Top Stories – Brangelina rumour –
Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie are set to separate according to reports. The unmarried couple are said to have been in talks with lawyers to agree a £205 million split deal. Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt
Pirate’s plunder blunder –
Single-mum Jammie Thomas-Rasset found guilty of sharing 24 songs over the internet has had her fine slashed from $2m (£1.23m) to $54,000 (£33,420) following an appeal. The American was accused of pirating almost 2,000 tracks but the record companies sought damages for only 24 of them.
X-files factor –
Lord Rees, the president of the Royal Society and Astronomer Royal, says the chance of discovering life on other worlds is greater than ever. He says “Were we to find life, even the simplest life, elsewhere that would clearly be one of the great discoveries of the 21st Century.”
Chubby hedgehogs sent to ‘fat club’ to diet –
A group of overweight hedgehogs are to be given a helping hand in losing their winter weight thanks to a special ‘fat club’. The hedgehogs started piling on the pounds because they spent longer than usual in the care of the Wildlife Rescue Centre in Fife. They were kept in their warm enclosures during the severe weather conditions which hit the country in December and January, because the cold could have killed them. (See List of the Day) [Daily Telegraph] A European Hedgehog
Chinese police admit enormous number of spies –
A Chinese police chief has said he uses more than 12,000 spies to inform on a remote county of just 400,000 people, an admission that lays bare the enormous scale of China’s surveillance network. Liu Xingchen, the 56-year-old assistant to the head of Kailu County, a farming region in Inner Mongolia, said his vast network of informants meant he could be “very sensitive” to any signs of dissent and protest. In an interview with Xinhua, the government-run news agency, Mr Liu described how he was able to “quickly and accurately discover all sorts of information that might destabilise society”. “Every policeman and auxiliary policeman, no matter their division or particular police station, has to establish at least 20 informants in their community, village, work unit and so on. Altogether, these add up to 10,000 spies. “Then the actual criminal units, the economic crimes unit, the Domestic Security Department, the Public Information Security Supervision and so on will establish a further five ‘eyes and ears’.
“At the latest count, our bureau has established 12,093 informants,” he said. [Daily Telegraph]
Google Buzz takes on Facebook and Twitter –
Google has launched a new tool that will allow users of its email service to share their feelings with other users, in an effort to take on social networking giants Facebook and Twitter head-on. Google Buzz, as the new application is called, essentially allows Gmail users to write status updates which other users can see, but goes further by allowing them to aggregate other services in an attempt to make it easier to operate in the increasingly frustrating information-heavy online environment. Buzz goes a number of steps further, however, by allowing users to create a Google profile page, which can be seen not just by friends but by the entire web if so desired, and will guide users to follow the people they email and chat with the most. It will also allows posts to include links, YouTube videos, pictures from Google’s Picasa hosting service. (See Video of the Day) [Daily Telegraph]
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]
Rolling stone gathers no moon dust –
NASA release an image of a rock that rolled down a slope in the Schiller crater on the moon between 50 and 100 million years ago leaving behind a clear track. It is likely the boulder was dislodged by a meteorite strike or a nearby impact.
Don’t hit the return key too hard –
Dutch computer experts Erik de Nijs and Tim Smit create a prototype pair of jeans with a built-in keyboard, mouse and speakers, allowing the wearer to remain connected to their computer through a wireless USB dongle. The designers call the trousers “beauty and the geek” and will cost around £250 if they go into production. CLICK TO SEE MORE STUFF FROM THIS DAY…
Star Wars character names posted by director –
The names of characters in “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” to be released in December 2015 have been revealed in a mocked-up set of trading cards. John Boyega will be Finn, Oscar Isaac is Poe Dameron and Daisy Ridley’s character is called Rey. Director JJ Abrams confirmed the names via some old school trading cards, in reference to when the Star Wars films were first released in the 1970s. Oscar Issac
World’s longest ship launched –
Shanghai-based marine-shipping company China Shipping Container Lines has launched the world’s largest container ship, the “CSCL Globe”. The ship is more than 400m (1,312ft or a quarter of a mile) long, 56.8m (186ft) wide, 73m (240ft) high and 186,000 tonnes gross. The ship, which is longer than four football pitches, is making its maiden voyage from Shanghai to Europe. The CSCL Globe
Marriage proposal fail –
A Dutchman’s attempt at a romantic wedding proposal using a mobile crane has resulted in the crane falling over and smashing into a neighbour’s roof. The man had rented a crane in the central town of Ijsselstein to descend in front of his girlfriend’s bedroom window, play her a song and ask her to marry him. Despite the disaster in which no-one was hurt, his girlfriend agreed to marry him.
