French sports stars die in reality TV accident –
Prosecutors in France have opened a manslaughter investigation after two helicopters crashed in Argentina, killing eight French nationals. Three well-known French sports personalities were among those killed in the collision, which also claimed the lives of the two Argentine pilots. French President Francois Hollande said it was “a cause of immense sadness”. Both helicopters were involved in the filming of TV survival show Dropped, which airs on French channel TF1. On the show, celebrities are flown into rough terrain and filmed while they attempt to find food and shelter. Yachtswoman Florence Arthaud, Olympic swimmer Camille Muffat and Olympic boxer Alexis Vastine were the show’s celebrities on board at the time of the crash. They all died. [BBC] Camille Muffat
Solar powered plane still on target –
Solar Impulse is back in the air on the second leg of its historic attempt to fly around the world. After the briefest of lay-overs, the prop-driven plane took off from Muscat in Oman at 06.35 (02:35 GMT). It is heading across the Arabian Sea to Ahmedabad in India. Project chairman, Bertrand Piccard, is now at the controls, having taken over from Andre Borschberg, who flew the first leg on Monday from Abu Dhabi to Muscat. The second leg will cover about 1,465km (791 nautical miles), and should take about 16 hours.
Top Gear Clarkson out for the count –
Top Gear host Jeremy Clarkson has been suspended by the BBC after what it called a “fracas” with a producer. Sources said he was accused of hitting the producer in an incident last week, and the remaining three episodes of the current series might not be broadcast. The BBC confirmed one episode – due for broadcast on Sunday – would not be shown, but gave few further details. Clarkson, 54, has not commented, but has been joking on social media about films that could replace Sunday’s show. [BBC] Jeremy Clarkson
Berlusconi cleared of under-age sex –
Italy’s top court has confirmed the acquittal of Silvio Berlusconi on charges that he paid for sex with an under-age dancer and then abused his position as prime minister to cover it up. After nine hours of deliberations, the judges at the Court of Cassation delivered a ruling that brings to an end a lengthy legal saga centred on the billionaire media tycoon’s infamous “bunga bunga” sex parties. It also leaves the 78-year-old free to resume a central role in Italian politics. Berlusconi has just finished serving a community service order for tax fraud and remains embroiled in several other legal cases. [Daily Telegraph]Silvio Berlusconi
“Blurred Lines” was plagiarised from Marvin Gaye track –
Robin Thicke and Pharrell Williams plagiarised their monster hit Blurred Lines from Marvin Gaye’s 1977 song Got to Give It Up and have been ordered by a court to pay $7.4 million to the late Motown singer’s children for infringement of copyright. The ruling followed a two week case at the The US District Court in Los Angeles and some experts said the outcome could have a detrimental effect on an industry in which many artists are heavily influenced by those who went before. Thicke, who performed the song, and its producer Williams, made Blurred Lines into the biggest song of 2013 in the US, where it stayed at number one for 12 weeks, and a familiar tune across the world. A jury of five women and three men decided unanimously that they had infringed copyright and must pay damages to Gaye’s children Nona, Frankie and Marvin Gaye III, who were in court. [Daily Telegraph] Pharrell Williams
Video of the Day –
The most popular Top Gear Clip ever
Bugatti Veyron v Euro Fighter Typhoon: Drag Race
Saudi student guilty of Drug-driving in a McLaren –
A rich Saudi playboy was caught by police driving his father’s £168,500 McLaren supercar while high on cannabis through Hyde Park. Mohammad Al-Sharif, 22, confessed to smoking the drug at 7.30am that morning and was unsteady on his feet with slurred speech when questioned by officers. He pleaded guilty to driving a McLaren MP4-12c 3.8 litre twin-turbo V8 Velocita Wind Edition in West Carriage Drive on December 11 last year while unfit to drive through drugs. Student Al-Sharif, who lives off a family allowance, was fined £400, with £85 costs and was ordered to pay an £85 victim surcharge. He was disqualified for twelve months. [Daily Telegraph]
Highwaymen steal €9m jewels and art on motorway in France –
