Top Stories – That’s a lot of chocolate –
Despite a campaign by the Daily Mail to “Keep Cadbury British”, the confectionery company finally accepted a takeover bid from Craft food in a deal worth $19 billion.
More than a wee dram, then –
Adults in Scotland are drinking the equivalent of 46 bottles of vodka each in a year, a study has suggested. The research based on industry sales data and analysed by NHS Health Scotland showed an average of 12.2 litres of pure alcohol per person over the age of 18.
John Terry in Wembley trouble –
The Daily Mail reveal that Chelsea player and former England football captain rents out his private box at Wembley stadium for £4,000 , despite the rules prohibiting it. This follows the revelation of Terry’s affair with his team-mate Wayne Bridge’s girlfriend on January 29th 2015. John Terry
Tom Watson expects Tiger to show humility –
Tom Watson has called on Tiger Woods to “show some humility” and apologise for his behaviour before returning to golf. Woods has taken an indefinite break from golf after major speculation surrounding his private life at the end of November 2009 forced him to stop playing. Tom Watson
Trial off, football on –
A New Orleans judge, Michael Bagneris, postpones a trial because he is believes that everybody in the city will be too distracted by New Orleans Saints forthcoming performance in the Super Bowl. It will be the Saints’s first ever Super Bowl appearance on Sunday, when they play the Indianapolis Colts.
Australian banker caught ogling pictures of semi-naked model on TV keeps job –
Macquarie Group broker David Kiely, who was seen live on television opening an email carrying pictures of model Miranda Kerr, will remain at the investment bank. After initial speculation that he had been sacked, it emerged that he had been holed up in his Sydney home on suspension while Macquarie Bank, known locally as the “millionaire’s factory’, undertook an investigation into the embarrassing incident. The subject of the semi-naked photos – model Miranda Kerr – backed a campaign to save Mr Kiely’s job. [Daily Telegraph] Miranda Kerr
Honda recalls thousands of cars amid fire fears
Honda has become the latest car manufacturer to recall thousands of vehicles amid fears that one of its models could catch fire. The Japanese motor company has recalled 171,372 of its Jazz models in Britain, as part of a larger worldwide recall, after several accidents including one in which a South African child died. Honda’s recall comes after Toyota called in at least 180,000 cars amid concerns over faulty accelerator pedals and means that more than 350,000 cars have now been recalled in Britain due to safety fears in less than a week. [Daily Telegraph]
Scientists invent wafer-thin plastic that can store electricity –
The battery, which has powered our lives for generations, may soon be consigned to the dustbin of history. British scientists say they have created a plastic that can store and release electricity, revolutionising the way we use phones, drive cars – and even wear clothes. It means the cases of mobiles and iPods could soon double up as their power source – leading to gadgets as thin as credit cards. Dr Emile Greenhalgh, from Imperial College London’s Department of Aeronautics, said the material is not really a battery, but a supercapacitor – similar to those found in typical electrical circuits. His team’s prototype – which is around five inches square and wafer-thin – takes five seconds to charge from a normal power supply and can light an LED for 20 minutes. [Daily Mail]
Ecstatic reaction as Rosetta spacecraft mission lands on comet –
The Rosetta spaceship, which was launched in 2004, has landed on comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko in a mission which could reveal the origins of life on Earth. The spacecraft’s thrusters failed to work during the mission prompting fears that the lander could simply bounce off the comet and back into space. But the Philae landing craft managed to land safely. The small probe took pictures as it descended as well as monitored chemical levels. The European Space Agency’s ground-breaking £1 billion mission to chase, orbit, and execute a soft landing on a moving comet has been called one of the most extraordinary achievements in space history. [Daily Telegraph] See Video of the Day Artist’s impression of the Philae lander
Video of the Day –
Philae Lands On Comet! – Mission Control Celebrates | Video
Henry leaves NY Bulls –
Former Arsenal and France striker Thierry Henry leaves New York Red Bulls after four-and-a-half years with the MLS club. He is still Arsenal’s all-time top goal scorer with 228 in all competitions. He is to move into television, initially as a pundit on Sky TV in the UK. (See List of the Day and Video of the Day below) Thierry Henry
Prince Harry confession for charity –
Prince Harry has revealed that he gets extremely nervous before making any public speech. He made the revelation as part of a campaign run by his Sentebale charity to help reduce the stigma associated with HIV on World Aids Day. The prince co-founded the charity in 2006 in Lesotho after travelling around the southern African country which has the third highest HIV/Aids prevalence in the world. Prince Harry
Brand protest –
Russell Brand joins around 400 residents of Hackney’s New Era estate to protest against US property owner Westbrook, which is threatening 93 families with eviction before marching to 10 Downing street where a petition signed by 294,000 was handed in. Russell Brand
Cyber Monday breaks records –
Today is Cyber Monday and in the US $2.5 billion (£1.6 billion) is expected to be spent. In the IMRG Experian predicts that UK consumers will spend £649.6 million today or £451,000 a minute showing a 26 per cent increase on last year.
(Nasty) Thought for the day –
Professor Stephen Hawking, the British scientist who suffers from amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) has said that efforts to create thinking machines pose a threat to our very existence. The BBC quotes him as saying “The development of full artificial intelligence could spell the end of the human race. It would take off on its own, and re-design itself at an ever increasing rate but humans, who are limited by slow biological evolution, couldn’t compete, and would be superseded.” Stephen Hawling
Scarlett gets secretly married –
Scarlett Johansson has revealed that she and her partner Romain Dauriac got married in secret on October 1st 2015 in Philipsburg, western Montana. Scarlett Johansson
Strike that off the list –
The UK Government has introduced legislation banning sex acts like spanking and caning from online porn videos filmed in the UK. A list of sex acts are now on a list of ‘harmful’ content that has been prohibited and paid-for online porn videos must now stick to the same rules as content produced for sex shop-type videos. (See List of the Day)
Korean Air boss nut allergy –
Cho Hyun-ah, a Korean Air executive, is under investigation over claims she delayed a plane over the way she was served nuts. Ms Cho, a vice-president of the firm and daughter of the Korean Air president demanded the removal of a crew member from a flight for failing to serve nuts on a plate, forcing the Incheon-bound flight to taxi back to the terminal in New York.
