Top Stories – Not a bad gardening leave payoff –
NBC reaches a $45m (£28m) agreement with Conan O’Brien over his late-night US talk show, so his predecessor Jay Leno can make a return. O’Brien will be allowed to return to TV in eight months. Conan O’Brien
Wolf in wolf’s clothing –
The winner of the Wildlife Photographer of the Year award has been disqualified after judges ruled that the featured wolf was probably a “model”. The 2009 winning image, dubbed the storybook wolf, was taken by photographer Jose Luis Rodriguez.
The car in front… won’t slow down –
Toyota is recalling 2.3 million cars in the US to correct sticking accelerator pedals. In August of last year, Toyota recalled 690,000 cars in China due to faulty electrical window switches.
Top Video – Videotape – A Pixilation Sci-Fi Short Film about an old man’s haunted VCR.
Top Story –
New figures show an 80 per cent rise in breast reduction operations carried out on men. The annual audit by the British Association of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons (BAAPS) reveals its members carried out 581 male breast reductions last year, up from 323 in 2008. Five years ago just 22 such procedures were performed on men. The procedure is now the third most popular cosmetic operation for men behind nose jobs and eyelid operations to remove fat. [Daily Telegraph]
Ecstatic reaction as Rosetta spacecraft mission lands on comet –
The Rosetta spaceship, which was launched in 2004, has landed on comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko in a mission which could reveal the origins of life on Earth. The spacecraft’s thrusters failed to work during the mission prompting fears that the lander could simply bounce off the comet and back into space. But the Philae landing craft managed to land safely. The small probe took pictures as it descended as well as monitored chemical levels. The European Space Agency’s ground-breaking £1 billion mission to chase, orbit, and execute a soft landing on a moving comet has been called one of the most extraordinary achievements in space history. [Daily Telegraph] See Video of the Day Artist’s impression of the Philae lander
Video of the Day –
Philae Lands On Comet! – Mission Control Celebrates | Video
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
Sydney siege ends –
The siege in the Lindt Chocolat Cafe in Sydney is ended by Australian troops storming the building. The gunman, Man Haron Monis, and two of his hostages are killed.
Christmas back on in Delhi –
Delhi University has reversed the decision to rename Christmas Day ‘Good Governance Day’ by organising seminars and competitions on oratory.
But now, after a mass of complaints, the Ministry of Human Resource Development (MHRD) has asked colleges to organise the function without disturbing Christmas Day celebrations.
Unethical appeal –
FIFA ethics investigator Michael Garcia has lost his appeal against a statement by ethics judge Hans-Joachim Eckert on his report into bidding for the World Cups had contained “numerous materially incomplete and erroneous representations of the facts and conclusions”. The appeal has been declared inadmissible by FIFA’s appeals committee, who said Eckert’s statement was not a legally-binding decision and therefore could not be appealed against.
Cheapskate footballers conned –
Players at an English Premier League football club have apparently lost £30,000 to fraudsters in a scam. West Ham United footballer Andy Carroll and manager Sam Allardyce paid £11,000 for cut-price Fortnum & Mason hampers and Harrods champagne last month – and the pair but never saw the goods delivered. Andy Carroll
Coding error? –
Silicon Valley security firm Norse has said the massive hack on Sony earlier this year may not have been made by North Korea but by a disgruntled group of former employees headed by a person called Lena who was laid off last May.
More thumb action for 2015 –
New fashion app Grabble works like Tinder but with fashion items instead of potential dates being “thrown” or grabbed”.
Happy New Year! –
5 years done, 5 to go in the decade that still hasn’t earn’t a name. Onesies, Deccies, Tennies – what will it be?
2014 was The Year Of… –
The Selfie. The ultimate one was, of course, by Ellen DeGeneres at the Oscars [see March 13th 2014]
2015 will be…? –
2015 was year in which the film Back to the Future was set, so expect hoverboards and DeLorean cars to be big this year. October 21st is the magical day.
Very fast wedding –
Formula 1 driver Jenson Benson, who has retained his seat for McLaren in 2015 tweeted that he has married his partner of 7 years, lingerie model, Jessica Michibata in Hawaii.
Captain Fantastic –
Steven Gerrard captain of Liverpool FC announces he is leaving the club to play overseas at the end of the English Premier League season. Gerrard who is 34 made his debut for the club in 1998 is likely to go to MLS club LA Galaxy.
Rouble to Euro –
Lithuania becomes the nineteenth state to join the Euro and in doing so gets its fourth currency in 25 years – after the Soviet rouble, the talonas and the litas.
Shootings at Charlie Hebdo magazine in Paris –
Gunmen have attacked the Paris offices of the satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo killing 12 and wounding 4. Witnesses report the gunmen shouted “we have avenged the Prophet. Editor-in-chief Stephane Charbonnier is among the dead. Stephane Charbonnier
Second shooting in Paris –
Possibly connected with the Charlie Hebdo attack, a gunmen has killed a policewoman and seriously injured a civilian in the south of Paris.
LA Galaxy get their man –
Los Angeles Galaxy have confirmed that Liverpool FC captain Steven Gerrard will the club in July 2015. The former England midfielder, 34, will play for the Major League Soccer club after his contract at Anfield expires. Gerrard, is the second England captain to join LA Galaxy, after David Beckham played for them between 2007 and 2012.
Fast charger –
A new kind of battery charger has been revealed by Israeli start-up Storedot CEO Doron Myersdorf at the CES exhibition in Las Vegas that can recharge a modern smartphone in less time than it takes to boil a kettle. However the phone needs to have a completely new type of battery, which contains specially synthesised organic molecules so existing phones cannot be used.
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.
