Top Story – Bad lip syncing –
Two Chinese pop singers face fines of up to $12,000 (£7,400) for allegedly miming at a concert. Miming was banned in China after a girl was revealed to have lip-synced at the 2008 Beijing Olympics opening ceremony.
Top Story – Lost in paradise –
The season premiere of Lost draws more than 10,000 fans greeted to Waikiki beach. Fans started queuing up 12 hours before the event hoping to get a glimpse of actors Matthew Fox, Evangeline Lilly, Josh Holloway, Yunjin Kim and Michael Emerson. Sitting on beach towels and lawn chairs, they watched the episode that kicks off the sixth and final season of the castaway drama. See trailer below.
Brangelina back as a single ?
They were rumoured to have consulted lawyers over custody of their six children and dividing their £205million fortune. But last night, Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie proved they were still very much an item as they attended the Directors Guild of America Awards in Los Angeles. While declining to pose together on the red carpet at the star-studded bash, the couple were seen being ‘extremely affectionate’ as they mingled with their peers. [Daily Mail]
Buddha’s not for sale in Iran –
Iran bans Buddha statues from being sold in Tehran to stop religion being promoted in the country calling the Buddha statues symbols of ‘cultural invasion.’ In the past Barbie dolls and characters from The Simpsons have been banned in Iran. An interpretation of Islamic law bans the depiction of the human form in art.
Sandhurst renames hall after Bahrain King – The British army officers training facility Sandhurst controversially renames Mons Hall to the King Hamad Hall after the King of Bahrain gave £3 million towards its refurbishment. Mons Hall was named in memory of a 1914 battle when 1,600 British soldiers were killed. An accommodation block at the Royal Military Academy has also been named after the first president of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) following a £15 million donation from the country. Sandhurst CLICK TO SEE MORE STUFF FROM THIS DAY…
Air Malaysia flight goes missing –
An Air Malaysia aircraft flight MH370 with 239 people on board has gone missing after taking off from the Malaysian capital of Kuala Lumpur, bound for Beijing. No distress messages were received and no sign of the plane has been found.
Brian O’Driscoll almost bows out –
Rugby Union’s Irish captain Brian O’Driscoll makes his final match in Ireland’s 46-7 win over Italy. It was his 140th cap making him the most capped international rugby player of all time. Brian O’Driscoll CLICK TO SEE MORE STUFF FROM THIS DAY…
Le Shuttle est terminée –
A Channel tunnel “Le Shuttle” train carrying cars with 382 passengers on board stopped in the tunnel while travelling from the Ashford Terminal in Kent to Calais, France. The evacuated passengers had to enter central pedestrian tunnel before boarding a train that had come from Calais in the other main tunnel. A fault in the overhead power cables was to blame.
Sony question FIFA Qatar decision –
One of FIFA’s main sponsors, Sony, have asked football’s governing body to carry out an “appropriate investigation” into the decision to award the 2022 World Cup to Qatar. The announcement that Qatar was to hold the tournament was made in 2007. Sepp Blatter at the 2014 FIFA Announcement in 2007 CLICK TO SEE MORE STUFF FROM THIS DAY…
Typhoon Hagupit hits the Philippines –
Typhoon Hagupit is sweeping across the eastern Philippines, threatening coastal areas with a powerful sea-surge. Roofs have been blown off in the city of Tacloban, where thousands were killed by Typhoon Haiyan a year ago and more than half a million people have fled coastal villages.
Slice of Prince William and Kate’s wedding cake sells for $6,000 at auction –
A wedding cake slice from the 2011 wedding of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge has been sold at an auction in Beverly Hills for $6,000 (£4,000).
The buyer of this romantic slice of history was bought by Gee Chuang, the CEO of online marketplace Listia.com, who plans to give away the piece of wedding cake on the company’s website in April of next year to celebrate the royal couple’s fourth wedding anniversary. The eight-tiered wedding cake, made by pastry chef Fiona Cairns and her team, was adorned with icing flowers, petals and leaves. [Daily Telegraph]
iPhone crash landing protection –
Apple Inc was granted a patent last week on an innovation that can detect when a handset is falling – and rotates it to avoid the screen hitting the ground. If sensors calculate the screen or camera will hit the ground, a motor is instantly activated within the phone which moves an internal weight fast enough to affect the ‘rotational velocity’ of the device and spin it around so that it lands on a reinforced area. The idea could also work with iPads and other devices.