London mayor asked to pay tax in US –
The new American ambassador in London, Matthew Barzun, says London Mayor Boris Johnson should settle a six-figure tax bill in the US on profits on the sale of his home in London in 2009. The London Mayor, who was born in New York and has dual citizenship, revealed last month that he is being pursued by the US tax authorities. Boris Johnson
London mayor asks US embassy to pay charges in London –
Previously Boris Johnson has praised the new ambassador for his diplomatic abilities but wants him get the US to pay the £6 million outstanding in congestion charges run up by diplomats which the embassy refuses to pay.
Britain hit by “weather bomb” –
High winds and huge waves have affected north-western parts of the UK as bad weather hit power supplies and travel. The “weather bomb” brought hundreds of lightning strikes, temporarily cutting power across the Western Isles. Wind speeds of 144mph was recorded on the St Kilda islands, with gusts in excess of 80mph elsewhere.
Bully bashed by brilliance –
Louisa Manning (@xo_louisa_ox) whose letter to a former school bully who called her “manbeast” went received over 18,000 likes on Facebook has described the response as “crazy and overwhelming”. Miss Manning, a student at Oxford University, wrote the note after being invited on a date by her former tormentor when they met 10 years later in a restaurant.
Senate reports on CIA interrogations –
The UN and human rights groups have called for the prosecution of US officials involved in the CIA interrogation of al-Qaeda suspects. President Barack Obama said it was now time to move on. The summary of a classified Senate report says that the CIA carried out “brutal” interrogations of al-Qaeda suspects after the 9/11 attacks on the US and misled other officials about what it was doing.
Boston time-capsule discovered –
A time capsule thought to have been buried by Samuel Adams and Paul Revere in 1795 has been discovered in Massachusetts, USA. The container was found during repair work at the state house in Boston. See video of the day.
Christiano times it right for Christmas –
Christiano Ronaldo has given each of his Real Madrid team-mates a Bulgari watch worth £6,500. Each watch is engraved with the recipient’s name, the motif CR7 (he wears shirt number 7) and the words ‘La Decima’, to celebrate Real Madrid winning their 10th European Cup last season. Christiano Ronaldo
New female boss of Santander –
Baroness Shriti Vadera is appointed chair of Santander UK, making her the first woman to chair a major British bank. Vadera, a former Labour minister, will receive £650,000 a year for a three-day week. She will also continue her roles as a non-executive of drugs group AstraZeneca and mining company BHP, two of the largest companies in the FTSE 100. Baroness Shriti Vadera
No returns accepted –
US firm Astobiotic launches the first postal service to send items to the moon – with prices ranging from $460 to $26,000.
The firm, which calls the service MoonMail, says it can give over entire missions for larger items that need more shipping space and hopes to fund the development of its lunar landing by offering to take items. (See video of the day)
Prince Ali challenges for FIFA presidency –
Fifa vice-president Prince Ali Bin Al Hussein will challenge incumbent Sepp Blatter for the leadership of world football’s governing body on 29th May 2105. The Jordanian Prince, son of the late King Hussein and the late Queen Alia will stand as a candidate at Fifa’s presidential election where Blatter, 78, will seek a fifth term of office. Prince Ali said: “It is time to shift the focus away from administrative controversy and back to sport. “The headlines should be about football, not about Fifa.” Former diplomat Jerome Champagne, who joined Fifa in 1999, is the only other challenger to run for the presidency. Prince Ali bin Al Hussein
This is Quite Interesting –
QI presenter Stephen Fry is to marry his partner, Elliott Spencer. The 57 year-old has given formal notice to wed Mr Spencer, 27, at a registry office in Dereham, Norfolk, near where he grew up. He confirmed it to his 8 million plus followers on Twitter (@StephenFry) after The Sun newspaper revealed the marriage plans. Fry said: “Oh. It looks as though a certain cat is out of a certain bag. I’m very very happy of course but had hoped for a private wedding. Fat chance!”
Footballing giant –
His football (soccer) team lost 2-1 to Liverpool in yesterday’s FA Cup but Adebayo Akinfenwa (@daRealAAkinfenwa), Wimbledon FC centre forward not only scored but set Twitter alight with over 39,000 related tweets. The 5’11”, 16 stone (224lb) striker known as the Beast is the world’s strongest player according to the FIFA 15 game. Before the match, the man who can bench press 180kg (392lb) warned team-mates “I want Steven Gerrard’s shirt,” he said before the match. “I’ve told the boys that if anyone gets his shirt before me we are going to have a problem.” He got Gerrard’s shirt.
Lance Percival dies –
Actor Lance Percival, who starred in British hit comedy in Up Pompeii, has died at the age of 81.
Nike shoes accepted as bail –
A man in the US state of Massachusetts has avoided jail for failing to pay court fees by leaving a pair of $85 (£55.94) Nike trainers as a bail bond. Judge Douglas Stoddart offered Jason Duval, who is charged with drug offences, the chance to “be creative”. He can get the shoes back by paying $100 or doing 10 hours of community service.