One underscores the other doesn’t score –
Father Michael Duffy a New York priest has been receiving Twitter messages congratulating him on signing for Celtic Football Club. In fact another Michael Duffy who was transferred to the Scottish football champions from Derry City club has the same twitter handle as the priest, but the footballer has an underscore at the end. Father Duffy has gained many new followers and today tweeted:
Painting sells for $300m, a world record –
One of French artist Paul Gauguin’s most famous paintings showing to Tahitian ladies is sold for $300m (£197m), making it the most expensive work of art ever sold. Entitled Nafea Faa Ipoipo, or When Will You Marry?, was painted in 1892 by the French Post-Impressionist and has apparently been sold to a museum in Qatar.
Phantom of the Opera apprehended –
Austrian police arrest a 63-year-old man who has become known as the Phantom of the Opera at the Vienna State Opera House. Security guards have been trying to catch the man, who buys a cheap ticket and then sits in expensive seats, for months. When he was seen in the best seat in the house, the police were called, but he made a run for it and then punched one of the police officers after he was cornered in the Gustav Mahler Hall. He was arrested and given a ban from all future performances at the State Opera.
Left shark designer hit with cease and desist order –
Fernando Sosa who is selling the design for a 3D-printer model of the “Left Shark” dancer from Katy Perry’s Super Bowl half-time show has received a letter from Perry’s lawyers saying, “Your unauthorised display and sale of this product infringes our client’s exclusive rights.” Left Shark became a viral hit after forgetting its steps during the performance of Teenage Dream and California Gurls. CLICK TO SEE MORE STUFF FROM THIS DAY…
Zayn Malik departure dominates Twitter –
Zayn Malik’s decision to leave One Direction 20 years after Robbie Williams left Take That dominates Twitter with #AlwaysInOurHeartsZaynMalik being tweeted 884,400 times and retweeted 3,907,000 times today. (See Top Twitter Trends) Zayn Malik
Germanwings plane crash: Co-pilot ‘wanted to destroy plane’ –
The co-pilot of the Germanwings flight that crashed in the French Alps, named as Andreas Lubitz, appeared to want to “destroy the plane”, officials said. Marseille prosecutor Brice Robin, citing information from the “black box” voice recorder, said the co-pilot was alone in the cockpit.
He intentionally started a descent while the pilot was locked out. Mr Robin said there was “absolute silence in the cockpit” as the pilot fought to re-enter it. He said air traffic controllers made repeated attempts to contact the aircraft, but to no avail. Passengers could be heard screaming just before the crash, he added. Details are emerging of the German co-pilot’s past – although his apparent motives for causing the crash remain a mystery. [BBC]
Russian army TV channel invites Jeremy Clarkson to present motoring show –
Russia’s army TV channel has issued an offer to Jeremy Clarkson to present a motoring show, noting his interest in tanks, aircraft carriers and other hardware. The official military television station of the Russian Armed Forces, Zvezda (Star), said it had invited the axed BBC celebrity to visit Russia to discuss the proposal next month. “Dear Jeremy, the Russian Armed Forces Broadcasting company Zvezda expresses deep honour to you and kindly asks for cooperation,” the channel said in the text of an email it said it had sent to Clarkson, published on its website. [Daily Telegraph] Jeremy Clarkson
King Richard III laid to rest at Leicester Cathedral –
A service to mark the reburial of King Richard III has taken place at Leicester Cathedral. The Archbishop of Canterbury, The Most Rev Justin Welby, presided over the service with local senior clergy and representatives of world faiths. Sophie, Countess of Wessex and the Duke and Duchess of Gloucester were among the guests. Sophie, Countess of Wessex
Twitter launches live-streaming video app Periscope –
Twitter has launched its own live-streaming video app for iOS, on the same day that similar service Meerkat received $12m (£8m) in venture capital funding. Once you have installed Periscope you can begin live-streaming video footage from your camera to anyone who wishes to view it online.
As soon as you start a broadcast an optional alert can be sent to all of your Twitter followers. They can then watch your video live, comment on it and send “hearts”. It is also possible to “lock” a broadcast so that only certain people are able to view it.
George Clooney wants 12-seater cinema at his country estate by the Thames –
George Clooney wants to add a 12-seater home cinema and luxurious swimming pool to his 17th century country estate in Sonning-on-Thames, plans submitted on Friday revealed. A new pool house, pergola and hot tub will be built onto the back of the existing riverside boat house, allowing George and his new wife Amal to luxuriate by the estuaries of the River Thames. Plans have been submitted to South Oxfordshire District Council’s planning department to extend an annexe of Clooney’s countryside mansion in Sonning Eye, Berkshire. [Daily Telegraph] George Clooney
Facebook completes first drone flight above UK, Mark Zuckerberg confirms –
Solar powered drones which provide internet access to rural and remote areas have been trialled in UK for first time by Facebook. They “have a wingspan greater than a Boeing 737 but will weigh less than a car”, according to the social network’s chief Mark Zuckerberg. The drones, developed by Somerset-based company Ascenta which Facebook bought last March, will beam down laser-guided internet signals to those below. Solar panels attached to the wings of the drones mean that they will be able to keep going at altitudes of 60,000 ft for months at a time. Mark Zuckerberg
Dermot O’Leary quits the X Factor –
After eight years, Dermot O’Leary has announced through Twitter he is stepping down as presenter of the long-running talent show, and is now joint favourite to replace Jeremy Clarkson on Top Gear – bookmakers William Hill currently has O’Leary joint with Jodie Kidd as the 4/1 favourite. O’Leary recently danced continuously for 24 hours to raise money for Comic Relief. Dermot O’Leary
Italy court clears Knox and Sollecito –
Italy’s top appeals court has overturned the convictions of Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollecito for the murder of UK student Meredith Kercher.
The decision is the final ruling in the long-running case. The pair were found guilty in 2009, then freed in 2011 after the convictions were overturned. Their convictions were reinstated by another court last year. Ms Kercher was found dead in 2007 in a flat she shared with Ms Knox.
