It’s snow fun –
After the worse start to the Europe ski season for over ten years due to very little snow, a large drop in temperature and a snowfall of over 12 inches (30 cm) in 12 hours causes chaos in the French Alps.
Fallen Fernando –
Once the world’s top striker Chelsea’s Fernando Torres is expected to be bought by Italy’s AC Milan in January but then loaned out to Atletico Madrid so ending up back in his native Spain. Fernando Torres
Taxing issue –
The UK overtakes France as the fifth largest economy in the world after the money made from prostitution and drugs was counted in the GDP figure for the first time.
Britain’s economy is expected to be worth a total £1.86 trillion in 2014 – up from £1.63 trillion the previous year.
First manager sacked in EPL –
Neil Warnock is the first English Premier League manager to be sacked this season after Crystal Palace dispensed with his services for a second time. It is the latest a manager has been fired in the season since 1996 (January 2nd)
Whitney Houston’s daughter accident –
Bobbi Kristina Brown, the daughter of late American singer Whitney Houston is found unconscious in a bath in a house in Roswell, Georgia. She was taken to a hospital in Roswell where she was said to be breathing. Her mother was found dead in a bath on February 11th 2012 of accidental drowning due to the effects of cocaine use and heart disease.
Bobbi Kristina Brown and Whitney Houston in 2009
Cumberbatch and Fry sign petition to pardon gays –
Benedict Cumberbatch and Stephen Fry sign an open letter requesting the government to pardon 49,000 men who were prosecuted for being gay. Family members of the World War Two codebreaker Alan Turing who was convicted of gross indecency in 1952 (and later committed suicide in 1954) also signed the petition. Cumberbatch played Turing in the film “The Imitation Game”.
Balloon flight record broken –
Balloon pilots American Troy Bradley and Russian Leonid Tiukhtyaev complete their crossing of the Pacific in a helium filled balloon with a sea landing off Mexico after 6 days flying from Japan. They claim to have beaten the world distance and duration records by flying for more than 137 hours and travelling more than 5,209 miles (8,383km).
Serena Williams wins 19th grand slam title –
Serena Williams beats fellow American Maria Sharapova to win the Australian Open tennis title. Williams’ 6-3, 7-6 (7-5) victory gives here a 19th grand slam crown out of 23 finals – the best percentage performance in either the men’s or women’s game.
Miss Universe asked to negotiate with rebels –
Newly crowned Miss Universe Paulina Vega is invited by the Colombian rebel group Farc militia to help their peace negotiations with the government in a statement on their website. During interviews prior to winning the title on January 25th 2015, Ms Vega, who is also Miss Columbia, had said she wanted to see peace in Colombia. So far she has not responded to the offer. Paulina Vega
NBC Nightly News anchor embarrassment –
Brian Williams, “the most-watched” news presenter in the US temporarily steps down from his NBC Nightly News anchor role after he admitted his story about being in a helicopter that was shot down in Iraq was false. He revealed that he was actually in an aircraft following the one shot down after veterans who were in the helicopter recalled he wasn’t on the flight. Williams blamed a “fog of memory” for the lapse. Brian Williams
Price gets it right –
Katie Price formerly known as the model Jordan wins UK TV Channel 5’s Celebrity Big Brother despite only being in the “house” for 10 days when other contestants had been in for a month. She beat ex-Apprentice candidate Katie Hopkins into second place; Calum Best came third. Katie Price
Classic Ferrari sells for $16 million –
A classic California Spyder Ferrari found in a French farmhouse under a load of magazines is sold at a Paris auction for €14.2m (£10.5m; $16.2m). Only 37 of the 1961 Ferrari 250 GT SWB were made and this dark blue one had been owned by French actor Alain Delon but was hidden for over 50 years. In May 2008 British DJ Chris Evans paid a reported £5.6 million for a 1961 250GT short-wheelbase California Spyder that once belonged to Hollywood actor James Coburn. A 1961 250 GT California Spyder Alain Delon in 2013
Video of the Day –
Miss Columbia Paulina Vega’s Miss Universe interview
Italian chess player ‘cheats’ using Morse code and spy pendant –
An Italian chess player has been expelled from one of Italy’s most important tournaments after he allegedly used Morse code and a spy pendant containing a hidden camera to communicate with an accomplice. Arcangelo Ricciardi entered the International Chess Festival of Imperia ranked 51,366 in the world, but astonished rivals as he breezed through the early stages of the competition to reach the eighth and penultimate round. Jean Coqueraut, who refereed the tournament in Liguria, northern Italy, said he began to suspect something was wrong early on in the competition. “In chess, performances like that are impossible,” he told La Stampa newspaper. “I didn’t think he was a genius, I knew he had to be a cheat.” Tournament organisers then asked the 37-year old to pass through a metal detector and a sophisticated pendant was found hanging around his neck underneath a shirt. The pendant contained a tiny video camera as well as a mass of wires attached to his body and a 4cm box under his armpit. Mr Ricciardi claimed they were good luck charms. It is thought the camera was used to transmit the chess game in real time to an accomplice or sophisticated computer, which then suggested moves for Mr Ricciardi through a series of signals received in the box under his arm. [Daily Telegraph] In August two Israeli men were accused by their team mates of cheating in international Bridge competitions.
