British fashion icon Alexander McQueen commits suicide –
British fashion designer Alexander McQueen was discovered dead today after taking his own life. The industry was left reeling after the 40-year-old’s suicide this morning, which comes just days after the death of his beloved mother, Joyce. Police were called to the designer’s £640,000 flat at 10.20am this morning after he was found dead. A private ambulance arrived to take away his body at 4.30pm. [Daily Mail] Alexander McQueen
Dark matter ‘seen for first time’ –
Scientists may have caught their first glimpse of dark matter, the mysterious hidden substance believed to give structure to the universe. After nine years of searching, detectors buried 2,000ft underground in an old US iron mine registered two “hits” by what could turn out to be dark matter particles. Both bear the hallmarks of “weakly interacting massive particles” or “Wimps”, one of the most likely dark matter candidates.
But frustratingly, two detections are not quite enough to clinch the discovery. There is still a one in four chance that the results, published by the journal Science, are due to accidental background “noise”. The scientists say five detections would be sufficient to confirm the presence of Wimps. [Daily Telegraph]
Dutch police find Valentine’s Day roses stuffed with cocaine –
Dutch police found more than £1 million worth of cocaine in a shipment of 20,000 Valentine’s Day roses that arrived at Amsterdam’s Schiphol airport from Colombia. Prosecutors said eight kilogrammes of cocaine was hidden in cardboard boxes containing the roses. It was packaged into 20-gramme cellophane parcels hidden in false panels in 200 flower boxes on a plane from Bogota. Three alleged smugglers were arrested in the Netherlands after the discovery, including the importer. [Daily Telegraph]
10 years since the tsunami –
Memorial services are being held to commemorate the 10th anniversary of the Indian Ocean Tsunami.
Bieber Bell battle continues –
The Justin Bieber v Drake Bell fans battle continued today with a Belieber hacking into Drake’s Instagram account. Retaliation for Bell baiting one of Justin’s fans Justin Bieber and Drake Bell
Syriza party wins Greek election –
In the Greece general election Alexis Tsipras’ party wins a clear victory with a projected 149 seats. The Syriza party ran on an anti-austerity ticket and has vowed to reverse many of the austerity measures adopted by Greece since a series of bailouts began in 2010. The party first came to prominence following the 2008 Greek riots. Alexis Tsipras
Prime Minister, call on line hoax –
A hoax caller pretending to be GCHQ director Robert Hannigan today managed to get through to the British Minister on the phone; David Cameron quickly realised it was not the GCHQ head and ended the call. GCHQ director Robert Hannigan
Proposal racquet down under –
At the Australian Open tennis tournament a man in the crowd proposed to his girlfriend during Novak Djokovic’s third round match against Fernando Verdasco. When the woman accepted the proposal the crowd and players burst into applause.
Rihanna new single rocks Twitter with #FourFiveSeconds –
Rihanna releases her new single Four Five Seconds, the first release from her new album and it features Kanye West and someone called Paul McCartney who has worked with a few stars before (see List of the day). Rihanna
North Korean issues wide-ranging advice-
North Korea leader Kim Jong-un issues a new set of 310 patriotic slogans including battling rhetoric “Long live the great victory in the war against Japan!” to practical advice “Grow vegetables extensively in greenhouses!”. Some make it sound as if the leader has been watching episodes of Star Trek “Let us model the entire army on Kimilsungism-Kimjongilism!”
Can you change the oil, a nappy and a light bulb?
Betting company William Hill release a list of 50 things every man should be able to do. They range from the date of his wedding anniversary to how to fix a toilet (easy call a plumber) and what exactly is the offside rule (in soccer). It was produced from a survey of 2,000 adults. Full list below.
An investigation by the Canada’s commissioner of official languages finds that tweets by former Foreign Minister John Baird and Public Security Minister Steven Blaney fell foul of the law because they were mainly in English. Now Canada’s most senior politicians must now tweet in both French and English. Over the course of two months, 181 out of 202 of Mr Baird’s tweets were only in English but about 30% of the Canadian population can speak French, with more than seven million describing it as their mother tongue.