The couple had always maintained their innocence and the decision by the Court of Cassation puts an end to their long legal battle. [BBC]
Zoella turns 25 and Lady Gaga hits 29 –
Zoe Sugg gets a surprise cake party for her 25th birthday and tops the UK Twitter trend chart with #HappyBirthdayZoe. She shares her birthday with Stefani Joanne Angelina Germanotta, better known as Lady Gaga who is 29 today. Zoella birthday party Lady Gaga
Eiffel Tower goes dark in symbolic move for Earth Hour
The Eiffel Tower has gone dark briefly to mark Earth Hour, the campaign to raise awareness about climate change.The five-minute dark-out on Saturday night was a symbolic gesture in the City of Light. Cities around the world also marked the event, with other landmarks like the Kremlin and the Empire State Building going dark.France has been preparing for months to host an international climate conference in Paris at the end of the year, pressing nations to set attainable goals for reducing greenhouse gases and mobilizing international finances to fight climate change. [Daily Mail]
Andreas Lubitz planned spectacular gesture that would go down in history, claims ex-girlfriend –
Airbus crash pilot Andreas Lubitz had been planning a spectacular gesture to make everyone “remember” who he was, it has been claimed. An ex-girlfriend of the Germanwings pilot who crashed his plane in the French Alps, killing all 149 others on board, described him as “tormented” and able to hide secrets. Maria, 26 (not her real name), told Bild newspaper that when she heard about the crash she remembered that he had said he was going do something “that would change the system” and “make everyone remember” him. [Daily Telegraph]
New York’s two billion dollar bunny battle –
Brooklyn woman accused of cruelty by keeping more than 170 rabbits in empty lot hits back with law suit against accusers. A New York woman has appeared in court over Easter charged with keeping 176 rabbits in filthy conditions. Dorota Trec, 35, has become known as the Rabbit Woman of Gowanus, after the Brooklyn neighbourhood where she lives with a rapidly proliferating collections of bunnies. She faces up to a year in jail if found guilty of two animal cruelty charges. Prosecutors allege her pets are suffering from diseases such as syphilis and have bite wounds from frequent fights. Trec, who is a piano teacher, is now accusing an animal welfare campaigner, Natalie Reeves, and others of a smear campaign and is seeking $2 billion in damages after the rabbits were taken away. [Daily Telegraph]
Ranulph Fiennes risks his life in 156 mile Sahara race –
Sir Ranulph Fiennes, the explorer, has told how he is “putting his life on the line” by attempting to complete the Marathon des Sables.
Should the 71-year-old succeed, he will become the oldest Briton to complete the six-day ultra-marathon in the Moroccan desert. The explorer will face temperatures of 50C. “People say I must be mad, especially as I don’t like the heat,” he said. “I am putting my life on the line.” The Marathon des Sables covers 251km, including the distance of a marathon a day and a double marathon another day. Runners carry everything they need on their backs. Sir Ranulph will be raising money for Marie Curie. [Daily Telegraph] Sir Ranulph Fiennes
The Greens held their one seat of Brighton Pavillion
Microsoft to stop producing Windows versions –
Jerry Nixon, a Microsoft development executive, said in a conference speech this week that Windows 10 would be the “last version” of the dominant desktop software. His comments were echoed by Microsoft which said it would update Windows in future in an “ongoing manner”. Instead of new stand-alone versions, Windows 10 would be improved in regular instalments, the firm said. [BBC]
Prince Harry does the Haka in New Zealand –
Prince Harry has taken part in a traditional Maori Haka during his tour of New Zealand. It was part of a day of activities at Linton Military Camp, the largest army base in the country. [BBC] In December 2013 Prince Harry led his Sandringham workers team to a 7-2 victory in a football (soccer) match against local villagers in Scotland. Prince Harry
China imposes smartwatch and wearable tech army ban –
China has forbidden its armed forces from wearing internet-connected wearable tech, according to reports. The People’s Liberation Army Daily, the Chinese military’s official newspaper, said security concerns had been raised after one recruit had received a smartwatch as a birthday gift. News site NBC said its sources had confirmed a ban was now in place. [BBC]
Prince Charles’s private letters published –
Private letters sent by the Prince of Wales to Labour ministers a decade ago have been published after a lengthy legal battle. Clarence House said the move would “only inhibit” the prince’s ability to express concerns. In one letter to the prime minister, the prince said the armed forces were being asked to do a challenging job “without the necessary resources”. Release of the letters follows a decade-long campaign by the Guardian. [BBC] See Top Twitter Trends Prince Charles
Xavi departs from Barcelona by winning the Champions League again –
After playing his last game at the Nu Camp last month Xavi Hernandez played his 397th and final game for Barcelona in the Champions League Final. Barcelona beat Juventus 3-0 to secure a treble of victories following the La Liga and Copa del Rey successes. It is the fourth time Xavi has one the Champions League Title and was celebrated by his club in a tweet. See List of the Day Xavi Hernández
Frankie Dettori wins Epsom Derby on favourite Golden Horn –
Frankie Dettori capped his renaissance with a thrilling victory on favourite Golden Horn to win the 236th running of the Derby at Epsom. Dettori produced an ice-cool ride on the 13-8 favourite to beat his John Gosden-trained stablemate Jack Hobbs by three-and-a-half lengths, with Storm The Stars third. The 44-year-old jockey punched the air as he passed the line and did a trademark flying dismount in the winner’s enclosure. “It was unbelievable. The horse was brilliant,” said Dettori, riding for the first time in the race since returning from a six-month drugs ban two years ago. [BBC] Frakie Dettori
