Top Stories – Chinese football bribe allegations –
According to the Oriental Morning Post, a bribe of 200,000 yuan (£18,000) could get a Chinese footballer a call-up to play for his country in an international match. The allegations come weeks after the head of the Chinese Football Association and two other officials were sacked and questioned by police over match-fixing.
Google gets social –
Google launches ‘Social Search’, which allows those users who are logged into a Google account to call up photos or other information from their friends on their social networks which are relevant to their search query.
Most expensive racetrack opens –
The Meydan racehorse track in Dubai today hosts its first race today a Group Three event worth £74,000 to the winner as its feature event. The biggest and most expensive track in history has taken 34 months and at least $1.25bn to build and was paid for by the ruler of Dubai Sheikh Mohammed.
US tycoon murder suspect Durst says he ‘killed them all’ –
US tycoon Robert Durst has been arrested on a murder charge just before the finale of a TV show investigating the alleged crime. He was detained in New Orleans after a warrant was issued by Los Angeles police investigating the murder of mobster’s daughter Susan Berman. Mr Durst has always maintained his innocence in the murder in 2000. But HBO’s The Jinx catches him on tape apparently confessing to three killings, saying “[I] killed them all”. The show suggested in a previous episode that Mr Durst had written a letter only Ms Berman’s killer could have sent. [BBC]
Sir Elton John boycotts Dolce & Gabbana after row over same-sex families –
Sir Elton John has called for a boycott of fashion label Dolce & Gabbana after the legendary designers criticised same-sex families. In a scathing post on picture sharing site Instagram, the furious singer branded Domenico Dolce and Stefano Gabbana “judgmental” and “archaic”. It followed an interview with the designers in Italy’s Panorama magazine in which the pair said: “We oppose gay adoptions. The only family is the traditional one. No chemical offsprings and rented uterus: life has a natural flow, there are things that should not be changed.”
In response to their latest comments, Sir Elton, who married his long-term civil partner David Furnish in December 2014, wrote: “How dare you refer to my beautiful children as ‘synthetic’. “And shame on you for wagging your judgemental little fingers at IVF – a miracle that has allowed legions of loving people, both straight and gay, to fulfil their dream of having children. [Daily Telegraph] Sir Elton John
British Airways flight to Dubai forced to return to Heathrow due to ‘smelly poo in toilet’ –
A British Airways flight to Dubai was forced to return to Heathrow Airport when a “smelly poo in the toilet” became unbearable for passengers.
The pilot announced that the long haul flight had to be aborted, after cabin crew were unable to prevent the pungent odour emanating from an overflowing toilet. Around 30 minutes in the seven-hour flight, the plane returned to London amid health and safety concerns.
Hertsmere councillor Abhishek Sachdev, who represents Potters Bar Parkfield was on the plane and said it was “insane” that passengers had to wait 15 hours for another flight due to a “smelly poo in the toilet”.
Angolan capital remains ‘most expensive city’ for expats –
The Angolan capital, Luanda, remains the world’s most expensive city for expatriates, according to an annual survey by consultancy Mercer. The city has held the number one spot for the past three years because of the high cost of rent, imported goods and security in the oil-rich nation. However, the rest of the cost of living rankings saw significant shifts due to exchange rate fluctuations. Asian cities now account for half of the top 10 costliest destinations. Hong Kong rose to second place and Singapore remained in fourth because of their expensive property and rental markets. Shanghai, Beijing and Seoul also made the top 10. [BBC] See List of the Day
Madonna premieres star-studded ‘Bitch I’m Madonna’ video on Tidal –
Madonna has unveiled her new video – complete with cameo appearances by Beyonce, Miley Cyrus and Katy Perry – on the new streaming service [launched in March] she runs with stars including Jay Z and Kanye West. The video for Bitch I’m Madonna, from her well-received Rebel Heart album, will be shown exclusively on the Tidal service for 24 hours before being released to the wider public. The line-up on the video, which was filmed in New York, also includes Nicki Minaj, new X Factor judge Rita Ora, Chris Rock and Madonna’s sons Rocco and David. [Daily Telegraph] See Video of the Day Madonna
South Carolina church shooting: Nine die in Charleston ‘hate crime’ –
