légal dans la plupart des cas, et environ la moitié des États américains ont mis en place des mesures pour protéger l’accès.

Les républicains ont revendiqué la victoire dans la décision de la Cour suprême de 2022 – qui a annulé le précédent de 40 ans Roe v. Wade garantissant l’accès à l’avortement dans tous les coins de l’Amérique – et ont depuis décrété des interdictions ou des restrictions strictes dans 19 États.

Mais le parti a eu du mal à définir une position définitive sur la question et a été puni lors des élections de mi-mandat de l’année dernière, les candidats ayant perdu des champs de bataille clés au profit de candidats pro-choix.

Alors que les politiciens élus dans certains des États les plus conservateurs du pays, comme le Dakota du Nord et la Floride, ont adopté des interdictions quasi totales ou de six semaines, les électeurs eux-mêmes dans d’autres États comme le Kansas et le Kentucky ont pris des mesures pour protéger l’avortement.

“Nous savons que la majorité des Américains sont d’accord pour dire que l’avortement doit être accessible, abordable et disponible pour tous ceux qui recherchent des soins”, a déclaré à l’AFP Morgan Hopkins, président du fonds d’action pro-choix All Above All.

“L’avortement continuera d’être un enjeu majeur pour les électeurs et un enjeu gagnant dans ce cycle à venir. Les politiciens anti-avortement ont exagéré leur jeu et les électeurs le disent clairement : la justice de l’avortement ne peut pas attendre.”

(AFP)

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International

Scientists want to grow vegetables using human urine – and reveal how YOU can do it at home

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Scientists are urging people to recycle their urine into the vegetable patch, claiming it can be a useful resource to putting food on the table.

Farmers spend $128,000 a year on synthetic fertilizers to grow their crops, but urine could offer a cost-effective alternative because it contains nitrogen and phosphorus that is essential to maintain and promote crop’s growth.

Cow manure is currently used to help grow crops, but scientists have argued that urine isn’t that different and could offer an eco-friendly alternative to flushing it down the toilet.

The nitrogen found in urine pollutes the ocean by causing algae to grow at excessive rates which suffocates coral and poisons marine life – and scientists shared a mixture to use urine on your home garden.

Adults flush 132 gallons of urine on average every year which could be converted into an odorless, cost-effective fertilizer for crops

Adults flush 132 gallons of urine on average every year which could be converted into an odorless, cost-effective fertilizer for crops

Adults flush 132 gallons of urine on average every year which could be converted into an odorless, cost-effective fertilizer for crops

Farmers currently use synthetic fertilizer (pictured) which can cost about $128,000 per year

Farmers currently use synthetic fertilizer (pictured) which can cost about $128,000 per year

Farmers currently use synthetic fertilizer (pictured) which can cost about $128,000 per year

The average person flushes about 132 gallons of urine every year which could be converted into 13 pounds of fertilizer.

‘Our urine is worth its weight in gold,’ researcher Divina Gracia P. Rodriguez told ScienceNorway.

‘Think about all the fertilizer we’re missing out on now,’ she continued. ‘It’s high time we start collecting and utilizing our own waste.’

Researchers are developing toilets that can separate the urine from the remaining water and have already begun testing them in Bahir Dar, Ethiopia. 

Once separated, the urine can be dried and converted into odorless, inexpensive pellets that can be spread across farmland to fertilize the crops.

Although the concept may not sound appealing to most, Anne Spurkland, professor and medical researcher at the University of Oslo told ScienceNorway that it’s ‘completely safe.’

Spurkland said there is a way to apply this method at home by mixing one part urine with nine parts water and spraying the liquid across vegetables with a narrow spout watering can.

‘Soil bacteria transforms the nitrogen into new building blocks that plants utilize,’ Spurkland said.

While the idea may seem outlandish, researchers at the University of Michigan confirmed in a 2020 study that urine fertilizer can be used without fear that it could spread antibiotic-resistant infections.

Scientists were concerned that people providing urine to farmers could have urinary tract infections (UTIs) that could contain DNA from the bacteria. 

The study found that if urine isn’t freshly distributed and is aged in an incubator for 10 hours, there was a 99 percent drop in antibiotic-resistant genes.

‘Humans have been collecting urine and using it for fertilizer for a long, long time, but then in the west that really stopped with the invention of sewage system,’ Dr Krista Wigginton, a co-author of the study told The Guardian. 

‘We are just trying now to figure out with this infrastructure system that we have, how do we pull back and think differently about what goes into this sewage system and capture some of those valuable products before [they] get mixed and diluted with everything else?’

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Can Paris still deliver on its Olympic promises with only three months to go?

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The Eiffel Tower was supposed to greet the world’s athletes in a fresh coat of golden shimmer, the River Seine would be swimmable for the first time in 100 years and Paris was going to host the first-ever off-stadium opening ceremony in Olympic history. The hopes and expectations for the 2024 Games were grand and spectacular but with just three months to go will Paris be able to deliver on its promises?

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BUSINESS LIVE: Barclays profits slip; Sainsbury’s ups guidance; BHP eyes Anglo American deal

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The FTSE 100 is up 0.6 per cent in afternoon trading. Among the companies with reports and trading updates today are Barclays, Sainsbury’s, BHP, Anglo American, AstraZeneca, WPP and Persimmon. Read the Thursday 25 April Business Live blog below.

> If you are using our app or a third-party site click here to read Business Live

Ryanair cancels 300 flights affecting 50,000 passengers

Thousands of British passengers face travel chaos after Ryanair scrapped more than 300 flights.

The Irish airline has warned 50,000 of its customers will be impacted by the axed services, including many Brits heading on trips to Spain and Italy.

Pret a Manger brings back co-founder to get a handle on chain’s debt

Pret a Manager has brought back its co-founder in a bid to get a handle on its £700million debt pile that surged during Covid.

Sinclair Beecham has returned to the coffee chain as new chairman Konrad Meyer vowed to get a handle on its finances as he announced they were ‘implementing plans’ to reduce debt.

Unilever sales jump as consumer giant eases price hikes

Unilever shares rose on Thursday after the consumer giant forecast-beating first quarter sales after easing its pace of price hikes.

The group reported a 4.4 per cent rise in underlying sales growth, driven by bumper demand for beauty and wellbeing brands, topping analysts’ average forecast of 3 per cent.

Sales volumes rose 2.2 per cent, representing the second quarter of growth after several declines. Prices were also up 2.2 in the period, down from 2.4 per cent in the previous quarter, Unilever said.

BHP swoops on rival Anglo American in £31bn mining megadeal

Mining giant BHP has revealed a potential £31billion offer to buy rival Anglo American in a deal potentially creating the world’s biggest copper miner

FTSE 100-listed Anglo American – the world’s largest platinum producer – said BHP, its much larger Australian rival, made an ‘unsolicited, non-binding and highly conditional’ all-share bid for the group.

Tory tax war ‘is killing off North Sea oil’, warns Serica chief

A leading North Sea oil and gas firm has slammed the Tories and Labour over the windfall tax that is ‘killing off’ UK investment and jobs – as it looks for opportunities in Norway instead.

Serica Energy chairman David Latin accused politicians of a ‘race to the bottom’ to extract more money in the short-term despite it causing long-term damage to production and making Britain more dependent on imports.

Meta announces it is to plough billions into artificial intelligence

Facebook owner Meta has posted its fastest sales growth in nearly three years – but shares fell as it ramps up spending on artificial intelligence.