The genius behind ‘Headless Body in Topless Bar’ headline dies at 74 –
Vincent A. Musetto, who wrote the greatest headline in New York newspaper history, died Tuesday at 74 from cancer. “Headless Body in Topless Bar” ran on The Post’s front page on April 15, 1983. As witty as it was horrific, it expressed with unflinching precision the city’s accelerating tailspin into an abyss of atrocious crime and chaos. Post editor- in-chief Col Allan said, “V.A. Musetto was one of the legends of our business, and he became famous for a truly classic headline. But for those who worked with him and mourn him today, V.A. offered so much more: Humor. A sharp critical eye. A personal warmth with his colleagues, and deep love for The Post and its readers. All will miss him.” [Daily Post] New York Post headline April 15, 1083
Chinese actress Zhao Wei sued for ‘staring’ at man through his TV set –
A Chinese actress is being sued after a man claims she “stared at him too intensely” through his TV set. The lawsuit was filed by a man in Shanghai after he watched Zhao Wei in a series called Tiger Mom, which debuted last month. A new law making it harder for courts in China to reject lawsuits has led to concerns of a rise in the number of frivolous claims being made. The rules came into force on 1 May with a 29% rise in cases reported in China. The Supreme People’s Court says there were just over a million cases filed compared with same period last year. [BBC Newsbeat] Zhao Wei
Fat people ‘are better at sniffing out food’ –
Fat people could be gaining weight because their sense of smell is stronger and more vivid, scientists have found. A study by Yale University showed a heightened ability to imagine odours was linked to food cravings and in turn to higher body weight. Researchers found the ability to vividly imagine the smell of popcorn, freshly baked biscuits and even non-food odours is greater in obese adults. They said most people can imagine the view of a favorite location or sing a song to themselves, but struggle to imagine smells associated with our favourite foods. [Daily Telegraph]
Bill Cosby admitted he gave woman drugs before sex –
US comedian Bill Cosby admitted he obtained sedatives with the intent of giving them to women he wanted to have sex with, court papers from 2005 show. The unsealed files, obtained by the Associated Press news agency, show Mr Cosby made the admission in a sex abuse civil case brought by a woman. That case was settled for an undisclosed sum in 2006. Mr Cosby, now 77, is facing a series of sexual assault accusations dating back decades. He has denied the claims. Mr Cosby has never been criminally charged. [BBC] See Top Twitter Trends Bill Cosby in 2011
World’s oldest man dies in Japan aged 112 –
The world’s oldest man, Sakari Momoi, has died in Japan at the ripe old age of 112. Momoi, born months before the Wright brothers made their first successful flight, passed away late on Sunday, said the official at Saitama City, north of Tokyo, where he had lived for many years. The supercentenarian, recognised as the world’s oldest male at the age of 111 last year, died of kidney failure in a care home in Tokyo. [Daily Telegraph]
Eurozone leaders hold a crisis meeting to discuss options on Greek debt following the referendum as Greek banks are near to running out of cash. For the last week Greek banks allowed to withdraw only 50 euros a day. (Reuters)
The European Union gives Greece a deadline of Thursday to develop new proposals for discussion at an emergency summit on Sunday.(BBC)
Disasters and accidents
A United States Air Force F-16 collides with a privately-owned Cessna to the north of Charleston, South Carolina. The pilot of the jet ejects safely, but the Cessna breaks up mid-air, killing the two unidentified occupants. (CNN)
Wimbledon 2015: Novak Djoković beats Roger Federer in final –
Defending champion Novak Djoković saw off seven-time champion Roger Federer in four sets to win his third Wimbledon and ninth Grand Slam title.
The Serb, 28, won 7-6 (7-1) 6-7 (10-12) 6-4 6-3 to overtake the likes of Jimmy Connors, Andre Agassi and Ivan Lendl in the all-time list of major winners. Federer, 33, had hoped to become the first man to win Wimbledon eight times. The Swiss won a thrilling second set tie-break but Djoković came through to win in two hours and 56 minutes. [BBC] No-one in the crowd proposed to his girlfriend unlike Djoković’s match in January 25, 2015. Novak_Đoković
Woman, 30, changes name to log in to Facebook –
A woman has told how she has been forced to change her name by deed poll to match her “ridiculous” Facebook pseudonym after being locked out of her account. Jemma Rogers, 30, a holistic therapist, from Lewisham, south-east London, set up a profile on the social network in 2008. Wanting to avoid annoying friend requests from old friends and strangers, she created the profile under the pseudonym Jemmaroid Von Laalaa. But last month she got a message from Facebook asking her to send identification to prove it was a genuine name and account. In a desperate bid to get the profile back, she changed her name by deed poll and is now officially Ms Von Laalaa. What’s more, despite her extreme efforts, she’s still locked out of her account even after sending over her new ID to Facebook. [Daily Telegraph]
$1 million reward offered for Judy Garland’s stolen ruby slippers –
An anonymous donor has offered a $1 million reward for credible information leading to the recovery of a pair of Judy Garland’s sequined, ruby red slippers stolen from a museum in her Minnesota hometown. The late actress wore the slippers in “The Wizard of Oz.” Three other pairs still exist, including one on display at the Smithsonian Institution in Washington. John Kelsch, executive director of the Judy Garland Museum in Grand Rapids, Minnesota, says the donor is from Arizona and is a huge fan of Garland and the 1939 movie. The reward offer requires the exact location of the slippers and the perpetrator’s name.
