Face Off: Jay Z & Beyonce v Kim Kardashian and Kanye West
Jay Z is the king of rap and hip hop with an illustrious career that has spanned four decades, spawned 12 albums, countless collaborations, formed record labels, fashion lines and netted a cool $500million. Wife Beyonce is a similar music phenomenon. She started off in the incredible Destiny’s Child before heading off into solo territory. She now boasts five solo albums, collaborations with the hottest women in music (including Shakira and Lady Gaga) a fashion line, fragrances and endorsement deals with everyone from Pepsi to Armani.
Kanye West may have compared himself to everyone from Willy Wonka to God, but he still has some way to go before he can topple Mr Carter’s crown – although he is making fast work. Since exploding on to the music scene at the turn of the century, he has produced six albums – plus a collaborative one with Jay. He’s entered the world of fashion and even film and appears to have it all. Except a sense of humour. Meanwhile, wife Kimmy… well, credit where credit’s due. She has built an epic empire out of nothing. Her reality show Keeping Up With The Kardashians is an international hit and, by nabbing West as a husband, her credibility has been boosted. Although it remains to be seen how genuine their relationship is and if she just views West as an extra way to make some quick cash.
There’s no debating Jay, Bey and West all have phenomenal talent. But Kim lets the side down by being famous for nothing. As a result, she and her husband lose this round based on talent, handing the first point to Beyonce and Jay Z.
Beyonce is the epitome of an Independent Woman. Strong, successful, beautiful – she literally wrote the book (or rather, song) on the topic. Jay, similarly, had a wealth of success prior to marrying Ms Knowles. But together they are an even stronger unit. Popping up on each other’s records and music videos, they are a true power couple – and yet look cute together (as demonstrated in new video Drunk In Love released by Beyonce).
While Kim has made herself a success (whether the general public like it or not), it has to be asked if she would have been as successful without Power Mum Kris Jenner pulling the strings behind the scenes. In the past she has used boyfriends/husbands seemingly to garner more gossip column inches – and really appears to have crowbarred herself into Kanye’s latest video for Bound 2. West, on the other hand, appears to have been instrumental in changing Kim’s personal style to make it less trashy and more classy. But will it last?
Kim and Kanye seem to rely on each other for very specific reasons. Whereas Jay Z and Beyonce seem like a true genuine couple. They win this round too.
Jay Z seems like a nice guy, doesn’t he? You could have a proper chat, maybe debate some stuff. Or just have a laugh. Similarly Beyonce seems almost impossibly nice. Always gracious. Always polite. Sure, she admitted she has a split personality (Sasha Fierce) but even she seems fun.
It’s no secret that Kanye is insufferable to most. An over-inflated ego of intergalactic proportions and a seemingly genuine God complex. In Kayne’s world, he can’t see beyond himself. He can’t discuss anything except himself. But he can’t ever have a joke about himself (fish sticks, anyone?). Meanwhile Kim seems to be pretty self-centred as well. Always in front of a camera exposing whatever daily drama she is enduring or uploading a fresh ‘selfie’. It’s impossible not to feel overloaded by her.
There is no contest. Kim and Kanye are vapid and exhausting. But Beyonce and Jay seem lovely and endearing. Another win for them.
Beautiful, polite, accomplished and successful – Bey and Jay win by a country mile. Who wouldn’t love to have them round for a dinner party?
Champions League quarter-final draw: Chelsea take on Paris Saint-Germain, Manchester United meet Bayern Munich
Manchester United will take on the Champions League holders Bayern Munich in the quarter-finals, after the draw was made in Nyon today. Chelsea face French giants Paris Saint-Germain
In what has been a torrid first full season in charge at Old Trafford for David Moyes, having no chance of retaining the Premier League, knocked out of the FA Cup in the third round, and out of the League Cup in the semi-final, the Champions League has been the only positive Moyes can take. A thrilling 3-0 victory over Olympiakos on Wednesday night saw them over turn a two-goal defect to progress.
Munich eased past United’s Premier League rivals Arsenal in the round of last-16, and last played United in the competition in the quarter-finals in 2009/10, the German side progressing on away goals after the tie ended 4-4 on aggregate.
One of the finest victories in the history of United came against Munich in the Champions League, don’t forget. Alex Ferguson’s side capped a miraculous late comeback to win 2-1 in the final at the Nou Camp to lift the trophy in 1999.
Chelsea had defeated Galatasaray in convincing fashion in the last round, but will face far stronger opposition now – the Ligue 1 leaders featuring the mercurial talent of Zlatan Ibrahimovic plus Uruguay forward Edinson Cavani.
The Blues have only ever met PSG in two European matches before, coming in the Champions League group stage in 2004/05, Chelsea winning 3-0 away and drawing 0-0 at home.
Full quarter-final draw
Barcelona v Atletico Madrid
Real Madrid v Borussia Dortmund
Paris Saint-Gemain v Chelsea
Manchester United v Bayern Munich
Ties to be played April 1/2
Baby’s first Vogue shoot! Behind the scenes pictures reveals North West joins parents Kim Kardashian and Kanye West in fashion bible
And North has clearly inherited some posing skills from her famous parents, looking adorable throughout the video.
The footage shows Kim cradling the couple’s daughter as smitten Kanye looks down at his two girls.
Another section features Kanye planting a kiss on the baby’s head while sitting in a private jet.
Other snippets include Kim kissing baby North and the couple posing on the jet to the strains of Kanye’s song Bound 2 – the same track that features Kim in the music video.
Kim is said to have been desperate to make the front cover of Vogue, ensuring she schmoozed editor Wintour at last year’s Met Ball with her fiancé West.
Star power: Baby North is already featured in Vogue before her first birthday (left pic)Daddy’s girl: Kanye plants a kiss on his bouncing baby’s head while sitting on a plane in the video(right pic)
The reality star wears a white strapless Lanvin wedding gown for the shoot, with Kanye stands behind her in a dark suit and shirt with his arms wrapped around her waist.
Thrilled Kim tweeted that her appearance was a ‘dream come true’ on Friday when the cover was released on the magazine’s website.
‘This is such a dream come true!!! Thank you @VogueMagazine for this cover! O M GGGGGG!!! I can’t even breath!’ (sic) she tweeted.
Cover stars: Kim and Kanye have finally made the front cover of U.S. Vogue, appearing on the front of the April edition (left pic) Outdoor shoot: The video went behind the scenes of the prestigious photo session(right pic)
Kanye simply added on his Twitter page: ‘Thank you’ with a link to the cover on the Vogue website.
For the cover shot, Kim’s hair is pulled into a chic chignon teamed with smoky eye make-up and nude lipstick.
Her Lorraine Schwartz-designed 15-carat diamond engagement ring is her only piece of jewellery.
I can’t even breathe: Kim Kardashian tweeted her excitement as the cover was released on Friday
Living the high life: Kim and Kanye’s jet setting adventures are explored in the photographs (left pic) In love: The video is set to Kanye’s controversial video Bound 2 in which Kim appears (right pic)
The cover line introduces the piece as: ‘Kim & Kanye Their fashionable life and surreal times. #worldsmosttalkedaboutcouple.’
It is apparently the first time a hashtag has been used on the Vogue cover and refers to Kim’s huge social media presence – she has more than 20 million Twitter followers.
Bride-to-be Kim sticks to a white wardrobe for the video.
She is seen looking particularly striking while walking hand-in-hand with Kanye in a white feathered Alexander McQueen gown.
The dramatic dress gets another appearance when Kim lies down with her back on a car with Kanye leaning in for an embrace.
Dramatic scenes: In one snapshot, Kim sports a ruffled white dress, laying back against a car, while Kanye stands in front of her (left pic)Swan like: Kim’s Vogue wardrobe was mainly in white, with one particularly feathered dress with cinched in waist (right pic)
The photographs were taken by famed celebrity photographer Leibovitz, who has captured everybody from Queen Elizabeth II to John Lennon, Barack Obama and Lady Gaga.
In her editor’s letter, Anna Wintour explained the thinking behind her decision to so prominently feature a reality star who found first found fame through a sex tape.
‘Part of the pleasure of editing Vogue, one that lies in a long tradition of this magazine, is being able to feature those who define the culture at any given moment, who stir things up, whose presence in the world shapes the way it looks and influences the way we see it,’ she wrote.
Smouldering: The couple showed how much they’ve perfected their pouts(left pic) No pressure: Vogue editor Anna Wintour denied that Kanye had ‘begged’ her to put he and Kim on the Vogue cover(right pic)
Simple but effective: Kanye tweeted ‘thank you’ with a link to the magazine’s website
‘I think we can all agree on the fact that that role is currently being played by Kim and Kanye to a T. (Or perhaps that should be to a K?)’
And Wintour denied reports she had been put under pressure by Kanye to put his fiancée on the front of the legendary magazine.
She added: ‘As for the cover, my opinion is that it is both charming and touching, and it was, I should add, entirely our idea to do it; you may have read that Kanye begged me to put his fiancée on Vogue’s cover. He did nothing of the sort.
New friends: Wintour (left) in the audience of a Kanye West concert last November with Kim (right) and mother Kris Jenner(left pic)
Life in the spotlight: Kim, pictured earlier this week, has found herself one of the most famous women in the U.S.(right pic)
‘The gossip might make better reading, but the simple fact of the matter is that it isn’t true.’
Wintour’s decision to give the couple her stamp of approval was seen by many die-hard fashionistas as controversial. But the British-born editor cited the couple’s fame, talent and influence as reason enough to feature them in her pages.
‘There’s barely a strand of the modern media that the Kardashian Wests haven’t been able to master, and for good reason,’ she wrote.
‘Kanye is an amazing performer and cultural provocateur, while Kim, through her strength of character, has created a place for herself in the glare of the world’s spotlight, and it takes real guts to do that.’
Proud sister: Khloe tweeted a picture of the cover with several hashtags including Kim’s nickname Kiki
Major! Kendall Jenner also weighed in, calling the cover ‘gorgeous’, a post which was retweeted by her younger sister Kylie
Mother’s pride: Kris Jenner tweeted how she is ‘so proud of you two’ in her tweet
Meanwhile, rumours are circulating that Vogue had originally planned to feature supermodel Kate Upton on the front cover, not Kimye.
E! Online reported that the information came from a source.
However, the magazine’s communications director denied the rumour, telling E!: ‘We are all huge supporters of Kate here at Vogue and have been thrilled to feature her numerous times in the past year, both on the cover and inside the magazine.
‘There was never a cover commitment made to Kate.’
The beautiful blonde was featured inside the issue in a number of gorgeous gowns.
Mary Konye jailed for acid attack on Naomi Oni
A woman who threw acid in the face of a friend while wearing a veil as a disguise has been jailed for 12 years.
Naomi Oni, 22, suffered burns to her face and chest in the attack near her home in Dagenham, east London, in December 2012.
Mary Konye, 22, of Canning Town, allegedly attacked Ms Oni because she had called her ugly.
In a victim impact statement, Ms Oni said she had at times felt suicidal since the attack due to her appearance.
Judge David Radford told Konye the consequences of her “deliberate” and “wicked act” had been “devastating to Miss Oni”.
It was a “premeditated and callous” plan to “burn and disfigure” her victim, he added.
“This careful, premeditated criminality was planned against a person who reasonably believed you were a true friend,” the judge said.
“Her friendship had been so wilfully betrayed by you.”
‘Paranoid and scared’
Following the sentencing, lawyer Mitesh Patel read a statement on Ms Oni’s behalf, where she said: “My family and I have been forced to put up with false allegations about my character, including the false allegation that I had done this to myself”.
In the statement she said the effects of these allegations had been “devastating” and the “negative and false publicity” resulted in some people “distancing themselves from me during my hour of need”.
The false allegations referred to by Ms Oni were Konye’s claims in her defence case that the victim wanted to gain media publicity from the attack.
CCTV footage captured Konye, who was found guilty in January, secretly following the Victoria’s Secret shop assistant home from work while wearing a veil.
Ms Oni needed skin grafts and has suffered permanent scars to her leg, chest, stomach and arms and was almost blinded in one eye.
She must wear a silicon face mask and faces further reconstructive surgery.
In the impact statement, read to the court by prosecutor Gareth Patterson, Ms Oni said she found it very difficult to live with her physical appearance and was now “paranoid and scared” about being outdoors alone.
Ms Oni said that before the attack she was a “confident” young woman.
“All this changed that day I was struck with acid and my life was turned upside down,” she said. She added it was now a “battle to get by each day”.
Ms Oni said: “I’m reminded what I look like every day I look in the mirror or see the reaction on people’s faces.
“The whole traumatic experience has changed my life. At times I felt suicidal and thought about ending it all.”
It was her mother who had kept her going, she said.
“I feel paranoid and scared going out alone,” she said.
“I’m still scared of being attacked again.”
On being attacked by someone who had been a friend since secondary school, Ms Oni said: “It was bad enough believing it was a random attack. Knowing Mary planned this is beyond belief.
“I don’t trust people in the same way any more.”
Konye’s lawyer Sally O’Neill QC told the court she had admitted throwing the acid since her conviction but claims she did not intend to cause injury to Ms Oni’s face.
“The reason for this incident will always be shrouded in some doubt and mystery,” the lawyer said.
Shirtless, shell-shocked and drenched in blood: Court is shown dramatic photos of Pistorius moments after he shot his girlfriend
Bare-chested with blood smeared all over his shorts and prosthetic legs, these dramatic images show a shell-shocked Oscar Pistorius moments after he killed his girlfriend.
The first police officers on the scene found the Paralympian pacing around in a ‘very emotional state’ and a grisly trail of blood that ran throughout the house.
The images were taken by police photographers in the garage in the aftermath of the shooting in the early hours of Valentine’s Day last year.
In one, the muscular Olympic sprinter, who is shirtless, is standing facing the camera wearing his prosthetics.
There are blood stains up to the knees of his limbs and his shorts are also bloodied, but his naked chest appears to be clean.
Shocking: Blood can be seen down the athlete’s left arm and on his shorts apparently from when he carried his dead girlfriend down the stairs after shooting her in the bathroom(left pic)
Horrific: Blood is splattered all over the toilet where Miss Steenkamp was shot by Pistorius(right pic)
Sickening: A substantial amount of blood was found in the toilet bowl. The trial was expected to examine whether Miss Steenkamp was sitting on the toilet at the time she was shot(left pic)
Grim: The court was shown this picture of the 9mm pistol used to kill Miss Steenkamp as it was found by the first police officer on the scene. The hammer was still cocked with the safety catch removed, the trial heard(right pic)
Evidence: This picture of Pistorius’s blood-stained prosthetic legs was used by his defense lawyer in a bid to show that the athlete was wearing them, as he says, when he broke down the toilet door with a cricket bat(left pic)
A moment of calm: Pistorius is comforted by his sister Aimee on another emotionally charged day in court(right pic)
A second photograph shows Pistorius from the waist up and from the left side, also showing blood on his shorts and parts of his body, with a tattoo visible on his back.
His left arm is smeared with blood and his hand is clenched.
The court was guided through the images by former police colonel Schoombie van Rensburg arrived at the house around 40 minutes after the shooting.
They included the blood-spattered toilet cubicle where Miss Steenkamp was shot.
A close-up photograph of the toilet showed an extensive blood smear on the rim, as well as thick blood streaks in the bowl, where the water was also dark with blood.
Once again a picture of the 29-year-old model’s bullet wounds was accidentally flashed up on screens in the courtroom before the monitors went black.
A similar blunder yesterday caused Pistorius to be sick in the dock.
The prosecution says Pistorius intentionally killed MIss Steenkamp after a loud argument and then tried to cover it up by saying he thought the 29-year-old model was a dangerous intruder
Too much to bear: The 27-year-old runner (centre) covers his eyes as prosecutor Gerrie Nel (left) runs through several distressing images of Miss Steenkamp’s injuries which were not shown on the live TV feed(left pic)
Irritation: Pistorius leans back after applying eye drops before the start of proceedings(right pic)
Mr van Rensburg, the former commander at a police station close to Pistorius’s home, said he did not arrest Pistorius immediately after discovering Miss Steenkamp had been shot dead, but did warn him to remain at the house.
‘I told him I observed him as a suspect at that stage,’ Mr van Rensburg said.
‘I warned him of his rights. I said to him I wasn’t arresting him at that stage… I requested him to remain present at all times at the scene.’
A short time later, Mr van Rensburg said the runner’s brother Carl, sister Aimee and a lawyer arrived at the house.
The prosecution says Pistorius intentionally killed Miss Steenkamp after a loud argument and then tried to cover it up by saying he thought the 29-year-old model was a dangerous intruder.
Pistorius, 27, maintains the killing was an accident and has pleaded not guilty to all charges against him.
During cross-examination, defence lawyer Barry Roux sought to undermine the police investigation, notably by questioning the conduct of former investigating officer Hilton Botha, who was thrown off the case last year and resigned from the police force.
Mr Roux repeatedly asked Mr van Rensburg what Mr Botha was doing at the scene during different parts of the investigation.
Botha admitted last year that he didn’t wear proper forensic clothing and shoe covers when he examined parts of the scene and Pistorius’s team believes the police disturbed evidence and may have tampered with it.
‘You did not disturb anything in the bathroom? You did not see Mr Hilton Botha disturb anything in the bathroom?’ Roux asked Mr van Rensburg.