Ant and Dec repeat Bafta success –
Ant and Dec have picked up two prizes at the Bafta Television Awards for the second year in a row. The duo won best entertainment show and best entertainment performance for their ITV show Saturday Night Takeaway. ITV’s Coronation Street also won best soap in the year it celebrated its 60th anniversary. [BBC] For full winners list see List of the Day below.
Scotland tops gay equality league –
Scotland has been rated the best country in Europe in terms of legal equality for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex people. Scotland came top of the Rainbow Index after meeting 92% of ILGA-Europe’s criteria for equality and human rights, ahead of the UK as a whole. Equality campaigners said the ranking recognised the country’s progressive measures. But they said more needed to be done to achieve full equality. [BBC]
Magna Carta changed the world, David Cameron tells 800 year anniversary event –
Magna Carta went on to change the world, Prime Minister David Cameron has said, at an ceremony in Surrey marking the 800th anniversary of the document that heralded modern democracy. The event at Runnymede, where King John sealed the original accord in 1215, was attended by the Queen and other royals. The Duke of Cambridge unveiled a commemorative art work at the site. Princess Anne rededicated the US memorial, saying Magna Carta “provides us with one of our most basic doctrines – that no person is above the law. “In recent history and even today we see in many parts of the world that power without the rule of law can lead to human suffering of terrible proportions. But it takes all of us to stand up for these principles.” [BBC] The Magna Carta (originally known as the Charter of Liberties) of 1215
Jess Glynne to have vocal surgery after pulling out of Isle of Wight Festival –
Jess Glynne has revealed she will undergo vocal cord surgery next week. The singer was forced to pull out of the weekend’s Isle of Wight Festival after consulting a doctor. She tweeted: “I am so so sad to tell you that I’m having to have vocal surgery next week” “I’m so sorry and it kills me but I have to cancel some forthcoming shows and festivals. I’m a little scared but I will be back singing better than ever very soon! Love hugs and kisses Jess.” Sam Smith had to pull out half way through his Australian tour in April after suffering haemorrhages on his vocal cords. [BBC Newsbeat]
Chicago Blackhawks take Stanley Cup in front of jubilant home crowd –
The Chicago Blackhaws defeated the Tampa Bay Lightning 2-0 Monday night to win their third Stanley Cup in six seasons. Chicago are the only team since the National Hockey League lockout in the 2004-05 season to win three Stanley Cups, tempting the modern ‘dynasty’ label. That will be left to history to decide for certain, but there was little question Monday night where the Cup belonged. It all amounted to the first Chicago Stanley Cup win on home ice since 1938, when the Cup itself wasn’t even present for the victory, as the league at that time didn’t think the Blackhawks could win. Despite a weather delay, the Cup finally made it to the United Center this time around, and was hoisted once again by captain Jonathan Toews. Jonathan Toews
Video of the Day –
WORLD RECORD Basketball Shot 126.5m (415 ft) – How Ridiculous
Australia proposes limiting Vegemite sales to prevent alcohol abuse –
Australia’s government says Vegemite sales should be limited in some communities to prevent the yeast-based spread being used to make home-made alcohol. Nigel Scullion, the indigenous affairs minister, said the spread – which is considered something of a national culinary staple – was a “precursor to misery” in communities suffering from alcohol abuse. He said he was not proposing a ban but wanted to restrict excessive sales of high-yeast products such as Vegemite in “dry” communities – typically remote Aboriginal townships where alcohol sales are banned. Vegemite, from the same family of spreads as Marmite, has been produced in Australia since 1923 and its advertising jingles have sometimes been said to be more widely known than the national anthem. [Daily Telegraph]
A woman’s bra wire saves her from bullet in German hunting accident –
A woman’s bra wire has saved her life after a bullet hit her during a hunting accident in north-eastern Germany. The tourist was cycling through woods with her husband in the Mecklenberg-Western Pomerania area of the country. According to newspaper the Gadebusch-Rehnaer Zeitung, the pair had inadvertently strayed into the middle of a boar hunt while crossing a field. The woman said she felt a pain in her chest, which turned out to be a bullet ricocheting off her bra underwire. She was taken to a doctor in nearby Gadebusch by a passing motorist and treated for severe bruising on her chest plus a small blood clot. The gun and ammunition from the hunt were also impounded and police with sniffer dogs and metal detectors searched the area. [BBC Newsbeat]
Sir Richard Branson ‘attacked’ by stingray and door on holiday –
