Top Stories – Rod the Mod becomes a pensioner –
Rocker Rod Stewart celebrates his 65th birthday after being in the music industry for over 40 years and selling over 100 million records worldwide. RodStewart
Get your skates on –
Parts of Amsterdam’s historic canal system freeze over for the first time in over a decade, with skaters taking to the ice.
Frantic Swiss franc trading –
The Swiss franc has increased in value over the Euro by 30% from 1.20 to the euro to 0.80 in just 30 minutes before settling back at 1.03 Swiss francs to 1 euro. The frantic trading that caused this was a result of the Swiss National Bank (SNB) abandoning the cap linking the two currencies together that had been in place since September 2011. At the same time SNB reduced a key interest rate from -0.25% to -0.75%, effectively increasing the amount investors have to pay to hold Swiss deposits with no return on investment.
Google glaze over –
Google announce that they are to stop making the $1500 Google Glass smart glasses and start developing “future versions of Glass”. Google Glass was originally launched in the US in 2013.
Ginola for President? –
Former French football international and hair product model David Ginola announces he will run for the presidency of FIFA against Sepp Blatter and Prince Ali Bin Al Hussein but he will need the support of 5 football associations to enter the race. Ginola is being paid £250,000 by betting firm Paddy Power, who deny the campaign was a publicity stunt. David Ginola
Date a Neanderthal –
A science centre in Bristol, England is to host a “Neanderthal speed dating” event and is looking for two actors to improvise “early hominids” and will supply “suitable wigs and fur”. The adult-only Valentine’s evening would give visitors a chance to think about whether they would date “homo neanderthalensis”.
Fake US tweets of start of World War 3 –
The New York Post and United Press International (UPI) have had their Twitter accounts hacked and fake tweets on economic and military news posted. On UPI’s Twitter feed the Pope was quoted as saying that “World War III has begun” and the NY Post had a tweet that hostilities had broken out between the United States and China. The attacks follow the ones on US Central Command on 12th January 2015.
Stephen Fry gets married –
Comedian, actor and QI presenter Stephen Fry (57) marries his 27-year-old partner Elliot Spencer and announced it in a tweet:
His “A Bit of Fry and Laurie” comedy partner and star of House M.D. Hugh Laurie responded with his own tweet:
Plans for the wedding at Dereham Registration Office in Norfolk were revealed on January 6th 2015
New running on water record –
Shi Liliang, a monk from Quanzhou, southeast China’s Fujian province, has broken his own record for running on plywood sheets floating on water. He managed a distance of 120 meters in Changsha, capital of central China’s Hunan province breaking his previous best of 118 meters that he had kept.
Crufts dog dies after suspected poisoning –
A dog has died after competing at Crufts, amid claims he was poisoned. Three-year-old Thendara Satisfaction, known as Jagger, is understood to have collapsed and died after returning home to Belgium on Friday. Police in Belgium are investigating and a full toxicology report is expected next week. The husband of Jagger’s co-owner said: “I can only hope it wasn’t an act of jealousy by another competitor, but just a lunatic.” Jagger, who came second in his class at Birmingham’s NEC on Thursday, is owned by Belgian Aleksandra Lauwers and Leicester-based breeder Dee Milligan-Bott. [BBC] See List of the Day.
Solar plane takes of to fly round the world –
A record-breaking attempt to fly around the world in a solar-powered plane has got under way from Abu Dhabi. The aircraft – called Solar Impulse-2 – took off from the Emirate, heading east to Muscat in Oman. Over the next five months, it will skip from continent to continent, crossing both the Pacific and Atlantic oceans in the process. Andre Borschberg was at the controls of the single-seater vehicle as it took off at 07:12 local time (03:12 GMT). He will share the pilot duties in due course with fellow Swiss, Bertrand Piccard. See Video of the Day.