More than three million take part in French unity rallies –
Huge crowds have taken part in a rally in Paris to commemorate the 17 people who died in gun attacks in the city in 3 days of attacks earlier in the week. More than 40 world leaders joined the start of the unity march, linking arms in an act of solidarity and an estimated 1.6 million marched in the capital. The rally was led by relatives of the victims of last week’s attacks and began at the Place de la Republique. The French government said the rally turnout was the highest on record.
Boyhood wins Golden Globe Awards –
At the Golden Globe ceremony “Boyhood” won best drama movie with Patricia Arquette getting best supporting actress in the film.
Winners of all categories at the bottom of the post. Patricia Arquette
Actress Anita Ekberg dies –
The actress Anita Ekberg,has died aged 83. A former Miss Sweden, she was branded a “sex goddess” for her performance in Federico Fellini’s 1960 movie La Dolce Vita. The scene where Ekberg walks through the waters of Rome’s Trevi Fountain in a black strapless dress is considered one of cinema’s most iconic scenes. A quote attibuted to her in her later years is: “I don’t know if paradise or hell exist, but I’m sure hell is more groovy.”
First woman president in Croatia –
In elections in Croatia, opposition challenger Kolinda Grabar-Kitarovic has become the first female president of the country. The voting was extremely close with Grabar-Kitarovic receiving more than 50% of the vote for her Croatian Democratic Union party, with more than 49% for Ivo Josipovic who had been president since 2010. Kolinda Grabar-Kitarovic
Super Bowl gets super viewing figures –
Yesterday’s Super Bowl saw America’s highest-ever overnight ratings with New England Patriots late win over Seattle. The Nielsen ratings company said that 49.7 percent of the homes in the nation’s largest media markets were watching the game, up four percent over last year’s game which was seen by 111.5 million. Later information revealed viewing figures of 114.4 million on NBC, the largest audience for a U.S. television program in history.
Apple feeling a bit broke –
Apple is issuing bonds today which are expected to raise at least $5bn (£3.3bn) mainly to be used to help the company return more than $130bn to shareholders by the end of this year. Despite the company sitting on a cash pile of $142bn almost 90% of the cash is held outside the US, and it would have to pay a corporate tax rate of 35% if it returned the money from abroad, so it is borrowing the money instead.
The there’s muck there’s… gold –
Staff cleaning unused dirty lockers at a school in the city of Ahmedabad, western India, uncover 2kg in gold bars and 10m rupees in cash ($160,000; £108,000). The clean up was part of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s “Clean India” campaign. Two unused lockers in the staff room had no keys, so staff broke into them and made the discovery. According to police, the solid gold is worth nearly 6m rupees. No-one has claimed ownership.
My BMW has a virus –
BMW patches a security flaw that meant 2.2 million cars fitted with BMW’s ConnectedDrive software, including Rolls Royces and Minis, were open to hackers. The software operated door locks, air conditioning and traffic updates and although no cars have actually been hacked, the flaw was identified by German motorist association ADAC.
Zoella leaves dressing room for kitchen –
Zoe Sugg the YouTube vblogger with 7 million subscribers is to appear on the celebrity edition of The Great British Bake Off. Zoella as she is known online (@ZozeeBo with 2.6m followers on Twitter) recently featured on Debrett’s list of the 500 most influential people in Britain. Zoe Sugg A.K.A. Zoella
AKB48 proposed to open Olympic ceremony in 2020 –
The big debate in Japan today is whether to allow J-pop group AKB48 to perform at the opening ceremony of the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo. Their creator, Yasushi Akimoto, proposed choosing the best of the 48 girls (who rotate according to social media popularity) to appear but the idea was ridiculed by Japanese TV celebrity and columnist Matsuko Deluxe, who said the group (named after the Akihabara district of Tokyo) would be “an embarrassment”. The group have sold more than 30m records and had sales exceeding $128m (£85m) in 2013.
Big United beat little United –
Despite the support of 6,000 away fans Cambridge United are finally beaten by Manchester United 3-0 at Old Trafford in the 4th round of the FA Cup. Man Uniteds starting 11 cost £231m in transfer fees, Cambridge’s cost £0. By forcing a repeat two weeks ago the small club will get around £1 million for their share of the attendance fee which the chairman intends to spend on upgrading the toilets at their ground.
Cut down on your jog life –
A report in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology finds that people who jog at a steady pace for less than two and a half hours a week were least likely to die over a 12-year period that was studied. Those who ran more than four hours a week or did no exercise had the highest death rates.
One underscores the other doesn’t score –
Father Michael Duffy a New York priest has been receiving Twitter messages congratulating him on signing for Celtic Football Club. In fact another Michael Duffy who was transferred to the Scottish football champions from Derry City club has the same twitter handle as the priest, but the footballer has an underscore at the end. Father Duffy has gained many new followers and today tweeted:
Painting sells for $300m, a world record –
One of French artist Paul Gauguin’s most famous paintings showing to Tahitian ladies is sold for $300m (£197m), making it the most expensive work of art ever sold. Entitled Nafea Faa Ipoipo, or When Will You Marry?, was painted in 1892 by the French Post-Impressionist and has apparently been sold to a museum in Qatar.
Phantom of the Opera apprehended –
Austrian police arrest a 63-year-old man who has become known as the Phantom of the Opera at the Vienna State Opera House. Security guards have been trying to catch the man, who buys a cheap ticket and then sits in expensive seats, for months. When he was seen in the best seat in the house, the police were called, but he made a run for it and then punched one of the police officers after he was cornered in the Gustav Mahler Hall. He was arrested and given a ban from all future performances at the State Opera.