Pope avoids Dalai Lama meeting –
Pope Francis will not meet the exiled Tibetan leader the Dalai Lama because of the “delicate situation” with China, according to the Vatican. The Dalai Lama fled to India in 1959 after Chinese troops crushed an attempted uprising in Tibet and China describes him as a separatist. The Vatican does not want to jeopardise improving relations between itself and China. Pope Francis
Russian planes buzz UK airspace –
Britain’s Foreign office have said that two Russian Tu-95 Bear H aircraft came within 25 miles of UK airspace in the last 24 hours. They travelled from the north, past the west coast of Ireland and to the English Channel before turning and going back the way they had come. British typhoon fighters were scrambled after the the bombers did not file a flight plan, did not have their transponders switched on and “weren’t talking to air traffic control”.
Taylor Swift trademarks lyrics –
Taylor Swift has trademarked phrases from her current album, 1989 in the United States. The phrases include “this sick beat” and “we never go out of style”, and the trademark ruling stops the use of the lyrics on merchandise. Rihanna successfully sued Topshop earlier this month for using her image on a t-shirt.
Murray’s girlfriend tells it like it is –
Tennis player Andy Murray’s fiancé Kim Sears is caught on camera apparently swearing about Murray’s semi-final opponent Tomas Berdych’s. Lip readers allege she said “Take that you flash Czech fucker”, when Murray won a crucial point. Murray later defended Sears, saying: “In the heat of the moment, you can say stuff that you regret.”
Owl attacks in Nederlands –
Residents in the northern Dutch town of Purmerend have been advised to take umbrellas out at night after a spate of attacks by an owl. Dozens of residents have suffered head injuries over the past three weeks at the claws of the rogue European eagle owl. Two runners were attacked on Tuesday, with one requiring stitches for five separate head wounds. The European eagle owl’s usual prey are small mammals and birds. [BBC]
Video of the Day –
Pilot successfully crash lands historic fighter plane
Italian parking: £300,000 Ferrari destroyed by attendant –
A garage attendant in Italy accidentally rammed a £300,000 Ferrari 599 GTO into a shop front after mistaking the accelerator for the brake. The attendant was supposed to be delivering the rare supercar, which can accelerate from a standing start to 60mph in three seconds, to its owners, a Dutch couple who had taken part in a meeting of Ferrari enthusiasts in Anzio, south of Rome. The owners were staying just a few streets away from where the car was being stored. [Daily Telegraph] Ferrari 599 GTO
Justin Bieber’s New Album Leaked? Fans Freak Out Over New Music –
Justin Bieber lovers woke up to a very exciting surprise on April 1 — the pop star had released his first new album in nearly three years! #JustinYourAlbumLeaked immediately began trending on social media, but it didn’t take long for fans to figure out what was really going on.(See Top Twitter Trends) [HollywoodLife.com] Justin Bieber
India police seek cow ‘mugshots’ to enforce beef ban –
Police in a west Indian township have asked cattle owners to supply photographs of their animals to help enforce the state’s tough new ban on beef, an officer said yesterday. Nearly 100 farmers and other owners in Malegaon have so far complied with the request for mugshots along with a dossier on the cows, said Sunil Kadasne, additional superintendent of the city. “After the new law, commercial slaughter has largely stopped but this programme will help us to stop all killing by helping trace any animal thefts faster,” Mr Kadasne told AFP. The Maharashtra state government introduced a tough ban in March on killing and selling cows, while even possession of beef could land you in jail for five years. [AFP/Daily Telegraph]
CERN discovers Star Wars “The Force” but it is April 1st –
The Force – the mysterious energy field used by the Jedi in Star Wars – has been discovered by researchers at the Cern laboratory. The European research centre announced its spoof discovery with pictures showing its scientists using The Force in everyday life. It was one of many April Fools jokes seen on websites around the world. Smartphone maker Samsung produced a spoof page for a Blade edge version of its Galaxy smartphone that, it claimed, was designed for cooks. The limited edition handset incorporates a diamond-edged blade so the phone can also be used to chop food when it is not being used for calls, texts, or browsing the web.