In an announcement last night, the social media firm posted revenues of £29.2billion for the three months to the end of March, up 27 per cent from the year before.

Sainsbury’s enjoys food sales boost months amid 1,500 job cuts

Sainsbury’s expects to deliver ‘strong’ profit growth this year, driven by bumper food sales and a sharp focus on prices in a bid to help win customers from rivals.

The supermarket chain reported a better-than-expected 1.6 per cent increase in underlying pre-tax profits to £701million for the year to 2 March.

Barclays profits hit by subdued mortgage lending and lower customer deposits

Barclays has reported weaker profits for the start of the year, as mortgage lending and deposits slipped and its investment bank was squeezed by weaker corporate deal making.

The FTSE 100-listed lender said income from its UK operations fell 7 per cent year-on-year, amid subdued mortgage lending and ‘adverse deposit dynamics’.

Customer deposits slipped 2 per cent to £237.2billion, driven by lower customer account balances, which the bank said reflected broader consumer trends.

Market open: FTSE 100 up 0.6%; FTSE 250 down 0.5%

The FTSE 100 continues its ascent into new record highs this morning, as miner Anglo American surges on a buyout offer from BHP Group, while investors cheer bumper earnings from Unilever, AstraZeneca and Barclays.

Anglo American is up 12.7 per cent to a nine-month high after BHP said it made an offer to buy the London-listed miner, valuing its share capital at £31.1billion

The deal would create the world’s biggest copper miner with around 10 per cent of global output. BHP’s UK-listed stock is down 3.7 per cent in early trading.

AstraZeneca has gained 5.3 per cent after the drugmaker reported quarterly revenue and profit above market estimates buoyed by resilient demand for its oncology and rare blood disorder drugs.

Unilever is up 4.1 per cent after the consumer goods company reported first-quarter sales that grew by a better than expected 4.4% per cent as it won back shoppers who had traded down to cheaper products.

Barclays has climbed 3.1 per cent despite reporting a 12 per cent fall in first-quarter profit.

Lloyds cheers green shoots in housing market – but takes a profits hit

Lloyds delivered an upbeat assessment of the UK economy as it predicted a rise in house prices this year – but also revealed disappointing first-quarter profits.

Britain’s biggest mortgage lender thinks prices will rise 1.5 per cent in 2024, helped by lower interest rates.

That reverses a previous forecast of a 2.2 per cent fall. It also cut its forecast for unemployment and said customers were mostly coping with cost of living pressures.

‘Sainsbury’s has managed to wrestle back market share from rivals in unrelenting tug of war between the UK supermarkets’

Mark Crouch, analyst at eToro:

‘Sainsbury’s has arguably been guilty in the past of having its fingers in too many pies, allowing lower cost rivals to muscle in on market share.

‘However, after launching its “Food First ” strategy which has since evolved into “Next Level Sainsburys” earlier this year, a renewed focus was given to groceries, the Nectar loyalty card scheme and £1bn of cost savings.

‘This morning’s results indicate these innovations are beginning to bear fruit as the supermarket chain reported record volume growth, with grocery sales up 9.4% and expected to increase in the year ahead.

‘Over the last 12 months, Sainsbury’s has managed to wrestle back market share from rivals in what is an unrelenting tug of war between the UK supermarkets. Engaging in a delicate balancing act between pricing and profit, Sainsbury’s invested heavily in value to bring more of us back to do our weekly shop.

‘Nectar rewards have been at the heart of that push, saving customers £12 on a typical £80 shop.

‘The introduction of a £200m share buyback scheme is great news for shareholders that the company is moving in the right direction. And at a time when fallout from higher inflation continues to eat into household budgets, now more than ever, price and quality are paramount.’

‘Cost controls look to be making a difference for Barclays’

Matt Britzman, equity analyst, Hargreaves Lansdown:

‘Credit where it’s due, cost controls look to be making a difference for Barclays. First-quarter trading was better than expected, but the weaker net interest income guidance for 2024 will be a little disappointing.

‘In its UK arm, results were very similar to what markets heard from Lloyds yesterday. Structural hedge income is booming as lower-yield instruments are being reinvested at higher rates. That’s helping to offset ongoing weakness from depositors in search of better rates and a mortgage market that’s not as profitable as a few years ago. Both those headwinds are expected to ease throughout the year, and with loan default levels actually ticking down at the group level, there’s enough here to whet investors’ appetites.

‘Looking below the hood on defaults, Barclays has a big stake in both the UK and US card market which adds another angle. Over the pond, default levels surprised on the upside and are higher than back in the UK, with US consumers clearly feeling the pinch a tad more. This was one area that disappointed, but Barclays remains confident in its reserve levels and expects things to improve as the year progresses.

‘There’s a new strategy at play and plenty to like about the globetrotting operations. But markets are unlikely to fully reward the stock until it demonstrates sustained progress, especially in areas like investment banking where the US peer group is so strong.’

‘Solid start…but Unilever should be performing better’

Charlie Huggins, manager of the Quality Shares Portfolio at Wealth Club:

‘Unilever has got off to a solid start in 2024 with volume growth improving to 2.2%. As a result, it has reiterated its full year guidance.

‘However, Unilever should be performing better. Hein Schumacher’s ‘Action Plan’ is designed to reinvigorate performance through more impactful innovation, productivity savings and an improved culture, with an enhanced focus on the top 30 Power Brands.

‘While it is early days, there are already promising signs. The Power Brands are out-performing the rest of the portfolio, growing volumes by 3.8% in the first quarter. A greater focus on these seems eminently sensible. Meanwhile, the recently announced separation of the ice cream business shows Unilever’s CEO is willing to take bold steps to turn the company around, which is what Unilever desperately needs.

‘Ice cream is a lower margin business and has struggled recently, losing share to competitors. Separating out the ice cream business will simplify the group and free up resources to invest behind the biggest brands. It is all part of the new CEO’s master plan of doing “fewer things, better and with greater impact”.

‘Unilever will need more than portfolio change to deliver on its potential – cost of living challenges mean private label brands have never been more appealing. Nevertheless, the ‘Action Plan’ has got off to a good start and it finally feels like Unilever is moving in a positive direction.’

Windfall tax is driving UK oil and gas producers to Norway, says MAGGIE PAGANO

Serica Energy is one of Britain’s top ten oil and gas producers, which delivers around 41,000 barrels of oil a year.

Its portfolio of new projects includes the Buchan redevelopment – 120 miles north-east of Aberdeen – the third-biggest underdeveloped field in UK waters behind Rosebank and Cambo.

Its chairman and acting chief executive is David Latin, an industry veteran with more than 30 years of experience working in the upstream sector including senior roles at BP and the multinational oil giant, OMV Group, where he headed its Norwegian operations.

In other words, he knows his onions.

Unilever beats sales forecasts as consumer giant wins back customers

Unilever’s first-quarter sales rose by a better than expected 4.4 per cent, as one of the world’s biggest consumer goods groups won back shoppers who had traded down to cheaper products.

The maker of Dove soaps and Hellmann’s mayonnaise increased its sales volumes by 2.2 per cent, its second quarter of growth after several of declining volumes. It raised prices by 2.2 per cent.