‘Were you acutely aware that you should not disturb the scene? Did you have that awareness? And what was Mr Botha doing?’ Mr Roux asked a little later.
Graphic: The cricket bat Pistorius says he used to break down the toilet door after he shot Miss Steenkamp is seen next to a blood-soaked towel on the bathroom floor(left pic)
Splatter: Pistorius says he used the bat to break down the door to get to his model girlfriend after shooting her, he claims, by mistake thinking she was a burglar(left pic)
Crime scene: This image shows the bathroom where Pistorius fired the fatal shots and the toilet in the background where Miss Steenkamp was hit by three bullets(right pic)
And again, Roux said: ‘Where was Mr Botha now?’ Van Rensburg said at points he did not know where Botha was.
During the investigation in the bathroom, Mr van Rensburg also said that he turned around at one point to see that the firearms expert had handled the gun Pistorius used to kill Miss Steenkamp and taken the magazine out of the weapon without using gloves.
‘I asked him “what are you doing?”,’ Mr van Rensburg testified.
The officer realised his error, apologised, put the magazine back in the gun and laid it on the mat where it was on the floor, Mr van Rensburg said.
He then took the gloves out of his chest pocket, and again picked up the gun, according to Mr van Rensburg.
‘I was very angry,’ he said.
Mr van Rensburg also testified today about eight expensive watches that were found in a blood-spattered box in the bedroom upstairs.
Expensive: This box of watches was found in the bedroom with blood smeared on the lid. Police estimated that the value of one them was around $10,000 (£6,000). A probe was ordered after one went missing(left pic)
Temptation: The box of watches can been seen on the side in the bedroom. One of the watches was stolen by police investigating the shooting, the trial heard(right pic)
Macabre: The court was shown various images like this of the bloodstains that ran through the house(left pic)
Gruesome: Blood is seen smeared down the toilet wall in this crime scene photograph(right pic)
Start of the trail: The first police officer on the scene said he traced spots and bigger blood marks downstairs (pictured) where Miss Steenkamp lay dead from three gunshot wounds(left pic)
Key witness: Former police station commander Schoombie van Rensburg gives evidence about what he found when he arrived at the scene around 40 minutes after the shooting(right pic)
Horrific: Police officer Schoombie van Rensburg (pictured) said he followed the blood trail from Miss Steenkamp’s body up the staircase (shown on screen), through a lounge area and into Pistorius’s bedroom(right pic)
He said he warned fellow officers that they should be monitored closely because they could be tempting to anyone moving through the crime scene.
Pistorius’s sister asked if she could take one of the watches, leaving seven in place, he said.
But Mr van Rensburg said another went missing while he was out of the room, prompting him to order the frisking of all the police forensic experts on the scene, as well as a search of their bags and vehicles, and the entire house.
Mr van Rensburg, who recalled that one of the officers had estimated the cost of the watch at close to $10,000 (£6,000), said he then opened a case of theft after the watch was not found.
Later, he said, Pistorius’s brother, Carl, asked if he could take the watches.
Mr van Rensburg said he would instead hand the watches directly to Oscar Pistorius, but without the box, which was still being analysed.
While doing so, he asked Pistorius to inform him if anything else went missing, but nothing else was reported stolen.
Meanwhile, Mr van Rensburg revealed that some media had offered up to $5,500 (£3,300) just for a picture of the toilet door.
Police colonel Schoombie van Rensburg followed the blood trail across the floor and up the staircase
Blood stains can be seen on the staircase near to where Miss Steenkamp’s body was found
He said the door was placed in a plastic ‘body bag’ and transported to a police station, where van Rensburg said he stored it in his office because it was too big to fit in an area normally reserved for evidence from crime scenes.
Yesterday, dozens of other crime scene photographs tracing the trail of blood through the athlete’s home were shown to the court – including ones of Miss Steenkamp’s corpse that made the athlete throw up in the dock.
The court was guided through the images from the Paralympian’s cocked 9mm pistol he used to kill Miss Steenkamp to the blood-splattered toilet where she was shot.
Blood was found on the floors, walls, stairs and chairs by one of two police officers who arrived on scene to find Pistorius in a ‘very emotional’ state in the aftermath of the killing.
His cocked 9mm pistol was found lying on a bathmat, alongside a mobile phone, while in the bathroom his cricket bat which he says he used to break down the toilet door to get to Miss Steenkamp was seen next to a bloodied towel.
Scene: Mr van Rensburg told the court that it was not possible for someone to have gained access to the bathroom window (top right) from the outside(left pic)
Evidence: A view of the bathroom window from the inside as shown on computer screens in the court(right pic)
An image of Miss Steenkamp’s blood-covered body and skull was also accidentally displayed on the court monitors when the operator was scrolling through the pictures.
It brought gasps from the public gallery and Pistorius began violently retching before being handed a green bucket which he vomited into repeatedly.
After composing himself, the athlete questioned why the images were being shown and asked for computer screen in front of him to be turned off.
His sister Aimee, who was also crying, left her seat in the public gallery to comfort him in the dock.
Talking through the pictures, former police Colonel Schoombie van Rensburg said he traced spots and bigger blood marks downstairs where Steenkamp lay dead from three gunshot wounds.
He described how he saw Miss Steenkamp’s body covered in towels and plastic bags that the daughter of the estate administrator said she had used, with assistance from Pistorius, to try to stop the bleeding.
Denial: Pistorius maintains the killing was an accident and has pleaded not guilty to all charges against him
Moments later, he found a ‘very emotional and crying’ Pistorius in the kitchen pacing up and down.
‘I asked him what happened but he didn’t answer me,’ Van Rensburg told the court. ‘He was in tears.’
He then followed the blood trail across the floor, up the staircase, through a small lounge area and then into Pistorius’s bedroom.
Ultimately, van Rensburg reached the bathroom where the world-famous athlete shot his girlfriend in the early hours of Valentine’s Day last year.
There, van Rensburg said he found Pistorius’s 9mm, with the hammer cocked and the safety off, on a bath mat.
‘It was ready to fire,’ he said, when shown a picture. ‘You just have to pull the trigger.’
Graphic: Oscar Pistorius was physically sick in the dock after horrific images of his girlfriend’s blood-splattered body were accidentally shown in court(left pic)
Upsetting: Pistorius’s sister Aimee (centre) is comforted as graphic images are shown
Prosecutor Gerrie Nel noted that the mat was clean and out of kilter with the blood stains around it.
There were also spent bullet casings, cellphones and a blood-soaked towel on the bathroom floor, along with the cricket bat Pistorius says he used to break down the toilet door to get to Miss Steenkamp.
In the toilet cubicle, there was a darker pool of blood and the wooden splinters where the locked door, through which Pistorius shot the model, had been bashed through.
Near the door to the athlete’s bedroom, there was a black air gun rifle and a blue baseball bat.
Pictures of the bedroom showed a cabinet with multiple sets of slick sunglasses and a box of expensive-looking watches as well as blood stains on the carpets and even across a mirror on the watch box.
Shock: A member of Pistorius’s family (pictured, right, next to his aunt Lois) covers her mouth as distressing details of Miss Steenkamp’s death are revealed in court(left pic)
Supportive: The athlete’s sister Aimee (left), uncle Arnold (second right) and aunt Lois (right) listen to testimony(right pic)
Another image showed the gun holster on a table by the side of the bed where Pistorius says Steenkamp, and not him, was sleeping that night.
The size of the bedroom suggested Pistorius had to walk close to where he says he thought Steenkamp was still sleeping to get to the bathroom.
In another photograph displayed on TV monitors in the court, spots of blood are seen right next to some of the Olympic and multiple Paralympic champion’s trophies.
Earlier, a photograph of Pistorius’s blood-stained prosthetic legs was used by his chief defense lawyer in a bid to show that the athlete was wearing them, as he says, when he broke down the toilet door with a cricket bat.
The image, showing the prosthetic limbs with white socks and stained with Miss Steenkamp’s blood up to the knee, was displayed by lawyer Barry Roux on a TV monitor at Pistorius’s murder trial.
Mr Roux also highlighted alleged missteps by police and questioned their treatment of key evidence during the investigation.
Lawyer Barry Roux grilled a police forensics expert for a second day, challenging his analysis of a bullet-marked toilet door that was removed from Pistorius’s bathroom after he shot Reeva Steenkamp.
In an aggressive start to his cross-examination, Mr Roux questioned whether Colonel Johannes Vermeulen even had the right qualifications to examine marks on the door that offer crucial evidence to what happened the moment the model was killed.
He also forced Col Vermeulen to admit that police may have contaminated the crime scene during their investigation.
Doubt: Pathologist Gert Saayman said the partially digested vegetables he found in the model’s stomach suggested Miss Steenkamp (pictured) had food less than two hours before her death at around 3am(left pic)
Scene: Pistorius shot Miss Steenkamp through the bathroom door at his home (above) in Pretoria in the early hours of Valentine’s Day last year(right pic)
Mr Roux asked what happened to some fragments from the door that went missing after police investigators took possession of it.
Col Vermeulen said he asked about the missing splinters, but repeatedly said he ‘couldn’t remember’ which colleague he spoke to.
The forensics analyst also conceded that footprints that appeared to be from police boots were seen in evidence photos, but later rubbed off.
Mr Roux argued they could have been made by Pistorius’s prosthetic legs – which could have backed up a crucial argument by the sprinter that he was wearing them when he smashed down the door.
Col Vermeulen earlier argued Pistorius would have been on his stumps both when he fired the shots that killed Miss Steenkamp and when he broke down the door.
The lawyer also noted that Col Vermeulen had not read Pistorius’s version of events on the night of the killing until after he had completed his forensic study of the door and was therefore leaning toward the prosecution’s version of what happened.
The trial continues
It WAS hijacked: Malaysian official says it’s CONCLUSIVE jet carrying 239 was seized by individual or group ‘with significant flying experience’ as PM admits tracking was ‘deliberately’ disabled
Investigators say the missing Malaysia Airlines jet was hijacked and steered off-course.
A Malaysian government official said people with significant flying experience could have turned off the flight’s communication devices.
The representative said that hijacking theory was now ‘conclusive’, and police are now believed to be searching the home of pilot, Capt Zaharie Ahmad Shah, in Kuala Lumpur.
While Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak refused to confirm that flight MH370 was taken over, he admitted ‘deliberate action’ on board the plane resulted in it changing course and losing connection with ground crews.
The plane’s communication system was switched off as it headed East over the Malaysian seaboard and its last known location was pinpointed six-and-a-half hours later than first thought
Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak on Saturday refused to confirm reports the plane was ‘hijacked'(left pic)
Changing course: Officials said radar data suggests the plane may have turned back and crossed over the Malaysian peninsula after setting out(right pic)
Re-routed: Malaysian officials have said radar data suggests the plane may have turned back and crossed over the Malaysian peninsula toward the Andaman Islands after setting out on a northeastern path toward the Chinese capital(left pic)
It is not yet clear where the plane was taken, however Mr Razak said the most recent satellite data suggests the plane could have headed to one of two possible flight corridors.
One possibility is the northern corridor, which stretches from the border of Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan to northern Thailand, while the other is the southern corridor from Indonesia to the Southern Indian Ocean.
The last radar contact was made along one of these paths, but the plane could have diverted from this point.
The aircraft’s fuel reserves mean it could have travelled as far as Pakistan, Sri Lanka or Australia in the other direction.
However, if it was diverted into the Indian Ocean, the task of the search teams becomes more difficult, as there are hundreds of uninhabited islands and the water reaches depths of around 23,000ft.
US investigators have also not ruled out the possibility that the passengers are being held at an unknown location and suggest that faint ‘pings’ were being transmitted for several hours after the flight lost contact with the ground.
Malaysian authorities and others are urgently investigating the two pilots and 10 crew members, along with the 227 passengers on board.
Police have already said they are looking into the psychological background of the pilots, Ahmad Shah, 53, and Fariq Abdul Hamid, 27, their family life and connections.
Mr Razak added authorities have not ruled out any possibilities in the international search for the plane, which now involves 14 countries, 43 ships and 58 aircraft.
‘Clearly the search has entered a new phase. Over the last seven days, we have followed every lead and looked into every possibility,’ Mr Razak said. ‘For family and friends (of the passengers), we hope this new information brings us one step closer to finding the plane.’
The Boeing 777’s communication with the ground was severed just under one hour into the flight on March 8 from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing.
It has now been confirmed the plane turned back and crossed over the Malaysian peninsula after setting out on a northeastern path toward the Chinese capital.
Experts say signals from the plane shows it then continued flying for at least five hours in an unknown direction. The plane’s messaging system and transponder were both deliberately cut off and with them all hopes of further tracking the plane.
American officials had been briefing Friday that the investigation was looking at ‘human intervention’ – one source even said it may have been ‘an act of piracy’.
The disabling of the Boeing 777’s transponder and messaging system occurred around 12 minutes apart. Such a gap would be unlikely in the case of an in-flight catastrophe and gave authorities the clearest indication to date someone on-board was behind it.
The motive of the hijack is still not clear. No demands have been made and no groups have publicly claimed involvement in the disappearance.
Some experts have said that pilot suicide may be the most likely explanation for the disappearance, as was suspected in a SilkAir crash during a flight from Singapore to Jakarta in 1997 and an EgyptAir flight in 1999.
The already global search effort will now be expanded along the two large corridors outlined in his speech. It is unclear how resources will be allocated but the Prime Minister said all the countries within those areas had been notified of the renewed focus.
The USS Kidd arrived in the Strait of Malacca late Friday afternoon. It uses a using a ‘creeping-line’ search method of following a pattern of equally spaced parallel lines in an effort to completely cover the area.
A P-8A Poseidon, the most advanced long range anti-submarine and anti-surface warfare aircraft in the world, will arrive Saturday. It has a nine-member crew and has advanced surveillance and reconnaissance capabilities, the department of defense said in a statement.
Malaysia has come under fire for what has been described as a ‘pretty chaotic’ search, with China saying the overall search effort has consequently been mired in confusion after a series of false alarms, rumors and contradictory statements.
Meanwhile, the hijacking news will renew focus on the two pilots at the helm of the missing Malaysia Airlines passenger jet.
Despite the investigation, Malaysian officials and friends of the pilots have told MailOnline this week that there are no reasons to suspect either the Captain or co-pilot of having personal problems that would have resulted in them taking control of the aircraft.
The only known blot on co-pilot Fariq’s character appears to be the time 2011 when he invited two South African women into the cockpit when he and another officer flew a jet from Thailand to Malaysia.
Under investigation: Pilots Zaharie Ahmad Shah, 53 (left) and Fariq Abdul Hamid, 27 (right) are being investigated and could have their homes searched
In the days since the flight went missing, it has emerged that Shah was so passionate about flying he has is own flight simulator at home.
As the search continued for the missing Boeing 777, military radar suggested the plane was deliberately flown towards India’s Andaman Islands.
Two sources familiar with the investigation said an unidentified aircraft – which investigators believe was flight MH370 – was plotted by military radar following a route between navigational waypoints.
This indicates that it was either being flown by the pilots or someone with knowledge of those waypoints, the sources said.
Support: Thousands of people have written messages of support on a wall at a shopping mall in Kuala Lumpur, for passengers on board the missing Malaysia Airlines plane(left pic)
Hope: Paper cranes are pasted on a message board for passengers aboard a missing Malaysia Airlines plane, at a shopping mall in Kuala Lumpur(right pic)
The last plot on the military radar’s tracking suggested the plane was flying towards India’s Andaman Islands, a chain of isles between the Andaman Sea and the Bay of Bengal, they said.
Waypoints are geographic locations, worked out by calculating longitude and latitude, that help pilots navigate along established air corridors.
India recently began searching hundreds of uninhabited islands in the Andaman Sea, using heat-seeking devices.
Two Indian air force reconnaissance planes began flying over the islands as a precaution, after they and two naval ships scoured the seas surrounding the Andaman and Nicobar Islands, according to spokesman Col. Harmit Singh of India’s Tri-Services Command on the territory.
The archipelago that stretches south of Myanmar contains 572 islands covering an area of 720 by 52 kilometers. Only 37 are inhabited, with the rest covered in dense forests.
Malaysian Acting Transport Minister Hishammuddin Hussein attended prayers for passengers and crew of missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 at a mosque near Kuala Lumpur International Airport(left pic)
India today began searching hundreds of uninhabited islands in the Andaman Sea, using heat-seeking devices, officials said(right pic)
The focus of search efforts shifted on Thursday from the South China Sea after the US said ‘new information’ indicated that Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 may have gone down to the west in the Indian Ocean.
China, which had more than 150 citizens on board the missing plane, has deployed four warships, four coastguard vessels, eight aircraft and trained 10 satellites on a wide search area.
Chinese media have described the ship deployment as the largest Chinese rescue fleet ever assembled.
The Boeing 777 has one of the best safety records of any commercial aircraft in service.
Its only previous fatal crash came on July 6 last year when Asiana Airlines Flight 214 struck a sea wall with its undercarriage on landing in San Francisco. Three people died in the incident.
THREE TYPES OF SIGNALS GIVEN OFF BY PLANES, AND HOW THEY RELATE TO MISSING MH370
The missing Malaysia Airlines Boeing 777-200 sent signals to a satellite for four hours after the aircraft went missing, an indication that it was still flying for hundreds of miles or more, according to a U.S. official briefed on the search for the jet.