Al-Qaeda hostage killed during rescue mission –
Luke Somers, a US journalist who was being held captive in Yemen since 2013, has been shot by his captors during a a military operation to rescue him and later died. A video was released earlier this week showing a member of al-Qaeda in the Arab Peninsula (AQAP) threatening to kill Mr Somers unless unspecified demands are met.
Video of the Day –
I’ve fallen and I can’t get up – Crowd dynamics test using Miarmy for Maya
Sunny smile –
Kent student Jess Smith reveals that she was the baby who played the sun on the Teletubbies, a BBC TV show in the 80s & 90s.
Joe Cocker dies –
Joe Cocker, famous for his version of the Beatles “With A Little Help From My Friends” which reached number one in 1968, has died from cancer. Joe Cocker
Total indulgence –
Costa Coffee in the UK is selling 100,000 sticky toffee latte a week during the festive season. The largest ‘massimo’ size has around 598 calories, contains up to 75g of sugar – nearly 19 teaspoons, or twice the amount in a can of Coke.
Google launch the second version of their self-driving car which has been described a toy police car.
Tit-for-tat attack? –
North Korea internet shut down for 9 hours and just days after the state was accused of a major hack on Sony Pictures in the state. Speculation is that the US government caused the outage in retribution.
Fake US tweets of start of World War 3 –
The New York Post and United Press International (UPI) have had their Twitter accounts hacked and fake tweets on economic and military news posted. On UPI’s Twitter feed the Pope was quoted as saying that “World War III has begun” and the NY Post had a tweet that hostilities had broken out between the United States and China. The attacks follow the ones on US Central Command on 12th January 2015.
Stephen Fry gets married –
Comedian, actor and QI presenter Stephen Fry (57) marries his 27-year-old partner Elliot Spencer and announced it in a tweet:
His “A Bit of Fry and Laurie” comedy partner and star of House M.D. Hugh Laurie responded with his own tweet:
Plans for the wedding at Dereham Registration Office in Norfolk were revealed on January 6th 2015
New running on water record –
Shi Liliang, a monk from Quanzhou, southeast China’s Fujian province, has broken his own record for running on plywood sheets floating on water. He managed a distance of 120 meters in Changsha, capital of central China’s Hunan province breaking his previous best of 118 meters that he had kept.
Flight QZ8501 crash possibly caused by climbing too fast –
Initial investigations believe the reason for the AirAsia QZ8501 airline crash on December 28th 2014 was because it climbed too quickly to avoid bad weather. Data collected from the “black boxes” show that the plane climbed at over 4,000 feet per minute which might have cause it to stall.
Powerful waves –
The 64-meter wide Parkes radio telescope in New South Wales, Australia has picked up a “short, sharp flash” of radio waves from a mysterious source up to 5.5 billion light years from Earth which places the source outside the galaxy. Astronomers have yet to come up with an explanation for the radio waves.
Flagging civil rights –
The Chinese version of WhatsApp called WeChat accidently sent US flag icons over the screen if the key words “civil rights” were entered. The company behind the app, Tencent, blamed the effect on a technical glitch.
Rapper AK Canserbero murder/suicide –
Venezuelan singer songwriter Tirone González known as rapper AK Canserbero has been found dead after jumping from the 10th floor of a building in Maracay he was 26. It appears he had stabbed to death Carlos Monar, the bass player of another band before committing suicide.
Luis Figo enters FIFA presidential race –
Luís Figo the former Portuguese football who famously played for both Real Madrid and Barcelona has entered himself to stand for the FIFA presidential election and claims to have the required five nominations from among FIFA’s 209 members. He joins Prince Ali of Jordan, the Dutch FA president Michael van Praag, Jérôme Champagne and David Ginola facing up to current president Sepp Blatter.Luis Figo
Apple now have enough money to own the largest navy in the world –
Apple the tech company reports the biggest quarterly profit of any company in the world ever with revenues of $74.6bn and a net profit of $18bn. It’s cash holdings are now $178bn which according to The Guardian newspaper “is enough to commission 40 Nimitz-class aircraft carriers, giving Apple more force capability than every other navy in the world – combined”.USS Nimitz (planes not included in price)
Cat survives car crash and burial –
A cat in Florida that was buried in a shallow grave after being apparently killed by a car has managed not only to survive but to dig its way out of the grave. Bart the zombie cat as he is now known was found by a neighbour and is now recovering after surgery on a broken jaw and damaged eye.
