Top Story –
Two Belgian bankrobbers are named the Darwin Award winners of the year after killing themselves while trying to crack open a cash machine. The pair used so much dynamite that they managed to destroy the entire bank building – and themselves with it. Wendy Northcutt, the founder of the annual awards, declared them the 2009 winners of the Darwin Awards, given to those doing the most to improve the human gene pool by removing themselves from it.
Cricketer Phillip Hughes dies –
Australian batsman Phillip Hughes has died 2 days after being struck by a ball at the Sydney Cricket Ground. Hughes was making a fine case for his Test recall, unbeaten on his old home ground at the SCG on 63 when he missed an attempted hook at Sean Abbott and was hit on an area of his lower head and neck which was unprotected by his helmet as he swivelled. He fell to the ground, and was rushed to hospital where he never regained consciousness. [Daily Telegraph] Phillip Hughes in 2010
Twitter misrepresents the real world, computer scientists warn –
Social networking sites like Twitter and Facebook should not be used to gauge human behaviour or trends because they are too biased, scientists have warned. Increasingly, social researchers and media organisations use sites to glean information about public views and interests. But computer scientists at McGill University in Montreal and Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh warn that the data omits the opinion of large portions of the population who are either under-represented, or who choose not to engage in social media. [Daily Telegraph]
Sheep flock to Eiffel Tower as French farmers cry wolf –
French farmers flocked to the Eiffel Tower on Thursday, sheep in tow, to express their frustration over increasing attacks by wolves which some say have been “overprotected” by the government. Sheep lazily grazed at the foot of the French capital’s most famous monument as the farmers gathered under grey skies to demand an effective plan to stop the wolf attacks. “Today farmers, tomorrow unemployed,” read one banner, while one of the protesters dressed as a wolf carried around a lamb. [Daily Telegraph] The Eiffel Tower
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
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”.
Sam Smith best new artist at BET Awards as Nicki Minaj wins rap prize –
Sam Smith has won best new artist at this year’s BET Awards in LA. He wasn’t at the Black Entertainment Television ceremony, so the prize was picked up for him by actor Anthony Anderson. Nicki Minaj, who won her sixth best female hip-hop artist award in a row, brought her mum onstage. Rapping on top of a police car with a large American flag waving behind him, hip-hop star Kendrick Lamar kicked off the BET Awards. He later won best male hip-hop artist. Janet Jackson was honoured with the ultimate icon award as she made a rare public appearance. [BBC Newsbeat] See List of the Day below Nicki Minaj
SpaceX Rocket Falls Apart on Way to Space Station –
An unmanned cargo ship destined for the International Space Station disintegrated minutes after being launched from the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida on Sunday morning, NASA said, raising questions about how the agency and its partners will continue keeping the station supplied. It was the third loss of a cargo ship headed to the space station in the past eight months. However, NASA officials said they had prepared for such a mishap, and do not anticipate any major disruptions to the operations of the space station. The countdown had proceeded without a hitch or worries about weather, and the 208-foot-tall Falcon 9 rocket, built by Space Exploration Technologies, better known as SpaceX, lifted off at 10:21 a.m. But 2 minutes, 19 seconds later, just as George Diller, the commentator during a NASA television broadcast said, “Data coming back shows vehicle on course, on track,” a white cloud emerged from the rocket’s midsection. Moments later, a rain of debris started falling toward the Atlantic Ocean more than 20 miles below. [NY Times] See Video of the Day
Greek debt crisis: Banks to remain shut all week –