This raises the possibility that the plane may have flown far from the current search areas.
Here is a look at three types of signals planes give off, and how they relate to the missing jetliner:
Transponders are electronic devices that automatically identify commercial aircraft within air traffic control radar range and transmit information on the plane’s identity, location and altitude to ground radar stations. Beyond radar range, they enable planes to be identified and tracked anywhere in the world by satellite. Transponders can be turned off by pilots.
The missing jet’s transponder last communicated with Malaysian civilian radar about an hour after takeoff, when the plane was above the Gulf of Thailand between Malaysia and southern Vietnam.
ACARS – or Aircraft Communications Addressing and Reporting System – is a data link system used to transmit short messages such as weather updates and status reports between aircraft and ground stations via radio or satellite.
According to the U.S. official, ACARS messages sent by the missing plane continued after its transponder went silent, although he wasn’t certain for how long.
OPERATING DATA SENT VIA SATELLITE
Boeing offers a satellite service that can receive data during a flight on how the aircraft is functioning and relay the information to the plane’s home base. The idea is to provide information before the plane lands on whether maintenance work or repairs are needed. Even if an airline does not subscribe to the service, planes still periodically send automated signals – or pings – to the satellite seeking to establish contact.
Malaysia Airlines did not subscribe to the satellite service. The U.S. official said automated pings were received from the jetliner for four hours after it went missing, indicating it probably flew for hundreds of miles beyond its last confirmed sighting on radar.
The ultimate tree house: Amazing white apartment block with trunk and branches will be built on French Mediterranean
Piercing the skyline and sprouting branch-like balconies, an apartment block resembling a giant tree is set to come to life in Montpellier, France.
Aptly called The White Tree (L’Arbre Blanc), at 17-storeys, the high-rise building embodies the capabilities of 21 century architecture. As its name suggests, the building’s unusual shape takes inspiration from the tree form, with endless stair-step balconies protruding off the building’s trunk-like core in the same way branches do on trees.
Appearing to grow out of the ground, the plans for the structure draw further comparisons to a tree. In addition to the balconies jutting off in different directions like branches, these will be complimented by functional decks that provide shade for adjoining units, thus creating a tree-like set of stairs that encase the building.
Construction on the mixed-use high-rise building is set to start in July next year, with completion expected by December 2017
The unique 56-metre tall tower will feature 120 residential units and office space along with a restaurant, panoramic bar and art gallery. Visitors and guests will be welcomed to the tower by the restaurant and gallery while the penthouse bar will offer views of the coastline and mountains.
Its design will invite vegetation on balconies to thrive due to the open atmosphere, which is ideal for plants. Against the buildings white facade, this will create a vertical garden with bring colour and contrast. Bringing life to the tree building, residents will have the impression they are outside when they are indoors by mixing the two settings.
With the outdoors an important part of life in Montpellier, the structure’s balconies draw natural light, absorbing sunshine the same way leaves do. Gizmodo.com.au reported the building’s architects were inspired by a tree’s efficient properties and the city’s tradition for outdoor living, hence the name L’Arbre Blanc, which translates from French to English as The White Tree.
Standing tall at 56 metres, the building will pierce the Montpellier skyline, with a penthouse bar offering spectacular views of the coast and nearby mountains
Offering 120 apartments, The White Tree will offer residents the chance to pick from various units with different floor plans due to structure’s unique form
Piercing the skyline, the building will be set between Montpellier’s new and old districts, sitting halfway between newly developed districts Odysseum and Port Marianne and the city center. From the building, residents will have easy access to nearby the pedestrian and cycling paths.
It was announced in March that the 10,000 square metre French-designed building will be built by Japanese architects and fittingly, the building will draw and blend influences from both countries.
With a modular design, this allows the mixed-use building to feature many different layouts with stunning panoramic views of a nearby mountain range and the ocean. Design Boom reported this will allow residents to choose a floor plan from many varying layouts and encourage free choice architecture.
The White Tree will become Montpellier’s second folly structure because if it’s extravagant form and ability to challenge the traditional notions of architecture
A restaurant will greet people on the ground floor, while nearby pedestrian and cycle paths will encourage residents to connect with the environment
But the project is getting attention for all the right reasons, after being dubbed the second architectural folly of the 21st century.
Part of Montpellier’s plans to build 12 new follies across the city, Architects Journal reported that it will join the first building that won a competition to be built. Selected last year, with construction due to start this year, the 11-storey holiday apartment building features curved and stack levels.
An architectural folly is when a building’s purpose is considered to be for aesthetic pleasure. While the White Tree building is still functional, it’s extravagant design and ability to challenge traditional notions of architecture help qualify it as an architectural folly.
Construction is set to start on The White Tree in July 2015 and is expected to finished in December 2017.
The 10,000 square metre French-designed building will be built by Japanese architects and draw influences from both countries
Stunning: The tower will sit between Montpellier’s new and old districts, spurting out of the ground like a giant tree with branch-like balconies in every direction
Folly: Last April Farshid Moussavi Architecture won a competition to build the first folly building (pictured) in Montpellier. Work is due to start on the building this year
‘Moronic!’ Fans blast Lewis Hamilton’s claim about Schumacher crash that ‘everything happens for a reason’
Formula 1 fans lashed out at Lewis Hamilton today after the race ace appeared to dismiss Michael Schumacher’s skiing injury, declaring: ‘All things happen for a reason’.
Fans took to Twitter to vent their anger at Hamilton, branding the 2008 Formula One World Champion a ‘moron’ and an ‘idiot’ for his comments, made during an interview today ahead of this weekend’s Melbourne Grand Prix.
Asked about the accident that has left Schumacher fighting for his life in an artificially-induced coma, Hamilton said: ‘I feel like all things happen for a reason, I think that this is an experience that will really show his character and depth and even more so than any other experiences he’s had.’
‘Moron’: Fans took to Twitter to vent their anger at Hamilton, branding the 2008 Formula One World Champion a ‘moron’ and an ‘idiot’ for his comments, made during an interview today ahead of this weekend’s Melbourne Grand Prix
‘Idiot of the week’: Others were rather simpler in their criticism of Hamilton
Schumacher fans instantly leapt to their hero’s defence, calling out his race-track rival for being insensitive.
‘Lewis Hamilton’s comments on Schumacher’s accident are utterly moronic,’ wrote Euan Mason.
Gerard Neal simply wrote, ‘Idiot of the week’, alongside a link to a news story about Hamilton’s comments.
Seven-times Formula One world champion Schumacher has been in an artificially induced coma for almost 11 weeks since hitting his head on a rock while skiing in the French Alps.
Insensitive: Hamilton’s seemingly insensitive remark came as he was speaking to press at Melbourne’s St Kilda Beach ahead of the Melbourne Grand Prix this weekend
Backlash: Supporters of the British driver will argue that the comment should not be taken out of context and that Hamilton was expressing his confidence that Schumacher will wake up and make a full recovery. But not this one
Yesterday his family said he is showing ‘small, encouraging signs’ and that they remain confident he will ‘pull through and will wake up’.
Hamilton’s seemingly insensitive remark came as he was speaking to press at Melbourne’s St Kilda Beach ahead of the Melbourne Grand Prix this weekend.
Supporters of the British driver will argue that the comment should not be taken out of context and that Hamilton was expressing his confidence that Schumacher will wake up and make a full recovery
Hamilton, 29, said: ‘As a young driver who watched Michael through his early days, and championship wins, we – as Formula One – will carry him through the whole of the season.
‘I am in touch with his people, so I am fortunate to get first-hand news of what is happening and we are all waiting for him to wake up and show those positive signs.
‘He’s a legend in the sport, you know, who has achieved so much, a very motivated individual.
‘So I feel like all things happen for a reason, I think that this is an experience that will really show his character and depth and even more so than any other experiences he’s had.’
Encouraging signs: Former F1 world champion Michael Schumacher, 44, suffered a head injury in a skiing accident 11 weeks ago(left pic)
Tribute: The Mercedes team ran a message in support of Schumacher throughput the pre-season tests(right pic)
Reflective: Lewis Hamilton insists his thoughts will be with Michael Schumacher throughout the F1 campaign(left pic)
Anxious wait: Formula One champion Michael Schumacher of Germany poses with his wife Corinna at the 2006 FIA Awards Ceremony, in Monaco(right pic)
Hamilton’s comments are in contrast to the actions of some his fellow racers.
Reigning F1 champion Sebastian Vettel is paying tribute to Schumacher by driving in this weekend’s season opener wearing a helmet with the legend’s signature just below the visor.
Drivers Felipe Massa and Jules Bianchi have also said they will follow suit by wearing helmets emblazoned with the initials MS.
Schumacher was placed in an induced coma after undergoing two operations to remove blood clots from his brain in the wake of his skiing accident on December 29.
He remains in a waking-up process at the University of Grenoble hospital in France.
In a statement issued on behalf of the 45-year-old’s family, the F1 star’s agent said: ‘We are, and remain confident, Michael will pull through and will wake up.’
‘There sometimes are small, encouraging signs, but we also know this is the time to be very patient.
‘Michael has suffered severe injuries. It is very hard to comprehend for all of us that Michael, who had overcome a lot of precarious situations in the past, has been hurt so terribly in such a banal situation.
‘It was clear from the start this will be a long and hard fight for Michael, and we are taking this fight on together with the team of doctors, whom we fully trust.
‘The length of the process is not the important part for us.
Corinna Schumacher (left), wife of retired Formula One German racing driver Michael Schumacher, and French professor Gerard Saillant (right) arrive at the Centre Hospitalier Universitaire hospital in Grenoble
A helicopter is parked in front of the emergency department of the Centre Hospitalier Universitaire hospital in Grenoble, France, where Michael Schumacher is receiving treatment(right pic)
Given the longevity of his situation, however, that has led to an increasing number of reports he will never awaken, or if he does, he will be severely limited with regard to his functions and capabilities.
Today’s positive news follows a report last week that Schumacher’s family were informed by doctors treating him that the chances of recovery are now so slim that only ‘a miracle’ can save him.
‘It is heart-warming to see how much sympathy his family is shown and I can say the family is extremely grateful for it.
‘However, it should not be forgotten Michael’s family is dealing with an extremely intimate and fragile situation.
‘And I would like to remind all of us Michael has always actively kept his family out of the public eye and consequently protected their private lives.
Hoeness trial: Bayern Munich boss jailed
A German court has sentenced Uli Hoeness, president of European football champions Bayern Munich, to three years and six months in jail for tax evasion.
He admitted defrauding German tax authorities of millions of euros.
The former World Cup-winning Germany striker, 62, had kept the funds in a secret Swiss bank account.
His lawyer had argued he should escape punishment because he gave himself up. But judges ruled his confession fell short of full disclosure.
Hoeness was initially charged with evading 3.5m euros (£2.9m; $4.9m) in taxes but he then admitted to dodging another 15m euros.
Everybody wanted to be seen with Uli. Most people refer to him only by his first name.
On the day he took the call from a well-wisher tipping him off that he was being investigated for tax fraud, he was having lunch with German Chancellor Angela Merkel. That’s how well-connected he was.
He was, after all, a World Cup winner on the field and the builder of one of the world’s most successful clubs offs it.
When the tax scandal broke, he offered his resignation at a Bayern meeting but the fans chanted his name until he broke down in tears. Uli was loved – despite the gambling problem that led to his greater tax problem.
It finally emerged in court that he owed a total of 27.2m euros.
On Thursday the court in the southern city of Munich found Hoeness guilty of “seven serious counts of tax evasion”.
“The voluntary disclosure is not valid with the documents that were presented alone,” the judge said.
The defence said it would appeal against the sentence. Meanwhile Hoeness will remain free until a final verdict has been handed out.
Prosecutors had called for a term of five years and six months.
Bayern Munich fans were gathered outside the court building, holding up banners expressing support for the football boss.
The BBC’s Stephen Evans in Berlin says the sentence is significant because it indicates that attitudes towards tax evasion have changed in Germany since the financial crisis.
A string of famous people, perhaps not normally associated with cheating on tax, have recently been revealed to have had secret bank accounts, our correspondent reports.
But Hoeness could be the first to go to prison, he adds.
The football legend, who helped Germany win the 1972 European Championship and then the World Cup two years later, came clean about his secret bank account last year, filing an amended tax return in the hope of an amnesty in return for paying the tax he owed.
But prosecutors said he did so because investigators were already pursuing his case.
Earlier this week, he told the court he deeply regretted his “wrongdoing”.
“I will do everything necessary to ensure that this depressing chapter for me is closed,” he said.
The case has been described as one of the most spectacular of the year by the German newspaper Sueddeutsche Zeitung.
Despite the tax evasion scandal, Mr Hoeness remains a very popular figure at the club he helped build up.
He offered his resignation at last year’s annual meeting but was backed by the supporters and the club’s board.
Nigeria attack: Scores killed in Katsina state
Witnesses say the attackers rode motorcycles into villages in broad daylight and killed whoever they found.
The assailants appear to have been ethnic Fulani cattle herders who have a history of tension with local farmers.
Police say the attack is not linked to Islamist militant group Boko Haram, which is mainly active further east.
The militants are based in Borno state.
“The victims include men, women and children. Rescue teams are still combing nearby bushes [to] search for more bodies,” state police chief Hurdi Mohammed told the AFP news agency.
Nigerian newspapers describe the assailants as cattle rustlers.
Local MP Abdullahi Abbas Machika said 47 people were buried in one village alone in Katsina state after Wednesday’s attack.
Local residents have told the BBC Hausa service that security personnel have still not been deployed to the area.
President Goodluck Jonathan is currently visiting Katsina state to commission some government projects.
Mr Machika told the BBC that the security personnel were busy protecting the president while his constituents were being killed.
Nigeria’s President Jonathan ‘must act over fuel scam’
Pressure is growing on President Goodluck Jonathan to take decisive action over a report revealing millions of dollars have been scammed out of Nigeria’s fuel subsidy, as the BBC’s Nigeria correspondent, Will Ross, reports.
President Goodluck Jonathan has a dilemma.
Wield the axe and sacrifice some allies linked to a huge fuel subsidy scam that cost the country $6.8bn (£4bn).
Or do nothing and risk the wrath of Nigerians who are fed up with high-level fraud.
The second option could lead to street protests – or even a strike similar to the one that brought the country to a standstill in January after the government tried to withdraw the fuel subsidy.
For decades Nigeria’s fuel industry has been conveniently cloaked in secrecy.
Now the lid has been lifted to reveal theft on a scale that is shocking even by Nigerian standards.
Feathers have been well and truly ruffled.
Farouk Lawan is the chair of the House of Representatives Committee, which last month released its report into Nigeria’s fuel subsidy.
“We were threatened several times in so many ways,” Mr Lawan told the BBC.
A record that can hardly be rivalled in the history of a warped budget management of any nation anywhere in the world ”
Conclusion of Nigeria’s fuel subsidy report
“We were told that we were not going to live long [enough] to even finish the exercise. They were death threats, very clearly death threats. Fortunately we are still around.”
Nigeria is a major oil producer but imports the vast majority of its fuel because for many years governments have failed to invest in local refineries.
The government subsidises the cost of fuel and had said this cost the country $8bn in 2011.
The report revealed that the nation had been deceived. The true cost was more than $17bn.
“A record that can hardly be rivalled in the history of a warped budget management of any nation anywhere in the world,” the fuels subsidy report concluded.
Rampant false claims
A key finding of the probe is that while the government has been paying the subsidy for 59m litres of fuel a day, Nigeria only consumes about 35m litres.
This was an effort to hide a scam in which companies were paid hundreds of million of dollars to import fuel – but they never delivered a drop.
“False claims were rampant. The scheme became an avenue for all forms of patronage,” said the report, which described the fuel subsidy as being a “limitless drain on the economy”.
We also now know that in 2006 there were just six fuel importers. By 2011 the number had inexplicably soared to 140.
Companies were invited to appear before the House of Representatives committee. Some 45 companies failed to appear or submit any documents.
President Jonathan has asked the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission to investigate.
But Nigeria’s anti-corruption agencies have a very poor record at successfully prosecuting high-level fraud.
It seems few Nigerians expect decisive action.
“I would really like to see people in court. But the way things happen in Nigeria, the case may be pushed under the carpet,” one man said.
“The institution that can prosecute corruption is so weak that people can easily loot Nigeria’s treasury and go free,” another man said.
“You see people carrying placards defending those caught over corruption outside the courts. It is because of the poverty level. People are hungry and so anything you offer them will make them carry the placard to defend you. It’s appalling.”
At a state-owned fuel station in the capital Abuja, hundreds of people, including several policemen, queued in the heat to buy kerosene for cooking – just one sign of how inefficiently the industry is run in Nigeria.
In the line, there was palpable fury that well-connected people had become fabulously rich from the fuel subsidy scam while poorer Nigerians were struggling to even afford cooking fuel.
We can communicate easier today than we were able to 10 years ago so the consciousness of the people is being awakened”
“Our senators should bring a law that would mean if you have stolen say one million from the government fund, you should be killed or your hand or leg should be cut off,” one man said.
“It would set an example – but if that law is not passed in Nigeria we will continue suffering, suffering, suffering,” he added.
