UN to discuss Air Traffic Control for outer space –
An international air traffic control for outer space should be set up to prevent damage to satellites and spacecraft orbiting the Earth, according to proposal to be discussed at the United Nations next week. There are thought to be more than 19,000 pieces of debris larger than 4 inches across racing around the Earth at high speeds, while there are more than 500,000 bigger than a postage stamp. The number of particles smaller than this are thought to exceed tens of millions. Despite their relatively small size, most are travelling faster than 15,600mph and at these speeds a fleck of paint could do as much damage as a .22-calibre rifle bullet. [Daily Telegraph]
Treo the dog awarded animal VC –
A heroic military dog is to be honoured with the animal version of the Victoria Cross. Treo, an eight-year-old black Labrador, saved countless lives in Afghanistan last year by locating hidden roadside bombs. The search dog twice saved soldiers and civilians from catastrophe while out on patrol in Helmand province by sniffing out explosives which had been wired together in a daisy chain and hidden in the path. The medal was created by leading veterinary charity the PDSA and is recognised as the highest award an animal can receive for conspicuous gallantry or devotion to duty while serving in military conflict. (See List of the Day for human honours) [Daily Telegraph]
Cat owners ‘more educated than dog owners’ –
Cats have long been thought to be cleverer than dogs – and now it seems the same is true of their owners. People with cats are more likely to have university degrees than those with dogs, according to a scientific survey of pet ownership. The study also revealed that the combined cat and dog population of Britain is more than 20.8 million – 50 per cent higher than previously thought. Researchers at the University of Bristol say that the superior intelligence of cat owners is unlikely to be caused by their exposure to the famously cunning and selfish pets. Rather, more educated people tend to work longer hours and choose a pet to fit their lifestyles. Unlike dogs, cats require no walking and can manage with little human company.[Daily Telegraph]
Australians puzzled as Queen reclaims ‘head of state’ title –
Buckingham Palace has raised eyebrows in Australia by referring to the Queen as the country’s “head of state” in an apparent break in convention. The title is usually given to the Australian Governor-General, Quentin Bryce, while the Queen is considered the country’s sovereign.
The difference is significant as the emerging role of the Governor-General has often been cited by pro-monarchists as evidence Australia does not need to become a republic. The trigger for the confusion was an announcement by Buckingham Palace that the Queen would be addressing the UN General Assembly in July. It arrived in a cable written by Gary Quinlan, Australia’s ambassador and permanent representative to the UN, headed: “United Nations: General Assembly – Address by Australian Head of State.” [Daily Telegraph] Her Majesty the Queen
Camera dropped in the ocean is returned by fisherman 18 months later –
A woman is to be reunited with a camera her husband dropped off the edge of the QM2 cruise ship after a fisherman caught it in his net and put the photographs online. Barbara and Dennis Gregory, 65, from Johannesburg, South Africa, thought they would never see the Nikon P90 again after it fell into the ocean en-route from New York to Southampton in 2008. But 16 months later Benito Estevez, a fisherman from Spain, found the camera in his nets with the photos still intact on the memory card. He decided to trace the owners and posted five pictures online which showed Mrs Gregory posing on the deck of the ship and her husband wearing a woolly tourist hat from Oxford. The story was picked up by the British media and Laura De Klein, a friend of the couple who lives in Chalgrove, Oxfordshire, recognised them and got in touch. [Daily Telegraph]
Chilean mint spells country’s name wrong on coins –
The general manager of the Chilean mint has been fired after thousands of coins were issued bearing a howling error. On the 2008 batch of 50 peso coins, which are worth about 6p, the country’s name was misspelt. Instead of C-H-I-L-E, the coins had C-H-I-I-E stamped on them, the BBC reports.