Left shark designer hit with cease and desist order –
Fernando Sosa who is selling the design for a 3D-printer model of the “Left Shark” dancer from Katy Perry’s Super Bowl half-time show has received a letter from Perry’s lawyers saying, “Your unauthorised display and sale of this product infringes our client’s exclusive rights.” Left Shark became a viral hit after forgetting its steps during the performance of Teenage Dream and California Gurls. CLICK TO SEE MORE STUFF FROM THIS DAY…
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
These things only happen in movies… or maybe in movie theatres –
A projectionist at MetroLux 14 theater in Loveland, Colorado mixed up the films at an 11:45am screening of the latest SpongeBob Squarepants and instead put on Fifty Shades of Grey. Instead of seeing SpongeBob and his pals try to save a secret hamburger recipe, they had the opening scenes of the erotic R-rated film. After the mix-up was noticed, the screen went blank and kids’ movie trailers started showing until the right film was found.
Bill Gates has been declared the richest man in the world for the 16th time by Forbes magazine’s annual ranking of global billionaires. The Microsoft founder once again beat Mexican businessman Carlos Slim to the top spot. Mr Gates’ net worth rose by just over $3bn (£1.94bn) in the year to 13 February, to $79bn. There are a record 1,826 billionaires in the world, Forbes said, an increase of 181 in the past 12 months. See list below. [BBC]
New image for Queen on coins of the realm –
A new portrait of the Queen to appear on coins has been unveiled, but it might be some time before the new money starts appearing in people’s wallets. The effigy, designed by Jody Clark, is only the fifth definitive coin portrait to have been created during the Queen’s reign and the first since 1998.
The new coin
The new portrait is revealed at a ceremony in London’s National Portrait Gallery. Coins carrying the design will now begin being struck, the Royal Mint said. [Daily Telegraph] New Zealanders confiscating bad drivers keys –
Police are urging motorists not to take matters into their own hands, following the latest removal of car keys from drivers allegedly driving dangerously. While police are encouraging the use of *555 calls, the growing trend of motorists confronting bad drivers and removing keys is on the rise nationally – almost one a day during the past week. [New Zealand Herald]
Harrison Ford crashes his plane for third time –
US actor Harrison Ford has been injured in a small plane crash in Los Angeles. The 72-year-old, star of the Indiana Jones and Star Wars films, reported engine failure and crash-landed his vintage plane on a Venice golf course. He was breathing and alert when medics arrived and took him to hospital in a “fair to moderate” condition, a fire department spokesman said. His son Ben, a chef in Los Angeles, later tweeted from the hospital: “Dad is OK. Battered but OK! [BBC] Harrison Ford
Delta Aircraft slides off New York runway –
A passenger airliner has skidded off the runway at LaGuardia airport in New York City, as a major winter storm bears down on a large part of the US. Emergency officials helped 127 passengers and five crew off the plane just after 11:00 local time (16:00 GMT), but no one was seriously injured. Snow and freezing rain has been falling from Texas to New England over the past several hours. The flight, Delta 1086, was attempting to land at LaGuardia after flying from Atlanta. It veered to the left shortly after making contact with the runway, but avoided crashing into nearby Flushing Bay. [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]
Ronaldo has most Facebook likes after going ahead of Shakira –
Real Madrid footballer Cristiano Ronaldo has overtaken Shakira to become the most followed person on Facebook. The 30-year-old star now has 107,096,356 likes compared to 107,087,100 for the Colombian singer. Ronaldo became the first sportsman to cross 100 million likes last October after joining the site in 2009. He also has 34 million followers on Twitter but is only 13th on that list with Katy Perry leading on 66.6 million followers. [BBC] Christiano Ronaldo
Flintoff wins Australia’s I’m A Celebrity –
Andrew Flintoff has been crowned Australia’s king of the jungle after winning their version of I’m A Celebrity… Get Me Out Of Here! Flintoff beat Australian Football League player Barry Hall and TV personality Chrissie Swan to the title in the South African jungle. After winning, Freddie said: “As an Englishman winning something in Australia, it’s unheard of.” On the show he ate a rat’s tail and was covered in elephant manure. He also drank fermented milk laced with cockroaches and flies and fell out of a helicopter. [BBC] Andrew “Freddie” Flintoff
Vladimir Putin reappears in public for first time in 10 days –
President Vladimir Putin has made his first public appearance for over ten days, scotching rumours of a Kremlin coup and even his own death. All eyes were on the Russian city of Saint Petersburg on Monday as Mr Putin met with the President of Kyrgyzstan, Almazbek Atambayev, for talks as planned. Commenting on suggestions that he had been forced to lie low because of ill health, Mr Putin said that life without rumours would be boring. “It would be boring without gossip,” Mr Putin, 62, said in his first public appearance since March 5. [Daily Telegraph]
George Clooney wants 12-seater cinema at his country estate by the Thames –
George Clooney wants to add a 12-seater home cinema and luxurious swimming pool to his 17th century country estate in Sonning-on-Thames, plans submitted on Friday revealed. A new pool house, pergola and hot tub will be built onto the back of the existing riverside boat house, allowing George and his new wife Amal to luxuriate by the estuaries of the River Thames. Plans have been submitted to South Oxfordshire District Council’s planning department to extend an annexe of Clooney’s countryside mansion in Sonning Eye, Berkshire. [Daily Telegraph] George Clooney
Facebook completes first drone flight above UK, Mark Zuckerberg confirms –
Solar powered drones which provide internet access to rural and remote areas have been trialled in UK for first time by Facebook. They “have a wingspan greater than a Boeing 737 but will weigh less than a car”, according to the social network’s chief Mark Zuckerberg. The drones, developed by Somerset-based company Ascenta which Facebook bought last March, will beam down laser-guided internet signals to those below. Solar panels attached to the wings of the drones mean that they will be able to keep going at altitudes of 60,000 ft for months at a time. Mark Zuckerberg
Dermot O’Leary quits the X Factor –
After eight years, Dermot O’Leary has announced through Twitter he is stepping down as presenter of the long-running talent show, and is now joint favourite to replace Jeremy Clarkson on Top Gear – bookmakers William Hill currently has O’Leary joint with Jodie Kidd as the 4/1 favourite. O’Leary recently danced continuously for 24 hours to raise money for Comic Relief. Dermot O’Leary
Italy court clears Knox and Sollecito –
Italy’s top appeals court has overturned the convictions of Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollecito for the murder of UK student Meredith Kercher.