For decades, Nigeria’s musicians have been at the forefront of the public denouncement of unpunished fraud.
The late Fela Kuti pulled no punches with tracks like International Thief Thief and Authority Stealing, which described the politicians as worse than armed robbers.
More than 30 years later, musicians like eLDee have continued the theme – in One Day he laments the same unresolved issues with his “still the same breed, still the same greed”.
Nevertheless, he remains optimistic.
“I believe things can change. We can communicate easier today than we were able to 10 years ago so the consciousness of the people is being awakened,” he told the BBC.
“A lot of the music and the messages we are putting across are getting to the people. People are starting to pay attention to detail now.”
Right now, President Jonathan has the opportunity to break the mould and take decisive action.
But, seeing as some of his allies are suspected of involvement in the looting, it seems unlikely that punishments will go beyond low or middle-ranking officials.
We just cannot continue with that kind of massive corruption ”
Farouk LawanChair of the House of Representatives Committee
“If nothing is done about it, this is going to consume the leadership of this country. The game is up. The current parasitic system cannot survive,” financial analyst Bismarck Rewane says.
“There may be an attempt to slap wrists but people may protest against this,” he said, suggesting that people want more decisive action.
The man who is being lauded by many Nigerians for helping expose the fraud is hopeful that the committee’s recommendation – that the suspects be investigated and prosecuted – will be taken up.
“I think Goodluck Jonathan didn’t become president to protect his friends. He became president to act in the best interests of the Nigerian people,” Mr Lawan says.
“And if in the end the best interest of the Nigerian people is for him to do certain things that would make sure that there is sanity in that regime, then I am confident he would act.”
“I believe that we just cannot continue with that kind of massive corruption – especially in a sector that is very important to the stability of this economy,” he warned.
The promise of a thorough investigation into the fraud helped to end January’s protests.
The subsequent 205-page report has revealed far more rot than the government would have wished – and unless there is decisive action it may also be the trigger that gets people back on the streets.
Revealed: How surfer-photographer captures the precise moment the world’s biggest waves break
Surf photographer Clark Little will ride any wave for the perfect shot, with water crashing onto him from up to 15ft above his head. Pictured below are the stunning photographs taken by the 44-year-old from inside the waves.
Mr Little, who lives on Hawaii’s North Shore – renowned for its waves and great surf – has been taking photographs from the ocean since 2007.
His tool is a Nikon D300 with a fish eye lens. The ultra-wide angle fish eye creates a wide panoramic picture. The camera is then cased into a waterproof box.
Pictured: a shot from behind a breaking wave looking towards shore. Here, the photographer is under water and the curve of the wave distorts the beach scene elongating the palm trees
Wave photographer Clarke Little captured this picture during a morning photo session from inside the tube at Teahupoo, Tahiti’s most famous surf break. Breaking on a very shallow reef, this spot is known as one of the deadliest waves in the world
Surf Photographer Mr Little, 44, pictured here inside a tube wave as it breaks on North Shore, Oahu, Hawaii. His tool is a Nikon D300 with a fish eye lens, cased in a waterproof box. The ultra-wide angle fish eye creates a wide panoramic picture
Mr Little looks out of a glassy California barrel during sunset on Newport Beach in California
Holding a waterproof camera with an attached strobe flash, the photographer throws himself down on the sand as the wave pitches over and creates an opening with a sunset view in the distance
So as not to lose his valuable tool when tossed around by a wave, the camera is tied to a leash attached to his ankle.
The photographer presses the trigger and the camera then fires out an impressive nine to 10 frames per second.
Not only does the 10lb camera come into the ocean with him, the photographer also drags in tools such as strobe lights so that he can capture the scene perfectly.
And no wave fazes Mr Little, who has been hurtled into waves as high as 15ft before being thrown back down to the ground.
As he swims, he passes marine wildlife on his way, wearing flippers to help him glide through the ocean.
Although his career started out in his native Hawaii, Mr Little travels the world to land the perfect picture – capturing some of the world’s biggest waves as he goes.
Mr Little started out as a surfer in the 80s and spent two decades riding the waves before discovering his passion.
As a surfer, his talent lay in riding shore break waves – waves which break close to the shore – and coming out in one piece.
Then, in 2007, his wife, Sandy, asked him to take a photograph of a wave breaking for their house. The surfer stood up to the challenge, bought a cheap camera and threw himself into the wave.
He has been photographing the water hurtling down to the shore ever since and has exhibited his pictures across the world from Japan to Brazil.
An endangered Hawaiian Green Sea Turtle (Honu in Hawaiian) swimming behind a breaking wave in the shallow waters off of the North Shore, Oahu, Hawaii
A large wave is captured laying on the dry sand as it throws over to create the shorebreak barrel. Seconds after the shot, Mr Little was washed up onto the beach – his whole body covered in sand
Two waves crash sending water flying into the sky on North Shore in Hawaii
It’s the golden hour: A wave captured in the early morning looking straight into the sunrise, North Shore, Oahu, Hawaii
The surf photographer is pictured here lining up his perfect shot moments before the wave is about to crash onto him
He describes his vision as photographing the waves ‘inside out’.
The photographer spends his days in the water because: ‘I love to be in the ocean and I love to take pictures of mother nature.
‘I have a major passion for being in the ocean and capturing these images,’ he said.
In an interview with Fox 5, Mr Little said: ‘I’m getting right into the perfect spot.
‘I’m just holding the trigger and the adrenaline’s pumping because I want to get the best shot. But at the same time you’re going to get pummeled.
The sun and its rays captured in the arc of the wave on North Shore, Oahu, Hawaii in this early morning shot. Mr Little often leaves his house in the pitch black to capture the sun as it rise
The silhouette of a surfer Flynn Novak is frozen the moment before he jumps off the back of his surfboard. The flash was supposed to go off and set the scene alight. Instead, the true light from inside the wave is perfectly captured
A classic Californian setting captured from a new perspective: Malibu Pier shot by Mr Little from inside the tube
Mr Little is pictured here grabbing onto his camera before snapping the inside of the tube as it crashes onto him. The waterproof camera housing has a safety leash attached to his wrist so the camera is not lost if the unit is ripped from his hand
This is the breathtaking moment two waves collide and send a fan of water upwards in front of the setting sun to create a stunning image
‘So I kind of hold my breath and a lot of times I get sucked up, a lot times I get sucked up into the falls.’
The results of the photographer’s time in the water are breathtaking, but mainly Mr Little says he throws himself in, wave after wave, because he has ‘a great time’.
Sometimes he has to tuck his camera under his arm to stop it from being dragged away by the ocean. ‘Or, I get in the featal position and hope for the best,’ he said.
Clarke Little’s latest coffee table book ‘Shorebreak’ includes over 100 shots from Hawaii, Japan and California.
Below, you can watch the video of Clarke Little braving his way into the waves with his camera.
In this picture there was no wind which made the ocean look like glass. The picture was taken ay Makena Beach, Maui, Hawaii
This picture was taken underwater from the backside of a Tahitian tube spinning down a shallow reef in Tahiti, French Polynesia
In this picture the wind was blowing strongly offshore, creating a mist flying off the top of this backlit wave on the West Shore, Oahu, Hawaii
Venezuelans Are Marked With Numbers To Stand In Line At Government Supermarkets
It’s hard to get a sense of what a food shortage is like unless you’ve lived through one, but this tidbit from Venezuela serves as a chilling illustration.
The lines to get into government supermarkets are so long that people mark their arms with their place in line. It’s not a permanent tattoo — just a pen — but the point is to make sure that the long lines stay as orderly as possible.
According to a source familiar with what’s going on, this number-scribbling takes place outside large cities like Caracas, and it doesn’t happen in private supermarkets. However, private supermarkets can set a limit to the number of items a person can buy. For example: You can only pick up 4 liters of milk, 2 liters of oil, 2 kilos of sugar etc.
And that’s if the market even has those items.
People also have numbers on their ID cards, which decide which days they can even get in line to shop at supermarkets like San Cristobal’s Bicentenario, according to AFP.
Protests taking place all over the country aren’t helping either. Demonstrators have been building barricades, which are slowing the flow of goods from place to place.
Armando Mirando, vice president of the Tachira State Bakeries Association, told AFP that San Cristobal could run out of bread by Tuesday…
“We already had shortages before and now nothing is arriving,” Mirando said after addressing a “peace conference” organized by the government to end the protests but shunned by the opposition as a sham.
Most shops and restaurants are closed in the city of 260,000 people.
On Friday, Maduro got on TV and said that smuggling food into the country is more profitable than selling cocaine.
If you had to stand in this line (in San Crisobal) you would understand why.
Why are the missing Malaysian Airlines passengers’ phones still ringing? Relatives’ agony as search zone now switches to entirely new area and Iranian man on missing passport traced and ‘isn’t terrorist’
The ‘unprecedented mystery’ behind the disappearance of Malaysian Airlines flight MH 370 deepened on Monday when relatives claimed they were able to call the cellphones of their missing loved ones.
According to the Washington Post, family of some of the 239 people on board the vanished Boeing 777 said that they were getting ring tones and could see them active online through a Chinese social networking service called QQ.
One man said that the QQ account of his brother-in-law showed him as online, but frustratingly for those waiting desperately for any news, messages sent have gone unanswered and the calls have not been picked up.
This new eerie development comes as the Malaysian authorities said they had identified one of the men on two stolen European passports who were on the flight – and that he was not considered likely to be a terrorist
He was a 19-year-old Iranian asylum seeker called Pouiria Nur Mohammad Mehrdad who was trying to meet his mother in Germany.
Separately, the search for any trace of the missing airliner has now shifted to the Straits of Malacca, at least 100 miles away from where it was last recorded by electronic monitoring devices.
The dramatic shift raises the possibility that it flew undetected, crossing mainland Malaysia, before ditching into the sea.
WHAT COULD HAVE HAPPENED?
A mid-air explosion: The lack of debris could be explained by it falling into Malaysian jungle
A terrorist attack: Fuelled by reports that two passengers used stolen passports
Power failure: Possibly caused by deliberate cutting of power to communication instruments
Electronic warfare: 20 passengers on board were experts in this technology.
Hijacking: Radar data indicates the plane might have made a U-turn.
A pilot error: There is a chance of the in all air mysteries, claim experts
Structural failure: Possibly involving damage sustained by an accident in 201
Pilot suicide: There were two large jet crashes in the late 1990s caused by this
Aeronautical black hole: Plane is stranded hundreds of miles from current search area
However the phantom phone calls and online presence set off a whole new level of hysteria for relatives who have spent the past three-days cooped-up in a Beijing hotel waiting for some concrete information on the missing plane.
Repeatedly telling Malaysian Airlines officials about the QQ accounts and ringing telephone calls, they hoped that modern technology could simply triangulate the GPS signal of the phones and locate their relatives.
However, according to Singapore’s Strait Times, a Malaysia Airlines official, Hugh Dunleavy has confirmed to families that his company had tried to call the cellphones of crew members and they too had also rang out.
He is reported to have told relatives that those phone numbers have been turned over to Chinese authorities.
One man who had asked police to come to his house and see the active QQ account on his computer was devastated to see that by Monday afternoon it had switched to inactive.
According to China.org.cn, 19 families of those missing have signed a joint statement confirming that their calls connected to their loved ones but that they rang out.
The relatives have asked for a full investigation and some complained that Malaysian Airlines is not telling the whole truth.
A board displaying messages for the passengers from the missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 is seen at Kuala Lumpur International Airport in Sepang on March 11, 2014
The International Business Times reported that the sister of one of the Chinese passengers also rang his phone on live television.
‘This morning, around 11:40, I called my older brother’s number twice, and I got the ringing tone,’ said Bian Liangwei, sister of one of the passengers according to IBT.
At 2pm, Bian called again and heard it ringing once more.
‘If I could get through, the police could locate the position, and there’s a chance he could still be alive.’
However, at a press conference in Beijing, Malaysian Airlines spokesman Ignatius Ong said one of the numbers that had been passed on to the airline’s head office in Kuala Lumpur failed to get through.
‘I myself have called the number five times while the airline’s command center also called the number. We got no answering tone,’ said Ong.
Indeed, authorities Authorities hunting for the missing Malaysia Airlines jetliner expanded their search on land and sea Tuesday, reflecting the difficulties in locating traces of the plane more than three days after it vanished.
Malaysia Airlines said in a statement the western coast of the country, near the Straits of Malacca, was ‘now the focus’ of the hunt. That is on the other side of peninsular Malaysia from where flight 370 was reported missing.
WHY ARE THE PASSENGERS’ PHONES STILL RINGING?
After three days, wouldn’t the phone batteries be dead by now?
Not necessarily. Smartphones are renowned for their poor battery life and will typically last up to around 24 hours. But the batteries of older phones can last considerably longer.
For example, the Nokia 100 boasts a standby battery life of a staggering 35 days. Smartphone batteries can also last longer if the handset isn’t being used, and especially if the phone is in Flight Mode.
However, if the phone is in Flight Mode, it switches off all wireless activity meaning calls wouldn’t be able to connect, effectively ruling out this theory.
If the phone batteries are dead, wouldn’t the call go straight to voicemail?
In a word, yes. However, the process of sending the call to voicemail can differ depending on the service provider.
For example, the majority of phones will go straight to voicemail, or callers will get an out of service message if voicemail hasn’t been set up.
This will occur even if the phone is underwater, or not near a cell signal.
However, some service providers will ring once or twice before the phone goes to voicemail, or cut off. This may explain the reports that claimed phones rang before seeming to hang up.
Some reports claim the phones are just ringing and ringing though. How is this possible?
Telecoms expert Alan Spencer told MailOnline that if the phones are really ringing, they can categorically not be under the sea.
He added that the phones will only be ringing if they are ‘switched on, not in water, the battery is charged, and [they are] near a mobile cell site.’
This means that if the phones are genuinely ringing, the plane needs to have landed on land – not in the sea – and be in a location where there is cell service, rather than landing in the middle of a jungle, for example.
Why can’t network operators locate the phones?
A number of family members have asked the network operators why they can’t use the phone’s signal to locate the missing people.
Professor William Webb, a Fellow of the Royal Academy of Engineering, told MailOnline: ‘The phones definitely won’t be working. They’ll be underwater, out of coverage and by this time out of battery.
‘So there’s absolutely no way they could be used for triangulation.
‘As to why they are ‘ringing’ it’ll be the same as if they were out of coverage – in some cases it may ring before going to voicemail.’
What about the T3212 timer I’ve read about?
The T3212 is a timer that causes a phone to periodically send a message to the network saying where it is.
But Professor Webb said this only works when the phone is turned on and it is in coverage. It won’t work when the battery is dead.
What about reports that passengers are appearing online, on the QQ social network?
When people sign into social networks including QQ, as well as Facebook, they appear online.
This is the case whether they’ve signed in on a phone, tablet, PC, and laptop.
if missing passengers are shown as online, they may not be using the service on their phone. Instead they may still be logged in on another device.
If this other device shuts down or goes into standby, however, or there is a long period of inactivity, the social network will log them out, which may explain why some accounts went from online to offline over a period of three days
Shift of focus: Azharuddin Abdul Rahman (R), director general of the Department of Civil Aviation of Malaysia, speaks during a press conference on March 10, 2014 in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia(left pic)
Vietnamese officers discuss their plan during a meeting before a mission to find the missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 at Phu Quoc Airport on Phu Quoc Island March 11, 2014(right pic)
Civil aviation chief Azharuddin Abdul Rahman said the statement didn’t imply authorities believed the plane was off the western coast. ‘The search is on both sides,’ he said.
The Boeing 777 had 239 people on board when it vanished off radar screens early Saturday morning en route to Beijing from Kuala Lumpur, triggering a massive international search effort.
Authorities began their hunt at the point the plane was last known to be, a spot in the seas between Malaysia and Vietnam. With no debris found, they have systematically expanded their search to include areas where the plane could have in theory ended up given the amount of fuel it had on board.
They have also said that the plane might have tried to turn back to Kuala Lumpur. On Sunday, Malaysia’s air force chief said there were indications on military radar that the jet may have done a U-turn.
Vietnamese planes and ships are a major component of the international search and rescue effort.
Search: A U.S. Navy SH-60R Seahawk helicopter takes off from the destroyer USS Pinckney in the Gulf of Thailand, to assist in the search for missing Malaysian Airlines flight MH370 on Monday(left pic)
This photo provided by Laurent Errera taken Dec. 26, 2011, shows the Malaysia Airlines Boeing 777-200ER that disappeared from air traffic control screens Saturday, taking off from Roissy-Charles de Gaulle Airport in France(right pic)
Lt. Gen. Vo Van Tuan, deputy chief of staff of Vietnamese People’s Army, said authorities on land had also been ordered to search for the plane, which could have crashed into mountains or uninhabited jungle.
He said that military units near the border with Laos and Cambodia had been instructed to search their regions also.
‘So far we have found no signs (of the plane) … so we must widen our search on land,’ he said.
Experts say possible causes of the apparent crash include an explosion, catastrophic engine failure, extreme turbulence, pilot error or even suicide.
This deepening of the already baffling mystery into the disappearance of flight MH370 comes as it was claimed that the two passengers traveling on stolen passports on the plane were Iranian nationals.