Video of the Day –
Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice – Comic-Con Trailer
A European Union leaders’ summit to discuss the Greek debt crisis is cancelled due to failure of finance ministers to agree on Greek proposals. However, Eurozone leaders do meet, with discussions continuing into the night. (BBC), (Sky News)(The Guardian)
FIFA Turns Down Request for Blatter to Attend U.S. Senate Panel Hearing –
A U.S. Senate panel invited FIFA President Sepp Blatter to answer questions at a hearing this Wednesday about the corruption scandal that has badly tarnished soccer’s global governing body but FIFA declined on his behalf, a congressional official said. FIFA did not immediately respond to a request for comment and Blatter’s legal representative in the U.S. declined to comment. Blatter said last week in an interview with German newspaper Welt am Sonntag that he “won’t take any travel risks until everything has been cleared up”. [NY Times] Sepp Blatter
Georgia accuses Russia of violating its sovereignty by placing border markers on the edge of the South Ossetia region, leaving part of an international oil pipeline in territory under Russian control. The area was the site of the Russo-Georgian war in 2008. (Reuters)
PresidentBarack Obama commutes the sentences of 46 American prison inmates serving long sentences for drug related offences. (CNN)
Son of Boston police captain is charged with a foiled plot to bomb a university, inspired by Boston Marathon bombing, on alleged behalf of ISIS. He is scheduled Tuesday for a bail hearing at a federal court in Springfield. (AP)
The male defendant is found not guilty of death threats on US Majority Speaker of the House, John Boehner, by reason of insanity. He is still in jail and due for another trial on August 21 to determine his ability to adjust to society. (USA Today)
Parking attendant ‘mistakenly gives away’ Grandmaster Flash’s car –
Hip-hop pioneer says he returned to garage to find his customised Dodge Charger had been given to someone “dressed like him”. When you leave your customised muscle car with a valet parking service in New York, you assume it is in safe hands.Particularly if you are a hip-hop superstar. But when Grandmaster Flash returned to the garage in Manhattan where he had left his Dodge Charger for two hours he was told by the attendant that his “whip” – slang for souped-up car – had been given to someone else. To make matters worse, he had left thousands of dollars of vintage vinyl in the car. [Daily Telegraph]
Has Kim Kardashian just fixed Twitter? –
Reality TV star wants to be able to edit misspelled tweets and Twitter co-founder says ‘great idea’. It is easily one of the most annoying things about Twitter: the inability to edit tweets that contain mistakes, spelling errors or just came out sounding a bit wrong. Instead, Twitter users have the delete the tweet, and repost a new version, which leads to all kinds of problems if the earlier tweet had been retweeted, and on it goes. But hopefully not for long. Enter Kim Kardashian, the reality TV star and unofficial queen of Twitter, who uses the site daily to communicate with her 33.8 million followers and promote herself. On Friday, Kardashian turned her attention to the workings of the site, asking why it wasn’t possible to simply edit tweets. Not long afterwards, she got a reply from Twitter co-founder Jack Dorsey, which suggests a fix for the problem isn’t far off. [Daily Telegraph] Kim Kardashian Twitter fix with Jack Dorsey
Cilla Black, singer and TV star, dies in Spain aged 72 –
Singer and TV star Cilla Black, who enjoyed a 50-year showbusiness career, has died aged 72, her agent has said. The 1960s singing star became a popular TV celebrity on such shows as Blind Date and Surprise Surprise. Spanish police said a woman named Priscilla White – Black’s real name – had died in Estepona on the Costa del Sol, where the star had a home. The death appeared to be due to natural causes, but this had not yet been confirmed by tests, police said. [BBC] Cilla Black in 1970
Hitchiking robot ‘killed’ in Philadelphia –
A hitchhiking robot that captured the hearts of fans worldwide has met its demise in the US.
The Canadian researchers who created hitchBOT as a social experiment say someone in Philadelphia damaged the robot beyond repair on Saturday, ending its brief American tour. The robot was trying to travel cross-country after successfully hitchhiking across Canada last year and parts of Europe. It set out from Marblehead, Massachusetts, two weeks ago in July with the goal of reaching San Francisco, but never made it off the East Coast. The creators were sent an image of the vandalised robot but cannot track its location because the battery is dead. [Daily Telegraph] hitchBOT displayed at an exhibition
Queen Elizabeth II becomes longest-reigning UK monarch –
The Queen has thanked well-wishers at home and overseas for their “touching messages of kindness” as she becomes Britain’s longest-reigning monarch. Speaking in the Scottish Borders, the 89-year-old monarch said the title was “not one to which I have ever aspired”. At 17:30 BST she had reigned for 23,226 days, 16 hours and approximately 30 minutes – surpassing the reign of her great-great-grandmother Queen Victoria. David Cameron said the service the Queen had given was “truly humbling”. The exact moment the Queen became the longest-reigning sovereign is unknown. Her father, George VI, passed away in the early hours of 6 February 1952, but his time of death is not known. [BBC] See Video of the Day and List of the Day Queen ELizabeth II in March 2015
iPad Pro, new Apple TV and iPhone 6S handsets unveiled –
Apple has unveiled a larger iPad tablet, a TV box with its own app store and new iPhones that can detect how firmly their screens are being pressed. The firm suggested the iPad Pro was suited to work tasks, video games and both editing and watching movies. Sales of the company’s earlier iPads had been on the decline. Apple said the “3D touch” feature of its new phones “transformed” the experience of using them by making it easier to use and switch between apps. The iPad Pro has a 12.9in (32.8cm) display, making its shortest edge the length of its earlier iPad Air 2’s height. In addition, the firm announced a stylus called the Apple Pencil, which has sensors in its tip to help mimic the effect of using a real pencil on paper. The announcement is notable since the firm’s ex-chief executive Steve Jobs said in 2010: “If you see a stylus, they blew it.” [BBC]
Video of the Day –
Brief History of the Royal Family
List of the Day –
Monarchs of Great Britain and Ireland 1603 – present day [from Wikipedia]
Scientists have discovered a new human-like species in a burial chamber deep in a cave system in South Africa. The discovery of 15 partial skeletons is the largest single discovery of its type in Africa. The researchers claim that the discovery will change ideas about our human ancestors. The studies which have been published in the journal Elife also indicate that these individuals were capable of ritual behaviour. The species, which has been named naledi, has been classified in the grouping, or genus,Homo, to which modern humans belong. [BBC] See List of the Day
Pope Francis emojis launched for US visit –
Pope Francis draws huge crowds wherever he goes and now his fans can share their admiration with papal emojis. A new keyboard app is being released to mark the Pope’s upcoming visit to America. You can have the Pope balancing a basketball or riding a taxi (although we suspect he’d prefer his Popemobile). They’re among 52 emojis and 14 GIFs in the app from Swyft Media, the company which created the first ginger emojis. Pope emojis by Swyft Media
Giant Lenin ‘head’ unearthed 24 years after burial in Berlin –
The giant head of a statue of Russian revolutionary Lenin has been unearthed, 24 years after it was buried in a German forest. Workers dug up the granite structure from woodland outside Berlin, following a campaign by historians. The head was once part of a 19m (62ft) monument to the communist leader, which towered over the east of the city. It was dismantled in 1991 after the fall of the Berlin Wall and the pieces were buried in a secluded forest. [BBC]
‘Universal urination duration’ wins Ig Nobel prize –
A study showing that nearly all mammals take the same amount of time to urinate has been awarded one of the 2015 Ig Nobel prizes at Harvard University. These spoof Nobels for “improbable research” are in their 25th year.