Sir Richard Branson had a holiday to remember, for all the wrong reasons, after he was injured by a stingray and then a bullet-proof glass door. The Virgin billionaire said he had been “in the wars” in the Cayman Islands, admitting his holiday “didn’t quite go to plan”. “We were surrounded by stingray, as well as stunning coral reefs and tropical fish,” he wrote in a blog post. “But the rays were feeding all around, and they mistook yours truly for their food. Suddenly I felt a painful sensation on my wrist – they have one heck of a painful kiss! Rays are actually part of the shark family, so I’ve now been kissed by a shark. Getting stung by a ray is meant to bring seven years good luck but it didn’t bring much for Branson who then had an unfortunate run-in with a glass door. “As my anniversary was coming up, I popped into a local jewellery shop to look for a gift for Joan [his wife]. I strolled purposefully into the shop, not noticing there was a glass door in my way. Crash!” he explained. “I hit the glass head first and I got this painful cut above my left eye. It was bullet-proof glass! We quickly set up a makeshift operating theatre, where I was given three stitches. [Daily Telegraph] Richard Branson tweet
Indonesia wants gay-themed emojis removed –
Indonesia wants social networking sites to remove any emojis representing same-sex couples, it’s reported. One popular messaging app, Line, has already dropped all LGBT-themed emojis, after saying it had received complaints from users. Now the Indonesian government is asking major players like Facebook and WhatsApp to follow suit and remove the icons for users within the country, the Republika newspaper reports. “No social media may show items that smack of LGBT. Because we have our own rules, like religious values and norms, which they must respect,” information ministry spokesman Ismail Cawidu is quoted as saying. Homosexuality is legal in Indonesia, but prevailing conservative attitudes in the Muslim-majority country make open discussion of sexuality controversial. Mr Cawidu did not specify what would happen if companies refused to remove the emojis. [BBC]
The discontinuance of electricity and water into the Kaesong area impacts area residents who lose their steady supply of water. The public received about 60 percent of the 17,000 tons of water South Korea pumped north each day. (AP via Fox News)
China has announced it will back a United Nations resolution to make North Korea “pay the necessary price” for the recent rocket launch. (Reuters)
Nasa’s super-slippery anti-insect coating could slash cost of flying –
Nasa has invented a super-slippery material which could allow planes to glide through the air with less resistance and cut could the price of travel. The new coating would reduce drag and improve fuel efficiency, it is predicted. Up to now even the tiniest pieces of debris in the air, such as insects, trigger swirling air turbulence which perturbs the airstream, making it harder for a plane to push through. The new substance is designed on the microscopic pits and ridges of the lotus leaf which naturally repels water. It will allow insects to simply slip off the side rather than stick, causing more resistance. Nasa forecasts that debugging aircraft combined with new designs to take advantage of the smoother airflow, could improve fuel efficiency by more than one percent. Although it does not seem like much, it could see costs for an airline like British Airways fall by £35 million a year. [Daily Telegraph]
Fukushima nuclear plant ‘will leak radioactive water for four more years’ –
Operators of Japan’s damaged nuclear power plant Fukushima have warned that it will take a further four years to fix the problem of contaminated water leaks. The admission was made as a sombre nation prepared to mark the fifth anniversary of the March 11, 2011 earthquake and tsunami, which triggering the world’s worst nuclear disaster in decades. The problem of dealing with contaminated water leaks – which now exceed 760,000 tonnes – has emerged as major challenge to the decommissioning of the Fukushima plant. Tokyo Electric Power Co (Tepco), which operates Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant, confirmed it will take four years to collect and treat all contaminated water pooled around the reactors. [Daily Telegraph]
Progressive rock legend Emerson dies –
Keith Emerson, the co-founder and keyboardist of progressive rock group Emerson, Lake and Palmer, has died aged 71, according to his former band mates. “We regret to announce that Keith Emerson died last night at his home in Santa Monica, Los Angeles,” read a statement on the band’s Facebook page. Yorkshire-born Emerson was one of the top keyboardists of the prog rock era. He died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head, Santa Monica police confirmed to the BBC. His death was being investigated as a suicide, police added. [BBC] Keith Emerson performs on his Hammond and Moog synthesizer during the Emerson & Lake Tour 2010.