A friend of one of the two men told BBC Persia that he played host to the pair in Kuala Lumpur after their arrival from Tehran before they took off on the fateful journey.
The source told the BBC service that the pair had bought the fake passports because they wanted to go and live in Europe.
The two men were using the passports of Christian Kozel – a 30-year-old Austrian and Luigi Maraldi, a 37-year-old Italian.
The friend, who knew one of the men from school said that both purchased the illegal and fake passports in Malaysia and one-way tickets to Amsterdam.
BBC Persia’s UN correspondent Bahman Kalbasi told the UK’s Daily Telegraph newspaper that the two men were not sinister and were only ‘looking for a place to settle.’
Investigators in Malaysia are voicing skepticism that the airliner that disappeared early Saturday with 239 people on board was the target of an attack, U.S. and European government sources close to the probe said.
How the search is widening – but has still to find a thing: Strait of Malacca is now main focus of air and sea search but China is deploying ships, planes and helicopters to the South China Sea to try to find any trace of the Boeing 777. Its authorities say more needs to be done to find what happened to the plane.(left pic)
Chinese students stand by candles while praying for the passengers aboard the missing Boeing 777-200 plane of Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 at a school in Zhuji city, east Chinas Zhejiang province(right pic)
The fate of the Malaysian airliner that vanished about an hour into a flight to Beijing remained a mystery, as a massive air and sea search, now in its fourth day, failed to turn up any trace of the Boeing 777 plane.
Neither Malaysia’s Special Branch, the agency leading the investigation locally, nor spy agencies in the United States and Europe have ruled out the possibility that militants may have been involved in downing Malaysia Airlines Flight.
But Malaysian authorities have indicated that the evidence so far does not strongly back an attack as a cause for the aircraft’s disappearance, and that mechanical or pilot problems could have led to the apparent crash, the U.S. sources said.
‘There is no evidence to suggest an act of terror,’ said a European security source, who added that there was also ‘no explanation what’s happened to it or where it is.’
Meanwhile, dozens of ships and aircraft from 10 countries were still scouring the seas around Malaysia and south of Vietnam as questions mounted over possible security lapses that could have led to a downing of the Boeing 777-200ER after it climbed to an altitude of 35,000 feet.
Interpol confirmed on Sunday at least two passengers used stolen passports and said it was checking whether others aboard had used false identity documents.
Even so, one U.S. source said Malaysian authorities were leaning away from the theory that the plane was attacked.
Their view was mostly based on electronic evidence that indicates the flight may have turned back toward the Malaysian capital of Kuala Lumpur before disappearing.
Even that information has not been clearly confirmed, and investigators and intelligence sources say the fate of the Flight MH370 is still shrouded in mystery.
One reason was that the aircraft had failed to make automatic contact with a flight data-monitoring system after vanishing from radar screens, two people familiar with the matter said on Monday.
Such contact could have helped investigators determine what happened.
Also raising doubts about the possibility of an attack, the United States extensively reviewed imagery taken by spy satellites for evidence of a mid-air explosion, but saw none, a US government source said. The source described U.S. satellite coverage of the region as thorough.
With no success so far, authorities were planning to widen the search from Tuesday, Azharuddin Abdul Rahman, the head of Malaysia’s Civil Aviation Authority, told reporters on Monday.
‘Unfortunately we have not found anything that appears to be objects from the aircraft, let alone the aircraft,’ he said.
‘As far as we are concerned, we have to find the aircraft. We have to find a piece of the aircraft if possible.’
Azharuddin said a hijacking attempt could not be ruled out as investigators explore all theories
Fore by two! Tiger Woods hits spectator in the head with opening tee shot… and then hits another minutes later but sends them home happy with autographed golf gloves
If you think golf balls don’t strike twice, you’d be wrong… as a Tiger Woods fan found out in rather painful fashion yesterday.
The German tourist was enjoying the final round of the World Golf Championships in Doral, Florida, when the golfing legend’s opening tee shot landed squarely on his head, spurting blood over his white polo shirt.
An apologetic Woods came over to the man, who had travelled thousands of mile to see his hero play, and autographed a glove hoping it would seal the end of his bad luck.
Bloody: The man, who did not want to give his name, was forced to stem the bleeding with a hanky(left pic)
Funny side: But he managed to see the funny side after Woods came over to apologise(right pic)
‘And I get this souvenir,’ he said, almost smiling as he held up the ball.
‘Sorry about that,’ woods replied before handing him the signed glove.
But minutes later the exact same thing happened again, forcing Woods to hand over a second signed glove with an accompanying apology.
With glove: Woods then autographed a glove hoping it would seal the end of his bad luck(left pic)
Not his day: Minutes later the exact same thing happened again, forcing Woods to hand over a second signed glove and its accompanying apology(right pic)
Back in the buggy: Later, Woods and his girlfriend Lindsey Vonn were pictured as they returned to his famous luxury yacht, Privacy, where they were staying(left pic)
Lap of luxury: They stayed on the boat which was docked in Miami Beach for about a week as he usually has for the past few years when he comes to play in the annual Cadillac Championship tournament in Miami(right pic)
The next question, then, wasn’t could he catch eventual winner Patrick Reed, but did he have enough golf gloves in his bag?
He ended the day with a six-over par 78, beating only two of the field’s 68 players.
Bayern Munich boss Uli Hoeness admits tax fraud
Uli Hoeness, president of European football champions Bayern Munich, has admitted in court to defrauding Germany’s tax authorities of 18m euros (£15m; $25m).
Prosecutors had earlier accused him of evading a far smaller sum of 3.5m euros in taxes and are seeking a jail term.
The former World Cup-winning German international footballer, 62, kept the funds in a secret Swiss bank account.
He told the court he deeply regretted “my wrongdoing”.
He is Germany’s Mr Football. Not only was Uli Hoeness a star on the field, he became a great mover and shaker off it. As president of Bayern Munich, one of the world’s greatest clubs, he was the man with whom everybody from Chancellor Angela Merkel down was pleased to be seen. This morning, in a court room in Munich, the allure and the glamour seemed a long way away.
He is accused of not declaring more than 33m euros in income on which he should have paid 3.5m in tax. But his lawyer has now said that this figure of unpaid tax is actually higher.
Mr Hoeness came forward to admit the account only after the media got wind of it. He received a phone call warning him of the investigation. He received this phone call when he was having lunch with Chancellor Merkel, a measure of the exalted circles in which he moved.
In court, he stood in the darkest of suits smiling politely – and perhaps nervously – to the lawyers in their robes around him.
At 62, he is portly, perhaps twice the weight he was when, as a magical forward in 1974, he helped Bayern Munich win the European Cup and Germany the World Cup.
“I will do everything necessary to ensure that this depressing chapter for me is closed,” he said.
The former Germany forward, who helped the national team win the 1972 European Championship and then the World Cup two years later, came clean about his secret bank account last year, filing an amended tax return in the hope of an amnesty in return for paying the tax he owed.
But prosecutors say he did so because investigators were already on his case.
The penalty for tax evasion can be 10 years in jail, though the prosecution says it will seek a seven-year sentence. A verdict is expected on Thursday.
Munich state prosecutor Achim von Engel read out the indictment against Mr Hoeness shortly after the start of the trial, described as one of the most spectacular of the year by the German newspaper Sueddeutsche Zeitung.
He alleged that the defendant had failed to declare the income he held at Vontobel bank in Switzerland.
Giving evidence later, Mr Hoeness said he had used the money for large-scale gambling on the foreign currency markets, losing far more than he ever gained.
“Between 2002 and 2006 I really gambled with sums that today I find difficult to grasp. For me it was a kick; pure adrenalin,” he said.
It was while he was having lunch with Chancellor Angela Merkel on 15 January in Berlin last year that he was made aware of press interest in his finances, he told the court. Vontobel phoned him, he said. warning him that journalists from Stern magazine were making inquiries.
Before the scandal emerged, he was considered to be on good terms with Mrs Merkel, who has since said she is disappointed with him.
Mr Hoeness said he had already decided to come clean about his taxes to the authorities.
He is charged with not declaring 33,526,614 euros in tax returns from 2004 to 2009 in income on which he should have paid 3,545,939 euros and 70 cents.
Despite the tax evasion scandal, Mr Hoeness remains a very popular figure at the club he helped build up.
He offered his resignation at last year’s annual meeting but was backed by the supporters and the club’s board.
Bayern Munich refused to comment before the trial but said its chairman and former star Karl-Heinz Rummenigge would speak after the verdict.
An added potential difficulty for Mr Hoeness, our correspondent reports, is that the judge in the case, Rupert Heindl, has been dubbed “judge merciless” in the German press, after jailing a pensioner in his 70s.
He is thought not to like deals whereby transgressors avoid jail by repaying what they have gained illegally.
Bayern Munich are facing an important tie against Arsenal on Tuesday in the last 16 of the European Champions League. Coach Pep Guardiola said: “We can help him most with a win over Arsenal.”
Top judge who was soft on foreign criminals sacked after it emerged he was living with an illegal immigrant
A senior immigration judge has been forced to quit after his bosses discovered he had been living with an illegal immigrant.
Richard McKee, 65, agreed to step down after admitting he had been supporting 39-year-old Nigerian woman, Fatima Umar, who had overstayed her visa to the UK.
The judge, a full-time Tribunal Judge of the Upper Tribunal since 2002, left his job on 4 February after Umar was arrested at his £410,000 flat in Kilburn, north London, where she had previously lived with him.
Today it emerged that she was arrested after breaking into the basement flat she had shared with Mr McKee and smashing it up, causing £5,000 damage, on 28 January this year.
Police were called and as they tried to arrest Umar, she assaulted them before being dragged ‘kicking and screaming’ out of the property, neighours said.
Umar is now serving two eight-week jail terms after admitting one count of criminal damage and three counts of assault, and is expected to be deported when her sentence ends.
According to police records, she was also sentenced to 14 weeks in prison three years ago after assaulting Mr McKee.
He was one of three senior immigration judges who allowed 26 foreign criminals to stay in Britain because of their ‘right to a family life’ in just one year, while ruling that only seven be sent home.
Last year, Mr McKee’s ground-floor flat was the subject of a police investigation after it was discovered that his home was being used for ‘unlawful activities’ which he had not told his bosses about.
A spokesman for the Office for Judicial Complaints said at the time: ‘The premises of Senior Immigration Judge Richard McKee, of the Immigration and Asylum Chambers, were the subject of a police investigation into its misuse by others for unlawful activities
‘Judge McKee also failed to inform the judicial authorities of these matters. The Lord Chancellor and the Lord Chief Justice concluded that Judge McKee’s actions had fallen short of the standards expected of all judicial office holders and therefore issued him with a reprimand.’
He managed to hold on to his job, but had to stand down after the arrest and assault of the police officers at the beginning of last month led to the discovery that he was helping Umar financially.
A spokesman for the judiciary said: ’On 31 January 2014 it was brought to the Chamber President’s attention that Upper Tribunal Judge McKee was providing financial support to a person who was alleged to be an immigration offender.
‘This was put to Mr McKee, who then retired with effect from 4 February.’
Border control: Tory MP Dominic Raab said it ‘beggared belief’ that a judge paid to defend our borders had helped someone who had flouted them (file image)
The former judge is now likely to receive a full pension of at least £50,000.
Today Tory MP Dominic Raab spoke of his anger at the situation.
He said: ‘It beggars belief that a judge tasked with defending our borders has been helping someone who has flouted them, only to walk away with a full pension.
‘Those who uphold the law should not be above the law.’
Tribunal Judge McKee, who has so far made no comment on matters leading to his resignation, was called to the Bar in 1991, appointed a part-time Immigration Adjudicator in 2000, and a full-time Immigration Adjudicator in 2002.
DAVID MCKEE: THE JUDGE THE FOREIGN CRIMINALS HOPED TO GET
Between June 2011 and May 2012, Mr McKee, 64, heard 13 cases involving criminals appealing against deportation, and in 11 of them he ruled in favour of the criminal bringing the appeal.
Criminals he allowed to stay included Congolese national Wabi Longange, a failed asylum seeker found guilty of causing the death of a woman passenger by careless driving, and an Australian man, known only by the initials CB, who sexually assaulted a 17-year-old girl he had fostered eight years previously.
He also let Algerian illegal immigrant Amar Chennaoui, 43, stay after he was jailed for two-and-a-half years for unlawful wounding.
Sugar adviser linked to Coca-Cola ‘will not act’ on UN guidance: Doctors and MPs accuse officials of ‘immense arrogance’ for ignoring suggested limits
A radical UN recommendation to halve sugar intake will not be implemented in Britain says a Whitehall adviser on nutrition who has worked for Mars and Coca-Cola.
Professor Ian MacDonald, head of a panel of health experts in charge of drawing up guidelines on sugar, said it will ‘not act’ on the World Health Organisation’s proposal.
The move led to fury yesterday as senior doctors and MPs accused officials of ‘immense arrogance’ for ignoring the suggested limit of six teaspoons a day, in the face of an obesity crisis that threatens to overwhelm the NHS.
And campaigners last night accused Professor MacDonald – who only recently left the pay of the two fast food giants – of being ‘in the pocket’ of the sugar industry.
He is one of six scientists on the panel of eight who have links to manufacturers of sugary foods, including the world’s largest chocolate maker and fizzy drinks producers.
The row comes amid growing concern over the high levels of sugar in everyday foods, which experts believe is a major contributor to obesity, heart disease and diabetes.
Around a quarter of adults in Britain are obese but this is predicted to soar to more than half the population by 2050 and cost the economy £50billion a year.
An average adult eats between 11 and 12 teaspoons of sugar a day – double the new recommendation – while children consume as many as 15.
But referring to the WHO guidelines, Professor MacDonald said: ‘The position, I’ve been informed by the officials, is that actually we would take note of it but we would not act on it.’
He added that the Government would take the recommendations of his own panel, the Carbohydrate Working Group of the Scientific Advisory Committee on Nutrition, rather than those of the WHO.
Graham MacGregor, of the group Action on Sugar and professor of cardiology at the Wolfson Institute of Preventive Medicine, accused Professor MacDonald of ‘arrogance’ about the extent of the health crisis posed by sugar.
He said: ‘To say that he is going to ignore the WHO has an immense amount of arrogance about it.
‘Given the fact we are facing an obesity crisis, what is his plan? … it’s a real timebomb.
‘Obesity and diabetes are going to overwhelm the health service in terms of cost. We have to do something.’
Tam Fry, of the National Obesity Forum, said: ‘Ian MacDonald is a leading figure in his discipline.
‘The problem is his research money is so dependent on these firms that you have to ask the question, is he in their pocket?’
Luciana Berger MP, Labour’s shadow public health minister, accused the Government of being ‘too close to big businesses to do what’s best for our nation’s health’.
The SACN is expected to produce its own sugar guidelines in June.
Head of the panel Professor Ian McDonald, who worked for Coca Cola, will simply ‘take note’ of the advice
The revelation has been hit by outrage from critics claiming the Government is too close to big businesses
50 armed men invade Enugu Govt House,Nigeria
Armed attack by about 50 young men on Government House, Enugu in the early hours of yesterday was repelled by security operatives attached to the state seat of power.
There was heavy shooting by the security operatives comprising policemen, men of the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps, NSCDC, and soldiers who prevented the assailants from gaining entry into the official residence of Governor Sullivan Chime.
One of the invaders was shot dead, three arrested while others escaped. Several machetes were recovered from them.
Although the mission of the young men, who were said to be armed with machetes and carrying flags with different inscriptions and insignia belonging to some secret cults, was unknown, an eyewitness said they arrived the Government House at about 4.30 am in buses.
They reportedly parked their vehicles and marched to the Government House gate where they met security operatives.
The attackers were said to have told the security men to open the gate claiming they were at the Government House on protest, but when one the NSCDC officials opened the gate to ask why they decided to come in the night, one of the invaders attacked him with machete and tried to force the gate open for his colleagues to go in.
This attracted other security operatives in the Government House who rushed out only to see many of attackers carrying machetes and were giving orders to their colleagues to move into the Government House.
The Chief Security Officer to Chime, Mr. Fidelis Ogarabe, DSP, who rushed to the scene after he was alerted by his men, immediately took control of the situation as the security operatives repelled the invaders after hours of shooting.
The security operatives pursued the assailants from the Government House premises into the Independence Layout. It was in the process that three of the attackers were arrested while another was shot dead.
The Chief Press Secretary to Governor Chime, Mr. Chukwudi Achife, confirmed the attack, yesterday, saying vigilant security personnel attached to the Government House Enugu early this morning foiled an armed attack on the Government House.”
Achife narrated further: “The attack occurred when at about 4.30 am a group of young men numbering about 50 and carrying machetes and cutlasses invaded the Government House and tried to force their way in.
“The attackers were immediately engaged by the security personnel who shot dead one person and arrested three. One security personnel was injured in the attack.
The governor’s spokesman added that the arrested persons along with some of the weapons recovered (matchetes) have since been handed over to the Enugu State Police Command for further investigations.
Meanwhile, the three suspects who were taken to the New Haven Police station were later transferred to the Special Anti-Robbery Squad office along the Enugu–Onitsha expressway.
The three suspects, sources said, identified themselves as natives of Aguleri, Anambra East. Local Government Area of Anambra State.