SeaWorld will no longer accept stolen whales after plea from One Direction star, Harry Styles –
The SeaWorld marine park has announced it will no longer accept whales stolen from the wild after a barrage of criticism, most recently from Harry Styles of One Direction. In a concert in San Diego, which hosts one of SeaWorld’s attractions, the pop star urged fans to boycott the company. SeaWorld was heavily criticised in Blackfish, a documentary released in 2013. The company had been waiting for US government approval for the import of 18 beluga whales which were captured in Russia. Several of the whales were due to be taken to SeaWorld’s own facilities. But earlier this week, SeaWorld said it was no longer willing to receive them. Harry Styles
Sam Smith tweets Bond theme tease featuring mysterious ‘Spectre ring’ –
Sam Smith has all but confirmed that he will sing the theme tune for the new James Bond film, Spectre. The singer tweeted a picture of a finger with a ring featuring the movie’s logo. He had been tipped for the soundtrack several times but previously denied any involvement in the project. Sam Smith/Twitter
‘Biggest’ Stonehenge site discovered –
Archaeologists have found around 100 huge standing stones buried near Stonehenge. Experts think the discovery could be the ‘biggest’ prehistoric monument ever built in Britain. Using special equipment to scan below the Earth’s surface experts were able to find evidence of seventeen previously unknown wooden or stone structures. The results suggest Stonehenge – which is 5,000 years old – did not stand alone. Scientists think the newly discovered sites were related to Stonehenge. One big surprise the research found was traces of up to 60 huge stones or pillars – part of an ancient “super henge”, about 1.5km wide.[BBC]
Turkish jets strike PKK militant positions across south-east Turkey and northern Iraq and deploy special forces to the Iraqi border following a deadly PKK attack which left at least 16 Turkish soldiers dead. (Reuters)
Business and economy
The patent office in IndiarejectsPfizer’s petition for a patent on an arthritis drug, tofacitinib, re-affirming their rejection of the same drug in 2011. The drug is a chemical reformulation of the active compound in the medicine and thus the Indian Patent Office says that the company would have to establish that the compound for which it is seeking a patent is therapeutically more effective than the active compound. (Reuters)
Disasters and accidents
Five people are killed as a small plane crashes in the western part of the American state of Colorado. (USA Today)
Hundreds of people, tired of waiting for promised transportation, broke out from Hungary’s first migrant holding center near the Serbian border, past police overwhelmed by their numbers, to start the march north toward Budapest. The asylum seekers / migrants, now accompanied by groups of police, advanced along the edge of the main highway to the capital. (AP via Global News)
In an education scandal in Egypt, a top student, Mariam Malak, says she’s a victim of corruption and fraud with the school or the examination board swapping her final exam papers with another pupil, thus assigning her a “Zero”-grade for each of the seven subjects. 40,000 online rally for her via a Facebook support page while another top student reporting the same complaint. (BBC)