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.
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
North Korean issues wide-ranging advice-
North Korea leader Kim Jong-un issues a new set of 310 patriotic slogans including battling rhetoric “Long live the great victory in the war against Japan!” to practical advice “Grow vegetables extensively in greenhouses!”. Some make it sound as if the leader has been watching episodes of Star Trek “Let us model the entire army on Kimilsungism-Kimjongilism!”
Can you change the oil, a nappy and a light bulb?
Betting company William Hill release a list of 50 things every man should be able to do. They range from the date of his wedding anniversary to how to fix a toilet (easy call a plumber) and what exactly is the offside rule (in soccer). It was produced from a survey of 2,000 adults. Full list below.
An investigation by the Canada’s commissioner of official languages finds that tweets by former Foreign Minister John Baird and Public Security Minister Steven Blaney fell foul of the law because they were mainly in English. Now Canada’s most senior politicians must now tweet in both French and English. Over the course of two months, 181 out of 202 of Mr Baird’s tweets were only in English but about 30% of the Canadian population can speak French, with more than seven million describing it as their mother tongue.
F1 drivers banned from changing helmets –
Former Formula One drivers take to Twitter to criticise a new rule banning Formula 1 drivers from changing their helmet design during the season. Alex Wurz who chairman of the Grand Prix Drivers’ Association, tweeted –
And Australian former Red Bull driver Mark Weber added –
The Boston Blizzard Challenge –
The mayor of Boston Martin Walsh has asked the public to stop jumping out of first floor windows into piles of snow left by the record levels of snow that has fallen in February. Bostonians are stripping down to their underwear and leaping into the snowdrifts in a trend called the Boston Blizzard Challenge, all for social media’s delight – a perfect Vine.
Perks of the job –
The Brazilian judge presiding over criminal proceedings against charismatic entrepreneur Eike Batista, once Brazil’s richest man, has been spotted driving a Porsche belonging to the fallen tycoon that had been seized by the court. Flavio Roberto de Souza, who is overseeing Batista’s trial for insider trading, was seen driving the white Porsche Cayenne by reporters for Estado de S.Paulo’s news agency after a tip-off from Batista’s lawyer. [Daily Telegraph] Eike Batista
Andy Murray and Kim Sears wedding: Hundreds of wellwishers flood Dunblane –
Hundreds of people turned out to see Andy Murray wed Kim Sears in Dunblane Cathedral this afternoon. The couple, who turned down all offers from celebrity magazines to cover their wedding, made sure that their wedding remained a private affair – with Sears’ careful arrival granting onlookers the barest of glimpses of her dress. Murray and Sears, an artist, married in Dunblane’s 12th century cathedral at 4pm before attending a small reception with family and friends. The pair met in 2005 when they were introduced by Sear’s father Nigel, a tennis coach. [The Independent] Kim Sears and Andy Murray (Photo by Stirling Council)
Grand National 2015: Many Clouds wins as McCoy finishes fifth –
Many Clouds won the 2015 Grand National to give jockey Leighton Aspell his second consecutive victory in the race. Champion jockey AP McCoy was denied a fairytale Aintree farewell, finishing fifth on favourite Shutthefrontdoor. The Northern Irishman had said he would retire immediately if he had won, but the 40-year-old could now race on until the Sandown meeting at the end of April. [BBC] A P McCoy
Boat Races 2015: Oxford women and men beat Cambridge –
Heavy favourites Oxford beat Cambridge to win the historic first staging of the Women’s Boat Race on the same course and same day as the men. They finished six-and-a-half lengths ahead over the four-mile, 374-yard stretch from Putney Bridge to Chiswick Bridge in London on Saturday. The Dark Blues were half a length up after the first minute and pulled away ruthlessly to finish 19 seconds clear. Oxford also won the men’s race for the sixth time in eight years. In doing so, president Constantine Louloudis became just the 15th man to triumph for a fourth time. [BBC]
Capitol Building on lockdown after shots fired –
Shots were fired near the front of the US Capitol Building in Washington, according to police. The seat of Congress was immediately put on lockdown.