Al-Qaeda takes over Boko Haram
In addition, it was learnt that some of the camps used by Boko Haram members as safe haven in Cameroun have been detected by Nigeria’s security forces.
The problem, however, according to sources, is that “except Cameroun enters into concrete collaboration with Nigeria, nothing can be done”.
Aqim and Boko Haram
The alleged arrowhead of the take-over, which is the al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb, AQIM, has its headquarters in Algeria.
Intelligence sources disclosed to Sunday Vanguard that members of Boko Haram had had collaboration with AQIM since 2010.
As far back as 2010, intelligence sources said “the Algerian government had said available intelligence reports confirmed that extremist Nigerian Islamic group, Boko Haram, has linked up with al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) which has its North African headquarters in Algeria.”
One of the sources added, “The revelation confirms Nigeria’s intelligence services assessment and worries that the previously unknown group has received training and support from al Qaeda.
“Even at that time, Algerian Deputy Foreign Minister, Abdelkader Messahel, told journalists that intelligence report showed both groups had been coordinating.
”We have no doubts that coordination exists between Boko Haram and al Qaeda.”
Reuters news agency quoted Messahel as saying “the way both groups operate and intelligence reports show that there is cooperation”.
AQIM was said to have grown out “of a conflict in Algeria between the government and Islamist militants”. An intelligence report said, “In the past few years, it has expanded its activities to include Mali, Niger and Mauritania but was not thought to have reached as far south as Nigeria”.
The report said Algeria’s assessment of ties between AQIM and Boko Haram carries authority because Algeria has the biggest intelligence-gathering operation on al Qaeda of any country in the region.
Sunday Vanguard was reliably informed that “the group sent out some six members to Algeria to learn how to make Improvised Explosive Devices, IEDs.” A security source said, “Indeed, the students, in the light of Boko Haram’s bombing raids, appeared to have learnt well.
“It was discovered that after the ‘Arab Spring’- a peoples revolution across some North African countries – some of the militia and criminals hitherto nurtured by the fleeing leaders migrated southwards and were the ones largely responsible for and who inspired the civil strife in Mali.”
“The source went further: “It was these same people who moved easterly through Niger Republic and were causing problems in northern Nigeria.
“It was the emergency rule declared by President Goodluck Jonathan, the efficacy of which hemmed the terrorists to the north eastern states of Borno, Yobe and Adamawa and even across the Nigerian borders that has restricted their activities to attacking soft targets”.
The source disclosed that the funding the sect members enjoy is not only derived from their robbery activities but from their links with AQIM; the sophistication of their attacks is also as a result of the strong involvement of AQIM.
Military sources confirmed that some of the camps used as hideouts by members of Boko Haram have been identified in North-western Cameroun.
Information provided last week by highly dependable sources suggest that the vastness of the border between Nigeria and Cameroun makes it very difficult if not impossible to fully police the area.
“The reality on ground is that it is not possible for Nigeria’s security forces to carry out aerial bombardment of the hideouts of the terrorists,” one of the sources told Sunday Vanguard.
“These camps have been identified but we cannot just go into another country and carry out bombing sorties.
“If the type of collaboration between Niger and Nigeria existed between Cameroun and Nigeria, we would have achieved more successes.
“Even at that, you will agree that our military forces have been intercepting and aborting some of the plans of the insurgents.
“But when people speed in and speed out into another country, you cannot pursue them into another country without the permission of that country”.
Led by the late Mohammed Yusuf, the first major uprising by Boko Haram actually began in Bauchi State on 26 July 2009 when hundreds of the sect adherents launched an attack on the Dutsen Tanshi Police Station. This attack failed, with reports of at least 50 people killed. In the next four days, the group carried out further attacks, with gun battles between the sect and the police reported throughout Bauchi, Kano, Yobe, and Borno States. The worst of the violence occurred in Maiduguri, where the group had relocated from its Kanamma base, Yobe State, a base aptly named Afghanistan.
Prior to July 2009 when the sect’s notoriety waxed strong, its members had been involved in dastardly incidents in Yobe in 2003 and in Kano in 2004. In April 2007, 10 policemen and a divisional commander’s wife were killed in an attack on the police headquarters in Kano.
On 13 November 2008, Yusuf was arrested following an attack on a police station in Maiduguri, in which 17 of his followers were killed. On 20 January 2009, an Abuja High Court granted him bail. This was to be an error, a fatal one.
He was apprehended again in December 2009 after the sect engaged the military in a gun battle lasting almost one week. He was handed over to the police where he died under circumstances that are still alleged to be extra-judicial.
Libya threatens to bomb North Korea-flagged tanker
Libya’s prime minister has threatened to bomb a North Korean-flagged tanker if it tries to export oil from a rebel-controlled port.
Ali Zeidan said that orders had been issued to arrest the tanker’s crew.
Earlier separatist militants said they had started loading oil on to the tanker at Sidra port, east of Tripoli.
The rebels have seized three major ports since August, to demand more autonomy, hampering the government’s ability to revive oil exports.
The Morning Glory docked at Sidra port earlier on Saturday, after a failed attempt to dock on Tuesday.
A local TV station showed footage of the rebels holding a ceremony to celebrate.
“We started exporting oil. This is our first shipment,” a rebel spokesman said.
Libyan officials said the rebel move was an “act of piracy”.
Analysts have said it is unlikely the ship is owned or controlled by Pyongyang.
Lawrence Dermody, a researcher in illicit trafficking for the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute, told the BBC: “It’s much more likely that it’s a flag of convenience,” adding that “it’s really not a common flag – even in the Middle East.”
Libya’s state-owned National Oil Corp (NOC) had warned tankers against approaching the port, and two others in Libya’s volatile east that are also controlled by armed groups.
It is not the first attempt to ship oil from the rebel-controlled port.
On Monday the Libyan navy ship Ibn Auf fired warning shots at a Maltese-flagged oil tanker to prevent it from docking and loading oil.
The owners of the ship complained it was fired on in international waters.
Libya’s government has tried to end a wave of protests at oil fields and ports, which have slashed vital oil revenues, but there has been little progress in indirect talks between the government and former militia leader Ibrahim Jathran, who is now leading the protests.
Libya is struggling with armed groups and tribesmen who helped topple Muammar Gaddafi in 2011 but who have kept their weapons.
The BBC’s Rana Jawad in Libya says Mr Jathran’s demands include an independent commission representing the three regions of Libya. He wants the commission to supervise the sale of oil and ensure the east gets a fair share of the revenue.
Libya’s oil output has slowed to a trickle since the protests started in July last year, depriving the OPEC producer of its main budget source.
Nigeria gays: 20 lashes for ‘homosexual offences’
Four Nigerian men have received 20 lashes each after an Islamic court in the northern city of Bauchi convicted them of gay sex, officials say.
Confessions had been forced from the Muslim men after they were beaten up in custody, a rights activist said.
They were among a group of people arrested late last year.
Homosexual acts are illegal in the West African state under both Islamic and secular law – the latter was tightened earlier this year.
Same-sex marriages, gay groups and shows of same-sex public affection are now banned throughout Nigeria.
‘Ordered to pay fine’
Another Muslim man also received 20 lashes in January after the Islamic court in Bauchi convicted him of homosexual offences.
Most states in the predominantly Muslim north of Nigeria have adopted Islamic law, known as Sharia, since the end of military rule in 1999.
The BBC’s Ishaq Khalid in Bauchi says details about the latest case are sketchy, but court officials have confirmed the whippings.
It seems the court wanted to avoid publicity after an angry crowd disrupted proceedings last month, demanding the death sentence for the four, our reporter says.
The judge did not impose the death penalty because the homosexual offences had taken place a long time ago, and the men had repented, he says.
The men, aged between 20 and 22, were also ordered to pay a fine of $120 (£70) each, Dorothy Aken’Ova, a rights activist with the Nigeria-based International Centre for Reproductive Health and Sexual Rights, told the Associated Press news agency.
Rights groups were trying to raise the money – otherwise, they will remain in prison, she said.
The men should not have been convicted because they were beaten up and their confessions forced, she said.
Their families, mainly subsistence farmers, turned down an offer of legal representation because they preferred to negotiate with the judge and get the case behind them, Ms Aken’Ova said.
Nigeria is a deeply conservative country, where most people – Christian and Muslim – are opposed to homosexuality.
Jay Z will only be Kanye West’s best man ‘if reality TV cameras agree to stay away from his family at his wedding to Kim Kardashian’
For a man who has ventured into nearly every type of media, there is still one medium he won’t step into: reality television.
Kanye West, 36, reportedly offered Jay Z, 44, the role of Best Man at his upcoming, hotly anticipated wedding – but is ‘now also refusing the honour’, the Daily Star reports.
A close Kardashian friend divulged to Daily Star that Jay Z would only be Best Man under one condition: that he, his wife Beyonce, 32, and daughter Blue Ivy wouldn’t be caught on camera.
A close bond: West and Jay Z photographed together at the BET Awards in 2012; the creative duo have always maintained a close collaboration
Jay agreed initially but had one condition – under no circumstances can there be any reality TV shows filming him, his wife Beyoncé or daughter Blue Ivy during the ceremony,’ the source shared.
Apparently reality television is far below the multi-talented crooner’s standards, as the crooner tries to avoid being associated with the medium, Daily Star reported.
‘She purposefully keeps herself away from trashy TV and isn’t prepared to lower her standards for anyone, or any occasion,’ the source explained.
The Queen Bee: Beyonce reportedly refuses to associate herself with sub-standard reality television, The Daily Star reports; the crooner is captured alongside her husband in New York in July(left pic)
The engaged couple: Kim Kardashian stands by West while in New York in February(right pic)
The thought of popping up in KUWTK mortifies Beyoncé,’ the source elaborated.
In spite of recent claims by Kim Kardashian, 33, herself that she’s hopeful the wedding willl remain small and intimate, the private affair will still more than likely be recorded for the reality show, as the reality star does with most major milestones in her life.
‘Bosses at E! are desperate to get the nuptials on air, and will pay millions to make it happen,’ the Daily Star source revealed in regards to the likelihood of the Kim and Kanye wedding being televised.
The new mother spoke with Ryan Seacrest in February about her upcoming nuptials, revealing her wish for a much smaller affair than people are likely to expect, especially considering her lavish nuptials in 2011 that were highly publicized.
‘As we are going along, we realize we want it to be smaller and more intimate than people are imagining and thinking,’ the reality star divulged.
In spite of this, the duo still appear to maintain a close business partnership.
West’s creative house, Donda, recently partnered with Jay Z’s Roc Nation, a collaboration that will focus on West’s music brand and touring ventures, according to a press release issued on Monday by Roc Nation.
The new parents: West gazes intensely alongside his fiance while in Paris in January
Royals jet off into a storm of protest as they leave George at home during Maldives getaway
The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge are facing a public backlash for going on a second honeymoon without seven-month-old Prince George.
The couple have flown to an exclusive resort on the Maldives, leaving their baby with Carole and Michael Middleton – plus his own security detail – at their Berkshire mansion.
But the decision sparked a storm on social networking sites Mumsnet, Netmums and Twitter.
Critics said they were wrong to leave the young Prince for so long, while others were concerned about the extravagance of their stay only a few weeks after the whole family, including George, went to Mustique.
The couple arrived at Cheval Blanc Randheli on Noonu Atoll, on Thursday for a week-long break. Packages there, including flights, can cost £6,799 a person.
Some people questioned how Prince William, already condemned for boar hunting in Spain last month, was able to take time off from his ten-week agriculture management course at Cambridge University.
One mother, who uses the blog name louloutheshames, posted on Mumsnet: ‘Seriously? Think this might turn public opinion against them . . . seems its just one long holiday for the D and D of Cambridge.’
Another blogger called crazy spaniel remarked: ‘Well they need a holiday – him to recover from the shooting holiday in Spain a couple of weeks ago, and her to recover from the Mustique holiday last month.
I think she may even have put on a posh frock and “worked” for a couple of hours in between. No wonder they’re exhausted.’
Katienan wrote: ‘I like them but am shocked by this, just makes me think they are the same old royals . . . Can’t imagine choosing to be so far from my baby for so long,’ while another contributor said: ‘These two really p*** me off.
‘Life’s one long holiday’. Frogwatcher42 added the ‘arrogant’ couple might ‘finally break the royal family’.
Paradise: Hotel Cheval Blanc in the Maldives where the royal couple are enjoying a romantic break
However the couple also had some support. One mother of two said: ‘If the baby is in good hands, why not?
He is first [grandson] for doting GPs [grandparents] and probably has a very competent nanny.
If I could afford a holiday every few weeks without the baby, I’d take them too.’
Others said ‘each to their own’.
Next month the Royal couple embark on a three-week tour of New Zealand and Australia – this time accompanied by George.
Kensington Palace have declined to comment on a private holiday.
Would you leave YOUR baby for a week’s exotic holiday like Kate and Wills? Two mothers weigh in after Royals come under fire for second honeymoon alone
YES says Karren Brady
Businesswoman and mother of two
As a mother she has been branded selfish, uncaring, shameful and unusual. What nonsense.
The Duchess is none of those things. And, quite frankly, I believe she has made totally the right decision.
When my daughter was seven months old I took her on holiday to America.
I had more luggage than a family of ten, what with sterilisers, bottles, formula, nappies, every possible piece of medical equipment I might remotely require plus clothes, sun creams, prams, car seats, sun umbrellas and a selection of toys.
She screamed the whole way there, so much so that I contemplated drinking my own body weight in red wine.
The time difference played havoc with her body clock, and mine, and I found I’d left certain toys at home she wanted. It was possibly the most stressful week of my life.
The truth is travelling with a baby, especially when aeroplanes are involved, is rarely a pleasant experience.
‘You can only have a good time in the Maldives if you like the person you are with as, other than swim, sunbathe and eat, there is nothing to do’
Kate, we are told, wants to spend quality time with her husband, and I admire this because marriage, like children, is a lifetime commitment and you have to work at being good at it.
And trust me, I’ve been to the Maldives, and you can only have a good time if you like the person you are with as, other than swim, sunbathe and eat, there is nothing to do.
The Duchess is being far from selfish. She has left her child with its loving and doting grandparents; she hasn’t dropped him off at Battersea Dogs Home.
Nor is she uncaring – she has made a decision that her son is better off in his usual routine than being dragged to a small island in the heat.
‘Kate is now a member of the Royal Family, and while their ways may seem formal to her, she has embraced them wholly and willingly’
The truth is that as a predominantly stay-at-home mum she spends many hours of quality time with her son, and probably far less quality time with her busy husband.
And while it’s probably true that, as one of the thoroughly middle-class Middletons, her natural instinct may have been to rarely let her baby son out of her sight during his formative years, the fact is that Kate no longer resides among her own class.
She is now a member of the Royal Family, and while their ways may seem formal to her, she has embraced them wholly and willingly.
In the long term, George will benefit from her decision to make her marriage a priority because, as children will tell you, they are far happier in a household where both parents love each other than in a household where they do not.
And this is a household where even a blind man can see there is much love.
We also forget that Kate and William are young, newly wed, new parents and face a lifetime dedicated to public service, so we know that it’s not easy for them to avoid the media.
We also know what happened the last time they went on holiday. Is it any wonder they have had to take over a whole island to ensure they get some privacy?
My daughter will soon turn 18; she has no recollection of the nightmare trip to America. In the years between then and now there have been many business trips on which she has not accompanied me.
My advice to Kate? Don’t let guilt hold you back. Fast forward to when George is 18. So, he didn’t go to the Maldives with you, and probably missed many other official trips besides.
But he will have your strengths, your independence and will have benefited massively from the loving home you and his father are providing. In fact, he will be just fine.
And who knows, maybe Kate and William are working on a little Princess
NO says Anne Atkins
Writer, Broadcaster and mother of five
When our second child was a few weeks old I accepted a weekend’s work with a theatre company. Wanting to be professional, I left my baby at home.
As soon as I arrived I realised my mistake. A child of that age will sleep through anything, she wouldn’t have been any trouble and someone would have cuddled her if she’d woken while I was working.
Her breastfeeding never fully recovered, and she was the only one of our children who needed bottles before she was weaned. This was something she minded very much when I told her years later.
Of course parents need time to themselves. When ours were young we would spend one evening a week alone.
But let’s face it: Kate and Wills are not going to be alone. If I was to be surrounded by security men, press officers and so on, I’d include a nanny or two and take my baby too.
We have an odd trait in Northern Europe that I call generational apartheid. Unlike those in more relaxed southern climes, we behave as if we really don’t like our children.
The couple arrived at Cheval Blanc Randheli (pictured) on Noonu Atoll, on Thursday for a week-long break. Packages there, including fights, can cost £6,799 a person
We park them with babysitters, send them upstairs when we have friends round. I sometimes wonder why the British have children at all, we complain so much when they’re home for the holidays.
And much as I love and admire the Queen, no reign is entirely without error, and I suspect hers perhaps came when her children were very young.
For instance, leaving the young Charles and Anne behind when she went to Australia for two months. How did they cope, knowing their mother’s subjects came before they did?
At school, I had a wonderful history teacher, Margaret Chamberlain. She often challenged our thinking, and one day criticised Elizabeth I for not continuing the Tudor line.
We leapt to Good Queen Bess’s defence: she was far too busy being a brilliant monarch. ‘But providing an heir,’ Mrs Chamberlain said, ‘is part of being a good monarch. By leaving no clear succession, she let her people down.’