The team behind the urination research, from Georgia Tech, won the physics Ig. Using high-speed video analysis, they modelled the fluid dynamics involved in urination and discovered that all mammals weighing more than 3kg empty their bladders over about 21 seconds. Run by the science humour magazine Annals of Improbable Research, this is a jubilantly irreverent affair. It has become world famous for recognising scientific achievements that “make people laugh, and then think”. This year’s Ig winners travelled from six continents to accept their trophies. The triumphant research included a chemical recipe to partially un-boil an egg, and the discovery that the word “huh?” occurs in every human language. [BBC] See List of the Day
Valcke’s reign at FIFA likely to be at an end –
For the second time in his career, Jerome Valcke leaves FIFA with a cloud hanging over him. Sepp Blatter’s lieutenant for the past eight years, Valcke became the highest profile figure in the corruption-plagued organization to fall during the current series of scandals when he was “released from his duties” on Thursday and it appears unlikely he will return. The Frenchman has not been formally dismissed but Blatter is standing down in February and Valcke had already suggested he would probably go at that time as well. The 54-year-old, however, is now being investigated by FIFA’s ethics committee after allegations he was involved in a plan to re-sell 2014 World Cup tickets for a lucrative profit. [Reuters] Jérôme_Valcke
Sperm banks attract customers by offering them enough cash to buy a new iPhone –
Chinese sperm banks have been saying that there is no need to sell a kidney to afford an iPhone, just your bodily fluids. Renji Hospital in Shanghai is one among several facilities offering enough money to buy an iPhone if men donate sperm. The hospital wrote in an online posting: “No need to sell your kidneys – you can easily have a 6s,” which refers to cases where people actually sold their organs to be able to afford Apple products. The advert says that if a man passes a health test and then regularly donates his sperm, he can earn enough money to purchase an iPhone. This amounts to 6,000 yuan (£610) which is enough to buy the new iPhone 6s. [Daily Telegraph]
Chemistry – Callum Ormonde (University of Western Australia) and colleagues, for inventing a chemical recipe to partially un-boil an egg.
Physics – Patricia Yang (Georgia Institute of Technology, US) and colleagues, for testing the biological principle that nearly all mammals empty their bladders in about 21 seconds (plus or minus 13 seconds).
Literature – Mark Dingemanse (Max Planck Institute for Psycholinguistics, The Netherlands) and colleagues, for discovering that the word “huh?” (or its equivalent) seems to exist in every human language – and for not being quite sure why.
Management – Gennaro Bernile (Singapore Management University) and colleagues, for discovering that many business leaders developed in childhood a fondness for risk-taking, when they experienced natural disasters (such as earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, tsunamis, and wildfires) that – for them – had no dire personal consequences.
Economics – The Bangkok Metropolitan Police (Thailand) for offering to pay policemen extra cash if the policemen refuse to take bribes.
Medicine – joint award: Hajime Kimata (Kimata Hajime Clinic, Japan) and also Jaroslava Durdiaková (Comenius University, Slovakia) and her collagues, for experiments to study the biomedical benefits or biomedical consequences of intense kissing (and other intimate, interpersonal activities).
Mathematics – Elisabeth Oberzaucher and Karl Grammer (University of Vienna, Austria) for trying to use mathematical techniques to determine whether and how Moulay Ismael the Bloodthirsty, the Sharifian Emperor of Morocco, managed, during the years from 1697 through 1727, to father 888 children.
Biology – Bruno Grossi (University of Chile) and colleagues, for observing that when you attach a weighted stick to the rear end of a chicken, the chicken then walks in a manner similar to that in which dinosaurs are thought to have walked.
Diagnostic medicine – Diallah Karim (Stoke Mandeville Hospital, UK) and colleagues, for determining that acute appendicitis can be accurately diagnosed by the amount of pain evident when the patient is driven over speed bumps.
Physiology and entomology – Awarded jointly to two individuals: Justin Schmidt (Southwest Biological Institute, US) for painstakingly creating the Schmidt Sting Pain Index, which rates the relative pain people feel when stung by various insects; and to Michael L. Smith (Cornell University, US), for carefully arranging for honey bees to sting him repeatedly on 25 different locations on his body, to learn which locations are the least painful (the skull, middle toe tip, and upper arm). and which are the most painful (the nostril, upper lip, and penis shaft).
Rugby World Cup 2015 Opening Day celebrated with Google Doodle –
Google has marked the start of the 2015 Rugby World Cup with a special doodle. In the doodle, the “G” of Google is transformed into an animated rugby player running through the rain with a rugby ball under his arm.
