Top Story – Ultimate Lock-in –
About 30 guests celebrating new year at the Tan Hill Inn in North Yorkshire, the highest pub in England, finally left today after heavy snow left them stranded for three days. The Tan Hill Inn
Canberra Christmas lights set world record –
A Christmas lights display in the Australian capital, Canberra, has set a new world record. Almost 1.2 million LED lights on 120km (75 miles) of cables have been strung in the shape of three interconnected giant, wrapped Christmas presents. Guinness World Records confirmed it was the largest-ever LED image display. The display in the Petrie Plaza mall was the result of months of planning by Canberra lawyer David Richards and a team of volunteers. [BBC] See Video of the day
Sony’s latest wearable is a watch made of electronic paper –
The Wall Street Journal has uncovered Sony’s clandestine involvement in a smartwatch project. Under the name Fashion Entertainment (FES), the company has thrown an electronic paper watch into the wearable product scrum. All credit to Sony, the watch itself is very slick looking. It overcomes many of the problems existing smartwatches on the market present – namely that they are overly bulky and have naff battery lives. Electronic paper, which is famously used in ebook readers to provide them with long-lasting battery, should ensure that this device can keep running for weeks on a single charge, rather than just a day or two. Sony secretly put the watch on a crowdfunding site in September, not taking ownership of the product until this week. The device surpassed its 2 million yen goal (£108,000), raising 3.5 million yen (£188,000) in total. [Wired.com]
Australia proposes limiting Vegemite sales to prevent alcohol abuse –
Australia’s government says Vegemite sales should be limited in some communities to prevent the yeast-based spread being used to make home-made alcohol. Nigel Scullion, the indigenous affairs minister, said the spread – which is considered something of a national culinary staple – was a “precursor to misery” in communities suffering from alcohol abuse. He said he was not proposing a ban but wanted to restrict excessive sales of high-yeast products such as Vegemite in “dry” communities – typically remote Aboriginal townships where alcohol sales are banned. Vegemite, from the same family of spreads as Marmite, has been produced in Australia since 1923 and its advertising jingles have sometimes been said to be more widely known than the national anthem. [Daily Telegraph]
A woman’s bra wire saves her from bullet in German hunting accident –
A woman’s bra wire has saved her life after a bullet hit her during a hunting accident in north-eastern Germany. The tourist was cycling through woods with her husband in the Mecklenberg-Western Pomerania area of the country. According to newspaper the Gadebusch-Rehnaer Zeitung, the pair had inadvertently strayed into the middle of a boar hunt while crossing a field. The woman said she felt a pain in her chest, which turned out to be a bullet ricocheting off her bra underwire. She was taken to a doctor in nearby Gadebusch by a passing motorist and treated for severe bruising on her chest plus a small blood clot. The gun and ammunition from the hunt were also impounded and police with sniffer dogs and metal detectors searched the area. [BBC Newsbeat]
Tokyo police roll out 3D mug shots –
Tokyo’s police force is to start taking 3D mug shots of suspects being held in custody, it’s reported. The images will form part of a database which officers hope will make it easier to analyse CCTV footage, the the Asahi Shimbun newspaper reports. All of the Japanese capital’s 102 police stations will be fitted with a 3D camera as part of the new process, which will begin in April. “As we can identify the suspects more quickly and accurately, our arrest rate is expected to become greater,” one senior officer tells the paper. Unlike regular two-dimensional mug shots, the 3D images can be adjusted to match the angle of security camera footage, which is often shot from above, rather than at face height. At the moment police only photograph suspects’ faces from the front and diagonally, making it difficult to match mug shots to CCTV images. Tokyo’s police force says it is the first to roll out the cameras across all of its stations – until now they have only been installed at some regional police headquarters in Japan. [BBC]
Australia makes ‘captain’s call’ on best words of 2015 –
Captain’s call – a phrase “plucked” from the cricket pitch and politicised by former Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott – has become the Macquarie Dictionary’s Word of the Year for 2015. Mr Abbott’s controversial choice to award Prince Philip a knighthood was one of his many “captain’s calls”. The noun is defined as “a decision made by a political or business leader without consultation with colleagues”. The dictionary said the word “perfectly encapsulates” Australia in 2015. [BBC] See List of the Day
Video of the Day –
Liquid Ping Pong in Space – RED 4K
List of the Day –
Australian Word of the Year runners-up
lumbersexual: a portmanteau of lumberjack and metrosexual – referring to urban men who adopt the style of an outdoorsman as a fashion statement.
