Top Story –
Avatar becomes the fastest movie ever to achieve $1bn (£625.6m) in ticket sales around the world according to 20th Century Fox and it’s done it in just 17 days. Apparently it is the most expensive film ever made. The film Lord of the Rings – The Return of The King was the highest grossing film in the last decade only making $1.12bn in total. Avatar Poster (copyright 20th Century Fox)
Top Stories – Entente non-concordial –
The Chinese Foreign Ministry has reacted to criticism of China in a speech on Internet censorship made by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, calling on the United States government “to respect the truth and to stop using the so-called Internet freedom question to level baseless accusations.”
One very big step for a man –
50 years since the American Joe Kittinger made the highest skydive by leaping from a balloon at 102,800ft, Austrian Felix Baumgartner, who is famous for stunts such as jumping off the Petronas Towers, plans to jump from a balloon sent up to 120,000 ft (37km) later this year. Red Bull will sponsor the attempt. Felix Baumgartner
Top Video –
Joe Kittinger’s record breaking skydive
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.
Cashmere loo roll, the ultimate bathroom indulgence –
Quilted, embossed, ultra soft aloe vera – the humble loo roll has gone steadily more upmarket in recent years. But surely it has now hit the apogee of indulgence: a cashmere version has gone on sale. Cashmere, one of the softest and most prized materials, has been used to add an extra layer of extravagance to the sheets of paper, ensuring consumers enjoy the bottom line in comfort. The loo rolls have gone on sale in Waitrose, the supermarket with a legion of loyal and discerning middle-class customers. The supermarket won’t reveal quite how much cashmere goes into each roll, but insists it is a “significant” amount. No cashmere fibres themselves are included in the manufacturing process. Rather, the paper is covered in oil extracted from the hairs of the cashmere goat. [Daily Telegraph]
Sleeping Beauty condition means teenager sleeps for two weeks –
Louisa Ball, 15, has earned the nickname ‘Sleeping Beauty’ thanks to a rare condition that causes her to sleep for up to two weeks at a time. Miss Ball, from Worthing, has slept through school exams, dance competitions and entire family holidays thanks to her unusual condition. Her prolonged sleeps, which began in 2008 as she recovered from flu, were initially thought to be hormonal until she was diagnosed with Kleine-Levin Syndrome last year. People who develop the condition, also known as Sleeping Beauty Disease, are prone to falling into extended periods of deep sleep that can stretch to weeks. [Daily Telegraph]
Beyonce and Alicia Keys film music video in Rio slum –
The Grammy Award winning singers performed at the Morro da Conceicao shantytown.
They were shooting a video for a duet “Put It In a Love Song” which appears on Keys’ album “The Element of Freedom.”
Beyonce is on tour in Brazil and is expected to have a special role in the video.
Keys had already filmed part of her video at the Dona Marta slum, which became renowned worldwide after Michael Jackson was there in 1996 to film a video for “They Don’t Care About Us.” [Daily Telegraph] Alicia Keys
Australians puzzled as Queen reclaims ‘head of state’ title –
Buckingham Palace has raised eyebrows in Australia by referring to the Queen as the country’s “head of state” in an apparent break in convention. The title is usually given to the Australian Governor-General, Quentin Bryce, while the Queen is considered the country’s sovereign.
The difference is significant as the emerging role of the Governor-General has often been cited by pro-monarchists as evidence Australia does not need to become a republic. The trigger for the confusion was an announcement by Buckingham Palace that the Queen would be addressing the UN General Assembly in July. It arrived in a cable written by Gary Quinlan, Australia’s ambassador and permanent representative to the UN, headed: “United Nations: General Assembly – Address by Australian Head of State.” [Daily Telegraph] Her Majesty the Queen
Camera dropped in the ocean is returned by fisherman 18 months later –
A woman is to be reunited with a camera her husband dropped off the edge of the QM2 cruise ship after a fisherman caught it in his net and put the photographs online. Barbara and Dennis Gregory, 65, from Johannesburg, South Africa, thought they would never see the Nikon P90 again after it fell into the ocean en-route from New York to Southampton in 2008. But 16 months later Benito Estevez, a fisherman from Spain, found the camera in his nets with the photos still intact on the memory card. He decided to trace the owners and posted five pictures online which showed Mrs Gregory posing on the deck of the ship and her husband wearing a woolly tourist hat from Oxford. The story was picked up by the British media and Laura De Klein, a friend of the couple who lives in Chalgrove, Oxfordshire, recognised them and got in touch. [Daily Telegraph]
Chilean mint spells country’s name wrong on coins –
The general manager of the Chilean mint has been fired after thousands of coins were issued bearing a howling error. On the 2008 batch of 50 peso coins, which are worth about 6p, the country’s name was misspelt. Instead of C-H-I-L-E, the coins had C-H-I-I-E stamped on them, the BBC reports.
If that wasn’t bad enough, no one noticed the spelling mistake until late 2009. The coins have since become collectors’ items and the mint says it has no plans to take them out of circulation. Locals have even been hoarding the coins in the hope they will rise in value. However, the mistake has cost the mint’s general manager, Gregorio Iniguez, and several other employees, their jobs. [Daily Telegraph]
Japan earthquake: Tsunami hits north-east –
Japan’s most powerful earthquake since records began has struck the north-east coast, triggering a massive tsunami. Cars, ships and buildings were swept away by a wall of water after the 8.9-magnitude tremor, which struck about 400km (250 miles) north-east of Tokyo. A state of emergency has been declared at a nuclear power plant, where pressure has exceeded normal levels. Officials say 350 people are dead and about 500 missing, but it is feared the final death toll will be much higher. In one ward alone in Sendai, a port city in Miyagi prefecture, 200 to 300 bodies were found. The quake was the fifth-largest in the world since 1900 and nearly 8,000 times stronger than the one which devastated Christchurch, New Zealand, last month, said scientists. Thousands of people living near the Fukushima nuclear power plant have been ordered to evacuate. [BBC] See Video of the Day
Tough to chew –
Netflix is to release a documentary film in 2015 which affirms that Michael Rockefeller, the youngest son of former Vice President Nelson Rockefeller, was eaten by cannibals in New Guinea in 1961.