Apple customer goes to the top for iPhone battery answer –
The head of Apple’s operating system iOS confirmed that open but unused apps do not affect iPhone battery life after a customer emailed boss Tim Cook. The customer from Ohio, known as Caleb, asked Mr Cook whether closing down “multitasking apps” improved battery life and whether it was something the chief executive did himself. Senior vice-president Craig Federighi replied “no and no”. However, other smartphone batteries can benefit from app closure. While many Apple users do shut down apps in the belief it extends the iPhone battery this is not advice explicitly given by the firm itself. It only recommends disabling apps from carrying out background refreshes in a list of tips about saving power. [BBC]
Rafael Benitez: Newcastle United appoint Spaniard as Steve McClaren’s successor –
Rafael Benitez has been named as Newcastle’s new manager, following the sacking of Steve McClaren. The former Liverpool, Chelsea, Real Madrid, Inter Milan and Valencia boss takes over with the Magpies a point from safety with 10 games left. The Spaniard, 55, has signed a three-year contract, which is understood to contain a break clause should Newcastle be relegated at the end of the season. “C’mon Toon Army. The club and I need your total involvement,” he said. [BBC] Rafael Benitez
American veterans’ nonprofit charity The Wounded Warrior Project board of directors removes chief executive officer Steven Nardizzi and chief operation officer Al Giordano after an independent investigation confirms earlier news reports about lavish spending on employee perks, high overhead, and other perceived malfeasance. (The New York Times)
Europe’s largest floating solar farm to open –
The biggest floating solar farm in Europe is being constructed on a reservoir. More than 23,000 solar photovoltaic panels are being laid on the surface of the Queen Elizabeth II reservoir near Walton-on-Thames, Surrey. The farm, which will be the size of eight football pitches, is expected to generate 5.8 million kilowatt hours of electricity in a year. The energy will be used to part power a nearby water treatment works. Thames Water said construction of the solar farm, which is about eight miles (13 km) from Heathrow airport, will be completed by the end of March. The floating pontoon will be 57,500 sq m in size. [BBC]
The United States Food and Drug Administration announces it has relaxed its official requirements regarding the use of the abortion drug Mifeprex (RU-486). The current guidelines were based on 1990s medical evidence. Changes include reducing the number of physician visits required by abortion-seeking women, reducing drug dosage, and allowing women to take the drug for three weeks longer — now a total of 70 days. (UPI)
Mexico City, facing the capital’s worst air-quality crisis in over a decade, issues a temporary order that all cars remain idle one day a week. Today, authorities report a pollution index of 108 (bad) after low readings during Holy Week. Vehicles will also be forced from the roads one Saturday a month. The measure will begin next Tuesday, April 5, and run until Thursday, June 30, 2016. Starting July 1, improved technology will be in place at smog-check centers where all vehicles must be tested every six months. (AP via Fox News)
A Larnaca, Cyprus, court orders that 59-year-old Seif Eddin Mustafa, who was arrested by Cypriot police yesterday, remain in local police custody for eight days to assist Cyprus’s own investigation. Mustafa faces charges of hijacking, illegal possession of explosives, kidnapping, and threats to commit violence. It’s unclear if Mustafa had any explosives; the bomb belt he wore was fake, and officials are waiting for testing results on unidentified liquids found among his possessions. (AP via The Daily Courier)
The opposition plans to generate a recall referendum that would ask voters if President Maduro should be removed from office. The Constitution states a recall referendum can be held once the president has served half of his six-year term (Maduro became President on April 19, 2013) and at least 20 percent of registered voters sign the petition. (UPI²)
Ronnie Corbett, best known for The Two Ronnies, dies aged 85 –
Entertainer Ronnie Corbett, best known for BBC comedy sketch show The Two Ronnies, has died aged 85. His publicist said: “Ronnie Corbett CBE, one of the nation’s best-loved entertainers, passed away this morning, surrounded by his loving family. “They have asked that their privacy is respected at this very sad time.” Corbett was one of the UK’s best-loved comedians and along with Ronnie Barker, their double act was one of the most successful of the 1970s and ’80s. [BBC] See Video and List of the Day Ronnie Corbett in 2010
Video of the Day –
The Two Ronnies. Four Candles
List of the Day –
Ronnie Corbett’s best jokes
A man was marooned on a desert island. One day a beautiful woman arrives in a wet suit. ‘When did you last have a smoke?’ she asks. ‘Five years ago.’ So she gets out a cigar and he smokes it. She unzips her wet suit a bit and says, ‘When did you last have a drink?’ He said, ‘Five years ago.’ So she gets out a bottle of Scotch and he has a drink. Then she unzips her wet suit a bit more and says, ‘And when was the last time you played around?’ He looks at her in amazement and says: ‘You’re not telling me you’ve got a set of golf clubs in there?’