If that wasn’t bad enough, no one noticed the spelling mistake until late 2009. The coins have since become collectors’ items and the mint says it has no plans to take them out of circulation. Locals have even been hoarding the coins in the hope they will rise in value. However, the mistake has cost the mint’s general manager, Gregorio Iniguez, and several other employees, their jobs. [Daily Telegraph]
Petra Kvitova wins Wimbledon Ladies title –
Czech Petra Kvitova beats Canadian Eugenie Bouchard to win the Wimbledon Ladies singles title in just 55 minutes 6-3 6-0. >Petra Kvitova Eugenie Bouchard
Sexy tennis dress sold for £15,000 –
Items featured in the 1970s Tennis Girl poster that sold over 2 million copies have been auctioned for £15,000. The tennis racquet from the photo, the dress, a 1979 poster and a 1980s limited edition canvas print had a guide price of just £2,000. The picture of Fiona Butler lifting her tennis dress to reveal her bare bottom was taken by her then boyfriend Martin Elliot at Birmingham University in 1976 and sold by Athena.
The original Tennis Girl image. Copyright is owned by Martin Elliott
Gunman kills soldier in Ottawa –
In Ottawa, Canada a gunman kills a soldier at the tomb honouring Canada’s fallen soldiers. The gunman, Michael Zehaf-Bibeau, shot corporal Nathan Cirillo before storming into the nearby parliament building on Parliament Hill and exchanging fire with police and security guards. The gunman was shot dead. Two days previously in Quebec two soldiers had been run down by a man in car who was also shot dead. One of the soldiers died the other was injured. Parliament Hill
U2 album lacklustre launch –
U2’s new album “Songs of Innocence” comes in at No. 9 on the Billboard 200 album chart. The album was automatically downloaded by everyone who has an Apple iTunes account for free (whether they want it or not) leading to complaints over storage use and an apology from lead singer Bono. Bono from U2 CLICK TO SEE MORE STUFF FROM THIS DAY…
Sydney hostage situation –
A gunman takes hostages in the Lindt Chocolat Cafe in Sydney’s Martin Place. The hostage taker is identified as a 50-year-old cleric from Iran, Man Haron Monis who gained asylum in Australia. Passers by are criticised for taking “selfies” in front of the cafe. Crowds outside the sieged building
Ultimate fare-dodger –
A commuter in London who avoided paying for his train fares has been banned for life from working in any regulated financial industries. Jonathan Paul Burrows has paid back the £42,550 he is estimated to have avoided paying, plus £450 in legal costs. He was a director with financial services company BlackRock.
Denmark claims north pole –
Denmark makes a claim to the UN that the area surrounding the North Pole is connected to the continental shelf of Greenland, a Danish autonomous territory. Foreign Minister Martin Lidegaard says it is a “historic and important milestone” for Denmark. In 2008, a US Geological Survey report estimated that as much as 22% of the world’s undiscovered and recoverable resources lay north of the Arctic Circle, but the North Pole itself is unlikely to have much oil or gas beneath its deep waters. Canada and Russia have already tried to assert their sovereignty over Arctic territory. Nuclear icebreaker Arktika
Happy New Year! –
5 years done, 5 to go in the decade that still hasn’t earn’t a name. Onesies, Deccies, Tennies – what will it be?
2014 was The Year Of… –
The Selfie. The ultimate one was, of course, by Ellen DeGeneres at the Oscars [see March 13th 2014]
2015 will be…? –
2015 was year in which the film Back to the Future was set, so expect hoverboards and DeLorean cars to be big this year. October 21st is the magical day.
Very fast wedding –
Formula 1 driver Jenson Benson, who has retained his seat for McLaren in 2015 tweeted that he has married his partner of 7 years, lingerie model, Jessica Michibata in Hawaii.
Captain Fantastic –
Steven Gerrard captain of Liverpool FC announces he is leaving the club to play overseas at the end of the English Premier League season. Gerrard who is 34 made his debut for the club in 1998 is likely to go to MLS club LA Galaxy.
Rouble to Euro –
Lithuania becomes the nineteenth state to join the Euro and in doing so gets its fourth currency in 25 years – after the Soviet rouble, the talonas and the litas.
Hanging around –
New Jersey Governor Chris Christie (@GovChristie) was left hanging after a Dallas Cowboys win on Sunday, when his high-5 appeal was ignored. Political commentators have decided that it will damage his chances of becoming a Republican presidential candidate.
