Top Stories – Haiti man alive after being buried for 14 days –
14 days after the devastating earthquake that has killed tens of thousands in Haiti, Rico Dibrivell, has been pulled alive from the rubble of a collapsed building the capital. U.S. troops rescued the 35-year-old from the ruins in Port-au-Prince.
Avatar mountain in China –
A Chinese mountain has been renamed in honour of the film Avatar, after it apparently inspired scenery in the movie. The Southern Sky Column in Zhangjiajie, Hunan province, will now be known as the Avatar Hallelujah Mountain. Avatar has become the most popular film ever in China, making $80m (£50m) at the box office so far.
Cashmere loo roll, the ultimate bathroom indulgence –
Quilted, embossed, ultra soft aloe vera – the humble loo roll has gone steadily more upmarket in recent years. But surely it has now hit the apogee of indulgence: a cashmere version has gone on sale. Cashmere, one of the softest and most prized materials, has been used to add an extra layer of extravagance to the sheets of paper, ensuring consumers enjoy the bottom line in comfort. The loo rolls have gone on sale in Waitrose, the supermarket with a legion of loyal and discerning middle-class customers. The supermarket won’t reveal quite how much cashmere goes into each roll, but insists it is a “significant” amount. No cashmere fibres themselves are included in the manufacturing process. Rather, the paper is covered in oil extracted from the hairs of the cashmere goat. [Daily Telegraph]
Sleeping Beauty condition means teenager sleeps for two weeks –
Louisa Ball, 15, has earned the nickname ‘Sleeping Beauty’ thanks to a rare condition that causes her to sleep for up to two weeks at a time. Miss Ball, from Worthing, has slept through school exams, dance competitions and entire family holidays thanks to her unusual condition. Her prolonged sleeps, which began in 2008 as she recovered from flu, were initially thought to be hormonal until she was diagnosed with Kleine-Levin Syndrome last year. People who develop the condition, also known as Sleeping Beauty Disease, are prone to falling into extended periods of deep sleep that can stretch to weeks. [Daily Telegraph]
Beyonce and Alicia Keys film music video in Rio slum –
The Grammy Award winning singers performed at the Morro da Conceicao shantytown.
They were shooting a video for a duet “Put It In a Love Song” which appears on Keys’ album “The Element of Freedom.”
Beyonce is on tour in Brazil and is expected to have a special role in the video.
Keys had already filmed part of her video at the Dona Marta slum, which became renowned worldwide after Michael Jackson was there in 1996 to film a video for “They Don’t Care About Us.” [Daily Telegraph] Alicia Keys
Luis Figo enters FIFA presidential race –
Luís Figo the former Portuguese football who famously played for both Real Madrid and Barcelona has entered himself to stand for the FIFA presidential election and claims to have the required five nominations from among FIFA’s 209 members. He joins Prince Ali of Jordan, the Dutch FA president Michael van Praag, Jérôme Champagne and David Ginola facing up to current president Sepp Blatter.Luis Figo
Apple now have enough money to own the largest navy in the world –
Apple the tech company reports the biggest quarterly profit of any company in the world ever with revenues of $74.6bn and a net profit of $18bn. It’s cash holdings are now $178bn which according to The Guardian newspaper “is enough to commission 40 Nimitz-class aircraft carriers, giving Apple more force capability than every other navy in the world – combined”.USS Nimitz (planes not included in price)
Cat survives car crash and burial –
A cat in Florida that was buried in a shallow grave after being apparently killed by a car has managed not only to survive but to dig its way out of the grave. Bart the zombie cat as he is now known was found by a neighbour and is now recovering after surgery on a broken jaw and damaged eye.
Lesbian banned from Nutella label –
Customers have been enjoying creating a digital custom made jar of the famous chocolate spread – emblazoned with their own slogan to share on social media. You can create your message and share it with those you love. But the word “lesbian” has been banned by the parent company of Nutella – deemed too offensive for labels. The list of banned words is actually quite extensive. Muslim and Jewish are not allowed. So presumably the message ‘Jews and Muslims can live in peace with each other’ would fall into the net of naughtiness. ‘Christian’ on the other hand is OK.