Tornado chaos in south USA –
At least five tornadoes were reported in the southern United States, leading to four deaths and fifty people injured. The twisters also caused massive damage to homes, commercial buildings and vehicles. Mississippi was among the worst hit. If the tornadoes are confirmed, it will be the deadliest December tornado outbreak since 1953. [The Weather Channel]
Hanging around –
New Jersey Governor Chris Christie (@GovChristie) was left hanging after a Dallas Cowboys win on Sunday, when his high-5 appeal was ignored. Political commentators have decided that it will damage his chances of becoming a Republican presidential candidate.
Google extends Chromecast to audio –
The Chromecast dongle is now able to plug into amplifiers and powered speakers to “cast” music from any music app. Similar to the video service, users use their phone to control the music, which is then played directly through the speaker from a wi-fi router. Apps already compatible include Deezer, Google Play Music, iHeartRadio, NPR One, Pandora, Rdio and TuneIn. Spotify is currently included.
Ghost in the Shell –
Scarlett Johansson to play Motoko Kusanagi in the film version of Ghost in the Shell Scarlett Johansson
Paris gunmen killed after 2 sieges –
The 2 gunmen who carried out the Charlie Hebdo massacre on January 7th 2015 have been killed by French police after a brief siege at a warehouse in Dammartin-en-Goele, 35km (22 miles) north of Paris. Brothers Cherif and Said Kouachi were shot dead as they came out of a warehouse building firing at police. Two officers were injured. Simultaneously, Amedy Coulibaly, the man who killed a policewoman on 7th January, was shot dead at a kosher supermarket in Paris after he had killed 4 hostages – 15 hostages were rescued. Coulibaly knew one of the brothers and their respective partners had spoken on the phone more than 500 times. A total of 17 people plus the 3 gunmen have died in the 3 days.
Brand and Rascal to be studied –
The exam board Oxford, Cambridge and Royal Society of Arts (OCR) plan to include evidence given by Russell Brand to a Commons select committee inquiring into drugs and an interview between Dizzee Rascal and Newsnight’s Jeremy Paxman as part of the English A-level syllabus as from this September. The plans have been approved by exams regulator Ofqual amongst 37 new specifications for GCSEs and A-levels put forward by the exam board. Dizzee Rascal
AirAsia tail section recovered –
The tail section of AirAsia flight QZ8501 that crashed while flying from Surabaya in Indonesia to Singapore has been recovered from the seabed using inflatable devices. Although the flight recorders are positioned in the tail it appears that the “black boxes” have been separated from it and the search continues.
The Indonesian navy has retrieved from the seabed the tail of the AirAsia plane that crashed two weeks ago.
Lucky he was a Dolphin –
Former Miami Dolphins running back Rob Konrad swam nine miles to shore after falling off his boat while fishing and his boat, which was on auto pilot, drifted away from him off the South Florida coast. Konrad, who played 82 games for the Dolphins between 1999-2004, was treated for hypothermia after it took 12 hours to swim to shore.
Saturn centre pinpointed –
Scientists have located the centre of the planet Saturn to within just 2 miles using ten antennae, known as the Very Long Baseline Array (VLBA), spread over an area from Hawaii to the Virgin Islands. The antenna assembly uses signals sent by the Cassini probe to monitor the position of the gas giant. Previously estimates of the positions of Saturn and its satellites used data received by tracking Cassini’s radio signal during its communications with Earth but the new calculations are about 20 times more accurate.
Beagle 2 probe found on Mars –
Pictures taken by NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter have spotted the missing Mars robot Beagle2, identified its landing location and it looks to be in one piece. The probe designed an promoted by the late Professor Colin Pillinger landed on Mars on 25th December 2003, but no radio contact was ever made with the probe. It was assumed to have crashed but it now seems that for some reason two of the solar panels did not deploy and the radio signal was consequently blocked. Replica of Beagle 2 at the London Science Museum
Britain’s oldest person dies age 114 –
Ethel Lang has died at the age of 114. She was believed to be the last person living in the UK who was born in the reign of Queen Victoria. The oldest person in the world is thought to be Misao Okawa, a Japanese woman who celebrated her 116th birthday in March 2014.
Elon Musk proposes 700 mph test track in Texas –
Elon Musk (@elonmusk) the billionaire founder of PayPal tweets that he will build a test track for his “Hyperloop” transport system that could theoretically travel at speeds of up to 700 miles per hour. He tweets the most likely location for the test track that works in a partial vacuum using magnets is in Texas, USA. Elon Musk in 2013
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.
Russian planes buzz UK airspace –
Britain’s Foreign office have said that two Russian Tu-95 Bear H aircraft came within 25 miles of UK airspace in the last 24 hours. They travelled from the north, past the west coast of Ireland and to the English Channel before turning and going back the way they had come. British typhoon fighters were scrambled after the the bombers did not file a flight plan, did not have their transponders switched on and “weren’t talking to air traffic control”.