A cement mixer collided with a prison van on the Kingston by-pass. Motorists are asked to be on the look-out for 16 hardened criminals.
We will be talking to an out of work contortionist who says he can no longer make ends meet.
There was a fire at the main Inland Revenue office in London today, but it was put out before any serious good was done.
All those who believe in psychokinesis raise my right hand.
For some time, my wife’s had this ridiculous idea that I’m playing too much golf. Actually, it came to a head at about 11.30 last night. She suddenly shouted at me: “Golf, golf, golf. All you ever think about is bloody golf!”. And I’ll be honest, it frightened the life out of me. I mean, you don’t expect to meet somebody on the 14th green at that time of night.
This is a message for seven honeymoon couples in a hotel in Peebles: Breakfast was served three days ago.
French wine growers fear that this year’s vintage may be entirely spoiled due to the grape treaders’ sit-in.
West Mercia police announced tonight that they wish to interview a man wearing high heels and frilly knickers, but the chief constable said they must wear their normal uniforms.
It was revealed in a government survey published today that the prime minister is doing the work of two men, Laurel and Hardy.
We’ll be talking to a car designer who’s crossed a Toyota with Quasimodo and come up with the Hatchback of Notre Dame.
After a series of crimes in the Glasgow area, Chief Inspector McTavish has announced that he is looking for a man with one eye. If he doesn’t find him, he’s going to use both eyes.
We’ve just heard that in the English Channel, a ship carrying red paint has collided with a ship carrying purple paint. It is believed that both crews have been marooned.
A grandfather has gone missing after eating four cans of baked beans, two cauliflowers and a jar of gherkins. His family have made an emotional appeal for him not to come home for at least a fortnight.
Today is our anniversary. It’s just 12 years ago today when she said “I do”. It certainly surprised me, because I didn’t think she did.
That was the night when I leapt onto the dancefloor and did my rather racy impression of John Travolta. I suppose it must have been the animal in me. Well, I had a ferret down my trousers.
This new controller thinks I am the funniest man in Britain. He’s been told to stay in bed and take things easy for a while.
I remember that day clearly, because it was the one day there wasn’t a sale at Allied Carpets.
This joke dates back to 256 BC which, as scholars of ancient Egypt will know, was the year of the famous wildcat strike by the amalgamated union of eunuchs and allied sopranos, in a dispute over severance pay.
Since the last joke, I’d like to thank all those of you who have written in with suggestions about what I can do with my act, one or two of you with diagrams.
Offers of work have been flooding in. Last week I was invited to go on a round-the-world cruise. By the chairman of the Flat Earth Society.
This week I was asked to do a very important after-dinner speech. I said: “Do you want me to be funny?” They said: “No, just be yourself.”
