October 18, 2014

Top News Stories –

Bulldog puppy thief –
Police are hunting thieves who stole one of Britain’s rarest and most valuable puppies worth a whopping £16,000 – because it’s purple. The cute eight-week old British bulldog puppy called Lila is so valuable because of her lilac colouring. Officers say it was snatched from his breeder by a man who was pretending to buy the puppy. The black man with short afro hair grabbed the pup when the specialist breeder’s back was turned and ran out of the home – knocking a female relative to the ground. [Daily Mail]
Stolen-Lilac-Puppy

Volkswagen to recall over 580,000 cars in China: government –
Volkswagen AG told China’s quality watchdog that it planned to recall more than 580,000 cars in the country, after the agency launched an investigation in August. Volkswagen AG’s joint venture in China, FAW-Volkswagen Automobile Co Ltd, will recall 563,605 New Sagitar models produced between May 2011 and May 2014 due to a problem with the rear axle arm of the cars, the General Administration of Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine said in a statement on its website. Volkswagen is also recalling 17,485 imported Beetles due to the same axle problem. [Reuters]

Parisian vandals destroy 24ft art sculpture that resembled a ‘giant sex toy’ after claims it ‘humiliated’ the city –
Vandals today destroyed an art sculpture in central Paris ‘because it looked like a giant sex toy’. Looming above the city’s Place Vendome, the 24ft tall piece, created by American artist Paul McCarthy, was meant to look like a green inflatable Christmas tree. But the artwork, simple entitled ‘Tree’, raised eyebrows in the French capital because of its uncanny resemblance to a certain type of sex toy. Today it was left as a giant pile of deflated plastic after vandals apparently took a number of sharp objects to it overnight. The incident came after claims that it ‘humiliated’ the French capital. [Daily Mail] See Video of the Day

Video of the Day –

US artist Paul McCarthy brings giant inflatable ‘Tree’ to Paris

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November 9th 2014

Top News Stories –

Bob Geldof to record Band Aid 30 –
Plans are under way to pull together a host of music stars to create the fourth incarnation of the Band Aid charity single. The men behind Do They Know It’s Christmas are expected to announce the line-up on Monday for Band Aid 30. Bob Geldof and Midge Ure first gathered a group of musicians together in 1984, raising £8m for famine relief in Ethiopia. Do They Know It’s Christmas was recorded again in 1989 and 2004. Geldof and Ure will be hoping to gather some of today’s most popular music acts including One Direction, Ed Sheeran and Sam Smith. It is thought the money raised will go towards the fight against Ebola in West Africa. [BBC]
Bob-GeldofBob Geldof

Bubbles the chimp delayed Jacko and Freddie’s duet by nearly 30 years… as he drove the Queen frontman ape –
It has been billed as a rare moment in music history – the release of the only song ever recorded by Freddie Mercury and Michael Jackson together. The unfinished track, which is going on sale tomorrow, was discovered only by chance after languishing for nearly 30 years at the bottom of a vault – and has been reworked by the surviving members of Mercury’s band Queen. There Must Be More To Life Than This, was never completed back in the 1980s due to the increasingly erratic behaviour of Jackson and the antics of his pet chimp Bubbles. Mercury, then at the height of his powers as a performing artist, complained that Bubbles was a bizarre distraction because Jackson insisted on bringing the animal into the studio and asking for its views on their singing. The Queen frontman, who was famed for his tempestuous nature, finally stormed out of the recording after telling friends: ‘I’m not performing with a f****** chimp sitting next to me each night.’ [Daily Mail]
Freddie Mercury performing in New Haven, CT, November 1978

Video of the Day –

Do They Know It’s Christmas (1984)

List of the Day –

Artists on Do They Know It’s Christmas (1984)

Vocalists:

Additional spoken messages on B-side:

Musicians:

  • Phil Collins – drums
  • John Taylor – bass
  • Midge Ure – keyboards and programming

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November 12, 2014

Top News Stories –

Ecstatic reaction as Rosetta spacecraft mission lands on comet –
The Rosetta spaceship, which was launched in 2004, has landed on comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko in a mission which could reveal the origins of life on Earth. The spacecraft’s thrusters failed to work during the mission prompting fears that the lander could simply bounce off the comet and back into space. But the Philae landing craft managed to land safely. The small probe took pictures as it descended as well as monitored chemical levels. The European Space Agency’s ground-breaking £1 billion mission to chase, orbit, and execute a soft landing on a moving comet has been called one of the most extraordinary achievements in space history. [Daily Telegraph] See Video of the Day
Artist's impression of the Philae landerArtist’s impression of the Philae lander