Wheels come off epic plan –
Producers working on the remake of the Oscar-winning Ben Hur have been barred from shooting the epic chariot scene at the Circus Maximus. Filmmakers already on location in Rome and the southern city of Matera reportedly made a request to use the ancient stadium immortalised by the film in December. But it was feared the decision to bring hundreds of extras and heavy vehicles into a fragile archaeological site would lead to public outcry. [Daily Mail]
Taiwan Water Park Blast Leaves Hundreds Injured –
Hundreds of people were injured at a water park in Taiwan on Saturday when a cloud of colored powder ignited in the air over a crowd during an event, erupting into a huge fireball. No deaths were reported, but at least 516 people were injured, 194 seriously, including eight with life-threatening injuries, the island’s official Central News Agency reported. The injured, many suffering burns, were overwhelmingly young, in their 20s or younger, according to a roster posted on the news agency’s website. Color Play Asia bills itself as Asia’s biggest color party, an event where people dance to music while spraying each other with colored powder. A promotional video for the event on its Facebook page shows employees on a stage blasting colored powder onto the crowd. [NY Times]
Thousands attend London Pride march –
Thousands of people have taken to the streets of London for the annual Pride parade. More than 250 groups took part in the parade, which started in Baker Street at 13:00 BST. Police said there was extra security on the route following terror attacks in France, Tunisia and Kuwait on Friday. The United States flag joined Ireland and Mozambique’s at the front of the march, recognising recent gay rights progress in the three countries. [BBC] See List of the Day below
2 Charged in Confederate Flag Removal at South Carolina Capitol –
A protester climbed a 30-foot flagpole and removed the Confederate battle flag from its perch outside the South Carolina State House early Saturday, before she was arrested and the flag replaced, the police said. The protester, an African-American woman, was nearly halfway up the pole when a State Capitol police officer on routine patrol ordered her to come down. The authorities said the woman, who was wearing climbing gear, had ignored the command. She continued her climb to the top of the flagpole and unhooked and removed the flag before descending. An officer from the Bureau of Protective Services arrested her and a white male who had aided her. [NY Times] See Video of the Day
Video of the Day –
#KeepItDown Confederate Flag Takedown
List of the Day –
Legal status of same-sex marriage [from Wikipedia]
Lord Sewel faces call to quit Parliament over drugs claim –
Senior peer Lord Sewel has been urged to resign from the House of Lords after he was filmed allegedly taking drugs with prostitutes. He could also face a police inquiry over the Sun on Sunday’s footage.The original footage released appeared to show Lord Sewel snorting powder from a woman’s breasts with a £5 note. Lords Speaker Baroness D’Souza condemned his behaviour, saying it was “shocking and unacceptable” and the allegations would be referred to the House of Lords commissioner for standards and the Metropolitan Police. [BBC]
Tour de France: Chris Froome completes historic British win –
Chris Froome became the first Briton to win the Tour de France twice when he safely reached the finish line in Paris at the end of the three-week race. The 2013 champion finished alongside his team-mates on the final stage, behind a sprint won by Andre Greipel. Mark Cavendish, seeking a fifth win on the Champs-Elysees, finished sixth after the 109.5km race from Sevres. The win for Froome means a Briton, and Team Sky, have now won three of the last four of cycling’s showpiece races. Froome, 30, beat Colombia’s Nairo Quintana to the yellow jersey by 72 seconds with Spain’s Alejandro Valverde third. [BBC] See List of the Day Chris Froome
Bobbi Kristina Brown dies after coma –
Bobbi Kristina Brown, daughter of late singer Whitney Houston, has died aged 22, a family representative has said. Kristen Foster said she passed away on Sunday surrounded by her family and was “finally at peace in the arms of God”. [BBC] She fell into a coma after she was found in a bathtub on January 31, 2015.