Taylor Swift trademarks lyrics –
Taylor Swift has trademarked phrases from her current album, 1989 in the United States. The phrases include “this sick beat” and “we never go out of style”, and the trademark ruling stops the use of the lyrics on merchandise. Rihanna successfully sued Topshop earlier this month for using her image on a t-shirt.
Murray’s girlfriend tells it like it is –
Tennis player Andy Murray’s fiancé Kim Sears is caught on camera apparently swearing about Murray’s semi-final opponent Tomas Berdych’s. Lip readers allege she said “Take that you flash Czech fucker”, when Murray won a crucial point. Murray later defended Sears, saying: “In the heat of the moment, you can say stuff that you regret.”
Costa Concordia captain convicted of manslaughter –
The captain of the Costa Cordordia cruise ship that ran aground and capsized on January 13th 2012 off the island of Giglio has been convicted of manslaughter and given a 16-year jail sentance. Francesco Schettino was accused of taking the ship too close to the shore to impress his lover, Domnica Cemortan, who was with him at the helm. He then abandoned the ship with passengers and crew still on board. 32 people died in the accident but Costa Crociere, the company that owned the ship, avoided possible criminal charges by agreeing to pay a $1.3m (€1.1m; £860,000) fine in 2013. The Costa Concordia after the accident
Korean Air nut rage ends with jail sentence –
A South Korean court finds Cho Hyun-ah (aka Heather Cho) a former executive of Korean Air guilty of breaking aviation law. She forced her Seoul-bound plane to turn back to the gate at JFK airport in New York and offload a steward because she did not like the way she had been served nuts. Cho, the daughter of Korean Air president, was found guilty of obstructing aviation safety and jailed for one year, much less than the possible maximum sentence of 10-years.
Smoking in private cars with child passengers banned in England –
The British government votes 342 to 74 to ban smoking in cars when there are children in the vehicle in England and Wales, but doesn’t apply to convertibles with the roof down. Anyone stopped for breaking the law can be fined £50 on the spot when it becomes law in October 2015 but Scotland is not included. Bans on smoking in cars when children are present already exist in some US states as well as in parts of Canada and Australia.
Lance Armstrong made to pay –
Lance Armstrong is forced to refund $10 million (£6.5m) to SCA Promotions a Dallas-based company that paid him around $12 million in bonuses during his career which included 7 Tour de France titles that were consequently revoked. When Armstrong’s drug doping cheating was exposed, SCA sued to get its money back and an arbitration panel has found in the company’s favour.
Snowman building world record set –
A new world record has been set in the city of Iiyama, north-west of Tokyo, Japan for the most snowmen built in one hour. Over 600 people helped to break the old record by making 1,585 snowmen to beat the previous record of 1,279 snowmen, set by more than 350 participants in the United States in 2011. The competition was part of the Iiyama Snow Festival and the Nozawa Onsen Snow Resort is near to city. Nozawa Onsen Snow Resort
Amazon drones off –
The Federal Aviation Authority’s (FAA) sets draft rules for the use of drones in US airspace which state that pilots must remain within eyesight of their unmanned crafts. This would not allow Amazon to launch its Amazon Air delivery service which the firm said last year it had the technology in place to launch as soon as regulations were in place.
Bill Gates has been declared the richest man in the world for the 16th time by Forbes magazine’s annual ranking of global billionaires. The Microsoft founder once again beat Mexican businessman Carlos Slim to the top spot. Mr Gates’ net worth rose by just over $3bn (£1.94bn) in the year to 13 February, to $79bn. There are a record 1,826 billionaires in the world, Forbes said, an increase of 181 in the past 12 months. See list below. [BBC]
New image for Queen on coins of the realm –
A new portrait of the Queen to appear on coins has been unveiled, but it might be some time before the new money starts appearing in people’s wallets. The effigy, designed by Jody Clark, is only the fifth definitive coin portrait to have been created during the Queen’s reign and the first since 1998.
The new coin
The new portrait is revealed at a ceremony in London’s National Portrait Gallery. Coins carrying the design will now begin being struck, the Royal Mint said. [Daily Telegraph] New Zealanders confiscating bad drivers keys –
Police are urging motorists not to take matters into their own hands, following the latest removal of car keys from drivers allegedly driving dangerously. While police are encouraging the use of *555 calls, the growing trend of motorists confronting bad drivers and removing keys is on the rise nationally – almost one a day during the past week. [New Zealand Herald]
Madonna ‘snogs’ Drake during his set at Coachella 2015 –
This year’s event was headlined by AC/DC, Jack White and Drake. It was some of the unannounced acts that got people talking though. Madonna made an appearance during Drake’s headline set after he performed his track called Madonna, which was released on his If You’re Reading This mixtape. She then sang Human Nature and Hung Up. And, not being one to make an appearance without attracting headlines, she then kissed Drake, A LOT, said the words “I’m Madonna” and walked off the stage. [BBC] Madonna
Robbie Williams abandons basement plans to appease Jimmy Page –
Robbie Williams has scaled back plans to revamp his multi-million pound home following a public spat with neighbour Jimmy Page. The 41-year-old star has ditched the proposal for a two-storey basement extension under the garden and glass studio at the top of his house. The Take That singer angered the veteran rocker with ambitious proposals for the 46-room mansion, which was previously owned by the late film director Michael Winner. [Daily Telegraph] Robbie Williams
Marco Rubio ‘announces US presidential bid’ –
Florida Senator Marco Rubio has told donors that he will run for the Republican nomination for US president in 2016, US media report. Mr Rubio, 43, said on a conference call he was “uniquely qualified” to bring the party into the future. He is the third Republican to officially announce a candidacy after Senators Rand Paul and Ted Cruz. Mr Rubio is expected to make a formal announcement at a political rally in Miami later on Monday.