Raising the next generation of Royals was part of Elizabeth II’s job. Considering the chaos they went on to make of their own relationships, this was perhaps not her finest hour.
After that weekend without my baby, I never did it again. I took them all over the place: breastfeeding during a lecture I gave, or over dinner after Question Time.
Our youngest visited the Richard and Judy studio at three days old. I was far happier, and like to think they were too.
Of course Prince George’s grandparents are competent: that’s not the point. How will the parents feel if anything goes wrong and they can’t comfort him?
Come on Kate! Your middle-class, nurturing family gave us more confidence than the Windsors. We don’t need you to be grand and cool.
Take your babies (and nannies) with you next time, and enjoy yourself ever
Kim Kardashian and Kanye West’s prenup gives her ‘$1 million for each year they are married’ along with their Bel Air home
They are set to tie the knot in Paris on May 24 and Kim Kardashian and Kanye West are ironing out the final details of their pre-nupital agreement.
The 33-year-old reality TV star – who gave birth to the couple’s first child North last summer – will received one million dollars from the rapper for each year they are wed in the event of a split, according to RadarOnline, which also reports the negotiations have been drama free as Kanye didn’t even want a prenup.
They also have not put a custody clause in the contract.
Final preparations: Kanye West and Kim Kardashian are finalising their pre-nup, which will see Kim get one million dollars for every year of marriage in the event of a divorce easy, and relatively drama free. Kanye didn’t even think the couple needed a prenup, and was ready to give Kim carte blanche to all of his financial assets.
‘Yes, he loves Kim that much. There is a huge difference from Kim’s prenup with Kris Humphries [Kim’s second husband]… the preparation of their agreement went on for several months.
‘It was long and tedious.’
According to the terms of the generous agreement Kim will get one million for each year of their marriage, up to 10 years.
Radar reports their Bel Air mansion will be in her name while Kim can keep all jewellery and gifts given to her by the rapper.
Even in the event of a couple, a source told the website, ‘One of Kanye’s life insurance policies valued at $20 million will name Kim as the beneficiary.’
They have also agreed that the reality TV star can keep the money she makes from her family’s show, clothing line and promotional deals.
The source told Radar: ‘The couple is focused on the wedding and looking forward to spending the rest of their lives together.
Kim is head over heels in love with Kanye, and knows this is forever.
‘Despite having been married twice before, Kim is treating this wedding as her one and only.’
Kim is thought to be worth $40 million while Kanye has amassed an over $100 million fortune.
This will be West’s first marriage while Kardashian was wed to Damon Thomas from 2000 to 2004 and tied the knot with Kris Humphries in 2011 before walking away after just 72 days.
UsWeekly recently reported that the two will walk down the aisle on May 24.
That will be only seven months after the Yeezus singer got down on one knee to propose to the E! favourite in San Francisco with a 15-carat diamond engagement ring.
May 24 is a Saturday but guests will be flown in several days before that, according to the magazine.
The date is an interesting choice because it’s when astronomers are predicting a comet will burst through Earth’s atmosphere and create a brilliant meteor shower, lighting up the sky.
On February 25 Kim told Ryan Seacrest’s KIIS FM radio show her wedding won’t be the giant affair that has been reported.
No custody provisions: The prenuptial agreement does not include custody previsions of their daughter North in the event of a split
‘We’re having a super, super small, intimate wedding,’ she told the Keeping Up With the Kardashians producer.
‘As we go along, we’re realising we want it to be smaller and more intimate than people are imagining and thinking.’
Vastly different: Kim’s prenuptial agreement with Kris Humphries was drawn up by her mother Kris Jenner and took months to hammer out
Was it a terror attack? Two people on board Boeing 777 that disappeared over Vietnam were traveling on STOLEN PASSPORTS as missing U.S passengers identified as IBM exec and two toddlers
An American national working for IBM in Malaysia has been identified as one of the passengers traveling on board the Malaysian Airlines plane that vanished off the coast of Vietnam as new information concerning stolen passports has raised fears that it may have been an act of terror.
Philip Wood, 51, was identified as the only adult passenger traveling on a U.S. passport on Flight MH307. Two other American travelers have been named as toddlers Leo Meng, 2, and Nicole Meng, 4.
Earlier today, two oil slicks were spotted by the Vietnamese air force that had joined a major search and rescue operation started when the aircraft disappeared shortly after losing contact with air traffic controllers.
The Boeing 777, with 227 passengers and 12 crew members, took off from Kuala Lumpur at 12.21am (4.21pm GMT) bound for Beijing, where it was expected to land at 6.30am (10.30pm GMT).
But after reaching 35,000ft and 120 nautical miles off the coast of the Malaysian town of Kota Bharu the plane vanished, prompting fears the aircraft ‘could have crashed’.
As Malaysian Airlines released a full list of the passengers on board – including five children aged two to four years old – it emerged two passengers were traveling on stolen passports
Anxious: Families of those on board the Malaysia Airlines Flight MH307 from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing, face an anxious wait for news of the search mission at Kuala Lumpur airport
Grief: Family and friends waiting for the plane to arrive break down as they hear the jet has gone missing. The flight vanished off the coast of Vietnam around two hours after taking off
Despair: There were 227 passengers and 12 crew members on board Flight MH370, from 14 different nations
Luigi Maraldi, 27, was listed as the sole Italian national on the missing flight, but according to his father, was not on the plane.
‘Luigi called us early this morning to reassure us he was fine, but we didn’t know about the accident,’ Walter Maraldi told NBC News. ‘Thank God he heard about it before us.’
The name of Austrian citizen Christian Kozel, 30, also appeared on the passenger manifest, but the European nation’s foreign ministry stated that the man was safe back home, and that his passport had been stolen.
Officials from Italy and Austria confirmed that the travel documents of both men were reported stolen in Thailand. The Austrian passport was taken two years ago, and the Italian one last year.
A list of passenger names posted at the Beijing airport, apparently by Chinese authorities, listed three U.S. passport holders: Philip Tallmadge Wood, 51; Nicole Meng, 4; and Leo Meng, 2.
Wood is believed to be an IBM technical storage executive who began working in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, only three months ago, according to his LinkedIn profile.
The two Canadian passengers were identified as mining executive Muktesh Mukherjee and his wife Xiaomo Bai(left pic)
Globetrotters: Australian nationals Catherine and Robert Lawton, from Brisbane, were named as one of three couples from Down Under who were missing(right pic)
Victims: This handout picture taken on March 7, 2014 and released by Hamid Ramlan shows his daughter Norliakmar Hamid (second right) and her husband Razahan Zamani (right), who were passengers on a missing Malaysia Airlines flight
The two Canadian passengers were identified as mining executive Muktesh Mukherjee and his wife Xiaomo Bai.
What may have caused the Malaysian Airlines plane to disappear
The most dangerous parts of a flight are takeoff and landing. Incidents rarely happen when midflight.
The disappearance of a Malaysia Airlines jet well into its flight has led experts to assume that whatever happened was quick and left the pilots no time to make a distress call.
It initially appears there was either a sudden breakup of the plane or something that led it into a quick, steep dive. Some experts even suggested an act of terrorism.
Possible causes for a crash include:
Catastrophic structural failure This could have damaged the airframe or engines. Given the plane’s impressive safety record, experts suggest this is unlikely.
Bad weather Planes are designed to fly though most severe storms, but poor weather has caused crashes in the past. However, the skies were clear in this case.
Pilot disorientation The pilots could have taken the plane off autopilot and somehow gone course.
Failure of both engines In January 2008, a British Airways 777 crashed about 1,000 feet short of the runway at London’s Heathrow Airport. There were no fatalities. Such a scenario is possible, but the plane could glide for up to 20 minutes, giving pilots plenty of time to make an emergency call.
A bomb Several planes have been brought down by bombs. If the debris field is large it will indicate the plane broke apart high up.
Hijacking A traditional hijacking seems unlikely given that a plane’s captors typically land at an airport and have some type of demand. But a 9/11-like hijacking is possible, with terrorists forcing the plane into the ocean.
Pilot suicide There were two large jet crashes in the late 1990s that investigators suspected were caused by pilots deliberately crashing.
Accidental shoot-down There have been two previous cases of passenger jets being brought down accidentally by the military.
According to their Facebook pages, the couple had two young sons, who were apparently not on the flight.
Also named among the passengers were Australian nationals Catherine and Robert Lawton, from Brisbane.
The husband and wife were reportedly traveling with their compatriots Mary and Rodney Burrows.
A third couple from Australia, Li Yuan and Gu Naijun, from Sydney, were also listed as missing.
As the air search was abandoned overnight, aviation expert Chris Yates said the plane would not be carrying enough fuel to still be in the air and would ‘definitely have crashed’.
He told Sky News: ‘Frankly the plane would not have been carrying enough fuel to stay aloft much longer than an hour after it was due to arrive in Beijing.
‘We simply don’t know the circumstances behind what caused that crash at the moment.
‘There will be two areas for the investigation: the maintenance of the aircraft and also possible terrorism.’
The lack of an emergency call ‘suggests something very sudden and very violent happened,’ William Waldock, who teaches accident investigation at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University in Arizona, said.
Scott Hamilton, managing director of aviation consultancy Leeham Co., added: ‘Either you had a catastrophic event that tore the airplane apart, or you had a criminal act.
‘It was so quick and they didn’t radio.’
Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak said search operations in an area about midway between Malaysia and Vietnam’s southern coast were being intensified.
It comes as the Vietnamese air force reported it has spotted two oil slicks, thought to be from the wreckage of the crash.
A Vietnamese government statement said the slicks were spotted off the southern tip of Vietnam.
They were each between six miles and nine miles long, officials said.
The statement said the slicks were consistent with the kinds that would be left by fuel from a crashed jetliner, but it was not clear if they were connected to the missing aircraft.
‘Vietnam rescue airplanes saw two oil spills and one smoke column in the area around 150 miles west of Tho Chu island, but we can’t confirm it’s from that Malaysia plane,’ said Pham Quy Tieu, vice minister of transportation.
‘We sent two maritime boats and some military boats there to clarify, each boat with about 20 people. The oil spills are about 15km (9.3 miles) long. Those boats will be there in about three to four hours.’
Troubled waters: A fisherman works on his boat near a local naval base at Phu Quoc island, in the waters of southern Vietnam, where a Malaysian Airlines jet was presumed lost(left pic)
Search by sea: A Vietnam coast guard ship is seen anchored at a local naval base at Phu Quoc island(right pic)
Concern: The arrivals board at Beijing Airport listed flight MH370 as being delayed(left pic)
Desperate: Relatives waiting for news have been booked into a hotel at Beijing Airport(right pic)
Malaysian Airlines senior official Dr Hugh Dunleavy, left, speaks to Ignatius Ong, from the airline’s crisis management team, in Beijing on Saturday(left pic)
Hugh Dunleavy, left, and Ignatius Ong, right, of Malaysian Airlines, answer questions at a press conference(right pic)
Less than one hour after Flight MH370 left Kuala Lumpur for Beijing, the plane disappeared from radar.
Malaysia Airlines CEO Ahmad Jauhari Yahya said there was no indication that the pilots sent a distress signal. The fact that there was apparently no call for help suggests that whatever happened to the flight occurred quickly.
– Malaysian transport minister Hishamuddin Hussein
‘We are doing everything in our power to locate the plane. We are doing everything we can to ensure every possible angle has been addressed,’ Transport Minister Hishamuddin Hussein told reporters near the Kuala Lumpur International Airport.
‘We are looking for accurate information from the Malaysian military. They are waiting for information from the Vietnamese side,’ he said.
Ships in the area have been involved, scouring the vast site for signs of a wreckage.
The South China Sea is a tense region with competing territorial claims that have led to several low-level conflicts, particularly between China and the Philippines.
That antipathy briefly faded Saturday as China, the Philippines, Vietnam, Singapore and Malaysia all sent ships and planes to the region.
Clue in the water: A handout picture provided by Tienphong.vn shows what is believed to be an oil slick stretching a length of about 9 miles in the sea off the Vietnamese coast(left pic)
Without a trace: This image courtesy of Flightradar24, shows the flight track of Malaysian Airlines flight 370 on March 7, 2014(right pic)
Malaysia had dispatched 15 planes and nine ships to the area. The U.S. Navy was sending a warship and a surveillance plane, and Singapore said it would send a submarine and a plane. China and Vietnam also were sending aircraft to help in the search.
Malaysian Airlines has confirmed the majority of those on board are from Malaysia and China, with three Americans, two Canadians and seven Australians and passengers from France.
Vietnamese state media, quoting a senior naval official, had reported that the Boeing 777-200ER flight had crashed off south Vietnam, but those reports have been denied, with the plane listed as ‘missing’.
The Vietnamese Navy confirmed it detected the aircraft’s emergency locator signal 153 miles south of Phu Quoc island in the South China sea.
Admiral Ngo Van Phat told the Vietnamese newspaper Tuoi Tre that radar showed the aircraft had crashed into the sea off the southern tip of Vietnam, close to the border with Cambodia.
TIMELINE OF FLIGHT MH307
12.21am (4.21pm GMT): Flight MH307 takes off from Kuala Lumpur airport
1.21am (5.21pm GMT): The flight failed to check in as scheduled while flying between Malaysia and Ho Chi Minh city, Vietnam
2.40am (6.40pm GMT): The flight loses contact with air traffic controllers
6.30am (10.30pm GMT): The flight was scheduled to land at Beijing
7.54am (11.54pm GMT): The airline issued a statement saying it had not landed and was officially missing
The paper later reported the Admiral qualifying his statement, saying the radar had revealed the presumed crash site.
Malaysian naval vessels saw no immediate sign of wreckage when they reached the maritime area off the country’s northeast coast this morning, a senior rescue official said.
Malaysia has sent three maritime enforcement ships and a navy vessel to the area, backed by three helicopters, a Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency official said.
‘Our aircraft asset spotted an orange speck in the sea where the last signal came from. We sent a vessel to search the area and it was confirmed that it was nothing,’ he said.
The signal picked up by the Navy is believed to be the Emergency Locator Transmittor, which can be activated manually by the flight crew or automatically upon impact.
Crying relatives of Chinese passengers on board the plane wept at Beijing airport as it became clear the jet had probably crashed.
An unconfirmed report on a flight tracking website said the aircraft had plunged 650ft and changed course shortly before all contact was lost.
The route would have taken flight MH370, a B777-200 aircraft, across the Malaysian mainland in a north-easterly direction and then across the Gulf of Thailand.
Shock: Distressed relatives wait for news of the Malaysia Airlines plane which was due to land in Beijing. Malaysia’s Transport Minister said 14 hours into the massive search and rescue mission, that ‘no crash site’ has been located(left pic)
Missing: Flight MH370 was flying from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing when it lost contact over Vietnam(right pic)
Notice: A message written on a board at Beijing Airport tells relatives the Malaysian Airlines flight MH370 is delayed
Chinese state media said 24 Chinese artists and family members, who were in Kuala Lumpur for an art exchange program, were aboard. The Sichuan provincial government said Zhang Jinquan, a well-known calligrapher, was on the flight.
The pilot of the passenger plane is Captain Zaharie Ahmad Shah, a 53-year-old Malaysia who joined the airline in 1981.
His co-pilot was 27-year-old First Officer Fariq Ab. Hamid, also from Malaysia, who joined the airline in 2007.
If the aircraft has crashed, and all the passengers and crew are killed, it would the deadliest aviation incident since November 2001.
In that incident, 265 people died after an American Airlines Airbus A300 crashed in Belle Harbor, Queens, after leaving JFK Airport in New York. The deaths included five people on the ground.
MAS Operations Control Vice President Fuad Sharuji said: ‘We tried to call this aircraft through various means,’ adding that it was carrying fuel for 7.5 hours when it disappeared.
Lai Xuan Thanh, director of Vietnam’s civil aviation authority, said the plane was over the sea and bound for Vietnamese airspace but air traffic officials in the country were never able to make contact.
The plane ‘lost all contact and radar signal one minute before it entered Vietnam’s air traffic control,’ Lieutenant General Vo Van Tuan, deputy chief of staff of the Vietnamese army, said in a statement issued by the government.
More than 10 hours after last contact, officials from several countries were struggling to locate the plane.
All countries in the possible flight path of the missing aircraft were performing a ‘communications and radio search’, John Andrews, deputy chief of the Philippines’ civil aviation agency, said.
Xinhua said China has sent two maritime rescue ships to the South China Sea to help in the search and rescue efforts.
‘It couldn’t possibly be in the air because it would have run out of oil by now,’ Shukor Yusof, an aviation analyst at S&P Capital IQ, said.
‘It’s either on the ground somewhere, intact, or possibly it has gone down in the water.’
Aviation experts said that if the report of the aircraft suddenly plunging was correct it could be due to a number of factors.
Long wait: A Malaysian man with relatives on the plane arrives at Beijing airport. An unconfirmed report on a flight tracking website said the aircraft had plunged 650ft and changed course shortly before all contact was lost
Devastating: A woman cries in Beijing airport as she waits to hear information about her family(left pic)
Anxious: A man with family on the missing flight is escorted to the relatives room at Kuala Lumpur airport(right pic)
‘CRASH’ WOULD BE DEADLIEST IN PLANE’S 19-YEAR HISTORY
If it is confirmed that the plane has crashed, the loss would mark the second fatal accident involving a Boeing 777 in less than a year and by far the worst since the jet entered service in 1995.