It later emerged that a man had committed suicide by shooting himself, sparking the alert. “The suspected shooter has been neutralised but the US Capitol Building has been locked down as a precautionary measure,” said Lt Kimberly Schneider of the Capitol Police, adding that no-one was being allowed to enter or exit. Police said they were also investigating a suspicious package on the lower West Terrace of the building, believed to be the man’s suitcase. [Daily Telegraph]
Caitlyn Jenner breaks Twitter record, gaining more than 1m followers –
After gaining more than a million followers in four hours, Caitlyn Jenner has broken a new Twitter record, Guinness World Records has confirmed. She’s beaten Barack Obama, who held the title for two weeks. The US president reached the one million mark in five hours. Caitlyn launched her Twitter account at the same time as a Vanity Fair magazine cover was released, showing her as a transgender woman and revealing the name she will now be using. See Video of the Day. [BBC]
Front cover of Vanity Fair July 2015 featuring an Annie Leibovitz photograph of Caitlyn Jenner.
British tank crushes learner driver’s car in Germany –
There’s a lot to remember when you’re a learner driver but a pretty good rule is: don’t pull out in front of tanks. That’s what happened to an 18-year-old driving this Toyota Yaris in the Lippe district of Germany today. According to local police she pulled out in front of a column of British military vehicles travelling on a ring road around the town, often used by British forces stationed nearby to transport tanks and other armoured vehicles. The driver of the tank, a 24-year-old British serviceman, wasn’t able to bring his Challenger 2 tank to a stop in time.
Inevitably, in a battle between 62-tonnes of armour and a one-tonne hatchback, there was only going to be one winner. Luckily the driver of the car was completely unharmed in the incident, and the tank crew pulled her free. The car, however, suffered 12,000 euros (£8,600) worth of damage.
The tank, not entirely surprisingly – was unscathed. [BBC]
Video of the Day –
Caitlyn Jenner Is Finally “Free” on Vanity Fair’s Cover
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)
Eton launches online lessons for China –
Eton College is going to launch online lessons for schools in China. From this autumn, the leading UK independent school is going to provide classes in leadership to Chinese students, using live online tuition. The school has formed a partnership with a technology firm to create a company called EtonX. The school, in Berkshire, says any income raised by the international project will be used for bursaries to cover pupils’ fees. Percy Harrison, director of information technology at Eton College, says the school would be able to reach a wider number of pupils, without setting up an overseas campus. [BBC] The Eton College Coat of Arms
Star Wars: The Force Awakens second trailer sets YouTube world record –
The second trailer for Star Wars: The Force Awakens is officially the most viewed film trailer on YouTube in a 24-hour period. Guinness World Records says the clip, released in April, was watched more than 30 million views in a day. The trailer sees the return of Han Solo, played by Harrison Ford again, alongside co-pilot Chewbacca. The Force Awakens, the first instalment of the franchise’s new trilogy, will be set 30 years after Return of the Jedi. [BBC Newsbeat] See Video of the Day and List of the Day
Mark Darcy in the Bridget Jones films, when confronted with the possibility of having a baby, says he’ll “visit him at Eton on St Andrew’s Day. The Darcy men have been going to Eton for five generations.”