Google extends Chromecast to audio –
The Chromecast dongle is now able to plug into amplifiers and powered speakers to “cast” music from any music app. Similar to the video service, users use their phone to control the music, which is then played directly through the speaker from a wi-fi router. Apps already compatible include Deezer, Google Play Music, iHeartRadio, NPR One, Pandora, Rdio and TuneIn. Spotify is currently included.
Ghost in the Shell –
Scarlett Johansson to play Motoko Kusanagi in the film version of Ghost in the Shell Scarlett Johansson
Costa Concordia captain convicted of manslaughter –
The captain of the Costa Cordordia cruise ship that ran aground and capsized on January 13th 2012 off the island of Giglio has been convicted of manslaughter and given a 16-year jail sentance. Francesco Schettino was accused of taking the ship too close to the shore to impress his lover, Domnica Cemortan, who was with him at the helm. He then abandoned the ship with passengers and crew still on board. 32 people died in the accident but Costa Crociere, the company that owned the ship, avoided possible criminal charges by agreeing to pay a $1.3m (€1.1m; £860,000) fine in 2013. The Costa Concordia after the accident
Korean Air nut rage ends with jail sentence –
A South Korean court finds Cho Hyun-ah (aka Heather Cho) a former executive of Korean Air guilty of breaking aviation law. She forced her Seoul-bound plane to turn back to the gate at JFK airport in New York and offload a steward because she did not like the way she had been served nuts. Cho, the daughter of Korean Air president, was found guilty of obstructing aviation safety and jailed for one year, much less than the possible maximum sentence of 10-years.
Smoking in private cars with child passengers banned in England –
The British government votes 342 to 74 to ban smoking in cars when there are children in the vehicle in England and Wales, but doesn’t apply to convertibles with the roof down. Anyone stopped for breaking the law can be fined £50 on the spot when it becomes law in October 2015 but Scotland is not included. Bans on smoking in cars when children are present already exist in some US states as well as in parts of Canada and Australia.
North Korean issues wide-ranging advice-
North Korea leader Kim Jong-un issues a new set of 310 patriotic slogans including battling rhetoric “Long live the great victory in the war against Japan!” to practical advice “Grow vegetables extensively in greenhouses!”. Some make it sound as if the leader has been watching episodes of Star Trek “Let us model the entire army on Kimilsungism-Kimjongilism!”
Can you change the oil, a nappy and a light bulb?
Betting company William Hill release a list of 50 things every man should be able to do. They range from the date of his wedding anniversary to how to fix a toilet (easy call a plumber) and what exactly is the offside rule (in soccer). It was produced from a survey of 2,000 adults. Full list below.
An investigation by the Canada’s commissioner of official languages finds that tweets by former Foreign Minister John Baird and Public Security Minister Steven Blaney fell foul of the law because they were mainly in English. Now Canada’s most senior politicians must now tweet in both French and English. Over the course of two months, 181 out of 202 of Mr Baird’s tweets were only in English but about 30% of the Canadian population can speak French, with more than seven million describing it as their mother tongue.
The top winners at the Oscars are Eddie Redmayne (Best Actor in The Theory of Everything), Julianne Moore (Best Actress in Still Alice) and Birdman (Best Picture, Best original screenplay, Best cinematography and Best director). Eddie Redmayne
Video of the Day –
Birdman Spoof – Fred Armisen and Kristen Bell | 30th Film Independent Spirit Awards
When carp attack: Watch fish jump at rowers –
As the Washington University in St. Louis men’s rowing teams practiced Friday morning, a school of Asian carp showed their apparent displeasure with the activity by leaping frantically from the waters of Missouri’s Creve Coeur Lake. Junior Benjamin Rosenbaum, a captain of the varsity team, captured the aquatic onslaught on video. Rosenbaum says practices on the lake aren’t normally so eventful, but recent heavy rains and flooding may have brought more of the fish to this particular area. He had seen this activity once before, in 2013, when he was in a boat rather than on the banks. (See Video of the day) [USA Today]
Soul singer Percy Sledge dies aged 73 –
US soul singer Percy Sledge, famed for his song When a Man Loves a Woman, has died aged 73. Steve Green from talent agency Artists International Management Inc confirmed to the BBC that he died at his home in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, on Tuesday. Sledge’s debut single When a Man Loves a Woman reached the top 10 twice in the UK and topped the US Billboard chart for two weeks in 1966, when it also got to number four in the UK chart (See List of the day). During an interview for the the 2013 documentary Muscle Shoals, he recalled his first recording of it. “When I came into the studio, I was shaking like a leaf. I was scared,” he said, adding that it was the “same melody that I sang when I was out in the fields. I just wailed out in the woods and let the echo come back to me”.