Video of the Day –

Philae Lands On Comet! – Mission Control Celebrates | Video

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November 14, 2014

Top News Stories –

Comet probe Philae shuts down, but not before transmitting valuable secrets –
Controllers have powered down the comet probe Philae after its batteries fell to dangeously-low levels – though the craft still managed to transmit reams of crucial data. The comet probe Philae appears to have reached the end of its historic mission after its batteries ran out of power, but only after it managed to transmit a treasure-trove of scientific data back to Earth. Mission controllers put the European Space Agency (ESA) lander to sleep after the power in its solar-powered batteries fell to dangerously low levels following its landing at a spot in the shadow of a crater wall, shrouded in darkness. An ESA blog post said: “Philae has fallen into ‘idle mode’ – a possibly long silence. In this mode, all instruments and most systems on board are shut down.” [Daily Telegraph]

Rik Mayall ‘Bottom’ bench unveiled in Hammersmith –
A street bench like one that featured in the BBC sitcom Bottom has been officially unveiled in memory of comedy legend Rik Mayall. It followed an online campaign by more than 7,000 of his fans. Mayall, who starred in a string of TV comedies, said before his death, aged 56, in June that he had been saddened by the removal of the bench. It had appeared in the opening credits of Bottom, in which he starred with Adrian Edmondson. [Daily Telegraph]

Rik_Mayall_obit Rik Mayall

Unofficial_blue_plaque_to_Rik_Mayall_taken_in_Hammersmith,_London_June_2014

Video of the Day –

Animator vs. Animation IV from Alan Becker on Vimeo.

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  • Swedish submarine incidents:
    • Sweden releases a sonar image it says is proof that a foreign submarine entered its waters in October. The grainy image shows underwater tracks allegedly left by the vessel. (BBC)
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December 2, 2014

Top News Stories –

(Nasty) Thought for the day –
Professor Stephen Hawking, the British scientist who suffers from amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) has said that efforts to create thinking machines pose a threat to our very existence. The BBC quotes him as saying “The development of full artificial intelligence could spell the end of the human race. It would take off on its own, and re-design itself at an ever increasing rate but humans, who are limited by slow biological evolution, couldn’t compete, and would be superseded.”
Stephen_HawkingStephen Hawling

Scarlett gets secretly married –
Scarlett Johansson has revealed that she and her partner Romain Dauriac got married in secret on October 1st 2015 in Philipsburg, western Montana.
Scarlett JohanssonScarlett Johansson

Strike that off the list –
The UK Government has introduced legislation banning sex acts like spanking and caning from online porn videos filmed in the UK. A list of sex acts are now on a list of ‘harmful’ content that has been prohibited and paid-for online porn videos must now stick to the same rules as content produced for sex shop-type videos. (See List of the Day)

Video of the Day –

Scarlett Johansson banned commercial

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December 25, 2014

Christmas Day –

Top News Stories –

Christmas Truce remembered –
100 years since the famous Christmas truce when soldiers from England and Germany fighting in France laid down their weapons and played games of football. The English Football Association has held a number of events to commemorate the event.

This is going to go well –
In the US, 300 independent cinemas screen “The Interview”, a film depicting the assassination of North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un. Directors Evan Goldberg and Seth Rogen, turned up to a screening of the movie at a theater in Los Angeles.
Seth_Rogen_WonderCon_2,_2013Seth Rogen

Evan-GoldbergEvan Goldberg

Sony hit again –
Hackers calling themselves Lizard Squad take down Sony PlayStation and Microsoft Xbox servers following threats to do so if the film was released.

Putin cancels Christmas –
Russian President Vladimir Putin cancels Christmas, at least for his government, but setting a meeting on Christmas day.
Vladimir_PutinVladimir Putin

Video of the Day –

UEFA marks 100th anniversary of World War One truce

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March 22, 2015

Top News Stories –

Drone carrying drugs and weapons crashes into prison in smuggling bid –
A plot to smuggle drugs, mobile phones and weapons into a prison by flying them in on a drone failed after the operator crashed the remote-controlled aircraft into a jail wall. The device was spotted by guards at HMP Bedford after it crash landed into razor wire on top of the prison walls in the first incident of its kind. Guards quickly removed the drone – a DJI Phantom 2, which costs up to £900 – and found a package attached containing class A drugs, a knife, screwdriver and mobile phones. [Daily Telegraph]