German squirrel arrested after woman complained it was stalking her –
An “aggressive” squirrel has been arrested by German police officers after a woman complained it was stalking her. Police in North Rhine-Westphalia received the bizarre emergency call on Wednesday from a woman who claimed the rodent was chasing her. The woman, from Bottrop, tried to give the pursuant rodent the slip but eventually rang the police out of desperation. Officers captured the squirrel and “arrested it,” according to a message posted on the force’s Facebook page. [Daily Telegraph]
Tom Selleck to pay $20k settlement to California after he was accused of water theft –
Actor Tom Selleck will pay $21,000 (£13,500) to a Southern California water district, which voted to settle the lawsuit accusing the American TV actor and film producer of obtaining water he was not entitled to. Selleck, 70, who is most famous for his lead role in the television series Magnum P.I, was accused earlier this month by the Calleguas Municipal Water District in Ventura County of stealing water from a public fire hydrant in Calleguas. The water was purportedly used for his 60-acre avocado ranch in Westlake Village, just outside the region. [Daily Telegraph] Tom Selleck
Bernard Tomic charged with trespassing and resisting arrest at Miami Beach hotel party –
Australian tennis player Bernard Tomic has been charged with trespassing and resisting arrest following complaints over a noisy penthouse party at a Miami hotel, police said on Thursday. Security guards were called to a £4,500-a-night penthouse in the W Hotel in South Beach early Wednesday following multiple noise complaints. Tomic was described as “aggressive and belligerent” by a Miami police report. The 22-year-old tennis player, ranked 25th in the world by the Association of Tennis Professionals, refused to turn down the music and slammed the door in the guards’ faces, according to an arrest affidavit. [Daily Telegraph] Bernard Tomic
Video of the Day –
Animated Flyover of Pluto’s Icy Mountain and Plains [See story from July 15, 2015]
Jules Bianchi: F1 driver dies from Suzuka crash injuries –
French Formula 1 driver Jules Bianchi has died, nine months after suffering severe head injuries in a crash at the 2014 Japanese Grand Prix. Bianchi, 25, had been in a coma since crashing his Marussia into a recovery vehicle at October’s rain-hit race. His family said: “Jules fought right to the very end, as he always did, but today his battle came to an end.” The Marussia team, now known as Manor, said Bianchi had left an “indelible mark on all our lives”. Jules Bianchi
‘Li-fi 100 times faster than wi-fi’ –
A new method of delivering data, which uses the visible spectrum rather than radio waves, has been tested in a working office. Li-fi can deliver internet access 100 times faster than traditional wi-fi, offering speeds of up to 1Gbps (gigabit per second). It requires a light source, such as a standard LED bulb, an internet connection and a photo detector. It was tested this week by Estonian start-up Velmenni, in Tallinn. Velmenni used a li-fi-enabled light bulb to transmit data at speeds of 1Gbps. Laboratory tests have shown theoretical speeds of up to 224Gbps. It was tested in an office, to allow workers to access the internet and in an industrial space, where it provided a smart lighting solution. [BBC]
US space rocket debris found in sea off Scilly –
A large chunk of an American space rocket has been found in the sea off the Isles of Scilly. The section of the spacecraft, measuring about 10m (32ft) by 4m (13ft), was spotted on the surface between Bryher and Tresco. Coastguards believe it is from the unmanned SpaceX Falcon 9 which exploded after take-off in Florida in June. However many astronomers believe it is from a different mission due to the size and markings. Local boatmen towed the section to Tresco where it has now been removed from the beach. [BBC]
Two Palestinian drivers drive their vehicles into groups of Israeli soldiers in two separate attacks in the occupied West bank. Both drivers are shot dead. In this current wave of violence that began in October, 19 Israelis, one U.S. citizen, and 93 Palestinians have died. (Reuters)
Detroit, a city in which neighborhoods are disappearing, banks aren’t lending, and property values are among the lowest in the nation, is looking to reverse these trends. The Detroit Land Bank Authority is moving aggressively to demolish structures that are beyond repair and auction (bids start at $1,000) ones that are salvageable. Some community banks are helping new buyers. (Washington Post)
Chinese President Xi Jinping announced a major overhaul of China’s military to make the world’s largest army more combat ready and better equipped to project force beyond the country’s borders. Under the reorganization, all branches of the armed forces would come under a joint military command, Xi told a meeting of military officials in Beijing, the official Xinhua News Agency reported. Bloomberg in September reported details of the plan, which may also seek to consolidate the country’s seven military regions to as few as four. The Chinese president said the reform aimed to “build an elite combat force” and called on the officials to make “breakthroughs” on establishing the joint command by 2020, Xinhua said. (Bloomberg)