Consumer goods companies are fighting to recover volumes lost after months of price increases introduced to pass higher input costs onto the customer. Prices had risen initially due to the Covid-19 pandemic, followed by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

Analysts had expected Unilever’s sales volumes to rise by 1.2 per cent and prices to increase by 1.8 per cent. Its underlying sales growth was above the 3 per cent estimate seen by the analysts in a company-provided consensus.

Unilever also maintained its full-year outlook and said it expects sales volumes to continue to improve.

‘We have increasing confidence in our ability to deliver sustained volume growth as we accelerate gross margin expansion,’ CEO Hein Schumacher said in a statement.

BHP eyes Anglo American for mining megadeal

London-listed miner Anglo American has received an all-share buyout proposal from BHP Group, lining-up a potential megadeal that would create the world’s biggest copper miner churning out around 10 per cent of global output.

The deal, if agreed, would also trigger further transactions in the global mining industry, which has seen a slew of mergers and acquisitions as companies review their assets to raise exposure to metals deemed critical to the energy transition.

The proposal comes after Anglo, which had a market capitalisation of $37.7billion as of Wednesday’s close, began a review of its assets in February after a 94 per cent plunge in annual profit and a series of writedowns due to a fall in demand for most of the metals it mines.

Anglo owns mines in countries including Chile, South Africa, Brazil and Australia.

BHP, the world’s biggest listed miner and best-known for mining iron ore, copper, coking coal, potash and nickel, had a market capitalisation of about $149billion as of Wednesday.

Tesla shares rocket after pledge to bring forward launch of ‘more affordable’ models

Tesla shares surged more than 12 per cent after it pledged to bring forward the launch of ‘more affordable’ cars.

The electric car maker said production could start this year, as the group run by tech billionaire Elon Musk suffered its biggest drop in revenue in over a decade as demand stalls.

On Tuesday it posted sales of £17billion for the three months to the end of March, a 9 per cent fall from the year before and the largest slump since 2012.

Profits fell 86 per cent to £910million compared to £6.4billion a year ago.

Sainsbury’s ups guidance

Sainsbury’s has forecast strong profit growth in its new financial year as Britain’s second biggest supermarket group beat guidance with a 1.6 per cent rise for 2023/24.

The group, which has a 15.3 per cent share of Britain’s grocery market trailing only Tesco, is getting success from a strategy of matching discounter Aldi’s prices on essential items and providing better prices for members of its Nectar loyalty scheme, financed by taking £1.3billion of costs out of the business over the last three years.

Underlying pre-tax profit was £701million in the year to 2 March – ahead of company guidance of £670million to £700million, and the £690million made in 2022/23.

Chief executive Simon Roberts said:

‘We said we’d put food back at the heart of Sainsbury’s and that’s what we’ve done. Our food business is firing on all cylinders.

‘We have the best combination of value and quality in the market and that’s winning us customers from all our key competitors, driving consistent volume market share growth as more customers choose us for their weekly shop and all their special occasions.

‘As we embark on our Next Level Sainsbury’s strategy, we’ll continue to make deliberate, balanced choices to support our customers, colleagues, communities and farmers.

‘The business has real momentum and we’re excited by our goal of making good food joyful, accessible and affordable for everyone, every day.”

Investors to vote on plans to double London Stock Exchange boss’s pay to £13m

The owner of London’s stock market is facing an investor backlash over plans to more than double its boss’s pay.

London Stock Exchange Group (LSEG) wants to up chief executive David Schwimmer’s maximum pay from £6.25million to £13million.

Investors will vote today on whether to allow the near-£7million pay rise, at the annual general meeting amid soul searching in the City over the health of the stock market over which Schwimmer presides.

Analysts warn that a ‘relentless’ wave of takeover activity, amounting to a ‘feeding frenzy’ on undervalued British stocks, has left the exchange facing ‘death by a thousand cuts’.

Barclays profits slip

Barclays profits slipped 12 per cent in the first quarter as a squeeze on UK mortgage pricing, lower income from trading and a drought of M&A fees showed the difficulties it will face in delivering its first strategic revamp in a decade.

The lender posted a pre-tax profit of almost £2.3billion for the three months to 31 March, down from £2.6billion a year earlier and in line with forecasts of £2.2billion.

Barclays is bidding to restore investor faith in its universal banking business model, after years of share price underperformance, clashes with activists over the role of its investment bank, and management turnover.

Boss C.S. Venkatakrishnan said:

‘We are focused on disciplined execution of the plan that we presented at our Investor Update on 20th February.

‘We have now announced the sale of our performing Italian mortgage book and are investing in our higher returning UK consumer businesses, including through the expected completion of the Tesco Bank acquisition in Q424.

‘We continue to exercise cost discipline and remain well capitalised with a Common Equity Tier 1 (CET1) ratio at the end of the quarter of 13.5%.’

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Palma for under £100 a night! Mallorca’s charming capital offers glorious architecture and a vibrant food scene

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Often overshadowed by the island’s beautiful beaches and mountainous interior, Mallorca’s capital makes a great weekend city break. 

With Moorish and modernist architecture, the skyline is dominated by the huge Gothic cathedral, towering above the flashy yacht-filled marina.

Besides extensive history, there are world-class galleries and a vibrant food scene.

Often overshadowed by the island¿s beautiful beaches and mountainous interior, Palma, Mallorca¿s capital, makes a great weekend city break

Often overshadowed by the island¿s beautiful beaches and mountainous interior, Palma, Mallorca¿s capital, makes a great weekend city break

Often overshadowed by the island’s beautiful beaches and mountainous interior, Palma, Mallorca’s capital, makes a great weekend city break

Where to stay

Hostal Pons

Charming from the moment you step into the plant-filled courtyard, Hostal Pons is in a building from 1850 with original tile flooring and antique furniture. It’s tucked away near the boutique shops on Carrer de Sant Feliu, not far from the harbour.

Doubles from £56 (hostalpons.com).

Hotel Palau Sa Font

Just behind Placa de la Drassanas, a pretty tree-lined square with tapas bars, this handsome raspberry-pink-hued hotel makes a relaxing retreat. There’s a roof terrace, plunge pool and solarium while rooms are both minimal and comfortable.

Doubles from £98 (palausafont.com).

Hotel Ca N’Alexandre

Palma can be explored on foot or by bike. Above, colourful houses line the city streets

Palma can be explored on foot or by bike. Above, colourful houses line the city streets

Palma can be explored on foot or by bike. Above, colourful houses line the city streets

On an unassuming street just outside the centre, Hotel Ca N’Alexandre has exposed walls and beams, large glass windows and pastel-hued furnishings. There’s also a relaxing lounge and small rooftop terrace.

Doubles from £69 (canalexandre.com).

Brondo Architect Hotel

Set in a 17th-century building in the heart of the city, each room at this hotel is named after a famous architect – all coming with wooden four-poster beds and a minimalist feel. There’s a pretty courtyard for breakfast.

Doubles from £97 (brondoarchitectpalmademallorca.com).

What to see and do

Take a wander

Palma's skyline is dominated by the huge Gothic cathedral La Seu, pictured towering above the yacht-filled marina

Palma's skyline is dominated by the huge Gothic cathedral La Seu, pictured towering above the yacht-filled marina

Palma’s skyline is dominated by the huge Gothic cathedral La Seu, pictured towering above the yacht-filled marina

Lose yourself in the maze of narrow streets of the historic district between Plaça de Cort and the marina. The highlight is the mammoth 14th Century cathedral known as La Seu, is an impressive golden sandstone building from the outside but it’s worth venturing inside to see the light stream through the impressive 61 stained-glass windows (tickets from £7.71).