The Greek government has confirmed that banks will be closed all week, after a decision by the European Central Bank not to extend emergency funding. In a decree, it cited the “extremely urgent” need to protect the financial system due to the lack of liquidity. Cash withdrawals will be limited to €60 (£42; $66) a day for this period, the decree says. Talks between Greece and the eurozone countries over bailout terms ended without an agreement on Saturday, and Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras then called a surprise referendum on the issue to be held on 5 July. Greece risks default and moving closer to a possible exit from the 19-member eurozone. [BBC]
Video of the Day –
SpaceX Falcon 9 Explosion – June 28th 2015
List of the Day –
Black Entertainment Television Awards 2015 winners
Ultimate Icon, Music Dance Visual Award: Janet Jackson Humanitarian Award: Tom Joyner Best New Artist: Sam Smith Best Female Hip-Hop Artist: Nicki Minaj Best Male Hip-Hop Artist: Kendrick Lamar Best Female R&B/Pop Artist: Beyoncé Best Male R&B/Pop Artist: Chris Brown Best International Act UK: Stormzy Best International Act Africa: Stonebwoy Best Group: Rae Sremmurd Best Collaboration: Common & John Legend, “Glory” Best Actress: Taraji P. Henson Best Actor: Terrence Howard Youngstars Award: Mo’ne Davis Best Movie: Selma Best Gospel Artist: Lecrae Video of the Year: Beyoncé, “7/11” Video Director of the Year: Beyoncé, Ed Burke & Todd Tourso Sportswoman of the Year: Serena Williams Sportsman of the Year: Stephen Curry Coca-Cola Viewers’ Choice Award: Nicki Minaj f/ Drake, Lil’ Wayne & Chris Brown, “Only” Centric Award: The Weeknd, “Earned It” Fandemonium Award: Chris Brown Lifetime Achievement Award: Smokey Robinson
Williams Wins Wimbledon for ‘Serena Slam’ –
Serena Williams let herself briefly bask in the joy of a sixth Wimbledon championship, 21st Grand Slam singles trophy overall and fourth consecutive major title Saturday, even balancing the winner’s silver dish atop her head — Look, Ma, no hands! — as she sauntered off Centre Court. “I was peaceful, feeling really good,” Williams said. “Maybe a little after that, I started thinking about New York.” On to the next one. When the U.S. Open begins at Flushing Meadows in August, Williams will pursue pretty much the only accolade to elude her so far: a calendar-year Grand Slam, something no one has accomplished in tennis in more than a quarter-century. [NY Times] Serena Williams
Earth heading for ‘mini ice age’ within 15 years –
The earth is 15 years from a “mini ice-age” that will cause bitterly cold winters during which rivers such as the Thames freeze over, scientists have predicted. Solar researchers at the University of Northumbria have created a new model of the sun’s activity which they claim produces “unprecedentedly accurate predictions”. They said fluid movements within the sun, which are thought to create 11-year cycles in the weather, will converge in such a way that temperatures will fall dramatically in the 2030s. Solar activity will fall by 60 per cent as two waves of fluid “effectively cancel each other out”, according to Prof Valentina Zharkova. [Daily Telegraph]
Kylie Jenner’s hair causes Instagram race row –
Kylie Jenner’s been accused of “appropriating black culture” in a row on Instagram. Hunger Games actress Amandla Stenberg made the claim after the reality star posted a picture of her hair in cornrows. The 16-year-old argued Kylie wasn’t using her fame to help black people. She accused her of “directing attention towards wigs instead of police brutality or racism”. Kylie replied: “Mad if I don’t, Mad if I do…. Go hang w Jaden or something.” Amandla went to a prom with Jaden Smith in May. [BBC Newsbeat]
Manhunt for escaped Mexican drug lord Joaquin Guzman –
The Mexican President, Enrique Pena Nieto, says he has faith that the security forces will recapture one of the world’s most powerful drug lords, who has escaped from a high security prison. Mr Pena Nieto said he wanted a full investigation into Joaquin Guzman’s escape. Guzman, known as El Chapo, or “Shorty”, is believed to have made his way through a tunnel more than a kilometre long from showers near his cell. [BBC] See Video of the Day
Video of the Day –
Watch “El Chapo” Guzmán’s escape and his amazing 4,921-foot tunnel
List of the Day –
Serena Williams Grand Slam tournament performances
‘Universal urination duration’ wins Ig Nobel prize –
A study showing that nearly all mammals take the same amount of time to urinate has been awarded one of the 2015 Ig Nobel prizes at Harvard University. These spoof Nobels for “improbable research” are in their 25th year.