It comes a day after former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said she would stand for the Democratic nomination. [BBC] Marco Rubio
Gonville and Caius College, Cambridge, win University Challenge –
255-105: The Cambridge college beat Magdalen College, Oxford, in the BBC’s quick fire quiz’s grand final. Ted Loveday wearing a cream cable-nit jumper proved the star resulting in tweets like this-
Gisele Bundchen Shares Throwback Photo in Honor of Last Runway Show –
The 34-year-old model will hang up her catwalking shoes after she struts her stuff during São Paulo Fashion Week tonight, walking for Brazilian street label Colcci, a brand she has represented since 2005. Before she takes the runway for the last time, Bündchen shared a sweet throwback photo to her Instagram account from her very first show. [Celebuzz.com] Gisele Bunchen (Instagram – giseleofficial)
Unpaid spaceport workers appeal to Vladimir Putin with giant graffiti –
Construction workers at a £9 billion cosmodrome in eastern Russian have resorted to extreme measures to appeal to Vladimir Putin after going four months without pay. Employees of TMK at the Vostochny spaceport were so exasperated at failing to receive their money that they painted a message to the Russian president in huge white letters on top of their construction huts. The giant letters read, “Dear Putin, V.V.”, “Save the workers”, “Four months without pay” and “We want to work”. [Daily Telegraph]
Record dive rescues $50m wartime silver from ocean floor –
A British-led team has recovered a $50m (£34m; €47m) trove of silver coins that has lain on the seabed since the steamship carrying them from Bombay to England was sunk in 1942. The SS City of Cairo was torpedoed 772km (480 miles) south of St Helena by a German U-boat and sank to 5,150m. The 100 tonnes of coins, recovered in the deepest salvage operation in history, belonged to HM Treasury. The coins have now been melted down in the UK and sold, with the undisclosed sum divided between the treasury – which technically owns the coins – and the salvagers, who take a percentage of the sale. The salvage was completed in September 2013, but DOS has only now been given permission by the Ministry of Transport to announce it. [BBC]
Video of the Day –
HDD and Floppy Music: Nirvana – Smells Like Teen Spirit –
Demi Lovato Wishes Joe Jonas ‘Happy #420’ –
To honor 4/20 (See Top Twitter Trends), the day famously celebrated by weed connoisseurs, Demi Lovato decided to post a little message for her friend Joe Jonas. She took to Instagram to share a photoshopped image of herself with Jonas and Miley Cyrus. “In honor of our former escapades, I thought you’d like this to remember your first blaze.. Happy #420 @joejonas. #disneyhighclassof09,” she captioned the eye-popping image. [Billboard.com]
Russia: Police stage mayor’s disappearance to thwart killing –
Police in Russia have staged the disappearance of a city mayor to prevent his contract killing, it’s reported. Pavel Plotnikov, the mayor of Yoshkar Ola in central Russia, was reported missing on Saturday, after apparently failing to meet his wife as planned a day earlier. “All police patrols, criminal investigators – practically all police in Yoshkar Ola” were looking for the mayor, the city’s police spokeswoman Olga Plotnikova told the media at the time. But early on Monday, the mayor’s own website issued a statement saying that his disappearance had actually been staged. “The mayor’s ‘disappearance’ was necessitated by operational activities of Russia’s Interior Ministry staff,” the statement says. “They implemented measures to prevent a planned killing of the mayor and his family.” Later in the day, Mr Plotnikov gave a news conference to shed more light on what had happened. Because of his “principled position”, the mayor said, he was supposed to have been killed in a forest some time between Friday night and Saturday morning. Thanks to swift action by the security services, the would-be killers and those who took out a contract on the mayor have been arrested, Mr Plotnikov told the news conference, adding: “Many thanks to the police for saving my life.” The police have simply said that the mayor “has been found” and that “he’s alive and well, and is currently with his family”. [BBC]
U.S. Supreme Court rejects appeal over Arizona ‘fish pedicures’ –
The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday rejected an appeal by the owner a Phoenix-area spa that ran afoul of Arizona state regulations that barred her from providing pedicures in which clients have their feet nibbled by small fish to remove dead skin. The high court’s action, made without comment by the justices, ends a years-long case over fish pedicures, which have become a popular alternative to exfoliation for some spa-goers in recent years but are banned in some U.S. states for health and safety reasons. In 2009, Vong was told by the Arizona Board of Cosmetology that the treatment violated the agency’s safety standards, and that she could face criminal charges. The board said any tool or equipment used in a pedicure must be stored and disinfected in a specific way, and that she could not disinfect the fish coming in contact with clients’ skin. [Reuters] Garra Rufa – the pedicure fish species
Traffic chaos on M74 ‘due to a dog taking control of a tractor’ –
A busy stretch of motorway was left in chaos on Wednesday “due to a dog taking control of a tractor”. The bizarre incident was reported by Traffic Scotland at J13 of the M74 near Abington in South Lanarkshire. The transport body tweeted it was “not joking” and a farmer and police were at the scene with the vehicle after it crashed into the central reservation. The dog – believed to be a sheepdog – was unhurt after reportedly leaning on the controls of the tractor, taking it from a field on to the road. [Daily Telegraph]
Traffic Scotland later tweeted that the dog was OK. @Traffic Scotland on Twitter
Man shoots computer in Colorado Springs alley, gets revenge he wanted – and a citation –