A manhunt is underway to catch a group of armed robbers who successfully trapped two armoured vans at a motorway toll booth in Burgundy, escaping with €9m (£6.3m) of jewels and art. French police said the heist was carried out by around 15 “heavily armed and battle-hardened” individuals, all masked, who arrived in four cars and surrounded the vans on the A6 motorway around 125 miles south east of Paris. “The group carried out the attack around midnight,” said Cristophe Crépin, a spokesman for the police, adding that the robbers had forced the drivers out, emptied the vans, and then set them on fire a short distance from the toll booth. A local prosecutor said no one had been hurt. The local newspaper said the men had made a getaway towards Paris, in four high-speed cars. [Daily Telegraph]
Google has opened its first-ever branded shop, choosing the Currys PC World on London’s Tottenham Court Road as the location. The store, to be called The Google shop, will sell the company’s range of Android phones and tablets, Chromebook laptops, and Chromecast TV services. The shop will hold tutorials showing consumers how to use the devices and hold demonstrations showing off key Google apps. It is the first time that Google has opened a shop under its own name and highlights how online companies are increasingly exploring ways to open physical stores. Amazon is thought to be considering opening a shop in a standalone location in New York. [Daily Telegraph]
Terry Pratchett, author of Discworld novels dies –
Sir Terry Pratchett, fantasy author and creator of the Discworld series, has died aged 66, eight years after being diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease. “The world has lost one of its brightest, sharpest minds,” said Larry Finlay of his publishers Transworld.The author died at home, surrounded by his family, “with his cat sleeping on his bed”, he added. Sir Terry wrote more than 70 books during his career and completed his final book last summer. His death was announced on his Twitter account with a tweet composed in capital letters – which was how the author portrayed the character of Death in his novels – read: “AT LAST, SIR TERRY, WE MUST WALK TOGETHER.” [BBC] Terry Pratchett
Spider that can give men four-hour erections found in Tesco bananas –
A mother was scared stiff after opening a bunch of supermarket bananas and finding rare spiders whose bite can give a man a painful four-hour erection. Maria Layton, 43, spotted the arachnids after opening the bag of yellow fruit she bought from Tesco. She found the bananas, shipped from Costa Rica, were infested with eggs from the Brazilian Wandering Spider – the most deadly in the world. [Daily Telegraph] The Brazilian Wandering Spider
Rumours are swirling in Moscow over the health of Vladimir Putin after the Russian president disappeared from view and put off a foreign visit.
Mr Putin has not been seen in public for a week and an official in Kazakhstan told reporters that he postponed a visit to the central Asian country on Wednesday because he had fallen ill. He will also not appear at an annual meeting of high-ranking officers from the Federal Security Service on Thursday, which he has attended in past years. Reporters last saw the president when he met Matteo Renzi, the Italian prime minister, on March 5. Vladimir Putin
Vladimir Putin’s ‘girlfriend has given birth’ –
Rumours continued to swirl on Friday over the whereabouts of Vladimir Putin, with one newspaper claiming that the Russian president had fathered a child with his long-term girlfriend. Citing local residents, Switzerland’s Bick tabloid said on Friday that Mr Putin flew to Switzerland to be with Alina Kabaeva, his rumoured lover, as she went into labour at the private Clinic Sant’Anna near Lugano earlier this week. Miss Kabaeva, 31, has been rumoured to be in a relationship with Mr Putin for several years, but the Kremlin has never acknowledged any link between the pair. [Daily Telegraph] Alina Kabaeva [attribute www.kremlin.ru]
Dermot O’Leary dances for 24 hours straight –
The X-Factor UK presenter Dermot O’Leary has danced for 24 hours straight in aid of Comic Relief, and raised a staggering £643,336. The 41-year-old completed his epic challenge in aid of Red Nose Day, at 7.20pm on Friday after showing off his moves outside BBC Broadcasting House in London for his Day of Dance. The X Factor presenter fought tiredness and pain to boogie his way to the finish life with help from celebrity pals along the way.