Go for a spin

Palma and its environs are great to explore on two wheels, featuring an abundance of cycle paths and flat geography. From the city centre there’s a lovely route along the coastline with sea views all the way. Snoop at the superyachts in the marina, admire the old fishing area of Molinar and end up at the sandy stretch of beach at S’Arenal. Bikes from £12.80 a day (callandridemallorca.com).

Marvel at Miro

The much-loved Catalan artist Joan Miro moved to Mallorca for the second half of his working life and his home and studios, designed by Josep Lluís Sert, were transformed to Fundació Miró Mallorca, a museum and art space, in the early Nineties (tickets £8.60). In the suburbs, it’s a stunning setting with sweeping vistas, a chance to see up close where he worked and an extensive collection of his work (miromallorca.com).

See the unusual castle

Castell de Bellver, Spain's only round castle, sits atop a hill to the west of the city

Castell de Bellver, Spain's only round castle, sits atop a hill to the west of the city

Castell de Bellver, Spain’s only round castle, sits atop a hill to the west of the city  

Spain’s only round castle (Castell de Bellver) and former 14th Century royal fortress is amid pine forests atop a hill to the west of the city. While the castle gives an interesting insight into the island’s past, the views alone are worth the visit.

Where to eat

Restaurant Casa Julio

Set lunches are about a tenner for three courses and a glass of wine at Casa Julio, a bustling spot on a corner behind the Santa Eulalia church.

Try the Ensaimada - a flaky pastry - from Forn des Teatre (pictured)

Try the Ensaimada - a flaky pastry - from Forn des Teatre (pictured)

Try the Ensaimada – a flaky pastry – from Forn des Teatre (pictured)

Expect classic Mallorcan dishes such as mushroom tortellini and cuttlefish stew. Bag a table outside for sunshine and great people-watching. 4 Carrer de la Previsió.

Forn des Teatre

Ensaimada Mallorquina – a twisted, flaky pastry that can be both sweet and savoury – is a Mallorcan must-try cuisine, and Forn des Teatre is a fine place to do so.

Try the plain Ensaimada (from £1.70); perfect dipped in coffee for breakfast. 9 Plaça de Weyler (fornetdelasoca.com).

Mercat D’Olivier

With more than 100 stalls, Palma’s huge covered market is a veritable treasure trove for foodies, with fresh produce from across the island.

Stock up on treats for a picnic or pull up a bar stool at one of the many restaurants such as Can Jaume, with tasty tapas (£3.40 a plate), or Bottega Bolognese for fresh pasta dishes (£6.85). Plaça de l’Olivar.

La Molienda Bisbe

From the centre of Palma there's a 'lovely route' to explore along its coastline, with sea views all the way. Pictured: Platja de Can Pere Antoni, a short walk from Palma's Old Town

From the centre of Palma there's a 'lovely route' to explore along its coastline, with sea views all the way. Pictured: Platja de Can Pere Antoni, a short walk from Palma's Old Town

From the centre of Palma there’s a ‘lovely route’ to explore along its coastline, with sea views all the way. Pictured: Platja de Can Pere Antoni, a short walk from Palma’s Old Town

For some of Palma’s best coffee and good breakfasts/brunches, this friendly cafe is just the ticket. Sit beneath its jacaranda tree and tuck into toast topped with goats cheese, pistachios and strawberries (£7). Great cakes. 11 Carrer del Bisbe Campins (lamolienda.es).

Getting there

Easyjet flies from Gatwick, Bristol, Birmingham, Manchester and Glasgow to Palma de Mallorca from £15.24 one-way (easyjet.com). The A1 bus runs between the airport and the centre of town (£4.30 one way).

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US secretly sent Ukraine long-range ATACMS missiles

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Ukraine for the first time has begun using long-range ballistic missiles provided secretly by the United States, bombing a Russian military airfield in Crimea last week and Russian forces in another occupied area overnight, American officials said Wednesday.

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Generation lockdown’s boozing problem: Middle-class parents have ‘normalised’ under-age drinking while pandemic fuelled issue, experts warn as shock report reveals UK tops global charts with one in three having had alcohol by age 11

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Middle-class parents normalising alcohol are partly responsible for England’s high under-age drinking rate, experts suggested today. 

One in three kids have had booze by the age of just 11 and one in two by 13. 

It marks the highest rate of childhood drinking across 44 countries, according to a damning World Health Organization (WHO) commissioned report. 

Kids from wealthy households are most likely to drink, with charities warning they ‘mirror’ the behaviour of affluent parents who frequently indulge in wine.

Pandemic-era curbs which left children isolated and ‘stuck at home’ might also be behind a surge seen in the wake of Covid, scientific commentators said.

The study, one of the largest of its kind examining data from over 280,000 children, also showed England has the highest levels of vaping in Western Europe at the age of 11. 

By the age of 15, 40 per cent of girls and a quarter of boys have tried e-cigs.

Smoking rates have also risen sharply. 

Health chiefs warned more must be done to protect youngsters from these ‘toxic and dangerous products’, labelling their use a ‘serious public health threat’. 

At the age of just 11, 34 per cent of girls and 35 per cent of boys in England have drunk alcohol, the figures show — more than double the global average of 15 per cent. 

By 15, 56 per cent of boys from high-income families in England said they had drunk alcohol, compared with 39 per cent from low-income families. 

The gap was narrower among girls, with 55 per cent of those from affluent areas having drunk alcohol, compared with 50 per cent in poorer areas.

Dr Jo Inchley, the study’s international co-ordinator, from the University of Glasgow, said this could reflect ‘cultural norms’ among the middle classes.

She added: ‘Alcohol may be more normalised in more wealthy families, and financially it can be more accessible. 

‘Alcohol is part of sporting culture in the UK, and young people from affluent backgrounds are more likely to be in sports clubs and groups.’

Children also appear to be ‘initiating’ drinking at a younger age, which may have accelerated during the pandemic, she said. 

Dr Inchley added: ‘Some of this could be the effects of lockdown on social lives, mental health, relationships with schools: we know Covid has had a big impact on this group.’

In Scotland, the figure was 16 per cent for girls in Scotland and 17 per cent for boys. Fourteen per cent of girls in Wales and 20 per cent of boys have had alcohol by this age.

Under UK law, it is illegal to buy alcohol under the age of 18. However, at 16 and 17, if accompanied by an adult, kids can drink beer, wine or cider with a meal.

The NHS advises not drinking until 18, warning alcohol can damage the development of children’s organs, including the brain and liver.

Dr Katherine Severi, chief executive of the Institute of Alcohol Studies, said: ‘People tend to have this perception that introducing children to moderate drinking is a good way of teaching them safer drinking habits. 

‘This is untrue. The earlier a child drinks, the more likely they are to develop problems with alcohol in later life.’

She added: ‘A pro-alcohol environment leads to the normalisation of drinking and “cultural blindness” to alcohol harm among children. That’s true even with moderate parental drinking.

‘And as more affluent people tend to drink more, this normalisation will be especially true, which is likely why we see higher rates of drinking in children from affluent families. 

‘We know that children mirror the behaviour of the adults around them, so it’s important that parents who drink any amount are aware of how it could affect their child in later life.’

Sir Ian Gilmore, chair of the UK’s Alcohol Health Alliance, also blamed exposure to alcohol advertising for fuelling drinking at an early age.