Canada helicopter sex chat heard by Winnipeg public –
Canadian police have apologised after an explicit conversation was inadvertently broadcast from one of its helicopters. Whilst on patrol over Winnipeg, the chopper’s crew accidentally turned on its loudspeaker allowing members of the public below to hear them. Those listening say they heard pilots swearing and discussing oral sex. The officers were unaware that the loudspeaker was on due to the noise from the helicopter’s engine. Winnipeg Police Service say some of the “conversation was inappropriate” and have promised an internal review. [BBC]
5 Seconds of Summer fans go wild for ‘Doge Family’ hashtag after band change their Twitter profiles –
5SOS have changed their Twitter names and profile and the most bizarre hashtag is now trending. Fans have been tweeting #DogeFamily after the stars put up a photograph of a dog as their main images and changed their names, leaving us all asking: “WHAT IS GOING ON?!?” Well, we did some digging and found that ‘Doge’ is a internet meme based upon pictures of a Shiba Inus, and a slang word for dog. [Daily Mirror] See Top Twitter Trends below. @SOS Twitter
An end to email shame? Gmail’s ‘Undo Send’ comes to the masses –
“Today we’re adding ‘Undo Send’ as a formal setting in Gmail on the web,”explained Google in a blog post as the change went live. The feature, which can prevent massive social embarrassment and help avoid long chats with the HR department about what you just mistakenly sent to a colleague, is to be a standard part of Google’s webmail. It can be turned on from within Gmail’s settings menu and enables people to set a “cancellation period” of five, 10, 20 or 30 seconds after sending any email, during which they can call it back. The feature has been available in Gmail’s experimental Labs settings for some time, and was recently added to the company’s Inbox mobile email app – so many of Gmail’s more tech-savvy users will have set it up already. [The Guardian]
Reddit celebrates its 10th birthday with a ton of wacky stats –
It’s been 10 years since Reddit first launched – basically an eternity in Web time – and it’s celebrating its birthday by looking back at its history, as well as some statistics on where the platform is today. In the ten years since its inception, Reddit has garnered over 16 billion upvotes, compared to ‘just’ 2.6 billion downvotes. It’s kind of nice to know that in a platform often infamous for its trolls, more feedback has been positive than negative. There have also been 190 millions posts, 64 percent of which are links. On these posts, there have been 1.7 billion comments, of which 0.36 percent have mentioned cats. That’s over 6 million cat comments. [The Next Web] See List of the Day
Video of the Day –
Lexus has created a real, rideable hoverboard
List of the Day –
Statistics from the first 10 years of Reddit [Reddit]
10 years, 0 months, 0 days
(ok, fine, technically it’s 9 years, 11 months, 30 days, 22 hours, and 16 minutes at time of posting this at 10 am PDT)
(also 5,258,776 minutes, 87,646 hours, 3651 days, or 521 weeks)
(and 2,563,574,752 downvotes)
(.36% of which mention cats)
334,626,161 monthly page views per Reddit engineer
Greece votes ‘No’ and gambles its future –
Greek voters have delivered a defiant response to Europe. Political leaders and heads of government had lined up to warn the Greeks that a “No” vote would be a vote to leave the euro. It did not deter them. Indeed many voters seemed to revel in their resistance. The European Project is now facing its gravest crisis. [BBC]
USA beat Japan 5-2 in Women’s FIFA World Cup Final –
Carli Lloyd scored an incredible 13-minute hat-trick as the United States thrashed Japan to win their third Women’s World Cup title. In a repeat of the 2011 final, which Japan won on penalties, the Nadeshiko could not live with their stronger and quicker opponents, who went 4-0 up when Lloyd scored an astonishing third from the halfway line. The pulsating finale to an entertaining tournament was the highest-scoring final in the tournament’s history, and matched the highest scoring men’s final, when Brazil defeated Sweden by the same scoreline in 1958. [BBC] See Video of the Day Carli Lloyd
Cilla Black, singer and TV star, dies in Spain aged 72 –
Singer and TV star Cilla Black, who enjoyed a 50-year showbusiness career, has died aged 72, her agent has said. The 1960s singing star became a popular TV celebrity on such shows as Blind Date and Surprise Surprise. Spanish police said a woman named Priscilla White – Black’s real name – had died in Estepona on the Costa del Sol, where the star had a home. The death appeared to be due to natural causes, but this had not yet been confirmed by tests, police said. [BBC] Cilla Black in 1970
Hitchiking robot ‘killed’ in Philadelphia –
A hitchhiking robot that captured the hearts of fans worldwide has met its demise in the US.