The team behind the urination research, from Georgia Tech, won the physics Ig. Using high-speed video analysis, they modelled the fluid dynamics involved in urination and discovered that all mammals weighing more than 3kg empty their bladders over about 21 seconds. Run by the science humour magazine Annals of Improbable Research, this is a jubilantly irreverent affair. It has become world famous for recognising scientific achievements that “make people laugh, and then think”. This year’s Ig winners travelled from six continents to accept their trophies. The triumphant research included a chemical recipe to partially un-boil an egg, and the discovery that the word “huh?” occurs in every human language. [BBC] See List of the Day
Valcke’s reign at FIFA likely to be at an end –
For the second time in his career, Jerome Valcke leaves FIFA with a cloud hanging over him. Sepp Blatter’s lieutenant for the past eight years, Valcke became the highest profile figure in the corruption-plagued organization to fall during the current series of scandals when he was “released from his duties” on Thursday and it appears unlikely he will return. The Frenchman has not been formally dismissed but Blatter is standing down in February and Valcke had already suggested he would probably go at that time as well. The 54-year-old, however, is now being investigated by FIFA’s ethics committee after allegations he was involved in a plan to re-sell 2014 World Cup tickets for a lucrative profit. [Reuters] Jérôme_Valcke
Sperm banks attract customers by offering them enough cash to buy a new iPhone –
Chinese sperm banks have been saying that there is no need to sell a kidney to afford an iPhone, just your bodily fluids. Renji Hospital in Shanghai is one among several facilities offering enough money to buy an iPhone if men donate sperm. The hospital wrote in an online posting: “No need to sell your kidneys – you can easily have a 6s,” which refers to cases where people actually sold their organs to be able to afford Apple products. The advert says that if a man passes a health test and then regularly donates his sperm, he can earn enough money to purchase an iPhone. This amounts to 6,000 yuan (£610) which is enough to buy the new iPhone 6s. [Daily Telegraph]
Chemistry – Callum Ormonde (University of Western Australia) and colleagues, for inventing a chemical recipe to partially un-boil an egg.
Physics – Patricia Yang (Georgia Institute of Technology, US) and colleagues, for testing the biological principle that nearly all mammals empty their bladders in about 21 seconds (plus or minus 13 seconds).
Literature – Mark Dingemanse (Max Planck Institute for Psycholinguistics, The Netherlands) and colleagues, for discovering that the word “huh?” (or its equivalent) seems to exist in every human language – and for not being quite sure why.
Management – Gennaro Bernile (Singapore Management University) and colleagues, for discovering that many business leaders developed in childhood a fondness for risk-taking, when they experienced natural disasters (such as earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, tsunamis, and wildfires) that – for them – had no dire personal consequences.
Economics – The Bangkok Metropolitan Police (Thailand) for offering to pay policemen extra cash if the policemen refuse to take bribes.
Medicine – joint award: Hajime Kimata (Kimata Hajime Clinic, Japan) and also Jaroslava Durdiaková (Comenius University, Slovakia) and her collagues, for experiments to study the biomedical benefits or biomedical consequences of intense kissing (and other intimate, interpersonal activities).
Mathematics – Elisabeth Oberzaucher and Karl Grammer (University of Vienna, Austria) for trying to use mathematical techniques to determine whether and how Moulay Ismael the Bloodthirsty, the Sharifian Emperor of Morocco, managed, during the years from 1697 through 1727, to father 888 children.
Biology – Bruno Grossi (University of Chile) and colleagues, for observing that when you attach a weighted stick to the rear end of a chicken, the chicken then walks in a manner similar to that in which dinosaurs are thought to have walked.
Diagnostic medicine – Diallah Karim (Stoke Mandeville Hospital, UK) and colleagues, for determining that acute appendicitis can be accurately diagnosed by the amount of pain evident when the patient is driven over speed bumps.
Physiology and entomology – Awarded jointly to two individuals: Justin Schmidt (Southwest Biological Institute, US) for painstakingly creating the Schmidt Sting Pain Index, which rates the relative pain people feel when stung by various insects; and to Michael L. Smith (Cornell University, US), for carefully arranging for honey bees to sting him repeatedly on 25 different locations on his body, to learn which locations are the least painful (the skull, middle toe tip, and upper arm). and which are the most painful (the nostril, upper lip, and penis shaft).