He said it is ‘shocking’ that children in the UK are more familiar with certain brands of beer than biscuits, crisps and ice cream.

He added: ‘Advertising regulations have been introduced by the government for other harmful products like cigarettes and junk food, we urgently need a comparable approach for alcohol.’

The WHO survey covered youngsters living in Europe, Central Asia and Canada, and included more than 4,000 children in England.

It found 40 per cent of girls and 26 per cent of boys in England had vaped by the age of 15, compared with a global average of 33 per cent and 31 per cent, respectively.

Some 30 per cent of girls in England — almost one in three — have vaped in the last 30 days.

More girls than boys aged 15 in England have tried smoking (28 per cent vs 16 per cent), with the rate among girls higher than the global average (26 per cent).

Anne Longfield, chair of the Centre for Young Lives and former Children’s Commissioner, said: ‘We should be alarmed at the rising numbers of young people taking up vaping, our position at the top of the league for children’s alcohol use, and its impact on health, development, and the extra strain it will bring to the NHS.

‘The Wild West era of vaping companies being allowed to do what they like must end.’

A Government spokesman said: ‘The health advice is clear – smoking, vaping and underage drinking can be damaging for young people and their development.

‘That is why there are age restrictions on the sale of these products.

‘As a government, we are creating the UK’s first smokefree generation.

‘Our landmark Tobacco and Vapes Bill will make it an offence to sell tobacco products to anyone born after January 1 2009 and includes powers to limit flavours, packaging and displays of vapes to reduce the appeal to children.’

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Hamas releases video of Israeli-American hostage

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Hamas released a hostage video on Wednesday showing a well-known Israeli-American man who was among scores of people abducted by the militants in the attack that ignited the war in Gaza.

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Liverpool captain Virgil van Dijk tells ‘unacceptable’ team-mates ‘don’t even think about the title’ and to ‘look in the mirror’ because they have no fight in a remarkable blast at Jurgen Klopp’s flops

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Liverpool captain Virgil van Dijk insists his team do not deserve to win the league after their meek surrender in the Merseyside Derby defeat, with the Dutchman saying the players cannot accept how they are letting their season end.

Everton were deserved 2-0 winners at Goodison Park, their first defeat over Liverpool at home since 2010 and just Jurgen Klopp’s second loss overall in the fixture. The Reds were poor at both ends of the pitch and have now all but conceded the Premier League title.

And Van Dijk has come out swinging by saying his team have not shown enough fight to give Klopp a fairytale ending to his nearly nine years at Anfield. ‘Games like these, the bare minimum is fight,’ said the defender.

‘We were lacking that at so many moments – small challenges, some passes that were not clear so we came into challenges that they won and they got momentum out of it. They were having I don’t know how many set pieces. That could make a difference because it’s a strength of theirs.

‘But we have to look in the mirror and each and every one of us has to think like, “Listen, you can’t accept this, you can’t accept the way we let our season end, if you play like we did today, you don’t deserve to win the league”.

Virgil van Dijk has blasted his Liverpool team-mates after their defeat by Everton

Virgil van Dijk has blasted his Liverpool team-mates after their defeat by Everton

Virgil van Dijk has blasted his Liverpool team-mates after their defeat by Everton

He believes Liverpool do not deserve to win the league following their 'unacceptable' display

He believes Liverpool do not deserve to win the league following their 'unacceptable' display

He believes Liverpool do not deserve to win the league following their ‘unacceptable’ display

Van Dijk called for Jurgen Klopp's flops to take a look at themselves in the mirror as he accused them of lacking fight

Van Dijk called for Jurgen Klopp's flops to take a look at themselves in the mirror as he accused them of lacking fight

Van Dijk called for Jurgen Klopp’s flops to take a look at themselves in the mirror as he accused them of lacking fight

‘So now it’s time to recovery and pick ourselves up again because we have to do it for ourselves, the club and the fans. It’s not only that you go out there and play your game, you have to do much more than that.

‘If we play like today and let it slip like today then you shouldn’t even think about (the title). It’s a mix of everything. You can’t put a finger on it, confidence, inexperience, challenges, maybe afraid to make mistakes in this part of the season. We can’t accept this.

‘We kept doing our thing (all season) – playing games, finding ways to win, even with red cards, even with last-minute winners. We kept doing that and that’s our big credit. But now it’s crunch time and we’ve not been good enough in the way we finished the chances off.

‘(That’s) in the way we defended together and also the fight. I think we have to show much more. What I’ve said already, everyone has to look in the mirror, come back tomorrow and we can’t let the season end like this.’

Van Dijk added that Liverpool seem to have run out of steam and ideas – but he is ready to pick himself back up and inspire the group to improve. ‘In the second half we ran out of steam and ideas but it’s difficult to say because we have to be a unit,’ he said.

Van Dijk admitted Liverpool appear to have run out of steam at a crucial point in the season, and has urged the team to bounce back and finish the campaign strongly

Van Dijk admitted Liverpool appear to have run out of steam at a crucial point in the season, and has urged the team to bounce back and finish the campaign strongly

Van Dijk admitted Liverpool appear to have run out of steam at a crucial point in the season, and has urged the team to bounce back and finish the campaign strongly

‘We had talks with the team and everyone is agreeing but on match day, that’s where it counts. It’s a disappointing night for all of us and we have to look at ourselves and can’t accept this, turn around and finish on as much as we can.

‘We can’t have groups who are blaming each other because that’s not how it works. It’s a team thing and I don’t blame anyone. I blame us as a team, as a group, and we have to much better. It starts with defending and like always, starts from the front and goes to the back.

‘I’ve been through many things in life and I will pick myself up and the team. That’s the responsibility I have. It will be fine. On Thursday we’re going to be back (at the training ground), we have a meeting together and show the reaction against West Ham (on Saturday).

‘Obviously when we have a bad result, we always speak about showing a reaction but now we can’t just accept it. We can’t just accept the fact that we’re going to let the season go by like this. It’s just disappointing.’

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Red blades atop Paris landmark Moulin Rouge windmill collapse overnight

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The blades atop the red Moulin Rouge windmill, one of the most famous landmarks in Paris, fell to the ground in the early hours of Thursday, said firefighters. The collapse, which came just months before the French capital hosts the Olympics, caused no injuries. 

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Could Matty Healy get his revenge on Taylor Swift with new The 1975 album? Rocker ‘won’t hold back’ about their fling and ‘didn’t sign an NDA during brief romance’

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Tracks on The Tortured Poets Department 

1. Fortnight (feat. Post Malone) 

Taylor appears to reference the end of her relationship with Joe Alwyn and her subsequent fling with Matty Healy in the first track on her album. 

The first verse appears to hint at the end of her romance with Joe as she sings: I was supposed to be sent away but they forgot to come and get me. 

Taylor then wishes an ex well who betrayed her: All of this to say, I hope you’re okay, but you’re the reason / No one here’s to blame but what about your quiet treason.

In the second verse, Taylor talks about a short-lived fling that helped her ‘move on’, potentially a reference to Matt. 

She sings: ‘All my mornings are Mondays stuck in an endless February / I took the miracle move on drug and the effects were temporary / And I love you, it’s ruining my life / I touched you for only a fortnight.’

2. The Tortured Poets Department

The titular track is a shimmering melody which suggest that Taylor, modestly, doesn’t see herself at the top table of tortured poets: ‘You’re not Dylan Thomas, and I’m not Patti Smith.’