News from Wikipedia – please support this valuable resource
British parliament votes to bomb Islamic State in Syria –
Britain’s parliament voted on Wednesday to launch bombing raids against Islamic State in Syria, supporting Prime Minister David Cameron’s case that the country needs to help destroy militants who are “plotting to kill us”. After more than 10 hours of tense debate, lawmakers voted in favour of air strikes, by 397 to 223. British Tornado GR4 bombers could leave an air base in Cyprus within hours to launch the country’s latest military action in the Middle East. [Reuters] See Top Twitter Trends. David Cameron
Russia expands its military presence in Syria with an additional airbase that can accommodate fixed-winged military aircraft. The U.S. Department of Defense also confirms that Russia added S-400surface-to-air missiles to its Syrian stockpile and armed its military aircraft with air-to-air missiles. According to Military Times, “A Pentagon spokesman expressed concern” these moves indicate Russia’s commitment to aiding the embattled Assad regime as opposed to combating ISIL. No Syrian opposition groups including ISIL have combat-ready aircraft that require air-to-air missiles. (Fox News)(Military Times)
Cameroon’s army, backed by a regional taskforce, has killed at least 100 members of the militant Islamist Boko Haram group and freed 900 people it had held hostage, the west African country’s defence ministry has said. Regional taskforce conducts sweep along border with Nigeria. (The Guardian), (Yahoo news),
A second shooting incident near 1757 Richardson in San Bernardino unfolded around 3:00 p.m. PST, with police requesting a BearCat and medical assistance. A suspect was shot on-scene around 3:16 p.m. PST and another taken into custody shortly afterwards. (The New York Times), (Los Angeles Times)
Kim Kardashian and Kanye West welcome new baby arrival –
Kim Kardashian has given birth to a baby boy. The news was announced on the reality television star’s website, with a short note that said: “Kim Kardashian West and her husband, Kanye West, welcomed the arrival of their son this morning. Mother and son are doing well.” The couple are already parents to daughter North who was born in June 2013. [Daily Telegraph] Kim Kardashian
Actor Morgan Freeman in plane scare –
A private plane carrying Oscar-winning actor Morgan Freeman was forced to make an emergency landing, but the star and his pilot were unhurt. The plane blew a tyre on take-off from Clarksdale, Mississippi, on Saturday.
The SJ30 jet made a forced landing in Tunica, about 40 miles (65km) away, where it went off the runway. In a statement, the Shawshank Redemption star said: “Sometimes things don’t go as planned and a tyre blew on take-off, which caused other problems.” He continued: “But thanks to my excellent pilot Jimmy Hobson we landed safely without a scratch. [BBC] Morgan Freeman
Three suicide bombers at Lake Chad kill at least 30 people and injure at least 80 others. Three women carried out the attack at a weekly market on an island on the Chadian side of the lake. No group claims responsibility; officials suspect the attacks were carried out by members of the Boko Haram militant group from neighboring Nigeria. (Al Jazeera), (BBC)
Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos announces the discovery of the SpanishgalleonSan José which sunk off that country’s coast over 300 years ago. The discovery was a joint venture between Colombia and U.S. firm Sea Search Armada, which filed a lawsuit when Colombia claimed the wreck as a heritage site. The wreck’s cargo is placed somewhere in the $4 to $17 billion range. (NPR)
Spacecraft carrying Russian, American, Briton docks with space station –
A Soyuz spacecraft successfully delivered a Russian, an American and a Briton to the International Space Station on Tuesday after blasting off from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan. The otherwise smooth journey ended with a slightly delayed docking at 1733 GMT as Russian commander Yuri Malenchenko aborted the automatic procedure and manually guided the spacecraft towards the station. Alongside Malenchenko, a veteran of long-duration space flights who is on his fourth space mission, were NASA astronaut Tim Kopra and Briton Tim Peake, both former Apache military helicopter pilots. Peake, 43, a former army major who is on a six-month mission for the European Space Agency (ESA), became the first astronaut representing the British government and wearing a Union Jack flag on his arm. The first Briton in space was Helen Sharman, who travelled on a Soviet spacecraft for eight days in 1991. [Reuters] Timothy Peake