Nine people have died in a shooting at a historic African-American church in Charleston in the US state of South Carolina, officials say. City police chief Gregory Mullen said eight of the victims were killed inside the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church on Wednesday evening, while another person died shortly afterwards. Police are now searching for a white male suspect in his 20s. [BBC]
Video of the Day –
TIDAL | Madonna ft. Nicki Minaj | Bitch I’m Madonna Behind the scenes
In the United States, the California Labor Commission has ruled that a San Francisco Uber driver is a company employee, not a contractor. Uber is appealing this ruling, that would increase the company’s costs and liabilities, to the state’s court system. A hearing for a class certification of a similar lawsuit against Uber is scheduled for August 2015.(NPR)(Time Magazine)
BBC Website And iPlayer Crippled Following Massive DDoS Attack –
Have you ever seen a dog chase its own tail? That pretty much describes what’s going on at BBC News this morning. The site suffered a pretty large distributed denial of service (DDoS) attack earlier today, one that knocked out the company’s entire network and iPlayer streaming service, causing grief for web visitors who grew impatient with how long it took to restore service. As for the image of a dog chasing its own tail, it’s based on BBC’s reporting of the situation. The site posted a statement on Twitter in the early morning hours saying it was “aware of a technical issue” affecting its website, but declined to elaborate. A BBC News journalist for the site’s Technology section posted an article saying that internal sources blamed the issues on a DDoS attack, then a few paragraphs down notes that “BBC has yet to confirm or deny that such an attack was responsible for the problems.” So there you have it — BBC acknowledged a technical issue (duh) while one of its own journalists heard from people within the organization that it was a DDoS attack, but for some unknown reason the site won’t go on record as saying so. The good news is order has been restored and, despite claims to the contrary on Twitter, this is not the end of the world. [Hot Hardware] BBC Error 500
Dubai seeks cause of massive hotel fire at New Year –
The authorities in Dubai are trying to find out what caused a spectacular fire to engulf a 63-storey luxury hotel in the city centre on New Year’s Eve. Firefighters managed to subdue the blaze, but part of the Address Downtown Hotel is still smouldering. A BBC reporter says a significant fire is still visible on the 20th floor, where the blaze apparently started. The tower was evacuated and 16 people were hurt. But a fireworks show went ahead at the Burj Khalifa tower nearby. [BBC]
Record flooding along the Mississippi River and its tributaries that has closed major highways, forced evacuations, and overflowed levees, continues to threaten the Midwestern United States where at least 24 have died. The Mississippi is expected to crest in the next few days in Thebes, Illinois, at 47.5 feet, breaking the 1995 record by more than a foot and a half (46 cm). And now periods of below-freezing air will cause some flooded areas to turn icy. (Reuters)(AccuWeather)(Chicago Tribune)
Kanye West appears to have torrent site Pirate Bay open in a photo he’s tweeted –
Kanye West is in trouble over his tweets – again – after the background to a photo he posted made it look like he was illegally downloading files. He sent out a picture on Twitter showing him listening to a Sufjan Stevens track on YouTube, but fans quickly spotted other tabs he had open. One of them says “Xfer Records Serum”, but is next to others saying “Pirate Bay Torrent Xfe” and “MediaDownloader”. Deadmau5 hit out at Kanye, saying: “@kanyewest – can’t afford Serum?” Kanye’s original tweet simply said “Day 3” alongside the photo. [BBC Newsbeat]
In September 2015 West announced he will be running for US President in 2020. Kanye West
Emirates A380 makes longest non-stop flight as airlines launch long-haul battle –
An Emirates superjumbo touched down in Auckland, New Zealand, on Wednesday, after spending more than 17 hours in the air from Dubai – making it the world’s longest commercial scheduled flight. The Emirates A380 covered a route of about 8825 miles, before turning around and doing it all again on the way home. It beat the previous record – Qantas’s Dallas to Sydney route – by about 250 miles. [Daily Telegraph]
Jordan says an overnight raid on an ISIL cell in the city of Irbid has left seven militants and one security officer dead, with five others injured. Those killed were planning to blow up civilian and military targets in the country, according to the General Intelligence Directorate (GID). (BBC)