It also appears to heavily reference her fling with Matty as she sings: ‘You smokеd then ate seven bars of chocolate / We declared Charlie Puth should be a bigger artist.

‘I scratch your head, you fall asleep / Like a tattooed golden retriever / But you awaken with dread.’ 

She also makes a candid reference to her mental health, singing: ‘But you told Lucy you’d kill yourself if I ever leave /And I had said that to Jack about you so I felt seen’. 

3. My Boy Only Breaks His Favorite Toys

Written solely by Taylor, this song’s dense electronic hum adds forceful notes. 

Fans have suggested the title is a reference to the ‘shiny toy she sang about in her hit Cruel Summer from the album Lover. 

It’s not clear if she is referring to heartbreak after splitting from Joe or the abrupt end to her romance with Matty. 

‘Once I fix me, he’s gonna miss me,’ she vows, adding: ‘I know I’m just repeating mysеlf Put me back on my shelf / But first, pull the string And I’ll tell you that he runs Because he loves me (He loves me).’

4. Down Bad

Taylor references mental health again as she details how ‘down’ she feels without an ex and the infatuation she felt with him.

‘Everything comes out teenage petulance,’ sings Taylor as she bitterly surveys the fallout from an old relationship.

She continues: ‘Everything comes out teenage petulance / F**k it if I can’t have him / I might just die, it would make no difference / Down bad, waking up in blood /Staring at the sky, come back and pick me up.

‘F**k it if I can’t have us / I might just not get up / I might stay down bad.’

5. So Long, London

The first track to be written with The National’s Aaron Dessner brings a change of pace, with a lovely, choral intro. ‘So long, London, you’ll find someone,’ sings Taylor.

The song appears to be a reference to British ex Joe and a follow up to her hit London Boy from Lover. 

She references their different approaches to the end of their romance, singing in the first verse: ‘I kept calm and carried the weight of the rift / Pulled him in tighter each time he was drifting away / My spine split from carrying us up the hill.’ 

Verse three she muses: ‘And you say I abandoned the ship, but I was going down with it / My white knuckle dying grip holding tight to your quiet resentment.’ 

Taylor Swift officially dropped The Tortured Poets Department on Friday - her hotly-anticipated 11th studio album

Taylor Swift officially dropped The Tortured Poets Department on Friday - her hotly-anticipated 11th studio album

Taylor Swift officially dropped The Tortured Poets Department on Friday – her hotly-anticipated 11th studio album 

6. But Daddy I Love Him

‘I know he’s crazy, but he’s the one I want,’ sings Taylor, showing wry humour as she admits to falling for the bad boys. Produced, with real brightness, by Dessner.

She goes on to revel in the fact she dismisses warning from critics, singing: ‘They slammed the door on my whole world / The one thing I wanted

‘Now I’m running with my dress unbuttoned, / Screaming, But daddy I love him / I’m having his baby / No I’m not, but you should see your faces.’ 

7. Fresh Out The Slammer

Finger-picked acoustic guitar adds folky notes reminiscent of lockdown albums Folklore and Evermore to Fresh Out The Slammer, which details rushing into a new relationship. 

Seemingly a reference to her fling with Matty – who she previously dated in 2015 – she sings: ‘Now pretty baby, I’m running back home to you. / Fresh out the slammer I know who my first call will be to.’ 

On the decay of her past relationship, she sings: ‘Splintered back in winter, silent dinners, bitter he was with her in dreams / Gray and blue and fights and tunnels, handcuffed to the spell I was under.

‘For just one hour of sunshine / Years of labor, locks and ceilings / In the shade of how he was feeling.’

8. Florida!!! (feat. Florence + The Machine)

An album highlight, this theatrical duet with London singer Florence Welch is an uplifting song of escape – from small-town life and a bad romance.

Tellingly the first tour stop following her split from Joe was in Tampa, Florida and she begins her song by singing: ‘You can beat the heat if you beat the charges too. 

‘They said I was a cheat, I guess it must be true / And my friends all smell like weed or little babies / And this city reeks of driving myself crazy.’

9. Guilty As Sin?

A tale of unrequited love, and a superb slice of 1980s-style soft rock. It even mentions The Downtown Lights, a 1989 single by Scottish band The Blue Nile.

She begins the track with her feelings on being ‘trapped’ in a relationship, singing: ‘My boredom’s bone-deep, this cage was once just fine / Am I allowed to cry? 

‘I dream of cracking locks, throwing my life to the wolves or the ocean rocks.’

She hints at an emotional affair providing her release, singing: ‘These fatal fantasies giving way to labored breath taking all of me we’ve already done it in my head. 

‘If it’s make-believe why does it feel like a vow we’ll both uphold somehow?”’

10. Who’s Afraid Of Little Old Me?

Big drums, a dramatic arrangement, and more dry humour in another song penned solely by Taylor. ‘You wouldn’t last an hour in the asylum where they raised me,’ she snarls.

It’s reminiscent of her hit single Look What You Made Me Do and the villain arc is prominent in her lyrics. 

She sings: ‘I was tame, I was gentle till the circus life made me mean /Don’t you worry folks, we took out all her teeth

‘Who’s afraid of little old me? Well you should be.’

This is her first new album since the end of her six-year relationship with British actor Joe Alwyn and, while she doesn't mention Alwyn by name, speculation will be rife that tracks such as So Long, London are about him. Pictured together in 2019

This is her first new album since the end of her six-year relationship with British actor Joe Alwyn and, while she doesn't mention Alwyn by name, speculation will be rife that tracks such as So Long, London are about him. Pictured together in 2019

This is her first new album since the end of her six-year relationship with British actor Joe Alwyn and, while she doesn’t mention Alwyn by name, speculation will be rife that tracks such as So Long, London are about him. Pictured together in 2019

Taylor Swift and Matty Healy seen leaving The Electric Lady studio in Manhattan on May 16, 2023

Taylor Swift and Matty Healy seen leaving The Electric Lady studio in Manhattan on May 16, 2023

Taylor Swift and Matty Healy seen leaving The Electric Lady studio in Manhattan on May 16, 2023

11. I Can Fix Him (No Really I Can)

A moody, stripped-down number worthy of Lana Del Rey, who has also worked extensively with the song’s producer, Jack Antonoff.

She appears to be referring to chain smoking, booze loving Matty, as she sings: ‘The smoke cloud billows out his mouth like a freight train through a small town / The jokes that he told across the bar were revolting and far too loud.’

Fans had expressed their concerns when Taylor started dating The 1975 bad boy rocker and it seems her friends had the same reservations. 

Taylor sings:  ‘They shake their heads, saying, “God help her” when I tell ‘em he’s my man / But your good Lord doesn’t need to lift a finger / I can fix him, no really I can / And only I can.’ 

12. loml

‘You said I’m the love of your life,’ sings Taylor on this warm, resonant piano ballad. In a smart twist, the ‘loml’ ultimately becomes ‘the loss of my life’.

She describes being love-bombed by an old flame, seemingly referring to Matty given their past experience. 

Others have suggested the intensity of the lyrics suggest it relates to her longterm relationship with Joe. 

She sings: ‘I felt a glow like this, never before and never since /If you know it in one glimpse it’s legendary.

‘You and I go from one kiss to getting married / Still alive, killing time at the cemetery / Never quite buried.’ 