When ctrl + alt + delete doesn’t work, just shoot the darn thing. That’s what one man did on Monday night, according to Colorado Springs police. Lucas Hinch, 37, was cited for discharging a weapon within city limits after he took the fight with his computer outside and got the revenge most of us only dream about. “He got tired of fighting with his computer for the last several months,” Lt. Jeff Strossner said. “He was having technology problems, so he took it out in the back alley and shot it.” Strossner tweeted Hinch “executed” his computer in an alley on the 2200 block of West Colorado Avenue. The penalty for the citation will be up to a judge, police said, adding that Hinch was good-natured about the citation and hadn’t realized he was breaking the law when he went Wild West on that useless piece of technology. Hinch shot it eight times, Strossner said, “effectively disabling it.” The computer is not expected to recover. [The Gazette] The shot computer – Image from the Colorado Gazette
Google launches Project Fi mobile phone network –
Google has detailed its plan to run a mobile phone network in the US. The firm will rent voice and data capacity from two existing operators – Sprint and T-Mobile – and use existing wi-fi hotspots, rather than build new infrastructure from scratch. Initially, Project Fi will only be offered to Nexus 6 handset owners. Sundar Pichai, chief of Google’s Android platform, first mentioned the company’s plan to create a phone network in February, but provided little detail at the time. The company has now revealed that its subscribers will be automatically switched between 4G signals provided by Sprint and T-Mobile, depending on whichever is stronger at the time. They will also be able to make calls over wi-fi without having to use a special app, similar in nature to the Wi-fi Calling facility recently introduced by EE in the UK. [BBC] Sundar Pichai
Video of the Day –
The first video posted on YouTube – 10 years ago today –
Tiger Woods and Lindsey Vonn split up –
Former world number one golfer Tiger Woods and his girlfriend, US Olympic skiing champion Lindsey Vonn, say they have ended their relationship.
Both blamed the pressure of their busy schedules for the split. Ms Vonn said on Facebook that the decision was mutual. In a statement on his website, Mr Woods said he would “always cherish our time together”. The sports stars first publicly announced they were an item in March 2013 following weeks of speculation. “After nearly three years together, Tiger and I have mutually decided to end our relationship,” Ms Vonn, 30, said on her Facebook page. [BBC]
In January Vonn won her 63rd World Cup downhill title and Woods lost a tooth in the media scrum. Lindsey Vonn
Chelsea win Premier League: Jose Mourinho attacks critics after capturing league title at Stamford Bridge –
Eden Hazard’s goal confirmed Chelsea as champions for this first time in five years and manager Mourinho rejected any suggestions his side are not worthy winners or that they have been helped by the failure of others. “The people who have a big face to say we don’t deserve it are the ones who, in my country, say the dogs bark and the caravan goes by,” said Mourinho. This is the first title Mourinho has won with Chelsea since returning to the club since 2013 and his third with the club in total. (See List of the Day) Jose Mourinho
British Election 2015: Exit poll puts Tories close to majority –
The Conservatives are set to be the largest party in the Commons but just short of a majority, according to the general election exit poll. The survey taken at polling stations across the UK suggests the Tories will get 316 MPs to Labour’s 239 when all the results have been counted. It suggests the Lib Dems will get 10 MPs, the SNP 58, Plaid Cymru 4, UKIP 2 and the Greens two. The exit poll was conducted by NOP/MORI for the BBC, ITV and Sky. [BBC] See List of the Day for previous election actual results BBC Exit Polls
Putin’s new tank designed to ‘outclass the West’ breaks down –
A new Russian tank announced with much fanfare as superior to Western machines stalled during a dress rehearsal for Victory Day celebrations in Moscow on Thursday. The T-14 Armata, making only its second public appearance, ground to a halt on Red Square, opposite Vladimir Lenin’s mausoleum.
Sergei Shoigu, Russia’s defence minster, was reportedly forced to approach the tank to find out what had happened; servicemen then tried to hook it up to another military vehicle and tow it away. [Daily Telegraph]
Sam Smith to have surgery on vocal cords –
Singer Sam Smith has told his fans he needs “surgery” on his vocal cords. The 22-year-old singer pulled out of the rest of his Australian tour last week, after doctors discovered a haemorrhage on the vocal cords. Smith has since flown to the United States to see a specialist. In a post on Twitter, he said: “I am very upset to announce I have been battling to get my vocal cords better [over] the last 10 days but unfortunately they haven’t recovered and I’m going to need surgery.” [Daily Telegraph] Sam Smith
Picasso’s Women of Algiers smashes auction record –
Picasso’s Women of Algiers has become the most expensive painting to sell at auction, going for $179.3m (£115m) at Christie’s in New York. Eleven minutes of prolonged bidding from telephone buyers preceded the final sale – for much more than its pre-sale estimate of $140m. The evening sale also featured Alberto Giacometti’s life-size sculpture Pointing Man, which set a record as the most expensive sculpture, at $141.3m. The buyers chose to remain anonymous. The Picasso oil painting is a vibrant, cubist depiction of nude courtesans, and is part of a 15-work series the Spanish artist created in 1954-55 designated with the letters A to O. [BBC] See Video of the Day Picasso’s Women of Algiers
Ukip rejects Nigel Farage’s resignation as party leader –