Italian Job’s legendary Lamborghini discovered after almost half a century, now worth £1m –
It has a starring role in the classic movie The Italian Job – in one of the most memorable opening sequences in cinema history. A stunning orange supercar races through the Alps, before disappearing into a tunnel. Then, in a heartbreaking moment for car fans, the Lamborghini Miura crashes in a ball of flames. The smashed up wreckage is dragged out of the tunnel by the mafia and pushed into a ravine by a bulldozer – followed by a wreath for the driver. The millions who have seen the iconic film since it was made in 1969 must have assumed the car was an irrecoverable write-off, never to be driven again. The car’s new co-owner, Iain Tyrrell, received a tip-off at Christmas that the Miura had resurfaced.He said: ‘I was initially sceptical because no one had seen it for 46 years. But my source was a credible one so I started to pursue it.’ He was invited to see it – but given just three hours to verify the vehicle as the genuine article. ‘It was all very James Bond-ish – I had to go to Paris to inspect the car in a secret underground car park,’ he said. See Video of the Day. [Mail on Sunday]
Lamborghini_Miura

Steven Gerrard sent off 38 seconds after coming on –
Liverpool captain Steven Gerrard was sent off 38 seconds after coming on as a half-time substitute as Manchester United retained their grip on a top-four place with a vital win at Anfield. Gerrard was introduced for Adam Lallana at the start of the second half with United deservedly leading through Juan Mata’s early goal – but was gone almost as quickly after following up a thunderous tackle on the goalscorer with a reckless reaction to a challenge with a clear stamp on Ander Herrera. See List of The Day. [BBC]
Steven Gerrard in 2014

Video of the Day –


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September 21, 2015

Top News Stories –

Apple ‘sets shipping date for electric car’ –
Apple has designated building an electric car as a “committed project” and has set a target shipping date for 2019, according to reports. The project has been codenamed Titan and its leaders have been given permission to triple the 600-person team, the Wall Street Journal claimed. For Apple, a “ship date” doesn’t necessarily mean the date that customers receive a new product; it can also mean the date that engineers sign off on the product’s main features. Reports in August revealed that Apple was developing a car and studying self-driving technology, but it was unclear if the iPhone maker was designing a vehicle that could drive itself. [Daily Telegraph]

Foo Fighters ‘kicked off’ performing at Emmys after disagreement with Fox –
Dave Grohl says Foo Fighters were “kicked off” performing at the Emmy’s after a disagreement with Fox. The singer said that the band had been approached to play at the ceremony. But he says their spot was pulled after they refused to play half of Sonic Highways and half of Learning To Fly. “The band and the Academy were extremely happy and excited to have Foo Fighters play as the first ever rock band on the Emmys,” the Foos said in a statement to Rolling Stone magazine. “Fox then refused to allow the band to play a full song from the Emmy-winning Sonic Highways. [BBC Newsbeat]
Dave_GrohlDave Grohl

Video of the Day –

Movie Phone Super Call from Burger Fiction on Vimeo.

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  • In Auckland, New Zealand, an extradition hearing for Kim Dotcom, former owner of a file sharing website, for alleged copyright infringement, racketeering, and money laundering begins, seeking to bring him to the U.S. (BBC)
  • At least eight people are killed and 45 wounded in shootings over the weekend across Chicago. (Fox Chicago)
  • A Denver, Colorado federal jury convicts Harold Henthorn of murder in the death of his wife Toni Henthorn, who fell off a cliff as they hiked in Colorado’s Rocky Mountain National Park to celebrate their wedding anniversary. His previous wife had died in suspicious circumstances also. (AP)
  • Peanut Corporation of America owner Stewart Parnell is sentenced to 28 years for Salmonella typhimurium-tainted peanut butter, the most severe punishment ever handed out to a producer in a foodborne illness case. In late 2008 and early 2009, nine people died and at least 714 people in 46 states, half of them children, fell ill. Parnell and his brother were convicted in September 2014 of 71 criminal counts. His brother Michael Parnell is sentenced to 20 years, and the plant’s former quality control manager Mary Wilkerson is sentenced to five years. (LA Times), (USA Today)
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September 22, 2015

Top News Stories –

Robert Lewandowski scores fastest five goals in Budesliga history –
Robert Lewandowski scored five goals in nine minutes after coming on as a substitute for Bayern Munich in their Bundesliga victory against Wolfsburg. Bayern trailed 1-0 at half-time, when Lewandowski came on for Thiago. Six minutes later, the Poland international netted his first goal of the night from close range. Lewandowski added four more in quick succession to record the fastest five goals scored by one player in Bundesliga history. [BBC]
Robert_LewandowskiRobert Lewandowski