13. I Can Do It With A Broken Heart

More 1980s influences on an electronic pop track that sees Taylor vowing to remain a trouper, despite any romantic strife.

She sings about putting on a brave face while her relationships publicly fall apart, noting: ‘They said, “Babe, you gotta fake it till you make it,” and I did.

‘Lights, camera, b***h, smile / Even when you wanna die / He said he’d love me all his life / But that life was too short / Breaking down, I hit the floor / All the pieces of me shattered as the crowd was chanting more.’  

Taylor has previously admitted she struggled with her love live playing out so publicly and the narrative that she’d had more boyfriends than other women.  

14. The Smallest Man Who Ever Lived

‘You didn’t measure up in any measure of a man,’ sings a disdainful Taylor on a melodramatic ballad.

The title is noteworthy, given that Matty’s stature is an object of some debate. The singer previously disclosed: ‘Everyone in [the 1975] is 6’4” and I’m 5’10”, so everyone thinks that I’m 5’5”.’

More recently, he addressed these short man allegations by telling a fan that he was ‘sick to f***ing death of this’, insisting that he is ‘a big boy.’

She sings: ‘And I don’t miss what we had / But could someone give a message / To the smallest man who ever lived?’

15. The Alchemy

Not all the songs are about heartbreak, as sporting metaphors aplenty suggest a track inspired by the singer’s current boyfriend, American football star Travis Kelce. 

‘When I touch down, call the amateurs and cut them from the team,’ she sings.

Speaking about the upcoming release back in February, when he was building up to the Super Bowl in Las Vegas, Kelce said he had heard some of the songs on Taylor’s latest release.

‘I have heard some of it and yes, it’s unbelievable,’ he said to reporters. ‘I can’t wait for her to shake up the world when it finally drops.’

16. Clara Bow

It’s tempting to think Taylor sees something of herself in a closing track inspired by Clara an American actress of the 1920s who lived her life in the Hollywood goldfish bowl.

She goes on to reference Stevie Nicks as she details struggling with the trappings  of fame. 

Taylor sings: ‘I’m not trying to exaggеrate / But I think I might die if I made it, die if I made it / No one in my small town thought I’d meet these suits in LA / They all want to say.’ 

The Alchemy: Sporting metaphors aplenty suggest a track inspired by the singer's current boyfriend, American football star Travis Kelce. Pictured at Coachella this week

The Alchemy: Sporting metaphors aplenty suggest a track inspired by the singer's current boyfriend, American football star Travis Kelce. Pictured at Coachella this week

The Alchemy: Sporting metaphors aplenty suggest a track inspired by the singer’s current boyfriend, American football star Travis Kelce. Pictured at Coachella this week

Bonus tracks on The Tortured Poets Department: The Anthology

17. The Black Dog 

The Black Dog is also a reference to depression and lack of energy based on a demonic hellhound acting as an omen of death in English folklore and literature. 

As well as the eerie lyrical meaning to the title, The Black Dog is a bar in Vauxhall, London – her ex Matt’s city of birth and just a stone’s throw away from Joe’s hometown of Royal Tunbridge Wells in Kent. 

In the song, she belts out: ‘I am someone who until recent events you shared your secrets with and your location / you forgot to turn it off / And so I watch as you walk into some bar called The Black Dog…

‘I just don’t understand how you don’t miss me in The Black Dog when someone plays The Starting Line and you jump up, but she’s too young to know this song that was intertwined in the magic fabric of our dreaming.’ 

18. Imgonnagetyouback

Taylor is torn between calling things off for good or rekindling with an ex in imgonnagetyouback.

Emotions are clearly running high as she sings: ‘Whether Im gonna be your wife / Or smash up your bike / I haven’t decided yet’.

She appears to reference her new romance with Travis as the song goes on, sharing: ‘I can feel it coming / In the way you move / Push the reset button /We’re becoming something new.

‘See you got somebody else / Say I got someone else too / Even if it’s him, I’m leaving here with you.’ 

19. The Albatross

It seems London watering holes are a theme of the album, with The Black Dog and The Bolter joining The Albatross as apparent references to venues. 

The Albatross Club is a pub in Farringdon, London but also has particularly eerie significance in its meaning as a word alone. 

Albatross is defined in the Britannica Dictionary as: ‘A continuing problem that makes it difficult or impossible to do or achieve something. Fame has become an albatross that prevents her from leading a normal and happy life.’

Additionally, an albatross is a large white ocean bird that has very long and often black wings – which many likened to her outfit from the Grammys. 

Taylor is taking no prisoners in this track, referring to herself as one of the largest seabirds on Earth – famed for their giant wingspan and ability to glide seamlessly. 

She sings about taking revenge with the lyrics: ‘She is here to destroy you/ Devils that you know / Raise worse hell than a stranger’. 

20. Chloe or Sam or Sophia or Marcus

Taylor tells the story of a rocky relationship in which their partner betrays them and focuses on drugs more than her. 

She hints at infidelity on their part by singing: ‘Your hologram stumbled into my apartment / Hands in the hair of somebody in darkness.

‘Named Chloe or Sam or Sophia or Marcus / And I just watched it happen / As the decade would play us for fools.’ 

Taylor goes on to reference, singing: ‘You said some things that I can’t unabsorb / You turned me into an idea of sorts / You needed me, but you needed drugs more / And I couldn’t watch it happen.’

Taylor reignited her explosive feud with Kim Kardashian by releasing a diss track aimed at the reality star (pictured with Kim in 2015)

Taylor reignited her explosive feud with Kim Kardashian by releasing a diss track aimed at the reality star (pictured with Kim in 2015)

Taylor reignited her explosive feud with Kim Kardashian by releasing a diss track aimed at the reality star (pictured with Kim in 2015)

Taylor also seems to reference Kim's 10-year-old daughter North West dancing to Shake It Off on TikTok back in January, she writes:# your kid comes home singin' a song that only us two is gonna know is about you'

Taylor also seems to reference Kim's 10-year-old daughter North West dancing to Shake It Off on TikTok back in January, she writes:# your kid comes home singin' a song that only us two is gonna know is about you'

Taylor also seems to reference Kim’s 10-year-old daughter North West dancing to Shake It Off on TikTok back in January, she writes:# your kid comes home singin’ a song that only us two is gonna know is about you’

21. How Did It End? 

Taylor appears to reference the speculation over her relationship with Joe as she details in the chorus: 

‘Come one come all It’s happ’nin’ again / The empathetic hunger descends We’ll tell no-one / ‘Cept all of our friends / We must know How did it end?’ 

Accusing people of conducting their own ‘post-mortem’s’ in the opening sentence, Taylor also accuses people of being smug: ‘Soon they’ll go home to their husbands / ’cause they know they can trust him / Then feverishly calling their cousins.’

She later admits that while everyone is questioning, ‘How did it end?’ she doesn’t know herself: ‘But I still don’t know, how did it end?’ 

22. So High School

While many tracks are bold aims at her exes Matt and Joe, happiness does reign in her track So High School where she discusses current boyfriend Travis. 

She sings: ‘You know how to ball, I know Aristotle, brand new, full throttle // Touch me while your bros play Grand Theft Auto // It’s true, swear, scouts honor // You knew what you wanted, and, boy, you got her.’

Taylor the directly references a resurfaced video in which Travis was asked who marry, kiss or kill between Ariana Grande, Katy Perry and Taylor. 