A Malaysian court dismisses Malaysia Airlines’s bid to throw out a lawsuit filed by relatives of three people who went missing on Flight 370. The company argued that the disappearance of MH370 on March 8, 2014, occurred before the company came into existence as Malaysia Airlines Berhad (MAB) on September 1, 2015, and therefore has no liability to relatives. The court ruled MAB’s liability would be determined in a trial. (UPI)(Malay Mail)
William Shakespeare 400: Prince Charles takes to stage to speak Bard’s most famous line –
Prince Charles bravely went up against Britain’s finest actors to make his acting debut with what is possibly Shakespeare’s most famous line. The Prince of Wales became the Prince of Denmark as he joined acting royalty on stage to mark the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare’s death, uttering: “To be or not to be. That is the question.” Charles made a shock appearance as Hamlet alongside Dame Judi Dench, Sir Ian McKellen, Benedict Cumberbatch and David Tennant in a star-studded televised gala performance in the Bard’s birthplace in Stratford-upon-Avon. Charles, who had been watching Shakespeare Live! at the town’s riverside Royal Shakespeare Theatre show with the Duchess of Cornwall, was heard to speak from the wings, asking: “Might I have a word … ” Then followed the opening lines to what is one of Shakespeare’s best-known soliloquies: “To be or not to be, that is the question.” [Daily Mirror]
Manager at exotic pet shop paid a prostitute with a MONKEY worth $2,500 that he swiped from the store owned by his wife –
An Oregon man was arrested after he allegedly tipped a prostitute with an exotic monkey, valued at $2,500, that he took from his own pet store. Nathan Allen McClain, 36, is accused of tipping a prostitute with an exotic primate and paying her with money from the Zany Zoo Pet Store fund, which included a donation jar with money, in exchange for a sexual encounter, according to Eugene detectives. The unidentified woman, who police tracked down at a local hotel, had the Galago primate in her possession and told authorities she received it as a tip from a client, whom she identified as McClain. The woman was cooperative, and provided a statement to detectives, along with the animal. [Daily Mail]
Two separate car bombs kill at least 12 people in Iraq’s capital, Baghdad. The Islamic State claims responsibility for the blast at the security checkpoint in a northern district that killed nine and injured 28 others. Three people are killed and 11 injured at the second bombing in southern Baghdad that targeted an army convoy; no group has claimed responsibility. (Reuters)
According to the Sudanese electoral commission, more than 97% of voters in Darfur choose to remain as five states rather than form a single region. However, The vote was held amid ongoing insecurity and many of Sudan’s 2.5 million displaced people were not registered to vote, with the U.S. State Department warning that the referendum could not be considered credible “under current rules and conditions”. (BBC)
Experiment ‘turns waste CO2 to stone’ –
Scientists think they have found a smart way to constrain carbon dioxide emissions – just turn them to stone. The researchers report an experiment in Iceland where they have pumped CO2 and water underground into volcanic rock. Reactions with the minerals in the deep basalts convert the carbon dioxide to a stable, immobile chalky solid. Even more encouraging, the team writes in Science magazine, is the speed at which this process occurs: on the order of months. “Of our 220 tonnes of injected CO2, 95% was converted to limestone in less than two years,” said lead author Juerg Matter from Southampton University, UK. “It was a huge surprise to all the scientists involved in the project, and we thought, ‘Wow! This is really fast’.” [BBC]
Papua New Guinea student protest leader Noel Anjo says demonstrations will continue despite the court order barring protests. “The students are not going to give up until and unless the prime ministerresigns or surrenders himself to police and is arrested and charged,” Anjo said. (BBC)(Reuters)
Venezuelan opposition lawmaker, Julio Borges, is left bloodied after being hit in the face with a pipe in downtown Caracas. He spoke at a press conference after the attack with blood streaming down from his nose and mouth, and bloody stains on his button-down shirt, accusing the attackers of being supporters of PresidentNicolás Maduro. (AP via ABC News)
California’sright to die law, that allows physicians to prescribe medicines to terminally ill patients to hasten their deaths, goes into effect. California is the fifth state in America where this practice is legal. Opponents sue to overturn the law as unconstitutional because it denies terminally ill patients protections afforded other citizens. (Los Angeles Times)
Election officials announce all ballots have been processed and Pedro Pablo Kuczynski wins the closest presidential contest in five decades with 50.1 percent of the votes versus 49.9% for Keiko Fujimori. Fujimori has yet to concede defeat. As many as 50,000 ballots still need to be reviewed, but experts say Fujimori can not make up the difference of roughly 40,000 votes separating her from Kuczynski.(BBC News)(ABC News)(AP)