Volkswagen CEO: ‘We have totally screwed up’ –
The President and CEO of Volkswagen’s US group has admitted that the company “totally screwed up” in using software to rig emissions tests. Michael Horn told an audience in New York that Volkswagen had been “dishonest” and that their actions went against their own “values”. Last Friday, US regulators said VW diesel cars had much higher emissions than tests had suggested. Some other governments have announced they will also investigate. [BBC]

Heist havoc: US bank robber shot by customer –
A US bank robber has ended up in hospital after his heist went spectacularly wrong and he was shot by a customer of the bank he was trying to hold up. The drama unfolded in the Michigan city of Warren. The robber was in the middle of holding up the bank and was about to be given money by the teller when he was shot in both arms and a leg by a bank customer, according to the Local 4 news station. The robber fled the bank but was later found by police lying on the street, bleeding. The bank robber is now in hospital with non-life threatening injuries. The customer, who had a concealed weapon licence, is co-operating with police. [Daily Telegraph]

Video of the Day –

The Big Short Trailer

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October 28, 2015

Top News Stories –

Google’s Project Loon internet balloons to circle Earth –
Google believes it is on course to have enough internet-beaming balloons in the stratosphere to form a ring over part of the world next year. It told the BBC the move would let it trial a continuous data service to people living below the balloons’ path. The declaration coincides with the announcement that three of Indonesia’s mobile networks intend to start testing Project Loon’s transmissions next year. One expert said the plan had benefits over other solutions. Sri Lanka previously signed a separate agreement signalling its wish to be another participant in the giant helium balloon-based scheme. [BBC]

Biscuit that survived the Titanic sells for $23,000 –
A cracker that survived the Titanic and lives on, unmunched, today has been sold for $23,000 (£15,034). The biscuit was saved by James Fenwick, a passenger on the Carpathia vessel that saved Titanic passengers at sea, and was kept intact in a Kodak film envelope by Fenwick along with the following notation: “Pilot biscuit from Titanic lifeboat April 1912.” The 103-year-old biscuit was used as part of a survival kit on one of the Titanic lifeboats. [Daily Telegraph]

Apple reports biggest annual profit in history with net income of $53.4bn –
Apple has recorded the biggest annual profit in corporate history, with record sales of the iPhone helping it to make $53.4bn (£35bn) in the last 12 months. The world’s biggest company surpassed the $45.2bn made by ExxonMobil in 2008, after the release of its latest smartphones increased profits by 31pc in its fourth quarter. However, Apple warned that growth is likely to slow down significantly in the crucial Christmas period, and sales of the iPad fell by a fifth to their lowest level since 2011. The company predicted that sales in the current quarter would be between $75.5bn and $77.5bn – as little as 1pc up on the same period last year – partially due to a strong dollar. [Daily Telegraph]

Video of the Day –

HOW I CRASHED THE SPECTRE PREMIERE AND AFTER PARTY JAMES BOND STYLE

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December 16, 2015

Top News Stories –

Amazon tells customers: Get rid of your exploding hoverboards –
Customers who bought hoverboards as Christmas gifts have been urged to “dispose” of them and accept refunds after three of Britain’s biggest retailers suspended sales. In an email seen by The Telegraph, internet giant Amazon has asked customers to take the self-balancing, two-wheeled scooters to a local recycling point for electronic equipment. Estimates suggest around 500,000 people in Britain have bought hoverboards as Christmas gifts. A further million are considering it, according to the watchdog Electrical Safety First. More than 15,000 of 17,000 self-balancing scooters analysed at borders since October 15 have been deemed unsafe and detained. [Daily Telegraph]

Germany: Star Wars-themed service at Berlin church –
A church in Berlin has announced it will hold a special pre-Christmas service devoted to Star Wars. Excitement is building in Germany ahead of the release of the franchise’s latest installment, The Force Awakens, on Thursday. But the Zion Church, located in the capital’s central Mitte district, is taking inspiration for its Sunday morning service from one of the classics – Star Wars Episode VI: Return of the Jedi. Those attending the event will be shown scenes from the 1983 film, and there’s also the promise of organ music inspired by the score, the local church district says on its website.
The idea came from two young pastors-in-training, Ulrike Garve and Lucas Ludewig, who see parallels between the George Lucas films and the Bible. “In the key scene of Episode VI, Luke Skywalker is drawn onto the side of the emperor, of evil,” says Mr Ludewig, described as a theologian and Star Wars expert by the church. “Luke resists with the words: I will never belong to the dark side.” That sentiment, he says, is reminiscent of a passage from Romans: “Do not let evil conquer you, but conquer evil by doing good.” [BBC]

Last round pound coin minted –
The Royal Mint is producing the final round pound coin on Wednesday. It is more than 30 years since the now familiar gold-coloured coins were first minted. The new-look replacement will be brought into circulation in 2017. [BBC]