Star Wars: Force Awakens gets world premiere –
The hotly anticipated latest addition in the Star Wars franchise, The Force Awakens, has had its world premiere in Los Angeles. Stars from the original series including Harrison Ford, Mark Hamill and Carrie Fisher joined newcomers including John Boyega and Daisy Ridley. The plot of the film remains a closely-guarded secret and a media embargo on reviews is in place until Wednesday. Fans had been camping out for days outside the TCL Chinese Theatre, which along with other LA venues screened the seventh Star Wars instalment. Security was tight, with a giant tent shrouding the red carpet. The TCL Chinese Theatre – formerly known as Grauman’s Chinese Theatre – showed the first Star Wars movie in 1977. [BBC]
‘Late’ Madonna rebuffs fans over Manchester gig complaints –
Pop singer Madonna has told fans she is no “diva” after technical hitches meant she was late on stage for a gig in Manchester. The 57-year-old artist made the comments on Monday at the Manchester Arena during her Rebel Heart tour. “If you diva bitches want to keep complaining about it, then don’t come to my show,” she said. She added: “I’m not back there eating chocolate and filing my nails and getting my extensions done, all right?” However, the singer told fans: “Tonight, our video crashed, and we had no video, and our back-up file was – I don’t know – it was compromised, put it like that… So praise the Lord and thank you God but that is why we are late, all right? For no selfish diva bitch reason.” [BBC] In July 2015 Madonna compared herself to Pablo Picasso. Madonna
World’s longest-surviving castaway sued for $1 million after being accused of ‘eating his colleague’ –
A fisherman who stunned the world by surviving 15 months lost at sea is being sued for $1 million (£650,000) by the family of his dead colleague, who accuse him of eating their relative to ensure his own survival. Salvador Alvarenga, 36, is the only man known to have survived for over a year at sea. And when he set sail from the coast of Mexico in November 2012, he thought he was setting out on a two-day fishing trip, having paid 22-year-old Ezequiel Cordoba $50 to accompany him. But a vicious storm with 10ft waves knocked out the 25ft boat’s communication systems, and washed their supplies overboard. The pair survived for several months by catching fish and birds, and drinking turtle blood and rainwater. He eventually died, extracting promises from Mr Alvarenga not to eat his corpse, and to find Cordoba’s mother and tell her what happened. [Daily Telegraph]
The U.N. Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs reports that increased airstrikes by Russia have forced humanitarian assistance organizations to curtail their relief efforts, exacerbating the humanitarian crisis in northern Syria. (The Washington Post)
A Baltimore, Maryland deadlocked jury was told by the trial judge to resume deliberations after closing arguments in the first trial of police officer William Porter, charged in the death of Freddie Gray. With demonstrations and unrest following the death, the city has cancelled leave for police officers and the mayor has called for calm when a verdict is announced. (CNN)(The Gazette)
Actor Nicolas Cage returns stolen dinosaur skull he bought –
Hollywood actor Nicolas Cage has agreed to turn over a rare stolen dinosaur skull he bought for $276,000 to U.S. authorities so it can be returned to the Mongolian government. The office of Preet Bharara, the U.S. attorney in Manhattan, filed a civil forfeiture complaint last week to take possession of the Tyrannosaurus bataar skull, which will be repatriated to Mongolia. The lawsuit did not specifically name Cage as the owner, but Cage’s publicist confirmed that the actor bought the skull in March 2007 from a Beverly Hills gallery, I.M. Chait. The “National Treasure” actor is not accused of wrongdoing, and authorities said he voluntarily agreed to turn over the skull after learning of the circumstances. Cage outbid fellow movie star Leonardo DiCaprio for the skull, according to prior news reports. [Reuters] Nicolas_Cage
SpaceX succeeds in historic rocket launch and landing –
SpaceX successfully landed its powerful Falcon 9 rocket late on Monday night for the first time, a major milestone in the drive to cut costs and waste by making rockets as reusable as planes. Its engines burning bright orange against the dark night sky, the Falcon 9 made a graceful arc back to Earth and touched down upright at Cape Canaveral, Florida, minutes after launching a payload of satellites to orbit, video images showed. “I still can’t quite believe it,” Musk said in a teleconference after the landing. “I think this is a revolutionary moment. No one has ever brought an orbital class booster back intact.” Previous attempts to land the Falcon 9’s first stage on a floating ocean platform have failed – with the rocket either colliding with the autonomous drone ship or tipping over. [Daily Telegraph] In June 2015 a SpaceX rocket carrying cargo to the International Space Station exploded minutes after take-off. See Video of the Day Elon Musk