She sings: ‘Are you gonna marry, kiss or kill me? Kill me. It’s just a game, but really, really, I’m betting on all three for us two. 

23. I Hate It Here 

Taylor relies in escapism to distract herself from the issues plaguing her real life, describing herself as going to ‘secret gardens in my mind’. 

She appears to be dealing with the fallout of being lied to, singing: Tell me something awful like you are a poet / Trapped inside the body of a finance guy

‘Tell me all your secrets / All you’ll ever be is / My eternal consolation prize.’ 

She appears to be between relationships, musing: ‘I’m lonely, but I’m good /I’m bitter, but I swear I’m fine.’ 

24. thanK you aIMee 

Fans are convinced the 24th track – thanK you aIMee – is aimed at Kim Kardashian, as the letters K,I and M are capped up to spell out her name.

Taylor sings in one line: ‘There’s a bronze spray-tanned statue of you and a plaque underneath it/That threatens to push me down the stairs, at our school.’

‘All that time you were throwin’ punches, I was buildin’ somethin’ / And I can’t forgive the way you made me feel / Screamed ‘F**k you, Aimee’ to the night sky, as the blood was gushin’ / But I can’t forget the way you made me heal.’

She goes on to add: ‘And it wasn’t a fair fight, or a clean kill / Each time that Aimee stomped across my gravе / And then she wrote hеadlines/ In the local paper, laughing at each baby step I’d take.’

Taylor concludes by confirming she’s changed the name of the woman she’s singing about – further fuelling speculation the track is about Kim.

She also seems to reference Kim’s 10-year-old daughter North West dancing to her 2014 single Shake It Off on TikTok, finding it ironic as the ‘song is about you’.

She sings: ‘And so I changed your name, and any real defining clues/And one day, your kid comes home singin’ a song that only us two is gonna know is about you.’

25. I Look in People’s Windows 

While she may have the ultimate girl squad around her, Taylor admits she can’t help but feel lonely when chasing a man. 

She sings: ‘I look in people’s windows / Transfixed by rose golden glows / They have their friends over to drink nice wine.

‘I look in people’s windows / In case you’re at their table / What if your eyes looked up and met mine / One more time.’ 

26. The Prophecy 

Taylor seems to be pained by the thought of trying to find an intimate love when her life is so public. 

The singer – who found fame as a teenager – reveals that being in the spotlight and adored by millions of fans can’t measure up to being loved by a partner. 

She shares: ‘Please / Change the prophecy / Let it once be me / Who do I have to speak to / About if they can redo the prophecy?’

 Taylor has previously revealed how fame changed her life for the worst, explaining: ‘It’s a social situation every time I go out. 

‘I just have to wake up in the morning and say, “How am I feeling today? If someone asks for a picture, am I gonna feel imposed upon today because I’m dealing with my own stuff? Am I gonna take my own stuff out on some innocent 14-year-old today and be in a bad mood?” 

‘OK, maybe not … Maybe I won’t leave the house.’

27. Cassandra

thanK you aIMee might not be the only song issuing shots at Kim Kardashians, with Cassandra also seeming to be filled with veiled digs. 

Greek god Cassandra, ‘entangled men’ and was punished with a curse where no one would believe what she had to say. 

In her chorus, Taylor sings: ‘When the first stone’s thrown, they’re screaming /In the streets, there’s a raging riot / When it’s “Burn the b***h”, they’re shrieking / When the truth comes out, it’s quiet.’

This could be in reference to Kim sparking a social media firestorm when she shared a Snapchat video of then-husband Kanye West during a phone call with Taylor, where she seemingly gave the rapper to include lyrics about her in his new song. 

While Taylor insisted that she hadn’t consented to Kanye labelled her a ‘b***h’ in his track, many accused her of being a snake.

Kardashian fans and Swifties went to war with one another by posting snake emojis. 

Taylor references snakes in her song, sharing: ‘So, they killed Cassandra first ‘cause she feared the worst / And tried to tell the town / So, they filled my cell with snakes, I regret to say / Do you believe me now?’

28. Peter 

Taylor reflects on her childhood and pleads for forgiveness as she reflects on losing a past love. 

It could be in reference to Matty, who she was first linked to in 2014, and their subsequent breakup as she sings: ‘Said you were gonna grow up /Then you were gonna come find me.

‘Words from the mouths of babes / Promises oceans deep / But never to keep / Never to keep.’ 

It could also be a follow up to her song Cardigan, where she sang: ‘Tried to change the ending / Peter losing Wendy’. 

Taylor reflects on her childhood and pleads for forgiveness as she reflects on losing a past love (pictured in 2008)

Taylor reflects on her childhood and pleads for forgiveness as she reflects on losing a past love (pictured in 2008)

Taylor reflects on her childhood and pleads for forgiveness as she reflects on losing a past love (pictured in 2008) 

29. The Bolter 

Fans have made many interpretations of The Bolter – with links to a London pub in the form of Mansion House’s bar of the same name while also alluding to a suitor running into the night – something fans insisted was about Joe. 

Some Twitter users claimed the location is where the former couple enjoyed their first date – yet the claims were quickly disputed by devoted followers.

The initial claim came from a fan writing: ‘The Bolter is a bar in London where Taylor and Joe went on their first outing?!?!???? I’m done, BYE’. 

Others followed up writing: ‘***Apparently that’s not the bar they were publicly first seen together!!!!*** But there is indeed this bar in London which is crazy anyway… guys it’s not real, it was different place’. 

She sings: ‘Started with a kiss / “Oh, we must stop meeting like this” / But it always ends with a town car speeding / Out the drive one evenin’ / Ended with the slam of a door / But she’s got the best stories // You can be sure…

‘All her f**kin’ lives / Flashed before her eyes / And she realized / It feels like the time / She fell through the ice / Then came out alive’.

30. Robin 

Her penultimate track is also reflective of her youth as she reflects on how innocence is ripped away with age. 

She sings: ‘You get the dragonflies above your bed /You have a favorite spot on the swing set / You have no room in your dreams for regret

‘You have no idea / The time will arrive for the cruel and the mean / You’ll learn to bounce back just like your trampoline.’

Despite this there’s an element of hope involved as she sings: ‘But now we’ll curtail your curiosity / In sweetness / Way to go, tiger / Way to go, tiger /Higher and higher / Higher and higher / Wilder and lighter.’ 

31. The Manuscript 

The only bonus track on the first physical versions of Taylor’s album seems to be a follow up to All Too Well – her song about Jake Gyllenhaal. 

She reflects on a past romance as she sings: ‘Now and then she rereads the manuscript / Of the entire torrid affair /He said that if the sex was half as good as the conversation was / Soon they’d be pushin’ strollers / But soon it was over.’

In a nod to All Too Well (10 Minute Version) and its music video directly, Taylor continues: ‘The Professor said to write what you know / Lookin’ backwards might be the only way to move forward / Then the actors / Were hitting their marks.’ 

The Bad Blood songstress, 34 - who recently teased a 'timetable' to her fans ahead of the LP's release - initially announced the album while attending the 2024 Grammys in February

The Bad Blood songstress, 34 - who recently teased a 'timetable' to her fans ahead of the LP's release - initially announced the album while attending the 2024 Grammys in February

The Bad Blood songstress, 34 – who recently teased a ‘timetable’ to her fans ahead of the LP’s release – initially announced the album while attending the 2024 Grammys in February

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