8ft coffin for Britain’s tallest man –
A bespoke coffin for the funeral of a former Britain’s tallest man has been made measuring 8ft-long. Christopher Greener, who grew to 7ft 6ins before surgical intervention stopped him growing, will be laid to rest in a casket carried by 10 pallbearers. Funeral directors have calculated that 30st Mr Greener’s coffin will just about squeeze into the hearse before he will be buried in a double-sized plot of land on Monday. Mr Greener, who held the record for being the UK’s tallest man for more than four decades, died aged 71 on February 11 and will be buried near his home in Bromley, south-east London. [Daily Telegraph]
Scientists have discovered a new human-like species in a burial chamber deep in a cave system in South Africa. The discovery of 15 partial skeletons is the largest single discovery of its type in Africa. The researchers claim that the discovery will change ideas about our human ancestors. The studies which have been published in the journal Elife also indicate that these individuals were capable of ritual behaviour. The species, which has been named naledi, has been classified in the grouping, or genus,Homo, to which modern humans belong. [BBC] See List of the Day
Pope Francis emojis launched for US visit –
Pope Francis draws huge crowds wherever he goes and now his fans can share their admiration with papal emojis. A new keyboard app is being released to mark the Pope’s upcoming visit to America. You can have the Pope balancing a basketball or riding a taxi (although we suspect he’d prefer his Popemobile). They’re among 52 emojis and 14 GIFs in the app from Swyft Media, the company which created the first ginger emojis. Pope emojis by Swyft Media
Giant Lenin ‘head’ unearthed 24 years after burial in Berlin –
The giant head of a statue of Russian revolutionary Lenin has been unearthed, 24 years after it was buried in a German forest. Workers dug up the granite structure from woodland outside Berlin, following a campaign by historians. The head was once part of a 19m (62ft) monument to the communist leader, which towered over the east of the city. It was dismantled in 1991 after the fall of the Berlin Wall and the pieces were buried in a secluded forest. [BBC]
Donald Trump: petition to ban presidential candidate from the UK becomes most popular ever –
An online petition calling for Donald Trump to be blocked from entry to the UK has broken the parliamentary website record and is approaching half a million signatures. It currently has more than 470,000 names, beating the previous high of 446,482. The Petitions Committee is expected to discuss the petition at its meeting on 5 January. [BBC] Donald Trump
Famous Moscow cemeteries to install free wi-fi –
Three of Moscow’s most-visited cemeteries are about to enter the digital age, with the installation of full wi-fi connectivity. Visitors will be able to browse the internet for free at the Novodevichy, Troyekurovskoye and Vagankovo cemeteries starting from the first half of 2016, according to the Moscow city website. The head of the city’s funerary services office, Artem Yekimov, says the aim is to help visitors find out more about famous people buried there and their graves – and make visiting the cemeteries more “comfortable”. Telecommunications company YS System says it offered to install the wi-fi networks after hearing about plans to create rest areas – dubbed “zones of psychological comfort” – at the cemeteries. [BBC]
Hajj stampede killed three times Saudi Arabia’s official number, says report –
The September Hajj stampede killed at least 2,411 pilgrims, a new count shows, three times the number of deaths acknowledged by Saudi Arabia. The figures establish the crush on September 24 as the deadliest in the history of the annual pilgrimage. Saudi’s official death toll of 769 people has not changed since September 26, and officials have yet to address the discrepancy. The kingdom rebuffed criticism from its regional rival Iran and efforts by other countries to join a probe into the deaths. Saudi’s King Salman ordered an investigation into the tragedy almost immediately, yet few details have been made public since and hundreds of pilgrims remain missing. [Daily Telegraph]
Bollywood superstar Salman Khan cleared over hit-and-run crash –
An Indian court on Thursday cleared Bollywood superstar Salman Khan of killing a homeless man in a hit-and-run crash 13 years ago, acquitting him of all charges after he appealed his conviction. The Bombay High Court said a lower court had erred in finding Khan guilty of culpable homicide at the end of his trial in May, when he was subsequently sentenced to five years in prison. [Daily Telegraph] Salman Khan
Syrian opposition politicians and rebels, attending a two-day meeting hosted by Saudi Arabia in Riyadh, agree on a framework that would guide proposed talks to end Syria’s nearly five-year conflict: a civil, democratic Syria with a transitional government that would respect human rights and the territorial integrity of the country; and, safeguard state institutions while restructuring security forces. Ahrar ash-Sham, a Saudi-backed ultraconservative group, withdrew from the talks at the end of the meeting.(BBC)(AP)
‘Airbnb for sex’ – Entrepreneurs set up KinkBNB for lovers to book guiltless sexcapades –
People who own a Fifty Shades-esque red dungeon of pain, and want to find a use for it when they are on holiday, or who own a honeymoon-worthy castle could now find themselves a lucrative new source of income. KinkBNB is marketing itself as the sex-positive Airbnb – and tenants and renters alike know what they are getting into when they sign up for the site. The Airbnb-style homesharing website now lets lovers book sex-focused getaways without stressing about waking up the next door neighbours or being landed with a hefty damages charge. Its layout is similar to the traditional homesharing site – listing amenities such as washing machines, gardens and swimming pools.