According to Matt Cruickshank, who designed the doodle, it is intended to celebrate “the girth and gracefulness of the 2015 World Cup players”. “Having grown up playing rugby in England, I can still feel the muddy squelch in my boots lining up on the pitch for lessons,” he said. “After a few concepts I concentrated on the vice like grip of an arm around the ball and how this could be used as a ‘G’. I even added rain for the full effect.” [Daily Telegraph]
Obama to nominate first openly gay service secretary to lead the Army –
President Obama, in a historic first for the Pentagon, has chosen to nominate Eric Fanning to lead the Army, a move that would make him the first openly gay civilian secretary of one of the military services. Fanning, 47, has been a specialist on national security issues for more than two decades and has played a key role overseeing some of the Pentagon’s biggest shipbuilding and fighter jet programs. Fanning’s nomination, which must go to the Senate for confirmation, reflects a major shift for the Pentagon, which only four years ago prevented openly gay troops from serving in the military. The policy didn’t extend to civilian leaders, such as Fanning. [Washington Post] Eric Fanning
Video of the Day –
1 Question That Reveals a Narcissist: “The Science of Us” Episode 9
Governor of ArizonaDoug Ducey states that 21-year-old Leslie Allen Merritt Jr. is ballistically linked to four incidents and arrested in Glendale, Arizona after a SWAT raid. Merritt was previously charged twice in 2013, the first for failing to stop at the scene of a damaged vehicle, and the second for assault and criminal damage. Police state that he is known to hold anti-government and anti-police views. He is charged with four counts each of aggravated assault, criminal damage, disorderly conduct, discharging a firearm within city limits, carrying out a drive-by shooting, and intentional acts of terrorism; and his bail is set at $1 million. (ABC15), (KOB), (HEAVY), (ABC News), (Q13FOX), (AZ Central), (CNN), (Yahoo News), (NBC News)
Michigan motorist sets car, gas pump on fire trying to kill spider with cigarette lighter –
A motorist got more than he bargained for when he stopped at a Michigan gas station earlier this week and started a fire when he tried to kill a spider with a cigarette lighter. Surveillance video from the Mobil gas station in Center Line shows flames quickly engulfing the man’s car and the gas pump, Fox 2 Detroit reported Friday, while adding that luckily no one was hurt. The dopey motorist put out the flames with a fire extinguisher. He told authorities he spotted a spider on his gas tank and pulled out his lighter to get rid of it, the station said. He claimed to be deathly afraid of spiders. Calmly, Adams hit the gas automatic stop button and quickly called the Center Line Fire Department. The fire destroyed the gas pump. The motorist’s vehicle suffered little damage. [Fox News] See Video of the Day
Mark Zuckerberg calls for universal internet access to combat poverty –
Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg and a host of celebrities kicked off a campaign on Saturday to make internet access universal, saying this was critical to fulfilling the United Nations’ newly adopted agenda to combat global ills. Calling for efforts to ensure internet access for everyone globally by 2020, Mr Zuckerberg said internet connections are a dynamic tool for sharing knowledge, creating opportunities, lifting communities out of poverty and promoting peace. “A ‘like’ or a post won’t stop a tank or a bullet, but when people are connected, we have a chance to build a common global community with a shared understanding,” Mr Zuckerberg told at a private lunch with business leaders at the United Nations. [Daily Telegraph] Mark Zuckerberg
Switzerland bans sale of Volkswagen diesel cars –
Switzerland is banning sales of Volkswagen diesel engine cars which could be fitted with ‘cheating’ devices in the wake of the emissions-rigging scandal. Authorities said all VW models with diesel engines suspected of being able to trick emissions tests are affected. Other makes in the VW group, including Seat and Skoda, are also being banned from sale. In all, the move is expected to affect 180,000 cars, not yet sold or registered in Switzerland. Cars sold and already on the road will not be subject to the ban. [Daily Telegraph] On September 22 the CEO of VW’s American company admitted that they had “screwed up” and subsequently resigned.
Video of the Day –
LiveLeak – Crazy Man Set Fire To Gas Station To Kill Spider
At least four Armenian soldiers are killed following an Azeri attack near the disputed Nagorno-Karabakh region. Yesterday, Azerbaijan shelled several ethnic Armenian villages, leaving three civilians dead. (Reuters)
Armenia‘s Defense Ministry declares that it will “use artillery and missiles” to repel attacks by Azerbaijan following the deaths of four soldiers in the Nagorno-Karabakh region, raising fears of all-out war between the rival countries. (Fox News)
‘Supermoon’ coincides with lunar eclipse –
People around the world have observed a rare celestial event, as a lunar eclipse coincided with a so-called “supermoon”. A supermoon occurs when the Moon is in the closest part of its orbit to Earth, meaning it appears larger in the sky. The eclipse – which made the Moon appear red – has been visible in North America, South America, West Africa and Western Europe. This phenomenon was last observed in 1982 and will not be back before 2033. [BBC] The supermoon on September 28, 2015
Record number of guns found in U.S. airport searches –
U.S. airport security agents discovered a record 67 firearms in luggage passengers intended to carry on to airplanes during one week in September, according to the Transportation Security Administration (TSA). Of the 67 firearms found during the week ended Sept. 17, 56 were loaded and 26 had a round in the chamber, the TSA reported. The tally set a new weekly record. The prior record was 65 firearms found during a week in May 2013, TSA said. Nationwide, TSA officers have found more than 2,000 firearms at airport security checkpoints so far this year. [Reuters]
Martian salt streaks ‘painted by liquid water’ –
Scientists think they can now tie dark streaks seen on the surface of Mars to periodic flows of liquid water. Data from a Nasa satellite shows the features, which appear on slopes, to be associated with salt deposits. Crucially, such salts could alter the freezing and vaporisation points of water in Mars’s sparse air, keeping it in a fluid state long enough to move. Luju Ojha and colleagues report the findings in the journal Nature Geoscience. There are implications for the existence of life on the planet today, because any liquid water raises the possibility that microbes could also be present. And for future astronauts on Mars, the identification of water supplies near the surface would make it easier for them to “live off the land”. [BBC] Kaiser Gullies
Mount Everest to be declared off-limits to inexperienced climbers, says Nepal –
Nepalese officials say they will introduce regulations banning inexperienced climbers from attempting Mount Everest in an attempt to improve safety and maintain the “glory” of the summit. Permits to climb Everest will only be given to those who can prove they have already scaled mountains that are higher than 6,500 metres, officials said. Disabled, old and very young people also face bans. The permits cost thousands of dollars and are a key source of revenue for Nepal. It is unclear how the demand for “proof of competence” might be enforced. [Guardian] An earthquake hit the region on May 12, 2015 killing 18 climbers and guides on the mountain.