Nigel Farage is to stay on as leader of the UK Independence Party after the party’s ruling board rejected his resignation. Mr Farage quit as Ukip leader last Friday, delivering on a pledge to resign if he failed to be elected as leader of South Thanet. The news risks making Ukip into a laughing stock because Mr Farage had raised the stakes about his future by insisting he would resign. Mr Farage’s decision to stay on also raises questions over whether Douglas Carswell, Ukip’s only MP, will quit the party to become an independent MP after he suggested Mr Farage should not lead Ukip again. Mr Carswell later repeatedly refused to endorse Mr Farage’s return to the Ukip leadership after speaking at an event in central London. [Daily Telegraph] Nigel Farage
James Corden can’t believe the Late Late Show is still on the air –
James Corden’s appearance at the Bafta TV awards was just a flying visit. In fact, his time on home soil (19 hours) was less than the time he spent in the sky travelling to and from Los Angeles for it (23 hours). “I’ve genuinely had some of the best nights of my life at this event,” he told us on the red carpet. Since he took over the Late Late Show in March, America’s latest chat show host has been grabbing headlines with his big name guests and viral videos. But he admitted to Newsbeat that it’s “mostly mystifying” as to why the show is still on the air. “No-one could have predicted the show would be received in such a manner. It’s beyond all of our wildest dreams.” [BBC] James-Corden
David Cameron unveils ‘blue collar’ Cabinet –
David Cameron has unveiled his “blue collar Cabinet” as he promoted the son of a milkman, the daughter of a garage-owner and the Tory Party’s “champion of the people” to senior Government roles. In a bid to put making the Conservatives “the real party for working people” at the centre of the next five years of Government, Mr Cameron promoted Robert Halfon, Sajid Javid, Greg Clark and Priti Patel to senior ministerial roles. It means that 43 per cent of Cabinet ministers were educated in comprehensive schools – a rise from 21 per cent in Mr Cameron’s first Coalition Cabinet in 2010. [Daily Telegraph] See List of the Day for the complete Conservative cabinet.
Video of the Day –
The bidding for the most expensive painting in the world –
Record fines for currency market fix –
Five of the world’s largest banks are to pay fines totalling $5.7bn (£3.6bn) for charges including manipulating the foreign exchange market.
Four of the banks – JPMorgan, Barclays, Citigroup and RBS – have agreed to plead guilty to US criminal charges. The fifth, UBS, will plead guilty to rigging benchmark interest rates. Barclays was fined the most, $2.4bn, as it did not join other banks in November to settle investigations by UK, US and Swiss regulators. Barclays is also sacking eight employees involved in the scheme. [BBC]
Chinese professor accused in ‘Breaking Bad’ drugs plot –
Police in China have arrested a chemistry professor for his part in producing a psychoactive drug in a case that has been likened to US crime drama Breaking Bad. State agency Xinhua said 17 people were arrested including a Xian university professor alleged to have helped provide the recipe for methcathinone. Police seized 128kg (282lb) of the drug and more than 5m yuan ($806,095; £519,450). The drug lab was raided last year. [BBC]
David Letterman saluted by stars on final Late Show –
Four US presidents have joined stars including Steve Martin, Tina Fey, Jerry Seinfeld and Foo Fighters to pay tribute to TV host David Letterman on his final late night talk show. Letterman has bowed out after 33 years and 6,028 late-night broadcasts.He joked that physicist Stephen Hawking had calculated it “works out to about eight minutes of laughter”.He gave emotional thanks to his family, crew and viewers, saying: “There’s nothing I can ever do to repay you.”The 68-year-old began his late-night career on NBC in 1982, before moving to CBS’s Late Show in 1993.[BBC] See Video of the Day and List of the Day. David Letterman
Video of the Day –
Celebrity Top Ten Things I’ve Always Wanted to Say To David Letterman
List of the day –
David Letterman’s final Top Ten list – “Top 10 things I’ve always wanted to say to Dave:”
10. Alec Baldwin: “Of all the talk shows, yours is the most geographically convenient to my home.”
9. Barbara Walters: “Did you know you wear the same cologne as Muammar Qaddafi?”
8. Steve Martin: Your extensive plastic surgery was a necessity…and a mistake.”
7. Jerry Seinfeld: “I have no idea what I’ll do when you go off the air. You know what, I just thought of something: I’ll be fine.”
6. Jim Carrey: “Honestly Dave, I’ve always found you to be a bit of an over-actor.” (He gesticulated wildly).
5. Chris Rock: “I’m just glad your show is being given to another white guy.” (Dave: “You know, I had nothing to do with that.”)
4. Julia Louis-Dreyfus: “Thanks for letting me take part in another hugely disappointing series finale.” (Seinfeld smirks). (Dave: “I had nothing to do with that either.”)
3. Peyton Manning: “Dave, you are to comedy what I am to comedy.”
2. Tina Fey: “Thanks for finally proving men can be funny.”
1. Bill Murray: “Dave, I’ll never have the money I owe you.”
Best photobomb ever? Seagull steals the show from Red Arrows display team –
An image that shows the latest addition to the world famous Red Arrows is a seagull has become an Internet hit. The amazing moment was captured by first year photography student Jade Coxon,18, as she took pictures at the Llandudno Air Show on 23 May. And, since posting the stunning snap online on Sunday, Jade is over the moon to have got more than 1 million views. The crisp pic clearly shows eight of the Red Arrows in tight formation trailing their famous vapour. But then where the ninth plane should be there is an intrepid seagull holding the formation in place and, amazingly, with his own vapour trail. [Daily Telegraph] Red-Arrows-and-seagull (Photo – SWNS Group)
Taylor Swift enters Forbes 100 most powerful women list –
The 25 year old singer and songwriter has become the youngest woman ever to be included on the Forbes list of The World’s 100 Most Powerful Women.