Bobbi Kristina Brown and Whitney Houston in 2009
Video of the Day –
6ft Man in 6ft Giant Water Balloon – 4K – The Slow Mo Guys
Verizon employees in nine states (Connecticut, Delaware, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Virginia) and Washington, D.C. go on strike because of disputes between the union and the company. (New Haven Register)
Ronda Rousey knocked out in UFC 193 title fight by Holly Holm in Australia –
Holly Holm pulled off a stunning upset over Ronda Rousey in the mixed martial arts championship, UFC 193. She knocked the women’s bantamweight champion out in the second round with a powerful kick to the head in Melbourne, Australia. Ronda Rousey, 28, was undefeated in her first 12 mixed martial arts fights with 11 wins in the first round. Holly Holm ended that run in front of a record Ultimate Fighting Championship crowd of around 75,000 fans. The UFC brought its showcase UFC 193 to Australia, with the Ronda Rousey-Holly Holm fight overshadowing the men as the main event. The stadium in Melbourne was transformed from a 56,000-seat Australian rules football venue to an auditorium holding close to 75,000 seats for the event. A full house would easily beat the 55,724 fans who attended UFC 129 at Toronto’s Rogers Centre in 2011. [BBC Newsbeat] Rousey starred in “Expendables 3” with Sylvester Stallone. See Top Twitter Trends Ronda Rousey
Hundreds of Mormons resign in Utah same-sex policy protest –
Hundreds of Latter-day Saints mailed or handed in letters quitting the Mormon church on Saturday to protest a new policy barring children of married same-sex couples from being baptized until they are adults. Leaders of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS) approved the policy last week. It added same-sex marriage to acts considered to be a renunciation of the Mormon faith and thus subject to church discipline, including excommunication. The church has more than 15 million adherents and 85,000 missionaries around the world. [Reuters]
One of the Paris attackers is identified as Ismael Omar Mostefai, a 29-year-old who was born and raised in the Paris suburbs. (Fox News)(BBC)
Paris prosecutor François Molins says three jihadist cells, apparently multinational teams with links to the Middle East, Belgium, and possibly Germany, as well as France, staged coordinated attacks at bars, a concert hall, and a soccer stadium, killing 129 people and injuring 352, including 99 who are in a serious condition. (Reuters)
French authorities identify two of the suicide attackers; both French nationals living in Belgium, one age 20, the other 31. (AP)
Springsteen cancels North Carolina concert over bathroom bill –
Rock star Bruce Springsteen on Friday canceled a concert scheduled for this weekend in North Carolina to protest a new state law restricting bathroom use by transgender individuals, as country music stars decried similar legislation proposed in Tennessee. Springsteen said in an online statement that the North Carolina law was “an attempt by people who cannot stand the progress our country has made in recognizing the human rights of all of our citizens to overturn that progress.” Tickets for the concert that was to be presented on Sunday in Greensboro, North Carolina, would be refunded, according to Springsteen’s website. PayPal Holdings Inc (PYPL.O) cited the discriminatory nature of the law when it canceled on Tuesday a new operations center that was to employ 400 workers in Charlotte. [Reuters] In March Springsteen signed a late note for a schoolboy who came to one of his concerts Bruce Springsteen
SpaceX reusable rocket lands on ocean platform –
The US aerospace company SpaceX has successfully landed a resusable rocket on an ocean platform, after four previous attempts failed. Mission controllers cheered as the Falcon 9 rocket remained upright on the platform off Florida. It was returning from delivering an inflatable habitat into space for Nasa. The inflatable room will attach to the International Space Station (ISS) for a two-year test and become the first such habitat to for humans in orbit. It is due to reach the ISS around 09:00 GMT on Sunday along with other freight aboard the Dragon capsule. Built by Nevada company Bigelow Aerospace, the habitat is intended to pave the way towards the use of such rooms for long space trips, including to Mars. [BBC] See Video of the Day
In the 256-page document, the Pope encourages the clergy to embrace sinners as well as saints, opens the door a bit for divorced and civilly remarried Catholics, and stresses that Catholics, with their own informed consciences guided by the light of the Gospel, address tricky moral questions in their life, and not only be guided by dogmatic rules from above. Francis also asserts the right to a natural deathwithout aggressive treatment; firmly rejects the death penalty; and reiterates the Church’s opposition to same-sex marriage. (AP²)(The Washington Post)(Vatican)
El Salvador officials seize documents and equipment during a raid of the local offices of Panamanian law firm Mossack Fonseca. Attorney General Douglas Melendez says authorities interviewed seven employees, and confiscated 20 computers and some documents. (Reuters)
A Myanmar court releases 69 jailed student activists in the first wave of amnesty for the country’s political prisoners, with more releases expected. This comes after State CounsellorAung San Suu Kyi vowed to push for the release of all the political prisoners in Myanmar. (Al Jazeera)