HTC joined in with fake product pages for the Re-Sok – the “world’s first truly smart sock”. The technology-enhanced footwear is engineered with GPS so pairs of socks can easily find each other and have an automatic hole warning system to alert owners when their intelligent footwear is running thin. For its April Fools parody, Motorola went to the trouble of making a lavish video showing two craftsmen producing selfie-sticks out of wood and leather. New York-based footwear maker Miz Mooz joined in and produced a pair of shoes that have smartphone docking ports in each toe so each one can be used to take selfies.
Parking attendant ‘mistakenly gives away’ Grandmaster Flash’s car –
Hip-hop pioneer says he returned to garage to find his customised Dodge Charger had been given to someone “dressed like him”. When you leave your customised muscle car with a valet parking service in New York, you assume it is in safe hands.Particularly if you are a hip-hop superstar. But when Grandmaster Flash returned to the garage in Manhattan where he had left his Dodge Charger for two hours he was told by the attendant that his “whip” – slang for souped-up car – had been given to someone else. To make matters worse, he had left thousands of dollars of vintage vinyl in the car. [Daily Telegraph]
Has Kim Kardashian just fixed Twitter? –
Reality TV star wants to be able to edit misspelled tweets and Twitter co-founder says ‘great idea’. It is easily one of the most annoying things about Twitter: the inability to edit tweets that contain mistakes, spelling errors or just came out sounding a bit wrong. Instead, Twitter users have the delete the tweet, and repost a new version, which leads to all kinds of problems if the earlier tweet had been retweeted, and on it goes. But hopefully not for long. Enter Kim Kardashian, the reality TV star and unofficial queen of Twitter, who uses the site daily to communicate with her 33.8 million followers and promote herself. On Friday, Kardashian turned her attention to the workings of the site, asking why it wasn’t possible to simply edit tweets. Not long afterwards, she got a reply from Twitter co-founder Jack Dorsey, which suggests a fix for the problem isn’t far off. [Daily Telegraph] Kim Kardashian Twitter fix with Jack Dorsey
Jose Mourinho: Chelsea sack boss after Premier League slump –
Chelsea have sacked manager Jose Mourinho seven months after he led them to the Premier League title. The 52-year-old Portuguese had been in his second spell at the club, taking charge in June 2013. Chelsea finished eight points clear last season and won the League Cup, but have lost nine of their 16 league games so far and are 16th in the table, one point above the relegation places. Mourinho’s final match was Monday’s 2-1 defeat at leaders Leicester City. Pep Guardiola, Guus Hiddink, Juande Ramos and Brendan Rodgers have all been touted as possible successors as Blues owner Roman Abramovich begins another managerial search. [BBC] Jose Mourinho
Pastafarian marriages approved in New Zealand –
Ever wanted to get married while wearing a colander on your head? Move to New Zealand – they just gave the right to the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster to perform marriage ceremonies. Members of the church call themselves Pastafarians and believe that the world was created by an airborne spaghetti and meatballs-based being, although its own website notes that some followers consider it to be a satirical organisation. The registrar-general told stuff.co.nz that the request was valid because the purposes set out by the church were educating and training people, particularly atheists and superstitious people, about Flying Spaghetti principles and practices. He said: “In considering the matter I have referred to the Objects of the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster, reviewed material available online about this organisation and considered other organisations already able to nominate marriage celebrants. “A review of media and the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster’s international website show a consistent presentation of their philosophies. While some claim this is a ‘parody organisation’, members have rebutted this on a number of occasions.” [Daily Telegraph] In November 2016 ‘Pastafarian’ Lindsay Miller won the right to wear colander on head in driving licence photo in Massachusetts.