She’s included at number 64 in the list released on Tuesday because, Forbes says, she ‘has not only broken record sales and captivated the world with her fantastically honest lyrics, but she has proven herself as an impressive businesswoman.’ [Daily Mail] See List of the Day Taylor Swift
The Charlie Charlie Challenge – what is the spooky craze? –
A strange new game is taking over Twitter, fuelled by speculation that its players can connect with a dead Mexican spirit known as Charlie. The Charlie Charlie Challenge has been played by thousands of young people after a number of videos purported to show supernatural goings-on. The game entails placing two pencils on a piece of paper in the shape of the cross with the words ‘yes’ and ‘no’. Participants then repeat the phrase “Charlie, Charlie can we play?” in order to connect with the demon. If Charlie is there the pencils will move to indicate his answer. [Daily Telegraph] See Top Twitter Trends 25 May 2015
Video of the Day –
Are You Consuming Your Coffee Correctly?
List of the day –
Forbes Magazine 100 Most Powerful Women in the World 2015 [Forbes]
Fifa officials corrupted football – US prosecutors –
US prosecutors have accused several officials from football’s governing body Fifa of racketeering, fraud and money laundering involving tens of millions of dollars over 24 years. Prosecutors said they had discovered a dozen schemes, including one awarding the 2010 World Cup to South Africa.
Fourteen people have been indicted, with seven held in Zurich on Wednesday. Those indicted in the US case are accused of accepting bribes and kickbacks estimated at more than $150m (£97m) over a 24-year period beginning in 1991. [BBC] President Sepp Blatter has not been implicated by the US Presecutors. In December 2014 a complaint by US lawyer Michael Garcia who spent two years investigating World Cup corruption claims for Fifa was dismissed by football’s governing body. Sepp Blatter at the 2014 FIFA Tournament Announcement in 2007
London is getting a cannabis-inspired restaurant –
Grub Club and the chefs at Grub London have teamed up to create ‘Cannabistro’, a two night pop-up event coming to London in June.Diners at London’s first weed-themed restaurant will be treated to a four-course gourmet meal of dishes inspired by “hazy memories of teenage years combined with the clichés of getting high – ‘The Way Up’ – and coming down – ‘The Munchies’.” [Daily Telegraph]
SpaceX cleared for US military launches –
Billionaire Elon Musk’s firm SpaceX has won long-waited approval from the US Air Force to launch military satellites, opening the way to a lucrative market that has been a virtual monopoly for a Boeing and Lockheed Martin joint venture. With the certification, California-based SpaceX can now compete against the United Launch Alliance – the giant Boeing-Lockheed joint venture – for defence contracts valued at about $9.5bn over the next five years. In January 2015 Musk announced that he will build a test track for his “Hyperloop” transport system that could theoretically travel at speeds of up to 700 miles per hour. [news24.com] Elon Musk
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A Guy’s Understanding of Women’s Underwear – Robbie Sherrard
At least 12 people, associated with the Kangleyuan Rest Home in the Chinese city of Pingdingshan in Henan province which was destroyed by fire with the loss of 38 lives, are detained for questioning. (AP)
Southampton footballers set new world record for longest match –
A new world record for the longest football match has been set at St Mary’s, the home of Southampton FC, after a 102 hour-long charity game. The 36 players, from the Testlands Support Project, a Southampton charity, played on until 00:30 BST on Friday to break the previous record, of 101 hours. The players took turns to take breaks to eat, get physiotherapy and sleep. They began the 11-a-side match at 18:30 on Sunday, scoring over 1,600 goals. The Reds went on to beat the Whites 910-725. [BBC]
Surprising pop star facts revealed by YouTube –
YouTube reveals statistics, usually only visible to those behind the scenes, showing some bizarre trends about the world’s biggest stars. They show that Taylor Swift is twice as popular in Bangkok in Thailand than New York, for example. Or that One Direction are huge in Quezon City, the Philippines, as well as Mexico City. The Artist Insights service was unveiled on Wednesday. Google says it means musicians will be able to see the cities where they have the largest number of fans. The records go back to September 2014 and include original versions of the artist’s videos as well as fan shares and re-uploads. [BBC Newsbeat] See List of the Day
‘Female Viagra’ to boost women’s libido one step closer –
The development of a pill to boost women’s libido is one step closer after an American panel recommended the approval of the female equivalent of Viagra. A panel of Food and Drug Administration (FDA) advisers has voted in favour of recommending flibanserin, a daily pill nicknamed the “female Viagra”. The recommendation will be seen as a major coup for campaigners who have fought for women’s sex drives to receive the same level of medical attention as men’s. The decision will now be passed to the FDA itself, which will rule on whether the pill will be officially approved for public use later this year. [Daily Telegraph]
The death toll from the sinking of the ship on the Yangtze River rises to 82 with officials giving up hope of finding more survivors. Only 15 out of over 450 people on the boat were rescued. (Sky News Australia)
Chris Evans to be new Top Gear presenter –
TV and radio personality Chris Evans will replace Jeremy Clarkson as the lead presenter of an all-new Top Gear line-up, the BBC has announced. Evans said he was “thrilled” to get the job, describing the motoring show as his “favourite programme of all time”. “I promise I will do everything I possibly can to respect what has gone on before and take the show forward,” he added. Clarkson was dropped in March after punching a producer while on location. Chris Evans (L) with Joss Stone
Foo Fighters cancel Glastonbury gig –