The decision is the final ruling in the long-running case. The pair were found guilty in 2009, then freed in 2011 after the convictions were overturned. Their convictions were reinstated by another court last year. Ms Kercher was found dead in 2007 in a flat she shared with Ms Knox.
The couple had always maintained their innocence and the decision by the Court of Cassation puts an end to their long legal battle. [BBC]
Lorry full of honey bees overturns in Washington State –
A lorry carrying honeybees has overturned in the US state of Washington, spewing bees across a motorway. The accident scattered boxes “containing millions of live bees across the highway”, KIRO 7 News reported. Each of the boxes contains about 5,000 live bees, some were crushed in the accident while others were freed. Beekeepers used smoke to try and calm the bees before the sun rose, which would raise temperatures and agitate the bees. At daybreak many of the boxes remained on the road and the bees became more active. The fire brigade was called to spray the bees with foam, which resulted in their death. [BBC]
All Nippon Airways Announces ‘Star Wars’ Project With R2-D2 Painted Jet –
In honor of the iconic movie series, the airline will paint one of its brand-new Boeing 787s with an R2-D2 motif. An apparent video rendering of the R2-D2 plane, released on YouTube Thursday, shows the nose of the plane decorated with R2-D2’s signature blue and white stripes, along with graphics depicting the robot’s various ports. A massive “Star Wars” logo dominates the rear of the plane. The R2-D2 jet marks the start of five-year All Nippon Airways “Star Wars” project, which will include “a range of novel initiatives,” the airline announced on its website. (also see Video of the Day) [The Huffington Post]
Japan’s magnetically levitated vehicle train sets new speed record –
Japan’s magnetically levitated (maglev) train has set a new speed record, hitting 366.61mph on a test track. Central Japan Railway Co., which is developing a vehicle that it sees as the long-distance, mass transportation system of the future, is aiming to break the 600km per hour (372.82mph) in more tests scheduled for next week. The seven-car maglev surpassed the previous record, which it sent in December 2003, for a period of 19 seconds on JR Central’s test track in Yamanashi Prefecture, west of Tokyo, on Thursday. The company is pushing ahead in its development of the maglev, which uses magnetic pulses to propel the carriages, doing away with the need for wheels, axles and bearings, after being granted approval to construct a track between Tokyo and Nagoya. [Daily Telegraph] The SCMaglev test track in the Yamanashi Prefecture, Japan
James Anderson breaks Sir Ian Botham’s England wicket record –
English cricketer James Anderson surpassed Sir Ian Botham as England’s highest Test wicket-taker with his 384th dismissal in his 100th match. Anderson, 32, had West Indies’ Denesh Ramdin caught at first slip on the final day of the first Test in Antigua. The seamer, who began the Test on 380 wickets, was mobbed by his team-mates as his family celebrated in the crowd. [BBC]
Tony Abbott filmed downing a beer in only seven seconds –
Some may say it is behaviour unbecoming of a prime minister. Others have applauded it. Footage has emerged of the Australian Prime Minister, Tony Abbott, knocking back a large glass of beer in only seven seconds. But the incident is not a first in Australian politics – and is not all that unusual for Mr Abbott. The prime minister was at a bar in east Sydney on Saturday along with players from the UTS Bats Australian Rules football team. [BBC] Tony Abbott
Kate Middleton’s friend holds orgies in sharia hotel –
Emma Sayle, owner of Killing Kittens, a members-only sex-club, said the Bermondsey Square hotel in London is one of her preferred destinations for the self-styled ‘sexual elite’. The Duchess of Cambridge’s friend has been staging sex parties in the country’s first sharia hotel. A friend of Kate Middleton’s, Miss Sayle, 36, who attended Downe House boarding school with Prince Michael’s daughter, Lady Gabriella Windsor, has used the four loft suites on the seventh floor of the hotel for her parties. According to Miss Sayle, who is a member of Kate’s rowing crew, The Sisterhood, the rules at Killing Kitten events state men can’t approach women at parties unless they know them, everyone wears a mask and single men aren’t allowed. [Daily Telegraph] Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge
Zayn Malik collects Asian Award and thanks bandmates –
Zayn Malik has taken a step in a new direction, showing off a new look for his first public appearance since quitting One Direction. He was in London for the fifth annual Asian Awards, where he picked a gong for his contribution to music and paid tribute to his former bandmates. Malik also thanked God and his parents, “for making me Asian”. [BBC] He also had a radical change of look with an almost shaved head compared to the long hair he used to sport. Zayn Malik (image – thecount.com)
Video of the Day –
Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice – Official Teaser Trailer
Ben Affleck asked broadcaster to hide slave-owning ancestor –
Ben Affleck asked television producers not to reveal one of his ancestors was a slave-owner, leaked emails suggest. The actor was taking part in a US series called Finding Your Roots, where experts research a celebrity’s family history, when the discovery was made. The broadcaster, PBS, says in a statement that they didn’t censor the slave-owner details. It is “very common” to find slave-owning ancestors during research, the show’s host says. “For any guest, we always find far more stories about ancestors on their family trees than we ever possibly could use,” Prof Henry Louis Gates says in a statement sent to The Associated Press. The details of Affleck’s slave-owning family member were not included when his episode of Finding Your Roots was broadcast. [BBC] Ben Affleck
Miley Cyrus Recounts Wanting to Have Sex with Joan Jett, Inducts Her Into Rock and Roll Hall of Fame –