The Canadian researchers who created hitchBOT as a social experiment say someone in Philadelphia damaged the robot beyond repair on Saturday, ending its brief American tour. The robot was trying to travel cross-country after successfully hitchhiking across Canada last year and parts of Europe. It set out from Marblehead, Massachusetts, two weeks ago in July with the goal of reaching San Francisco, but never made it off the East Coast. The creators were sent an image of the vandalised robot but cannot track its location because the battery is dead. [Daily Telegraph] hitchBOT displayed at an exhibition
‘Star Wars: The Force Awakens’ Crushes Presale Ticket Records –
Fan demand led to crash of multiple websites like Fandango and MovieTickets.com. “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” broke the record for the highest number of first-day presale tickets for Fandango, AMC and IMAX. According to Fandango, the site has sold eight times as many tickets as it did on the first day for the previous record holder, “The Hunger Games” in 2012 — and that’s even before the 24-hour mark was reached. “The Twilight Saga: Eclipse” in 2010 slipped to third place in first-day advance sales. Traffic on Fandango surged to seven times the site’s typical peak levels, a site spokesperson reported. Similarly, MovieTickets.com reported that the online ticketer saw traffic “three times higher than the highest peak in the company’s 15 plus year history.” Comparably, the advance ticket sales for “The Force Awakens” are already four times greater than advance tickets sold for “Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith.” [The Wrap] See Video of the Day
Fed-up cafe bans money from underwear –
In this tough economic climate, small business owners need every dollar they can get their hands on. Unless said dollar comes from a customer’s undies, apparently. Staff at a Carnarvon cafe were so fed up with patrons paying with money retrieved from undergarments they put the attached sign at the cash register for a six-week period. Fascine Coffee Lounge owner Robin Weeks said the straw that broke the camel’s back was a man who tried to pay his bill with money from his jocks. “My son thought people shouldn’t put money there and he shouldn’t have to touch it,” Weeks said. “We had four or five people that did it. A lot of women think their bra is the best place for their money because they don’t have pockets.” Weeks said while most people approved of the sign, there were some who refused to change their ways. [Western Australian] Fascine Coffee Lounge sign
At least three Russian troops fighting along side the Syrian Army are reportedly killed after a shell hit their position in the coastal province of Latakia. If confirmed, the deaths would be the first Russian military casualties since intervening in the civil war in September. (Reuters)
Taliban forces advance on Lashkar Gah, the capital of Helmand Province in southern Afghanistan, amid fierce fighting with government forces that threatens to cut off a major highway and has prompted many families to flee. (Reuters)
Lamar Odom, who had been hospitalized in grave condition after ingesting, in a binge, herbal Viagra, alcohol, and other substances in a 3-day, $75,000 stay at a legal brothel in Nevada, comes out of his coma, improves, and is able to have conversations, though he is still on dialysis to deal with the renal damage he suffered. He is released from intensive care and Sunrise Hospital, to a hospital closer to his Los Angeles home. (MSN via Sporting News)
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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)
Star Wars film breaks opening night box office record –
The new Star Wars film has set a new opening night box office record in the US and Canada, industry experts said. Star Wars: The Force Awakens made $57m (£38m) on Thursday night, beating the previous record of $43.5m held by Harry Potter And The Deathly Hallows: Part 2 in 2011. Analysts say the space saga could become the biggest selling movie of all time. The film also set a new opening day box office record in the UK and Ireland. The £9.64m tally beat the previous best of £9.48m set by Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2. Midnight screenings on Thursday morning accounted for £2.4m of ticket sales. Rentrak’s Paul Dergarabedian, one of Hollywood’s best-known box office analysts, said the film’s opening night performance in the US and Canada “portends a massive and potentially record-breaking opening day and weekend for the film”. [BBC]