Shia LaBeouf Arrested For Public Intoxication –
Transformers star Shia LaBeouf has been arrested in Austin, Texas for public intoxication. A video on the TMZ website appears to show the actor in handcuffs as police put him in the back of a patrol car. Witnesses told the site the actor was acting bizarrely, running down the street, jaywalking and ignoring police warnings. The Austin City Limits music festival is currently taking place in the city. Records show the 29-year-old was booked into Travis County Jail on Friday night and later released. [Sky News] Shia Labeouf
Japan: Citizens clamour for Tokyo disaster manual –
A manual to help people in Tokyo prepare for disasters has proved so popular that local officials have complained that they are being sold on the internet for profit. The 340-page Tokyo Bousai (“Disaster Preparedness Tokyo”) appears in a startling yellow cover, and 7.5m copies are being distributed free of charge to Tokyo residents. It’s currently available to download in Japanese and English from the city government’s website, but for those who still crave a physical copy of the manual, the Tokyo government is considering selling it at cost price. [BBC] Tokyo Disaster Manual
The death toll from Friday’s violence at the Gaza Strip border is now seven Palestinians. Of the 60 wounded, 10 were seriously injured. Massive riots managed to breach the border fence and enter Israeli territory and were dispersed by live fire. (Ynet News)
Nasa predicts near-miss with asteroid on Halloween –
An asteroid is due to pass by Earth on Halloween and miss us by a whisker, according to Nasa. Well, if whiskers were 499,000km long, at any rate. The asteroid was spotted by Nasa a fortnight ago and is set to fly past the Earth on Halloween at over 78,000mph. It will cross by Earth at the closest it’s been since 2006. The space agency explained why they spotted it at such short notice, despite constantly monitoring the size. They said: “The asteroid is on an extremely eccentric and a high inclination orbit.” We won’t be able to see the asteroid with the naked eye, but anyone with access to a telescope will be able to see it as it passes by. “This is the closest approach by a known object this large until 1999 AN10 approaches within 1 lunar distance in August 2027,” said Nasa. [Daily Telegraph]
Q Awards 2015: Foals beat Ed Sheeran and Blur to win Best Act In the World Today –
The Oxford band Foals confirmed their elevation to music’s biggest stages after being voted Best Act In the World Today at the Q magazine awards. Foals, who combine indie rock with electronic beats and African-inspired rhythms, beat Blur, Noel Gallagher and Ed Sheeran to the award, previously won by the likes of Radiohead and Coldplay. Ed Sheeran beat Kanye West, Taylor Swift and Sam Smith to the Solo Artist award, capping a year in which the strummer sold out three nights at Wembley Stadium, performing with just his guitar and a loops pedal. However Sheeran lost out to the Brighton drums and bass rock duo Royal Blood for the Best Live Act prize. [The Independent] See List of the Day The Foals
Hundreds Of Apps Banned From App Store For Accessing Users’ Personal Information –
Hundreds of iOS applications have been pulled out of the App Store, following a report from analytics service SourceDNA, which uncovered a group of applications that were extracting users’ personally identifiable information, including email addresses associated with their Apple IDs, devices and peripheral serial numbers, as well as a list of apps installed on their phone. The applications in question had been using an SDK from a Chinese advertising company called Youmi which was accessing this information by way of private APIs, the report found. Nearly all of the developers were located in China so, for now, this appears to be an isolated incident. However, the larger concern here has to do with how long this activity had been taking place – and what that means in terms of Apple’s App Store review process, given that it hadn’t caught this suspect activity until being alerted to it by a third party. [Tech Crunch]
19-year-old soldier Omri Levy was killed and nearly a dozen injured in a shooting and stabbing attack in the central bus station in the southern city of Beersheba carried out by an Israeli Bedouin Arab, 21-year old Mohind al-Okbi, who was killed after a gun battle. (Washington Post)(NBC News)