Video of the Day –

Jimmy Fallon, The Roots & “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” Cast Sing “Star Wars” Medley (A Cappella)

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December 23, 2015

Top News Stories –

Skier’s Close Call As Drone Camera Crashes –
A skier has narrowly avoided serious injury after a drone being used to film the event he was competing in crashed to the ground. The drone hit the snow just centimetres away from Austria’s Marcel Hirscher during the alpine skiing World Cup slalom in Italy. “This is horrible,” Hirscher, who finished second in the event, said. A skier has narrowly avoided serious injury after a drone being used to film the event he was competing in crashed to the ground. The drone hit the snow just centimetres away from Austria’s Marcel Hirscher during the alpine skiing World Cup slalom in Italy. “This is horrible,” Hirscher, who finished second in the event, said. [MSN News] See Video of the Day
Marcel-HirscherMarcel Hirscher

Madonna goes to court to force 15-year-old son to return to New York –
Madonna has gone to court to force her 15-year-old son Rocco to return to New York, after his father Guy Ritchie insisted that he wanted to stay in the UK for Christmas. The singer appeared before a judge in Manhattan on Wednesday morning, where she won her bid to have her son forced to board a plane from London. Mr Ritchie, a film director who has two children with Madonna, argued through his lawyer that Rocco preferred to spend Christmas with his father, the New York Post reported. Judge Kaplan ordered that Rocco should talk with Madonna, and then revisit the issue of which parent he prefers. The judge told a smiling Madonna that Rocco must also present himself to court in the United States for the case to be decided. “I’m directing the child to be returned to New York. If he wants to stay with his father, he must return to his mother.” [Daily Telegraph]
Madonna - 2015Madonna

Video of the Day –

TV drone crashes during ski race – Marcel Hirscher at Madonna di Campiglio

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December 27, 2015

Top News Stories –

Eiffel Tower joins Twitter and receives a warm welcome from Statue of Liberty and Taj Mahal –
When a 126-year-old woman took to Twitter for the first time this week, the Taj Mahal and the Statue of Liberty were so impressed that they sent her tweets to congratulate her. But this was no ordinary old lady – it was the Eiffel Tower, the world’s most visited monument, taking its first steps on the wildly popular microblogging site. “Parisian since 1889, now I am sparkling on Twitter!” said one of the first tweets, in both English and French, on the official account of the 1,063 ft-high tower nicknamed La Grande Dame by its creator, Gustave Eiffel. The tower that each year attracts more than seven million visitors from across the globe, already has around 1.7 million fans on its Facebook account but until this week had kept away from Twitter. Its arrival there this week, under the username @LaTourEiffel, was quickly hailed by direct tweets from the official accounts of other world-renowned monuments. [Daily Telegraph]
Staue of Liberty Tweet

Star Wars: The Force Awakens becomes fastest to take $1bn –
Star Wars: The Force Awakens has become the fastest film to take $1bn (£674m) at the global box office. JJ Abrams’ film achieved the feat in 12 days, beating the previous record of 13 days set by Jurassic World in June.
But while Jurassic World had the benefit of record takings in China over the period, The Force Awakens has yet to open there. Star Wars also scored the biggest US Christmas Day box office takings in history with $49.3m (£33.2m). The film took $153.5m (£103.5m) in the US in its second weekend, bringing its total domestic haul to $544.6m (£367m). [BBC]

Christmas time storms, tornadoes kill at least 43 in U.S. –
Storms hit the U.S. South, Southwest and Midwest over the Christmas holiday weekend, unleashing floods and tornadoes that killed at least 43 people, flattened buildings and snarled transportation for millions during a busy travel time. The bad weather, or the threat of it, prompted the governors of Missouri and New Mexico to declare a state of emergency for their states. Flash floods killed at least 13 people in Missouri and Illinois. In Missouri, emergency workers have evacuated residents from their homes and conducted dozens of water rescues, Governor Jay Nixon said on Sunday. He said at least eight people had been killed and numerous roadways had been closed. [Reuters]

British soldiers aid evacuation in flood-hit northern England –
British soldiers helped evacuate hundreds of people from rising floodwaters in the historic city of York on Sunday, after heavy rainfall inundated towns and cities across northern England. Prime Minister David Cameron pledged more military help for the region as the army was deployed to move 300 to 400 people from their homes in York, where the River Ouse was expected to continue rising until Monday, the local council said. Some 100 soldiers were also helping emergency services in the hardest hit areas of West Yorkshire, including Leeds, police said, after the region suffered its worst flooding in 70 years. [Reuters]

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