The $70m cost of Uber Force One: Price of private flights for Obama and family –
Barack Obama’s eighth consecutive Christmas vacation to Hawaii starts Friday just as a new report shows the total cost of his vacations has now exceeded $70 million to U.S. taxpayers. The costs are being savaged by a critical conservative group, which says Obama is treating Air Force One, which costs $206,000/hour to run, ‘like an Uber ride’ ahead of his next jaunt to his home state,’ says Tom Fitton, president of the Judicial Watch pressure group. Fly-time alone will set taxpayers back somewhere in the region of $3.5 million as Obama, the First Lady, Sasha and Malia and their two dogs jet off for around two weeks. The total cost of Obama’s vacations since taking office in January 2009 has now hit $70.5 million, according to a new report. Yet he still has not taken anywhere near the total number of vacations or days off as his predecessor, George W. Bush, the report shows. [Daily Mail] Barack Obama on Air Force One
Iceland grapples with volcano-naming responsibility –
Authorities in Iceland have decided on a name for a volcano a year after it started erupting. Council members in the rural district of Skutustadahreppur, which boasts a population of 371, took on the hefty responsibility to officially name the lava field known conversationally to locals as Holuhraun, the Iceland Review news website reports. After considering four names for the volcano – Flaedahraun, Holuhraun, Nornahraun and Urdarbruni – the vote was carried to officially use the name Holuhraun, despite only getting the backing of two of the five council members, Icelandic newspaper Visir said. [BBC]
In the United States, a group of hospitals, 32 in 15 states, agree to pay a total of $28 million to settle charges they submitted false claims to Medicare for a type of spinal fracture treatment. This is the latest settlement stemming from a decade-oldwhistleblower lawsuit about alleged inappropriate billing for kyphoplasty. More than 130 hospitals have paid about $105 million to settle billing claims from this spinal procedure. (Reuters)(The Arizona Republic)
Miss Universe: Miss Colombia mistakenly crowned as winner –
The host of the Miss Universe has apologised after mistakenly naming the wrong woman as winner, leaving Miss Colombia empty-handed. After the error, Ariadna Gutierrez was instead declared runner-up and surrendered her crown to Miss Philippines, Pia Alonzo Wurtzbach. #MissUniverse2015 became Twitter’s biggest trend of the night as social media users expressed their disbelief. The host Steve Harvey responded, saying it was “his mistake” and he would take responsibility for not reading the winning card correctly. [BBC] See Video of the Day Pia Alonzo Wurtzbach
Star Wars smashes box office records on opening weekend –
“Star Wars: The Force Awakens” shattered box office records with an estimated $517 million (£350 million) in worldwide ticket sales on its opening weekend, a staggering debut that re-established the celebrated space saga as a global phenomenon. The first “Star Wars” film in a decade recorded the biggest domestic opening in Hollywood’s history, collecting $238 million over the weekend in the United States and Canada. Global sales for “Force Awakens” finished second only to the dinosaur film “Jurassic World,” which in its June opening garnered $525 million worldwide, including China, where the “Star Wars” film will not open for weeks. “Jurassic World” took $208.8 million at domestic cinemas in its first weekend. “Force Awakens” is the seventh installment in the epic science-fiction franchise created by George Lucas in 1977. [Daily Telegraph] See List of the Day
Video of the Day –
THE 64TH ANNUAL MISS UNIVERSE PAGEANT | Can’t ‘Miss’ Moment: The Reveal
List of the Day –
Star Wars films in order of box office performance –
1. Episode IV: A New Hope (1977) – $1,486m
2. Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back (1980) – $818m
3. Episode VI: Return of the Jedi (1983) – $784m
4. Episode I: The Phantom Menace (1999) – $707m
5. Episode III: Revenge of the Sith (2005) – $495m
6. Episode II: Attack of the Clones (2002) – $446m
7. The Clone Wars (2008) – $41m
Note that figures are for US box office and allow for the effects of inflation.