Eight of Iran’s women’s football team ‘are men’ –
Eight of Iran’s women’s football team are actually men awaiting sex change operations, it has been claimed. The country’s football association was accused of being “unethical” for knowingly fielding eight men in its women’s team. Mojtabi Sharifi, an official close to the Iranian league, told an Iranian news website: “[Eight players] have been playing with Iran’s female team without completing sex change operations.” On Wednesday, authorities reportedly ordered gender testing of the entire national squad and leading league players. The names of the players thought to be male were not revealed. [Daily Telegraph]
Electricity from the air – Drayson’s big idea –
Free energy from the air. It sounds like a fantasy but that is what the entrepreneur and former science minister Lord Drayson has just unveiled at London’s Royal Institution. He claims that a technology called Freevolt can be the power source for the “internet of things”, allowing low energy devices from wearables to sensors to operate without being plugged in. The technology involves harvesting radio frequency energy from existing wireless and broadcast networks, from 4G to digital television. Lord Drayson says it’s a world first: “It doesn’t require any extra infrastructure, it doesn’t require us to transmit any extra energy, it’s recycling the energy which isn’t being used at the moment.” The technology was demonstrated in the lecture theatre at the Royal Institution, where Michael Faraday worked on electromagnetism in the 19th Century. Lord Drayson first showed how much radio frequency energy was in the room, and then used his Freevolt system to power a loudspeaker. [BBC] Lord Drayson
Caitlyn Jenner will not be charged in fatal car crash: prosecutors –
Former Olympic champion and reality TV star Caitlyn Jenner will not be charged in connection with a crash in Malibu earlier this year that killed a 69-year-old woman, Los Angeles prosecutors said on Wednesday. Based on the facts in the case, prosecutors lacked evidence beyond a reasonable doubt that Jenner’s conduct was unreasonable, according to documents provided by Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office. Jenner, 65, was driving a Cadillac Escalade along Pacific Coast Highway and towing a trailer carrying a dune buggy when she slammed into two other cars, according to authorities. During the crash, a white Lexus being driven by 69-year-old Kim Howe was shoved by Jenner’s sport-utility vehicle across a center divider and into oncoming traffic, where it was struck head-on by a Hummer. [Reuters]
Blatter faces 90-day suspension from FIFA, confidant says –
FIFA president Sepp Blatter faces an imminent 90 day suspension from soccer if the governing body’s ethics judge backs a prosecutor’s recommendation, a close friend and former advisor to Blatter told Reuters on Wednesday. Blatter’s long-term confidant Klaus Stoehlker said the decision by judge Hans-Joachim Eckert on the provisional suspension was expected by Friday. “There is no final decision, this is a recommendation from the lower part of the Ethics Committee to the upper part,” said Stoehlker, who added that Blatter had been informed of the development. [Reuters] In July FIFA turned down a request for Blatter to attend a U.S. Senate Panel Hearing Sepp Blatter
Twitter launches Moments feature for ‘the day’s biggest and best stories’ –
Twitter’s launched a new feature called Moments to make it easier to see the day’s biggest and best stories. It works by grouping together interesting and important tweets on single subjects – which you can then read, even if you don’t follow the people tweeting them. Moments will appear in a special tab rather than on your timeline. It’s hoped this will appeal to people who find Twitter too confusing to start with. The Moments tab will be divided into sections including news, sports and entertainment. For now, it’s only being rolled out in America but will be heading to Europe soon. [BBC Newsbeat]
The Great British Bake Off 2015: the final – Nadiya crowned winner –
So the smallest baker had the biggest smile. In the final of The Great British Bake-Off (BBC One), 4ft 11in Nadiya Hussain’s face lit up with victory. It would have taken a hard-hearted viewer not to grin at her win too. After 10 weeks of fiendish challenges – popping dough into proving drawers, peering anxiously into ovens and wincing as tough-to-please judges poked at their pastry – just three of the original 12 contenders remained, their eyes on the title of Britain’s best amateur baker. Nadiya became the third consecutive female winner of that glass cake-stand trophy. It was a victory for women, for multicultural Britain and for brilliant baking. [Daily Telegraph] See Top Twitter Trends and List of the Day
Retired wrestler Hiroshi Hase appointed to Japanese cabinet by PM Shinzo Abe –
Shinzo Abe, the Japanese prime minister, has appointed a former television announcer and a retired wrestler who went by the ring name Viet Cong Express #1 to his new cabinet. Mr Abe retained around half his ministers in the first reshuffle of portfolios since he won the general election in December, but also has one eye on elections for the upper house of the Japanese parliament next summer. Hiroshi Hase, 54, was appointed minister of education, culture, sports, science and technology and the challenge of “education rebuilding”.
Video of the Day –
Honest Trailers – Aladdin
List of the Day –
Great British Bake Off Innuendos 2015
“The wobble should be like me backside” – Sandy on her crème brûlée (2015, episode 4)
“Stand away from your hot baps!” – Mel and Sue
“One crack bad, two cracks better” – Mel Giedroyc to Ugne about her Madeira cake (2015, episode 1)
“You have got two hours to pop Mary’s cherry” – Sue (the second half of the quote was “in the oven”)
“The terror of a soggy bottom has been keeping me up all night” – Season four finalist Kimberley
“Go on Mary, give it a good slapping” – Paul Hollywood
“Time to stop fiddling with Charlotte now” – Sue Perkins
“Oh no, you have some irregular-shaped balls” – Mary Berry
“He loves his buns”- Mary Berry, on Paul Hollywood
United States PresidentBarack Obama telephoned MSF International President Joanne Liu to apologize for the U.S. bombing of the hospital in Afghanistan, express his condolences for the 22 people killed, commit to provide a transparent, thorough, and objective accounting of the facts and circumstances of the incident, and implement any changes to make tragedies like this one less likely to occur in the future.(Reuters)(Washington Post)