deso: Colloquially refers to a designated driver, who refrains from drinking alcohol in order to drive others safely home. Also, deso driver.
open kimono: A business policy of sharing information freely with an outside party.
keyboard warrior: a person who adopts an excessively aggressive style in online discussions which they would not normally adopt in person-to-person communication, often in support of a cause, theory, world view, etc.
ghost plate: a clear plastic numberplate cover which becomes opaque when viewed from certain angles, thereby obscuring the registration number; designed to circumvent identification by speed cameras.
athleisure: clothing, shoes, etc., designed for both exercise and general casual wear.
tri-tip: a cut of beef, taken from the bottom of the sirloin.
digital disruption: Commerce the impact of digital technology in making various established industries and products obsolete.
abandoned porn: a genre of photography which romanticises abandoned buildings and urban areas in a state of decay. Also, ruin porn.
wombat gate: a swing gate installed in a ditch going underneath a fence, so that wombats, who follow very predictable patterns at night, can come and go without destroying the fence.
How Facebook updated ‘six degrees of separation’ (it’s now 3.57) –
If you pick any two Facebook users, it’s been calculated there’s an average of 3.57 “degrees of separation” between them. The maths has been done using the social media giant’s handy data set of 1.6 billion people. Facebook wanted to test the age-old “six degrees of separation” theory to mark its 12th birthday. “This is a significant reflection of how closely connected the world has become,” the firm says. “When people connect, powerful things happen and lives are changed. “We see this on Facebook every day, whether it’s an exchange with an old friend that brings a smile to your face or a new connection that changes your life path, or even the world.” It means that each person in the world (at least among the 1.59 billion people active on Facebook) is connected to every other person by an average of three and a half other people. Find out your own degrees of separation at Facebook’s blog page. [BBC Newsbeat]
Video of the Day –
“NFL 2016: Part One” — A Bad Lip Reading of the NFL
Super Bowl 50: Denver Broncos beat Carolina Panthers –
The Denver Broncos produced a defensive masterclass to upset the Carolina Panthers 24-10 and win Super Bowl 50. Carolina were heavy favourites, having lost only once all season and with the league’s Most Valuable Player of the season Cam Newton at quarterback. But Newton was smothered by the Broncos defence and gave up three turnovers, including one that led to a touchdown. That helped Denver, quarterbacked by veteran Peyton Manning, open a 10-0 lead early on and they never lost it. It had been rumoured the game would be 39-year-old Manning’s last, but he said afterwards he would “take time to reflect”. [BBC]
Coldplay and Beyonce star in half-time show –
British group Coldplay were the main performers at the half-time and they were joined by Beyonce, Bruno Mars and Mark Ronson. Coldplay opened the show by singing ‘Yellow’ and ‘Viva La Vida’ as children carrying multi-coloured umbrellas and violins streamed onto the pitch. Mars and Ronson performed their hit ‘Uptown Funk’, before Beyonce sang her new song ‘Formation’. The artists closed the show by performing a mash-up of Coldplay’s hit ‘Fix You’ and Beyonce’s ‘Crazy In Love’. [BBC]
Twitter suspends 125,000 ‘terrorism’ accounts –
Twitter says it has suspended more than 125,000 accounts since mid-2015 “for threatening or promoting terrorist acts”. In a blog, the US-based firm said the accounts “primarily related to ISIS” (the so-called Islamic State group). “We condemn the use of Twitter to promote terrorism,” it said, adding that it had increased its report reviewing teams to react faster. Twitter has more than 500 million users around the world. [BBC]
Video of the Day –
“NFL 2016: PART TWO” — A Bad Lip Reading of the NFL
Japan‘s NHK news reports the rocket passed over the southern Japanese island of Okinawa. Japanese Prime Minister, Shinzō Abe, condemns the launch and says, “We absolutely cannot allow this. We will take action to totally protect the safety and well-being of our people”. The Japanese government says no rocket debris fell on Japanese territory and there are no reports of damage. The rocket reportedly falls into waters southwest of Jeju Island. (ABC News), (Yonhap)
South Korea’s intelligence agency claims that North Korea is preparing for another nuclear test. (Yonhap)
Maria Sharapova failed drugs test at Australian Open –