Airstrikes, apparently from Russian jets, kill scores of people in the center of rebel-held Idlib in northwest Syria. The missiles hit a busy market place, several government buildings, and residential areas. At least 73 bodies, 30 unidentified, have been recovered. (Reuters)
Thirty-three buildings collapse after a landslide hit an industrial park in Shenzhen, China, leaving at least 91 people missing. (CNN)
An avalanche in Svalbard, a NorwegianArcticarchipelago, kills one and injures nine others as the snow smashes into 10 houses in Longyearbyen. The deluge from Sukkertoppen mountain follows Friday’s 60 mph storm that ripped off a school roof and temporarily closed the airport. Dozens of homes at the foot of the mountain were evacuated and all of the area’s residents have been located, according to Tone Hertzberg, a spokeswoman for Svalbard’s governor. Experts from Norges Geotekniske Instituttare examining nearby slopes. (AP via CBS News)(newsinenglish.no)
Tunisian mobile gamers win a cow –
A couple in Tunisia have walked away with an unusual prize – a cow – after they recorded the top score in a locally developed mobile phone game, it’s reported.
Pamela the cow spent two weeks at the game developer’s headquarters in Tunis before being awarded to the unnamed couple at the beginning of May, the Tuniscope news website says.
The pair triumphed in a strategy game called Bagra – literally “cow” – which consists of keeping a herd of cows and preventing other players from stealing them, while trying to pinch as many as possible from other herds. [BBC]
Canadian wildfire edges south, leaves thousands stranded –
The 88,000 residents who fled a wildfire that has ravaged the Canadian oil town of Fort McMurray in Alberta will not be able to return home anytime soon, officials warned on Thursday, even as the inferno edged slowly south. The out-of-control blaze has consumed entire neighborhoods of Fort McMurray in Canada’s energy heartland and officials warn its spread now threatens two oil sands sites south of the city. The wildfire has already forced precautionary production cuts or shutdowns at about a dozen major facilities, eating into a global crude surplus and supporting oil prices this week. [Reuters] See Video of the Day
Facebook Live tab is now on the Android app –
It’s taken a month, but the Live tab on Facebook has now started appearing for Android app users. Back in April, the social network announced that video was going to be even more of priority for the company, with users being offered a dedicated page to find live streams. Android users are starting to see the Live tab in the centre of the screen, pushing out Messenger from its spot. Clicking on the Live option brings up a scrolling stream of video.Anyone watching the feed can then react and comment in real time. [BBC Newsbeat]
Video of the Day –
Fire ‘rains’ down in Fort McMurray neighbourhood during escape
Since the fire has intermittently blocked the only route south toward Alberta’s major cities, evacuees have had to go north toward oil camps and a few small settlements. The province has airlifted 4,000 people to Edmonton and Calgary as of late Thursday. Roughly 20 percent of Canada’scrude oil production, around 680,000 barrels per day, is offline and is expected to increase. There are no known casualties from the fire, which today has grown to 210,000 acres (85,000 hectares), but fatalities are reported in at least one vehicle crash along the evacuation route. (Daily Mail)
Facebook gives friends higher priority in News Feeds –
Facebook is to give posts by users’ friends and family greater prominence in their News Feeds. The social network said its members had expressed concerns that they were missing “important updates” from the people they cared about. The move reverses a trend towards giving more space to content posted by the news media and brands. One expert said it highlighted that newspapers and broadcasters’ interests did not always match those of the firm. Facebook said that in several surveys it had carried out, users had told it they wanted to see more “friend content”, and it was altering its algorithms to accommodate this. [BBC]
Vietnam capital sets target to ban motorbikes –