Rock group Foo Fighters have cancelled their headline slot at this year’s Glastonbury Festival. The announcement comes four days after frontman Dave Grohl fell off stage at a concert in Sweden, fracturing his leg. June dates in Belgium, and at Edinburgh’s Murrayfield Stadium and London’s Wembley Stadium have also been cancelled. Grohl apologised to fans, saying it was “just not physically possible” for him to perform at the moment.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), which is a part of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), issues a mandate that all trans fatty acids (trans fats) must be eliminated, within three years (2018) from all foods grown, imported to, or sold within the United States. It is the strictest and most final type of ruling, even more so than a black-box warning or a warning to list ingredients, that can be given from the federal agency, which has ultimate jurisdiction over the safety of all food and drug products, public or private, in the United States. The substances occur in processed meats and other foods, and have been repeatedly implicated in atherosclerotic coronary heart disease, diabetes, and some cancers. (MSN), (Washington Post),(CNN Money), (FDA’s statement)
Floyd Mayweather tops the 2015 Forbes Celebrity Rich List –
Since 1999 Forbes have been ranking the wealth and influence of the world’s biggest stars. Factors taken into account include income, Google hits, fan base, press clips and magazine covers. But for the the first time, this year’s list has ranked the world’s top earning entertainers by annual income only. Mayweather’s $300 million year shatters the record for athlete earnings, which was previously held by Tiger Woods who banked $115 million in 2008. Mayweather earned an estimated $180m from his fight with Manny Pacquiao on May 2, 2015. Katy Perry has been crowned the highest earning female celebrity. [Daily Telegraph] See List of the Day below Floyd Mayweather
Taylor Swift and Calvin Harris top highest paid couple list –
Taylor Swift and Calvin Harris have become the highest paid celebrity couple, overtaking Beyonce and Jay Z. The relatively new romance of Swift with her superstar DJ boyfriend see them top this year’s Forbes list; with a combined income of $146m (£92m). It means Queen Bey and her rapper husband slip down to second place with earnings of $100m (£70m). The power couple have been number one on the list since 2013. [BBC] Taylor Swift
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Avril Lavigne says having Lyme disease has been the ‘worst time’ of her life –
Avril Lavigne has opened up about her struggle with Lyme disease, calling it the “worst time” of her life. The 30-year-old singer contracted the disease, spread by infected ticks, whilst touring last year. The Canadian says she became “bedridden” in October but is now expected to make a full recovery. She told Good Morning America: “I was seeing every specialist and every doctor. They’d say ‘chronic fatigue syndrome?’ or ‘are you depressed?’ “I woke up and had night sweats and felt like I had the flu. She says it took took months for someone to finally figure out that she had Lyme Disease. [BBC Newsbeat] Avril Lavigne
The Turkish military is reportedly preparing for an imminent invasion of northern Syria following a National Security Council meeting. The aim is to establish a buffer zone for refugees and drive back Islamic State militants. The Kurdish militia group YPG have said they will oppose any Turkish intervention in Syria. (Telegraph)
Four Israelis were shot and injured in a drive-by shooting attack near Shilo, as a manhunt begins for the suspects. (YNet)
Chinese state-run media reports the Great Wall losing around 30% of its structure due to natural conditions and human activities. (AFP via Discovery)
The Israeli Navy intercepts and takes control of the lone ship still involved in Freedom Flotilla III and pilots it to Ashdod. The other three ships involved had already turned back after being intercepted. Israel offered all ships to unload their humanitarian aid cargo in Israeli ports and transport it into Gaza for free but the ships refused. (Israel National News)(Times Of Israel)
Robot kills man at Volkswagen plant in Germany –
A robot has killed a man at a Volkswagen car factory in Germany. The 22-year-old worker died from injuries he sustained when he was trapped by a robotic arm and crushed against a metal plate. The man, who has not been named, was part of a team that was setting up the automated machinery at the factory in Kassel, north of Frankfurt, according to Volkswagen. The robot in question is a mechanical arm that moves car parts into place, said Heiko Hillwig, a spokesman for the company. [Daily Telegraph]
Wimbledon 2015: Rafael Nadal dumped out of tournament by inspired Dustin Brown –
Wimbledon has a new cult hero. Dustin Brown, in a blur of flying dreadlocks and pure inspiration, on Thursday night produced one of the most thrilling upsets ever witnessed on these lawns by defeating the great Rafael Nadal in four breathlessly brilliant sets. With a combination of Sampras-esque serving and improvised groundstrokes that would not have looked out of place on the local park courts, the Jamaican-born German, who enraptured Centre Court by his Rastafarian cool, found an abundance of raw adrenalin to close out his astonishing 7-5, 3-6, 6-3, 6-3 triumph. [Daily Telegraph] See Top Twitter Trends Dustin Brown
Selfies to replace passwords in Mastercard online payments trial –
Mastercard is testing new app that could allow customers to make purchases online by taking a selfie rather than entering a password. Currently, Mastercard customers use a system called SecureCode to verify their identity while shopping online. This requires them to enter a password at the point of sale. Participants in Mastercard’s trial will be prompted to snap a photograph of their face using the Mastercard app on their smartphone at the online checkout point, rather than entering a password. This app then converts the photo into 1s and 0s using facial recognition technology, and transmits it over the internet to MasterCard, which compares it with a stored code representing the cardholder’s face. If the two codes match up, then the purchase will be approved. [Daily Telegraph]
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Wingsuit Flight Through 2 Meter Cave – Uli Emanuele By GoPro Original Productions
The Kim Nirvana ferry capsizes off the Philippines en route from the city of Ormoc to Camotes island with 173 people onboard. So far at least 33 people are confirmed dead while at least 50 people have been rescued. (AFP via ABC Online), (BBC)