Miley Cyrus isn’t one to shy away from shock factor, not even if she’s on stage to induct her idol Joan Jett at the 30th annual Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Last night in Cleveland, Cyrus started off her speech to induct Jett and the Blackhearts into the Hall of Fame by going back in time and reminiscing: “Thank you guys so much. I’m going to start off this induction with the first time I wanted to have sex with Joan Jett. We were doing Oprah together, and I went up to Joan’s hotel room. Joan opens the door, and I come in, and Kenny Laguna is laying in bed. I don’t know what the fuck is going on. There’s towels shoved underneath all the door cracks, shower caps around all the smoke detectors. Joan is running around spraying orange-smelling cleaner to mask the smell of the pot (that’s what you guys call it)”. Miley Cyrus
25 pregnant Navy sailors airlifted from ships –
More than two dozen female sailors have been airlifted home from Royal Navy warships after becoming pregnant in the past nine years, official figures show. A total of 25 expectant women were forced to leave on emergency flights, though the actual number who have gone home because of pregnancy is thought to be higher. The figures reported in The Sun were released under the Freedom of Information Act and follow the disclosure last year that 200 women were flown home from the Iraq and Afghan conflicts after commanders were told they were pregnant. A Ministry of Defence spokeswoman said the Navy operates a strict “no touching” rule at sea, even for those already in a relationship and sources said most of the women are likely to have conceived before setting sail, or while on leave. [Daily Telegraph]
Benedict Cumberbatch commissions Kick Ass 2 replica sculpture –
Benedict Cumberbatch has commissioned the celebrity artist Schoony to reproduce a sculpture that appeared in Kick Ass 2. The Imitation Game star paid £7,000 for a gold rendering of Boy Soldier by his friend, the Hertfordshire-born artist Schoony. The original artwork appeared in Hollywood blockbuster Kick Ass 2, starring Jim Carrey and Chloe Moretz, and was located in the villain’s lair. [Daily Telegraph]
Demi Lovato Wishes Joe Jonas ‘Happy #420’ –
To honor 4/20 (See Top Twitter Trends), the day famously celebrated by weed connoisseurs, Demi Lovato decided to post a little message for her friend Joe Jonas. She took to Instagram to share a photoshopped image of herself with Jonas and Miley Cyrus. “In honor of our former escapades, I thought you’d like this to remember your first blaze.. Happy #420 @joejonas. #disneyhighclassof09,” she captioned the eye-popping image. [Billboard.com]
Russia: Police stage mayor’s disappearance to thwart killing –
Police in Russia have staged the disappearance of a city mayor to prevent his contract killing, it’s reported. Pavel Plotnikov, the mayor of Yoshkar Ola in central Russia, was reported missing on Saturday, after apparently failing to meet his wife as planned a day earlier. “All police patrols, criminal investigators – practically all police in Yoshkar Ola” were looking for the mayor, the city’s police spokeswoman Olga Plotnikova told the media at the time. But early on Monday, the mayor’s own website issued a statement saying that his disappearance had actually been staged. “The mayor’s ‘disappearance’ was necessitated by operational activities of Russia’s Interior Ministry staff,” the statement says. “They implemented measures to prevent a planned killing of the mayor and his family.” Later in the day, Mr Plotnikov gave a news conference to shed more light on what had happened. Because of his “principled position”, the mayor said, he was supposed to have been killed in a forest some time between Friday night and Saturday morning. Thanks to swift action by the security services, the would-be killers and those who took out a contract on the mayor have been arrested, Mr Plotnikov told the news conference, adding: “Many thanks to the police for saving my life.” The police have simply said that the mayor “has been found” and that “he’s alive and well, and is currently with his family”. [BBC]
U.S. Supreme Court rejects appeal over Arizona ‘fish pedicures’ –
The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday rejected an appeal by the owner a Phoenix-area spa that ran afoul of Arizona state regulations that barred her from providing pedicures in which clients have their feet nibbled by small fish to remove dead skin. The high court’s action, made without comment by the justices, ends a years-long case over fish pedicures, which have become a popular alternative to exfoliation for some spa-goers in recent years but are banned in some U.S. states for health and safety reasons. In 2009, Vong was told by the Arizona Board of Cosmetology that the treatment violated the agency’s safety standards, and that she could face criminal charges. The board said any tool or equipment used in a pedicure must be stored and disinfected in a specific way, and that she could not disinfect the fish coming in contact with clients’ skin. [Reuters] Garra Rufa – the pedicure fish species
Traffic chaos on M74 ‘due to a dog taking control of a tractor’ –
A busy stretch of motorway was left in chaos on Wednesday “due to a dog taking control of a tractor”. The bizarre incident was reported by Traffic Scotland at J13 of the M74 near Abington in South Lanarkshire. The transport body tweeted it was “not joking” and a farmer and police were at the scene with the vehicle after it crashed into the central reservation. The dog – believed to be a sheepdog – was unhurt after reportedly leaning on the controls of the tractor, taking it from a field on to the road. [Daily Telegraph]
Traffic Scotland later tweeted that the dog was OK. @Traffic Scotland on Twitter
Man shoots computer in Colorado Springs alley, gets revenge he wanted – and a citation –