Officials in Hanoi are aiming to ban motorbikes from the city centre within 10 years, it’s reported. The local government wants streets to be motorbike-free by 2025 as part of efforts to tackle congestion, the Thanh Nien News website says. The Vietnamese capital has notoriously chaotic roads, with around five million motorbikes vying for space alongside half a million cars. That situation is forecast to get worse in years to come: the authorities estimate that by 2020 there will be seven million motorbikes, and the number of cars will double. “This means the traffic situation in Hanoi will become extremely complicated in the next four to five years, so we really need a timely solution to this,” says mayor Nguyen Duc Chung. The city’s transport authority wants to reduce the number of individual vehicles and boost public transport instead, and its chairman wants the number of buses to double. Construction of a new urban rail system is already under way. [BBC]
Video of the Day –
Watch NYers’ Hearts Break As They JUST Miss The Subway Train
New Syrian Army rebels fail to capture the border town of Al-Bukamal from ISIL militants, with an ISIL affiliated news source claiming the group killed 40 rebels and captured 15 more in a counter-attack. (Reuters)
The Lesedi La Rona diamond, the largest uncut diamond in the world, went on sale at an auction in Mayfair with it expected to sell at £52 million, or US$70 million. However, the diamond only managed to draw a high bid of US$61 million, falling short of the reserve price to sell it. (BBC)(CBC News)
Antoine Deltour and Raphael Halet, two whistleblowers who revealed the Luxembourg Leaks financial scandal, are found guilty of leaking the documents and are given a 12 and nine month suspended sentence and fined €1,500 and €1,000 respectively, while Edouard Perrin, the journalist who was given the leaks, is acquitted of all charges. (BBC)
‘Fart’ in parliament: Row blows up in Canada –
A row has blown up in the Canadian parliament – over the word “fart”. When Conservative MP Michelle Rempel accused the government of treating the province of “Alberta like a fart in the room” over jobs, Green Party leader Elizabeth May took exception. However, it was not the accusations of inaction which riled Ms May. “I heard her say a word I know is distinctly unparliamentary, and I think she may want to withdraw it,” the shocked Ms May said. “The word was f-a-r-t,” she continued, spelling it out clearly so as not to repeat the offending term. Ms Rempel, who has represented Calgary Nose Hill since 2011, became equally incensed. “Is my colleague actually serious? I just gave an impassioned speech about Alberta jobs, and that’s what the leader of a political party has to say? No, I don’t withdraw it.” Ms May was not letting it go, however. “Decorum is important, and respect is important in this place,” she scolded. Unsurprisingly, the row has caused great hilarity on social media – especially in light of the political upheaval taking place just across the border. “With all eyes on Trump’s destruction of US politics and civil society, a silent but deadly political scandal in Canada,” tweeted Josh Greenberg, director of one of Canada’s leading journalism schools. [BBC] Josh Greenberg tweet
Video of the Day –
STOMP makes rhythm with the Harlem Globetrotters –
Eight performers from the international sensation STOMP took to an outdoor basketball court in New York City’s Greenwich Village with four stars from the world famous Harlem Globetrotters to celebrate the team’s 90th year.
Crash was economists’ ‘Michael Fish’ moment, says Andy Haldane –
The failure to predict the financial crisis was a “Michael Fish” moment for economists, the Bank of England’s chief economist has said. Andy Haldane compared financial forecasts to the famously inaccurate forecast by the BBC weatherman, ahead of the UK’s great storm of 1987. He said the profession was “to some degree in crisis” following the 2008-09 crash and the Brexit vote. The Bank denies claims it gave gloomy forecasts to support the Remain side. [BBC] Andy Haldane
A shootout in İzmir kills two gunmen while another one escapes. During the shootout a car bomb explodes, killing a police officer and court employee. (The Guardian)
Business and economy
Following a start-of-year hike to the price of gas, widespread riots and looting mostly targeting gas stations, supermarkets and department stores take place in several cities in Mexico. Over 250 people are said to have been arrested so far while blockades to PEMEX installations potentially lead to critical situations in some states. (Reuters)