Nineteen workers trapped by Wednesday’s gas explosion and raging fire in a coal mine in Hegang in Heilongjiang privince are not expected to survive because of carbon monoxide and the high temperatures from the fire, according to the rescue and command office’s Zhang Qinxiang. Thirty-three miners escaped. (MINING.com)
Riots break out in the western Dutch town of Geldermalsen over plans to establish a centre for asylum seekers in the town. Local police say they made several arrests. Including this year’s arrivals, the Dutch government said in November it expected to receive 58,000 asylum seekers by the end of 2016. (BBC)
Man dies after blowing up condom machine, says German police –
A man died on Christmas Day in Germany after he was hit in the head by a flying piece of metal from a condom machine that he and two accomplices blew up in an apparent robbery attempt, police said on Monday. The 29-year-old man was taken to hospital in the western town of Schoeppingen, near the Dutch border, by the two other men who fled the scene of the explosion in a car, leaving behind condoms and money scattered around the gutted vending machine. The two men told hospital officials that their friend had fallen down the stairs, injuring his head. Suspicious of their story, the officials called the police. During questioning, police said, one of them admitted that the three had blown up the condom machine. Police said the three men apparently got into a car after triggering the explosion, but the 29-year-old did not close his door and was hit by debris when the machine exploded. [Daily Telegraph]
Lemmy, Motorhead frontman, dies aged 70 after cancer diagnosis –
Motorhead frontman Lemmy has died aged 70, two days after learning he had cancer, the British band has announced. Lemmy formed the rock group in 1975 and recorded 22 albums, including Ace of Spades, as he became one of music’s most recognisable voices and faces. The band said on its Facebook page: “Our mighty, noble friend Lemmy has passed away after a short battle with an extremely aggressive cancer.” Lemmy was born Ian Fraser Kilmister in Burslem, Stoke-on-Trent, in 1945. He lived in Anglesey, Wales, as a child and acquired the nickname Lemmy while at school, although he claimed to have had no idea where it came from. [BBC] Lemmy in 2005
Game of Thrones tops list of 2015’s most pirated shows –
For the fourth year running, fantasy series Game of Thrones has topped a list of the most pirated TV shows. According to Torrentfreak, the season five finale was illegally downloaded 14.4m times. More than half of those came in the week after its US premiere. The Walking Dead and The Big Bang Theory rounded up the top three, with 6.6m and 4.4m downloads respectively. Earlier this year, Game of Thrones broke a record when more than 258,000 users shared the show simultaneously. The HBO drama was mainly downloaded on BitTorrent. [BBC] Last year Game of Thrones was only downloaded 8.1 million times. Sophie Turner (Sansa Stark in Game of Thrones)
A Chinese official who sanctioned a dump of construction debris that led to a deadly landslide in the southern city of Shenzhen that killed at least 7 people and has left over 70 missing, kills himself by jumping from a building in the city’s Nanshan district, according to the South China Morning Post. (TIME)
A police officer storms the police headquarters in the city of Ponce, Puerto Rico, and shoots dead three fellow officers, including a commanding officer. Authorities say Guarionex Candelario, 50, was arrested for the killings shortly afterwards and taken to hospital for minor injuries. (NY Daily News)
A U.S. grand jury decides not to bring charges against a Cleveland policeman over the killing of 12 year old Tamir Rice. (BBC)
Americans finally break through to end Ryder Cup frustration –
This was not eight years in the making. It was two decades. Two decades worth of frustration was pent up inside the American team room when it arrived to Hazeltine National this week for the 41st Ryder Cup. And two decades worth of relief was released with the force of popping champagne corks when the Americans put the finishing touches on a 17-11 rout of the Europeans Sunday, capturing the Ryder Cup for the first time since 2008 and only the third time since 1999. After eight losses in the last 10 Ryder Cups, including the last three, the Americans decided enough was enough. [New York Post] [See list of the day]
Voters in Hungary go to the polls for a referendum on whether to accept mandatory European Union quotas on relocating migrants. While an overwhelming majority of voters reject the EU’s migrant quotas, turnout was too low to make the poll valid. (BBC), (Reuters)