When ctrl + alt + delete doesn’t work, just shoot the darn thing. That’s what one man did on Monday night, according to Colorado Springs police. Lucas Hinch, 37, was cited for discharging a weapon within city limits after he took the fight with his computer outside and got the revenge most of us only dream about. “He got tired of fighting with his computer for the last several months,” Lt. Jeff Strossner said. “He was having technology problems, so he took it out in the back alley and shot it.” Strossner tweeted Hinch “executed” his computer in an alley on the 2200 block of West Colorado Avenue. The penalty for the citation will be up to a judge, police said, adding that Hinch was good-natured about the citation and hadn’t realized he was breaking the law when he went Wild West on that useless piece of technology. Hinch shot it eight times, Strossner said, “effectively disabling it.” The computer is not expected to recover. [The Gazette] The shot computer – Image from the Colorado Gazette
Google launches Project Fi mobile phone network –
Google has detailed its plan to run a mobile phone network in the US. The firm will rent voice and data capacity from two existing operators – Sprint and T-Mobile – and use existing wi-fi hotspots, rather than build new infrastructure from scratch. Initially, Project Fi will only be offered to Nexus 6 handset owners. Sundar Pichai, chief of Google’s Android platform, first mentioned the company’s plan to create a phone network in February, but provided little detail at the time. The company has now revealed that its subscribers will be automatically switched between 4G signals provided by Sprint and T-Mobile, depending on whichever is stronger at the time. They will also be able to make calls over wi-fi without having to use a special app, similar in nature to the Wi-fi Calling facility recently introduced by EE in the UK. [BBC] Sundar Pichai
Video of the Day –
The first video posted on YouTube – 10 years ago today –
Nepal earthquake: International aid effort increased –
The international aid effort for Nepal is gathering pace, with Saturday’s massive earthquake now known to have killed 3,726 people and injured 6,500. China, India, Pakistan and Britain are among the countries contributing to the effort, alongside major aid agencies. Nepal has asked for more help, saying it needs everything from helicopters and blankets to paramedics and drivers. At least 200 climbers have now been rescued around Mount Everest, after the quake triggered avalanches. Foreign climbers on Everest and their Nepalese guides were caught by the tremors and a huge avalanche that buried part of the camp (See Video of the Day). At least 18 were killed by avalanches. China has meanwhile announced a halt to all spring expeditions to Mount Everest from the north face of the mountain on its side of the border, state media reports.
Rich List 2015: Super rich’s wealth soars as new money floods in from abroad –
he combined wealth of the 1,000 richest men and women in Britain has more than doubled in the last ten years, according to the Sunday Times Rich List. (See List of the Day) The wealthiest 1,000 individuals and families now have a combined fortune of £547.126 billion, up from £249.615 billion in 2005, despite the world economy being gripped by a punishing recession over much of the last decade. Plain old millionaires increasingly struggle to count themselves among the mega-rich, with a fortune of £100 million now required to make it into the top 1,000. That is £15 million higher than last year’s minimum, while in 1997 it took a personal wealth of ‘just’ £15 million to make the grade. The list includes 117 billionaires, up from 104 last year. They account for a total wealth of £325.131 billion and 80 of them are based in London. It means the capital has more sterling billionaires than any other city in the world. [Daily Telegraph] Roman Abramovich – Owner of Chelsea FC and 10th richest man in Britain
Paula Radcliffe runs the London Marathon for the last time –
Briton Radcliffe, 41, ran the 26.2-mile course in two hours 36 minutes 55 seconds, less than three years after surgery on a serious foot injury.
“It was just amazing the whole way round,” the world-record holder said. “I wore the sunglasses to keep a lid on my emotions and they definitely hid some tears along the way,” she added. Radcliffe won the London Marathon in 2002, 2003 and 2005, and her 2003 winning time of 2:15:25 remains the world record. Paula Radcliffe
Jay Z says Tidal is ‘doing just fine’ with 770k subscribers –
Jay Z is not one for writing a lot of tweets – but he’s just put out a “stream of consciousness” defending his music streaming service, Tidal. Launched last month with some very high profile backers, critics have said that the company has been a bit of a flop, with low subscriber numbers. But Jay Z says: “Tidal is doing just fine. We have over 770,000 subs. We have been in business less than one month. “We are here for the long haul.” Jay Z bought Tidal from a Swedish company, Aspiro, earlier this year, for $56m (£37m). There was a spike in interest when he re-launched it on 30 March but then dropped out of the top 50 for downloaded music apps on the US iTunes store. The company also got rid of its CEO and announced redundancies earlier this month but also said it was looking for new staff. [BBC] Jay Z
Catch of the day: Fisherman reels in 76lb cod in biggest-ever catch by British angler –
A fisherman is celebrating after catching what is believed to be the largest cod ever caught by a British angler using rod and line. Matthew Lowery, a pharmacist from Newcastle, was on a fishing trip to Norway when the cod weighing 76lb 1oz went for his bait. The 39-year-old spent 10 minutes reeling it up through 40 metres of water before hauling it on board his boat half a mile off the island of Soroya. It was still 27lbs off the world record for a cod caught two years ago by German angler Michael Eisele. [Daily Telegraph]
George Clooney set to run London Marathon 2016 after losing bet –