[Daily Mail] Dermot O’Leary
World’s first successful penis transplant carried out in South Africa –
South African scientists have announced the world’s first successful penis transplant, helping a 21-year-old who suffered an amputation following a botched traditional circumcision three years ago. Professor Andre van der Merwe, head of Stellenbosch University’s Division of Urology, announced details of the “ground-breaking” operation at Tygerberg Hospital in Bellville, Cape Town. The nine-hour operation, which involved the attachment of a penis taken from a donor who had died, was carried out in December. The results were announced on Friday after doctors confirmed that the recipient of the donor organ has made a full recovery and is sexually active. [Daily Telegraph]
Mums offer breast milk after formula scare –
Nw Zealand mothers have offered to supply breast milk after letters were sent to a national farming body and the dairy giant Fonterra threatening to contaminate formula with a pesticide. About 30 women in the Northland region, on New Zealand’s North Island, say they’d be happy to contribute, and some women have already started expressing their milk for babies who are ordinarily fed formula. [BBC]
BBC Comic Relief raises £78 million –
A record-breaking £78million was raised for Comic Relief by the end of Red Nose Day 2015. The total was revealed during the live television spectacular on BBC One. The charity also revealed that more than a billion pounds has been raised for Comic Relief since the charity was set up 30 years ago. Comic Relief founder Richard Curtis said he was “enormously proud” of the charity’s achievements. Rowan Atkinson brought back Mr Bean. Dawn French starred in one-off Vicar of Dibley special. Bond stars Daniel Craig and Roger Moore teamed up for a special 007 sketch, while Professor Stephen Hawking appeared in Little Britain. Victoria Wood triumphed in the celebrity Bake-Off. Star-studded sketch saw Liam Gallagher named a national treasure. [BBC]
Putin missing mystery magnifests –
The mystery over the whereabouts of Vladimir Putin deepened on Saturday as Russian state media broadcast – then retracted – reports that he had hosted an official visit from the President of Kyrgyzstan. Mr Putin has remained hidden from public view for nine days. Levels of fear and uncertainty in Moscow have been rising as rumours fly over what could be behind Putin’s lengthy disappearance.The Kremlin has repeatedly denied that there is anything amiss with the Russian leader, batting away suggestions that he is ill, dead, victim of a palace coup or in Switzerland to be by his girlfriend’s side as she gives birth. [Daily Telegraph] Vladimir Putin
Massive cyclone hits island of Vanuatu –
Dozens are feared dead after a ferocious tropical cyclone suddenly switched direction and smashed through the Pacific nation of Vanuatu, causing landslides, flooding and sea surges and widespread destruction. Cyclone Pam, one of the worst recorded in the southern hemisphere, is believed to have destroyed entire villages as it swept across the Pacific archipelago with winds of more than 200 miles an hour. Aid workers warned of “complete annihilation” in Port Vila, the capital, where some observers estimated 90 per cent of houses had been destroyed. “It felt like the world was going to end,” Alice Clements, from Unicef, told ABC News. [Daily Telegraph]
US tycoon murder suspect Durst says he ‘killed them all’ –
US tycoon Robert Durst has been arrested on a murder charge just before the finale of a TV show investigating the alleged crime. He was detained in New Orleans after a warrant was issued by Los Angeles police investigating the murder of mobster’s daughter Susan Berman. Mr Durst has always maintained his innocence in the murder in 2000. But HBO’s The Jinx catches him on tape apparently confessing to three killings, saying “[I] killed them all”. The show suggested in a previous episode that Mr Durst had written a letter only Ms Berman’s killer could have sent. [BBC]
Sir Elton John boycotts Dolce & Gabbana after row over same-sex families –
Sir Elton John has called for a boycott of fashion label Dolce & Gabbana after the legendary designers criticised same-sex families. In a scathing post on picture sharing site Instagram, the furious singer branded Domenico Dolce and Stefano Gabbana “judgmental” and “archaic”. It followed an interview with the designers in Italy’s Panorama magazine in which the pair said: “We oppose gay adoptions. The only family is the traditional one. No chemical offsprings and rented uterus: life has a natural flow, there are things that should not be changed.”
In response to their latest comments, Sir Elton, who married his long-term civil partner David Furnish in December 2014, wrote: “How dare you refer to my beautiful children as ‘synthetic’. “And shame on you for wagging your judgemental little fingers at IVF – a miracle that has allowed legions of loving people, both straight and gay, to fulfil their dream of having children. [Daily Telegraph] Sir Elton John
British Airways flight to Dubai forced to return to Heathrow due to ‘smelly poo in toilet’ –
A British Airways flight to Dubai was forced to return to Heathrow Airport when a “smelly poo in the toilet” became unbearable for passengers.
The pilot announced that the long haul flight had to be aborted, after cabin crew were unable to prevent the pungent odour emanating from an overflowing toilet. Around 30 minutes in the seven-hour flight, the plane returned to London amid health and safety concerns.
Hertsmere councillor Abhishek Sachdev, who represents Potters Bar Parkfield was on the plane and said it was “insane” that passengers had to wait 15 hours for another flight due to a “smelly poo in the toilet”.