Israeli hospital officials announce an Eritreanmigrant, Haptom Zerhom, mistakenly shot by an Israeli security guard and then attacked by bystanders who thought he was involved in the Beersheva bus station attack, has died of his wounds. Foreign Ministry spokesman Emmanuel Nahsho said this latest incident seemed to capture the current climate of ratcheted-up tensions. Police are looking to identify and locate members of the crowd who beat and fatally wounded the man; the security officer whose shot incapacitated the victim will not be investigated. (AP)(Yediot Ahronot – Ynet)
Afghanistan’s acting defense minister has stated that the Médecins Sans Frontières hospital in Kunduz bombed on 3 October by U.S. forces was being used as a safe haven by insurgents. MSF has repeatedly denied the allegation, stating “Every staff member in Kunduz working for MSF has repeatedly reported to us that there were no armed people in the hospital at the time of the bombing”. (AP)
Business and economics
China’s economy expanded 6.9% in third quarter over last year’s growth, just slightly better than forecast. (New York Times)
Following 21 days of deliberation the deadlocked jury in Manhattan declared a mistrial in the case against three former senior attorneys from the “once large and prominent law firm” Dewey & LeBoeuf. The three had been charged with “plotting to manipulate financial records in an attempt to defraud bank lenders and insurance companies during the financial crisis.” (New York Times)
Harriet Tubman to be first African-American on U.S. currency –
Anti-slavery crusader Harriet Tubman will become the first African-American on the face of U.S. paper currency, and the first woman in more than a century, when she replaces former President Andrew Jackson on the $20 bill. The U.S. Treasury Department said on Wednesday that Tubman, who was born into slavery in the early 1820s and went on to help hundreds of slaves escape, would take the center spot on the bill, while Jackson, a slave owner, would move to the back. Introduced alongside a slew of changes to the $5 and $10 notes as well, the redesign gives the Treasury “a chance to open the aperture to reflect more of America’s history,” Treasury Secretary Jack Lew said. A new $10 bill will add images of five female leaders of the women’s suffrage movement, including Sojourner Truth and Elizabeth Cady Stanton, to the back, while keeping founding father Alexander Hamilton on the front. The reverse of a new $5 note will show former first lady Eleanor Roosevelt and civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr., officials said. Former President Abraham Lincoln will remain on the front. [Reuters]
Victoria Wood dies aged 62 after cancer battle –
Comedian, singer and writer Victoria Wood has died after “a short but brave” battle with cancer aged 62. Her publicist said the star “died peacefully at her north London home with family” on Wednesday. Wood’s long-time comedy partner Julie Walters said she was “too heart sore to comment – the loss of her is incalculable”. Wood found fame in the 1980s and was best known for her BBC sketch Acorn Antiques and comedy Dinnerladies. She won five Baftas including two for her one-off ITV drama Housewife, 49. [BBC] Victoria Wood in 2012
A magnitude-6.1 aftershock has struck off the coast of Ecuador at 3:33 a.m. local time, the US Geological Survey says, in the same area as the massive earthquake on Saturday. (USGS), (Reuters via Asia-Pacific News)
The U.S. state of Utah declares pornography a “public health risk” in a move Governor of UtahGary Herbert says is to “protect our families and our young people”. The bill, signed by the governor, does not ban pornography in the state but does call for greater “efforts to prevent pornography exposure and addiction”. (BBC)
Two people are burned alive amid xenophobic riots in Lusaka, Zambia. The riots started after rumours spread that Rwandans were behind recent ritual killings in the city. More than 250 people have been arrested after more than 60 Rwandan-owned shops were looted in two days of violence. (BBC)
Yasri Khan, a senior member of Swedish Green Party (part of the Government coalition), who was refusing to shake hands with a female reporter on grounds that it violated his Muslim faith, announces that he is quitting politics. (The Local)
Protests continue against President Gjorge Ivanov in Skopje, Macedonia. Opposition leader Zoran Zaev said he will only take part in EU-brokered negotiations with the government if certain conditions are met. (The Irish Times)
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