Google boss becomes highest-paid in US –
The chief executive of Google, Sundar Pichai, has been awarded $199m (£138m) in shares, a regulatory filing has revealed. It makes him the highest-paid chief executive in the US.
Mr Pichai became chief executive of the search engine giant following the creation of its parent, Alphabet. The founders of Google, Larry Page and Sergey Brin, have amassed fortunes of $34.6bn and $33.9bn, according to Forbes. Mr Pichai, 43, was awarded 273,328 Alphabet shares on 3 February, worth a total of $199m, according to a filing with the US Securities and Exchange Commission. The new award of shares takes Mr Pichai’s total stock value to approximately $650m. [BBC] Sundar Pichai
The death toll from Saturday’s earthquake in Taiwan rises to 41 with 109 people missing. (Focus Taiwan)
Taiwan authorities arrest three construction company executives of the Wei-guan Golden Dragon Building, which collapsed Saturday, on suspicion of negligent homicide. Almost all of those killed have been recovered from the rubble from this building; the 100-plus missing are likely buried in the debris. (Reuters)(AP via The Washington Post)
Two passenger trains collide in the German town of Bad Aibling in the state of Bavaria. At least ten people are dead, one person is missing and presumed dead, about 80 are wounded, and 17 are seriously or critically injured. The rescue is difficult- resembling a mountain-type rescue- because of a nearby river and a steep incline and a curve in the tracks; rescue helicopters had to be used. It is one of Bavaria‘s and Germany‘s deadliest-ever railroad accidents. Human error is being examined as a possibility. (BBC)(CNN)
Bruce Springsteen signs late note for schoolboy –
As excuse notes go, it is a step up from the “dog ate my homework”. But not all teachers would be impressed with a letter explaining a nine-year-old’s late arrival in class was down to being at a rock concert the night before. So Xabi Glovsky had it signed by Bruce Springsteen. He went to the concert in Los Angeles with his father, Scott, a life-long fan of the Boss. They went armed with a homemade sign. “Bruce, I will be late to school tomorrow. Please sign my note :-)” it said. At the end of the three-and-a-half-hour show, and well after Xabi’s bedtime, Springsteen sent a security guard into the crowd at the Los Angeles Sports Centre to invite father and son backstage. He asked Xabi for the name and spelling of his teacher, before whipping out pen and paper for the note. It read: “Dear Ms. Jackson, Xabi has been out very late rocking & rolling. Please excuse him if he is tardy.” [Daily Telegraph] Bruce Springsteen
Six Nations 2016: England win Grand Slam with France victory –
England have their first Grand Slam in 13 years after holding out to secure a historic victory in Paris. First-half tries from Danny Care and Dan Cole had given them a five-point half-time lead, only for the relentless penalty precision of Maxime Machenaud to keep France within touching distance. But a third try in three matches from Anthony Watson calmed rising nerves before a brace of late penalties from Owen Farrell allowed the travelling support to sing their heroes home. It marks a remarkable turnaround for new head coach Eddie Jones, coming just six months after the humiliation of a home World Cup exit at the group stages before he took control. [BBC] See List of the Day
Flydubai Boeing 737-800 Flight FZ981, en route from Dubai for about four hours, crashes during landing in the Russian city of Rostov-on-Don, killing all 62 on board. It appears the jet crashed in poor visibility, some 50–100 meters left of the runway, during the second approach. Rostov-on-Don Airport will remain closed until at least 9:00 am Moscow time. (RT)(Airways News)(Reuters)
Italy earthquake: Death toll rises to at least 159 –
At least 159 people have been killed and 368 injured in an earthquake that hit a mountainous area of central Italy, civil protection officials say. The magnitude-6.2 quake struck at 03:36 (01:36 GMT), 100km (65 miles) north-east of Rome, not far from Perugia. At least 86 of the dead were in the historic town of Amatrice, where the mayor said three-quarters of the town was destroyed, and in nearby Accumoli.
Many people are still believed to be buried under rubble. [BBC]
North Korea launches a missile from a submarine off the port city of Sinpo in the Sea of Japan, according to U.S. and South Korean officials. This missile, the third sub-based attempt this year, flew about 500 kilometers (311 miles) and landed in waters between the Korean Peninsula and Japan. The first test exploded and the second traveled 30 km (18½ miles). (NBC News)(AP)
A police officer from Bethel, Alaska, will be sentenced to prison for charges related to police brutality in a 2014 case involving an intoxicated man. The charges followed an investigation by the Federal Bureau of Investigations civil rights division. The former officer, Andrew Reid, was found to have used excessive force and lying on official police reports. The victim suffered a separated shoulder and other injuries.(Alaska Dispatch News)