Video of the Day –
Historic Landing of Falcon 9 First Stage at Landing Zone 1
American actor Nicolas Cage agrees to return to Mongolia a stolen dinosaur skull he bought in 2007 for $276,000. Cage says he was unaware the skull had entered the country illegally. (Reuters)(USA Today)
Robert Downey Jr pardoned for 20-year-old drug conviction –
US actor Robert Downey Jr has been granted an official pardon for a drug conviction that sent him to prison nearly 20 years ago. California Governor Jerry Brown announced pardons for 91 people who had been out of custody for 10 years and proved they had turned their lives around. The conviction will remain on his record but the actor twice-nominated for an Oscar will have his voting rights restored. In 1996, police found cocaine, heroin and a pistol in his car when they stopped him for speeding. [BBC] Earlier in 2015 Downey was named by Forbes Magazine as the 8th highest paid celebrity and highest paid actor. Robert Downey Jr
Anti ‘sweet tooth’ hormone discovered by scientists –
A cure for sugar cravings is a major step nearer after scientists identified a hormone which suppresses a “sweet tooth”. Researchers say their findings, published online in the journal Cell Metabolism, could improve the diet and help patients who are diabetic or obese. While sugar cravings are common, particularly at this time of year, the physiological mechanisms that trigger our “sweet tooth” were not well defined until now. But the new study in mice shows that a hormone produced by the liver, fibroblast growth factor 21 (FGF21), suppresses the consumption of simple sugars.[Daily Telegraph]
Officials report the casualties from yesterday’s spring-like storm that triggered more than 20 tornadoes, destroyed homes, delayed and cancelled air flights, and caused power outages in the U.S.Midwest and Southeast have risen to at least 11 people killed with dozens injured. Mississippi GovernorPhil Bryant declares a state of emergency in areas affected by the storm. (NBC News)(Reuters)
Up to 100 people die in an explosion at an LPG gas plant in Nnewi, Anambra, in southern Nigeria. Sources indicate the accident was caused by a truck discharging its contents before the mandatory cooling time had expired. (BBC)(Vanguard)
The 53 Americans taken hostage in Tehran, Iran, in 1979, or their families, will receive compensation of $4.4 million each from the United States government as a result of a provision in the spending deal signed into law last week. (ABC News)(The Hill)
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Queen filmed calling Chinese officials ‘very rude’ –
The Queen has been filmed saying Chinese officials were “very rude” during last year’s state visit by President Xi Jinping. She was discussing their treatment of Britain’s ambassador to China with a senior police officer at a Buckingham Palace garden party on Tuesday. It came after David Cameron was overheard saying Afghanistan and Nigeria were “fantastically corrupt“. The Queen’s remarks were filmed as she was introduced to Metropolitan Police Commander Lucy D’Orsi, who the monarch is told had overseen security during President Xi’s visit to the UK in October. [BBC] The Queen
Indy 500: Rookie Alexander Rossi wins 100th running –
Running on fumes on the final laps of the race, rookie Alexander Rossi ran out of fuel coming out of Turn 4 — and still managed to win the 100th running of the Indianapolis 500 on Sunday. Rossi, a 24-year-old native of California, coasted to the line ahead of Carlos Munoz, Josef Newgarden and Tony Kanaan as late-race fuel strategy led to a wild and tense finish. It was perhaps one of the more unlikely Indy 500 victories, as Rossi has almost no experience in racing on oval tracks after spending several years pursuing a career in Formula One. Rossi couldn’t quite believe it himself. “I have no idea how we pulled that off,” he said, in a television interview immediately after the race. [USA Today] Alexander Rossi
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The force is still strong for Boogie Storm | Grand Final | Britain’s Got Talent 2016
Toblerone triangle change upsets fans –
A decision to space out the distinctive triangular chocolate chunks in two Toblerone bars sold in the UK has upset fans who say that they do mind the gap. The product’s makers, US-based Mondelez International, said it had changed the design to reduce the weight of what were 400g and 170g bars. Some consumers have described the move as “the wrong decision” and said the bigger spaces looked “stupid”. Mondelez said the move was down to a rise in the cost of ingredients. In a statement on the Toblerone Facebook page, the company said it had to make a decision between changing the look of the bars or raising the price. [BBC] The old shaped Toblerone
Video of the Day –
The Flying Frenchies Surf and BASE Jump From a Zipline