Former world number one Maria Sharapova has revealed she failed a drugs test at the Australian Open. The Russian, 28, tested positive for meldonium, a substance she has been taking since 2006 for health issues. Sharapova, a five-time Grand Slam champion, is provisionally suspended from 12 March pending further action. “I did fail the test and take full responsibility for it,” said Sharapova, who won the Wimbledon title as a 17-year-old in 2004. “For the past 10 years I have been given a medicine called mildronate by my family doctor and a few days ago after I received a letter from the ITF [International Tennis Federation] I found out it also has another name of meldonium, which I did not know.” [BBC] See List of the Day Maria Sharapova
Peyton Manning: Denver Broncos quarterback retires from NFL –
Denver Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning has announced his retirement, ending a sparkling 18-year career in the NFL. Manning struggled to hold back tears as he confirmed the news at a media conference in Denver on Monday. He said: “I fought a good fight. I finished my football race. After 18 years it is time.” Manning, who turns 40 on 24 March, played his last game when he helped the Broncos win the Super Bowl in February. It was his second Super Bowl win, the first coming in 2007 during a 14-year spell with the Indianapolis Colts. [BBC] Peyton Manning
Amnesty International takes on the EU for using Turkey as a buffer to police Europe’s borders. Deputy Director Gauri van Gulik says Europe has an absolute duty to protect refugees and must fast-track significant, unconditional resettlement. (AP via The Washington Post)
Former mayor of the Pitcairn IslandsMike Warren is found guilty of downloading more than 1000 images and videos of child abuse and child pornography while working in child protection and is sentenced to 20 months in prison. (The Guardian)
Panama Papers: Iceland PM Sigmundur Gunnlaugsson resigns –
Iceland’s prime minister has resigned – the first major casualty of the leaked Panama Papers that have shone a spotlight on offshore finance. The leaks, from Panama-based law firm Mossack Fonseca, showed Sigmundur Gunnlaugsson owned an offshore company with his wife but had not declared it when he entered parliament. He is accused of concealing millions of dollars’ worth of family assets. Mr Gunnlaugsson says he sold his shares to his wife, and denies any wrongdoing. He is one of dozens of high-profile global figures mentioned in the 11.5 million leaked financial and legal records, which were first published on Sunday. [BBC] Sigmundur Gunnlaugsson
Doncaster Rovers fans angry at 1D star Louis Tomlinson’s competition win –
Doncaster Rovers fans have reacted angrily to One Direction star Louis Tomlinson and his grandfather winning a competition to design the football club’s new away kit. The club revealed the ‘Story Of My Life’ singer was behind the design on Monday after the poll had closed. In the wake of the announcement some fans have criticised the club and questioned the credibility of the vote. Doncaster Rovers say the voting process “was all was fair and above board”. Writing on Twitter one fan said: “I wonder if the vote was rigged or that shirt actually won??? #drfc.” [BBC] Louis Tomlinson
Pfizer Inc. decides to terminate its $160 billion merger with Allergan, Plc as officials in Washington crack down on corporate inversions. Pfizer will need to pay a $400 million fee to Allergan for expenses relating to the deal. (Bloomberg)
Due to concerns about an increasingly anti-Mexican climate across the border, Mexico unexpectedly changes two of its top officials responsible for U.S. relations. Foreign MinisterClaudia Ruiz Massieutold local media, “We have been warning that our citizens have begun to feel a more hostile climate. This (anti-Mexican) rhetoric has made it clear that we have to act in a different way so that this tendency being generated doesn’t damage the bilateral relationship.” (Reuters)
Peruvians protest in five cities, including the capital Lima, against the presidential candidacy of Keiko Fujimori, daughter of imprisoned ex-president Alberto Fujimori, who exactly 24 years ago this day carried out a coup by shutting down Congress and taking over the courts with the support of the military. Keiko Fujimori is the front runner in Sunday’s April 10, 2016, election. Yesterday, Fujimori committed to respect democratic liberties and the rule of law, and to work against corruption, which some opponents have rejected. The Organization of American States says the election could lack credibility unless two recently-disqualified candidates are allowed to run. (NBC News)(AP via The Washington Post)(Prensa Latina)
Rangers F.C., the association football club with the most domestic league titles in the world, earn promotion to the Scottish Premiership, returning to the nation’s top division for the first time since their triple relegation for financial reasons in 2012. (BBC Sport)
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