George Clooney, the Hollywood actor, is poised to run next year’s London Marathon after losing a bet with a celebrity friend. The heart-throb reportedly promised Christy Turlington he would take part in the 2016 race if she finished in under four hours. Miss Turlington, a Calvin Klein model, completed the 26.2-mile course on Sunday for her charity Every Mother Counts in three hours and 45 minutes. Clooney is said to have claimed he will run next year while wearing one of her organisation’s T-shirts. [Daily Telegraph] In March Clooney applied for permission to build a 12-seater home cinema and luxurious swimming pool to his 17th century country estate in Sonning-on-Thames, England. George Clooney
American Airlines planes grounded by iPad app error –
A faulty app caused American Airlines to ground dozens of its jets on Tuesday. The glitch caused iPad software, used by the planes’ pilots and co-pilots to view flight plans, to stop working. The firm’s cockpits went “paperless” in 2013 to save its staff having to lug heavy paperwork on board. AA estimated the move would save it more than $1.2m (£422,770) in fuel every year. The company said that it was still investigating the cause of the problem. “Some American Airlines flights experienced an issue with a software application on pilot iPads yesterday evening,” a spokesman told the BBC. “In some cases, the flight had to return to the gate to access a wi-fi connection to fix the issue. [BBC]
Russian spacecraft Progress M-27M ‘out of control’ –
A Russian spacecraft delivering supplies to the International Space Station (ISS) is out of control and will fall back to Earth, officials say. The unmanned cargo ship was launched from Kazakhstan on Tuesday, but contact was lost with it soon afterwards. Russia’s space agency says Progress M-27M is now orbiting in an uncontrolled spin. It cannot reach the ISS and is likely to break up on re-entering Earth’s atmosphere. [BBC]
Uptown Funk credits Oops Up Side Your Head writers –
Mark Ronson and Bruno Mars have given The Gap Band a writing credit on their huge hit Uptown Funk, due to its similarities with their 1979 track Oops Up Side Your Head. Uptown Funk, which topped the UK chart for seven weeks and the US chart for 14, originally had six songwriters. The five writers of The Gap Band’s hit were added earlier this week, according to RCA documents seen by Billboard. It’s said to have followed a claim from publisher Minder Music on their behalf. The much-publicised Blurred Lines court case in March saw a jury order the track’s writers, Robin Thicke and Pharrell Williams, to pay Marvin Gaye’s estate $7.4m (£4.8m) in damages because of its similarities with Gaye’s 1977 hit Got to Give It Up. [BBC] See Videos of the Day Bruno Mars
TV star Sofia Vergara in battle over frozen embryos –
Modern Family actress Sofia Vergara is in a legal battle with her former fiance, who wants to have children from the couple’s frozen embryos.
Nick Loeb said he wants a surrogate to carry and give birth to two embryos he and Vergara created through in vitro fertilisation before they split up. He said the actress, who plays Gloria in the ABC comedy, has refused. Vergara, who has been named the highest-earning actress on TV for the last three years, declined to comment. [BBC] Sofia Vergara
Ben E King: R&B legend dies at 76 –
Ben E King, the soul and R&B singer best known for the classic song Stand By Me, has died aged 76. His publicist confirmed to The Telegraph that he died of natural causes on Thursday. The singer, loved around the world for the 1961 hit, rose to fame in the late 1950 with The Drifters, with songs including There Goes My Baby and Save The Last Dance For Me. The R&B singer went on to further success with Spanish Harlem, I (Who Have Nothing), and Don’t Play That Song (You Lied). [Daily Telegraph] (See List of The Day)
Videos of the Day –
Uptown Funk compared with Oops Upside Your Head –
Mark Ronson and Bruno Mars – Uptown Funk
Royal baby: Duchess of Cambridge gives birth to daughter –
The Duchess of Cambridge has given birth to a girl, Kensington Palace has announced. The princess – who is fourth in line to the throne – was “safely delivered” at 08:34 BST, the palace statement said. The Duke of Cambridge, who was present for the birth of the 8lbs 3oz (3.7kg) baby girl, brought his 21-month-old son Prince George to visit his sister at St Mary’s Hospital, west London. The couple and their daughter will leave hospital on Saturday evening. They will travel home to Kensington Palace, where Prince George has now returned. Both Catherine and her daughter are “doing well”, Kensington Palace said. The name of the baby will be announced in due course. [BBC]
Floyd Mayweather beats Manny Pacquiao in Las Vegas –
Floyd Mayweather emerged victorious from the most lucrative fight in history, beating Manny Pacquiao via a wide unanimous decision in Las Vegas. American Mayweather, 38, delivered a defensive masterclass against his Philippine rival, making the necessary adjustments after only a few rounds before disappearing out of sight. Mayweather, who added the WBO welterweight title to the WBC and WBA titles he already owned, was awarded the fight 118-110, 116-112 and 116-112 by the three judges. With his victory, Mayweather also cemented his status as the greatest pound-for-pound boxer of his generation. The five-weight world champion is now undefeated in 48 professional fights, stretching back 19 years. Pacquiao’s pride will no doubt be salved when he next checks his bank account – it is estimated the fight will generate $400m (£265m) in total, with Mayweather and Pacquiao set to split in the region of $230m (£150m). [BBC] Floyd Mayweather
Best-selling crime writer Ruth Rendell dies –
The best-selling crime writer Ruth Rendell [pen name Barbara Vine] has died aged 85, her publisher has said. The celebrated British author was best known for her series of novels featuring Chief Inspector Wexford. Her publishers announced that Rendell passed away in London at 8am today. Paying tribute, they said they were “devastated by the loss” of one of their best-loved authors. The Labour peer was admitted to hospital in January in a critical but stable condition after suffering a serious stroke. Her crime novels gained her committed fans for decades and covered a range of issues from racism to domestic violence. [Daily Telegraph] Ruth Rendell in 2007