It would mark the U.S.-built Boeing 777-200ER airliner’s deadliest incident since entering service 19 years ago.
An Asiana Airlines Boeing 777-200ER crash-landed in San Francisco in July 2013, killing three passengers and injuring more than 180.
Boeing said it was aware of reports that the Malaysia Airlines plane was missing and was monitoring the situation but had no further comment.
The flight was operating as a China Southern Airlines codeshare.
An official at the Civil Aviation Authority of Vietnam (CAAV) said the plane had failed to check in as scheduled at 5.21pm GMT while it was flying over the sea between Malaysia and Ho Chi Minh city.
These include a catastrophic engine failure; the pilots taking evasive action to avoid another aircraft; or an explosion.
The airline has not said whether the pilots were able to issue a distress call – but if they did not, experts said this could indicate a catastrophy that had occurred without warning.
At Beijing’s airport, authorities posted a notice asking relatives and friends of passengers to gather to a hotel about 15km from the airport to wait for further information, and provided a shuttle bus service.
A woman wept on the shuttle bus while saying on a mobile phone: ‘They want us to go to the hotel. It cannot be good.’
Periodically, wails could be heard coming from inside the hotel conference room where the relatives were sequestered, and several people emerged in the mid-afternoon, complaining that airline officials were not providing sufficient information.
‘We are being treated like dogs!’ one man yelled, pushing through a crowd of reporters.
A waiting area for family and friends was also set up at the Kuala Lumpur airport the flight had left from.
Fuad Sharuji, Malaysian Airlines’ vice president of operations control, told CNN that the plane was flying at an altitude of 35,000ft and that the pilots had reported no problem with the aircraft.
The Boeing jet lost contact with Malaysian air traffic controllers a little over two hours into its flight.
Reports from China’s Xinhua news agency said later that the aircraft was lost in air space controlled by Vietnam and did not enter Chinese airspace or make any contact with Chinese controllers.
‘Our team is currently calling the next of kin of passengers and crew,’ the airline’s chief executive, Ahmad Jauhari Yahya, said as the airline issued a statement saying its ‘thoughts and prayers’ were with all those on board as well as their families.
Waiting room: Family and friends are being directed to a reception area at Kuala Lumpur airport, where the plane left, as the airline gathers details about the missing aircraft(left pic)
Information: A member of staff from Malaysia Airlines is surrounded by reporters at the airport(right pic)
NATIONALITIES OF THE MISSING
China/Taiwan: 152, including an infant
U.S.: 3, including two toddlers
New Zealand: 2
Finding planes that disappear over the ocean can be difficult. Airliner ‘black boxes’ – the flight data and cockpit voice recorders – are equipped with ‘pingers’ that emit ultrasonic signals that can be detected underwater.
Under good conditions, the signals can be detected from several hundred miles away, John Goglia, a former member of the U.S. National Transportation Safety Board, said.
If the boxes are trapped inside the wreckage, the sound may not travel as far, he said. If the boxes are in an underwater trench, that also hinders how far the sound can travel. The signals also weaken over time.
Unconfirmed reports said it was believed the missing aircraft was involved in a crash in August 2012 when it damaged the tail of a China Eastern Airlines plane at Shanghai Pudong Airport.
The reports said that in that incident the tip of the wing of the Malaysian Airlines Boeing 777 broke off.
Family room: Women waiting to hear about loved ones on the plane arrive at Kuala Lumpur airport(left pic)
Update: Malaysian Airlines chief executive Ahmad Jauhari Yahyain speaks at a press conference on Saturday(right pic)
Retired American Airlines captain Jim Tilmon told CNN that ‘it doesn’t sound very good,’ as the search continued for the missing jet.
‘The route is mostly overland, which means there would be plenty of radars and radios to contact the plane.
‘I’ve been trying to come up with every scenario that I could just to explain this away, but I haven’t been very successful.’
Mr Tilmon said the jet was ‘about as sophisticated as any commercial airplane could possibly be.’
Expert view: Aviation expert David Learmount said it is extraordinary that the crew aboard the Malaysia Airlines flight, which disappeared yesterday, did not make an emergency call
A leading aviation safety expert has said it is ‘extraordinary’ that the pilots of a missing Malaysia Airlines plane carrying 239 people did not make a distress call.
The Boeing B777-200 aircraft would have been cruising at about 35,000 feet when it lost contact over the South China Sea, giving the pilots ‘plenty of time’ to report any technical problems, Flight Global’s operations and safety editor David Learmount said.
Mr Learmount said: ‘Something happened and the pilots did not tell anyone. Why? It’s a good question.
‘It’s extraordinary the pilots failed to call because they had plenty of time to. Unless there was a bomb on board but there has been no evidence of that.’
Mr Learmount, who is a pilot, drew comparisons with the Air France 447 plane crash over the Atlantic Ocean in 2009, which killed 216 passengers and 12 aircrew, including five Britons.
The aircraft crashed when pilots lost control after ice crystals affected sensors used to measure the plane’s speed, he said.
Mr Learmount said: ‘This is an historical comparison and could be a coincidence.
‘Modern aircrafts are beautifully built and incredibly safe.
‘If the engines were to fail because of some kind of interruption to the fuel flow, they can glide with no problems whatsoever for about 40 minutes at that height.’
Incident echos tragedy: Mr Learmount said the disappearance of the Malaysia Airlines flight MH307 echos the Air France crash in 2009, which killed 216 passengers and 12 crew(left pic)
Route: An online flight tracker for MH37 ends shortly after takeoff from Kuala Lumpur(right pic)
Mr Learmount said the time which the Malaysia Airlines plane went missing may be significant.
He said: ‘Between midnight and 2am you’re not at a mental or physical performance high – you’re at the lowest performance standard in the 24-hour cycle.’
Plane’s disappearance crash echoes Air France crash
- Air France flight 447 crashed over the Atlantic in 2009
- 216 passengers were killed along with 12 crew members – five Britons were among the dead
- Aircraft crashed when pilots lost control when ice crystals affected sensors used to measure the plane’s speed
- Investigators took two years to find the Air France plane
The failure to locate the plane so far was not unusual, he added, with investigators taking two years to find the missing Air France 447 plane.
However, Mr Learmount admitted he was ‘puzzled’ why authorities had not divulged a more accurate location of where the aircraft went missing.
‘They may not know precisely but they know pretty accurately,’ he said.
The 53-year-old Malaysia Airlines pilot, Zaharie Ahmad Shah, has more than 18,000 flying hours and has been flying for the airline since 1981, the company’s chief executive Ahmad Jauhari Yahya said.
The first officer, 27-year-old Fariq Hamid, has about 2,800 hours of experience and has flown for the airline since 2007.
BOEING 777: ONE OF THE WORLD’S SAFEST JETS
The Boeing 777 flown by Malaysia Airlines that disappeared over the South China Sea is one of the world’s most popular – and safest – jets.
The long-range jumbo jet has helped connect cities at the far ends of the globe, with flights as long as 16 hours.
But more impressive is its safety record: The first fatal crash in its 19-year history only came last July when an Asiana Airlines jet landed short of the runway in San Francisco. Three of the 307 people aboard died.
Missing: The Malaysia Airlines Boeing 777 lost contact with Air Traffic Control over the Pacific with 227 passengers aboard
Airlines like the plane because it is capable of flying extremely long distances thanks to two giant engines.
Each engine is so massive that a row of at least five coach seats could fit inside it. By having just two engines, the plane burns through less fuel than four-engine jets, like the Boeing 747, which it has essentially replaced.
“It has provided a new standard in both efficiency and safety,” said Richard Aboulafia, an aviation consultant with the Teal Group.
“The 777 has enjoyed one of the safest records of any jetliner built.”
Besides last year’s Asiana crash, the only other serious incident with the 777 came in January 2008 when a British Airways jet landed about 1,000 feet short of the runway at London’s Heathrow Airport.
Malaysia Airlines did have an incident in August 2005 with a 777 flying from Perth, Australia, to Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia’s largest city.
While flying 38,000 feet above the Indian Ocean, the plane’s software incorrectly measured speed and acceleration, causing the plane to suddenly shoot up 3,000 feet.
The pilot disengaged the autopilot and descended and landed safely back in Perth. A software update was quickly made on planes around the world.
Malaysia Airlines has 15 Boeing 777-200ER jets in its fleet of about 100 planes. The first was delivered on April 23, 1997, and the most recent on December 13, 2004, according to Boeing. The 200ER is one of four versions of the 777.
The 777 is capable of flying 7,250 miles non-stop. Its two Rolls-Royce Trent 875 engines each have 74,600lb of thrust, letting the plane cruise at Mach 0.84, or nearly 640 mph.
A new model has a list price of 261.5 million US dollars (£156 million), although airlines usually negotiate discounts.
The 777 was the first twin-engine plane to be immediately certified to fly over the ocean as far as 180 minutes from any emergency landing airport.
Government safety regulators have determined that it could fly for nearly three hours on a single engine in the case of an emergency
Doctors tell Michael Schumacher’s family that ‘only a miracle’ can save him: F1 legend still in a medically-induced coma 69 days after ski accident
The family of F1 legend Michael Schumacher have been informed by doctors treating him that the chances of recovery are now so slim that only ‘a miracle’ can save him.
Today the 45-year-old winner of seven grand prix titles has been in an artificially induced coma for 69 days since badly injuring his brain during a low-speed ski accident in the French Alps on December 29. Most artificial comas last for a period of two to three weeks.
His management team, led by spokeswoman Sabine Kehm, insist that he remains in the ‘wake up’ phase of his treatment as doctors continue to decrease the powerful narcotics that have kept him unconscious. Official news about his condition is minimal: but sources close to the family say the prognosis for Schumacher could not be worse.
‘He is in terrible shape but until the family issue a statement we cannot write about it,’ said one senior German journalist. ‘The family have, we are told, been informed that only a miracle can bring him back now.’
However, Italian sports newspaper La Gazzetta dello Sport is claiming that the seven-time world champion is no longer on a ventilator and is now breathing independently.
Focus magazine reported a fortnight ago that the wake-up phase had been stopped due to complications and that he was placed back in the coma. That was denied by Kehm although experts say that such a super-fit individual as Schumacher would have expelled all the drugs from his body by now, and that if he was going to wake up, he would have done so already.
This week was a vital one for Schumacher: two months into his coma – induced to slow down brain functions, thus allowing it to heal more rapidly – doctors were hoping for a sign that he was aware of his environment.
Italian sports newspaper La Gazzetta dello Sport is claiming that the seven-time world champion is no longer on a ventilator and is now breathing independently
They look for a fluttering of eyelids or a movement of fingers that is more than a reflex nerve twitch.
‘This has not happened,’ said another source close to the family. ‘On Sunday his wife Corinna spent her 45th birthday at his bedside with their children Gina Marie and Mick, his brother Ralf and his father Rolf Schumacher.
‘They talked and talked and prayed for him to acknowledge their presence. But he remains comatose with tubes feeding him, supplying him with air, giving him medicine and removing waste from his body.
‘The doctors have given it to them straight. There is little hope left that he will come out of this.
‘Miracles happen, of course, and as a wealthy man he has the best care money can buy. But all the money in the world cannot fix what has happened to him.’
Three times daily Schumacher’s joints and muscles are massaged to prevent atrophy and bed sores.
This week was a vital one for Schumacher – two months into his coma, doctors were hoping for a sign that he was aware of his environment (2012 file picture)
The coma suppressed his swallowing reflex, pain perception and his respiratory drive. He has to be acutely monitored around the clock during this wake-up phase to see if such things are returning naturally.
Experts say that perhaps the greatest risk of all facing Schumacher in his prone position is pneumonia. The lack of a competent swallowing mechanism can make saliva run into the lungs and trigger the potentially lethal respiratory infection. He has already had – and conquered – one lung infection.
His blood is also thinned to prevent thrombosis and he is regularly turned and even stood straight up at times to keep it flowing.
Schumacher was injured in a skiing accident on December 29 (file picture from 2005)
He lies on a special air-filled mattress to prevent pressure sores and his urinary tract is under constant vigilance because of the danger of waste bacteria entering the bloodstream and causing a potentially fatal infection.
Gary Hartstein, a former F1 doctor, wrote on Sunday: ‘The majority of the patients that come out alive from a coma after this amount of time suffer severe disabilities.’
He and others say the supposed mouth movements that Schumacher’s former teammate Felipe Massa saw were probably nothing more than pure nerve reflexes that repeatedly occur in coma patients and not conscious movements.
Caught on Kiss Cam! Harry and Cressida’s VERY public display of affection on their first official engagement together – and then he admits: ‘You’d probably have preferred Harry Styles’
It’s the first time she has accompanied boyfriend Prince Harry on an official engagement, but Cressida Bonas saw no need to dress up for the occasion.
Wearing jeans and silver Converse high tops, the 24-year-old dance graduate posed for photographers and later leant in for a kiss with her royal beau at Wembley Arena this morning at the launch of the WE Day UK young people’s charity event.
Prince Harry, 29, was the star speaker at the ‘global youth empowerment’ day, with other star billings including singer Ellie Goulding, rap star Dizzee Rascal, and actress Jennifer Hudson.
To wild cheers, he told the audience of 12,000 children: ‘Some people do not think it is cool to help others – personally I think it is the coolest thing in the world.’
Embrace: Harry put his arm around his dancer girlfriend as she supported him in his appearance at Wembley today( left pic)
Official engagement: Cressida Bonas, 24, accompanied Prince Harry, 29, to the youth event at Wembley Arena(right pic)
Prince Harry’s girlfriend Cressida Bonas, 24, dressed down in jeans and Converse as she accompanied him on their first official engagement together – attending the WE Day UK global youth event at Wembley Arena
Relaxed look: The Prince, who will turn 30 in September, wore jeans, a checked shirt and a necklace
New style: At one point during the show, while her boyfriend was busy elsewhere, Cressida plaited her hair
The couple sat close to each other and whispered as the youth charity event got underway this morning
The relaxed young Prince charmed his young audience by apologising for not being the singer, Harry Styles
Casual Prince: Harry appeared to be enjoying himself once his 10 minutes in the spotlight were over
Harry, who began his speech by saying: ‘For those of you who were expecting Harry Styles here, I apologise, and no, I am not going to sing’ was on stage for 10 minutes.
Admitting to feeling ‘extremely privileged and incredibly nervous’ to be standing on stage, he said children had the power to effect change.
‘Every single one of you has done something amazing to be here today. It may not feel like it to you, but I can assure you that, collectively, your actions can and will shape the course of our future.
Harry added: ‘The world around us is changing fast. On one hand, it is a much more connected place.
‘The internet is now part of our everyday lives, and social media has changed the way we communicate.
‘What this means is that our generation, although I am nearly 30, has the greatest opportunity of any in our history to effect change on a global scale.’
Harry told his young audience: ‘Sometimes the smallest of things, like helping someone cross the road, to climb a flight of stairs or lift their shopping into a car, really does make a difference. It doesn’t cost anything, just a little bit of your time.’
Schoolgirl Malala Yousafzai, who was shot in the head by the Taliban in Pakistan for campaigning for a girl’s right to be educated, later told the students: ‘Your most powerful tool, your most powerful weapon is your voice.’
Recalling the day she was shot, she said: ‘I was shot by the Taliban but on that day the little bit of fear that I had died and courage and strength was born.’
US politician Al Gore, actor Clive Owen, entrepreneur Sir Richard Branson and former footballer Gary Neville also made appearances.
Cressida posed alongside her half-sister, Isabella Calthorpe and her husband Sam Branson, and another male friend at the event, organised by the Free The Children charity.
Support: Cressida posed with her half-sister Isabella Calthorpe and husband, Sam Branson, and a male friend(left pic)
Enjoying the conversation, Cressy? The 24-year-old didn’t always look gripped as she listened to Harry’s thoughts(right pic)
Hosted by MTV presenter Laura Whitmore and attended by 12,000 students and teachers from 400 schools, the event will consist of educational speeches and performances.
Today’s WE Day in London is one of several such events organised to encourage children to become ‘agents of social change’.
Craig Kielburger, co-founder of Free The Children, said: ‘When I was young and wanted to make a difference in the world, I was told I was too young to make a difference.
‘We Day provides a platform for young people to learn about local and global issues, take action and celebrate the meaningful contribution they’re making to better our world.’
Other celebrity supporters of the event today include former footballer Gary Neville, and popular singers, The Tenors.
THE ANTITHESIS OF KATE: CRESSY’S LOW-KEY STYLE
Prince Harry’s girlfriend of more than two years is known for her laidback style.
Not for Cressida the floral frocks and ladylike suits the Duchess of Cambridge loves to wear.
The 25-year-old former dance student champions casual cool and has a far more laid-back attitude to fashion than her fellow Royal WAG – think ripped jeans, beanies and hi-tops for dinner with Harry, not dresses and heels.
Today she embraced the glam-grunge look, pairing black skinny jeans and a leather-trimmed jacket with silver sequined Converse trainers, £60 at Asos (sadly sold out now), that gave her look a lift
Will the Queen finally get to ride in golden coach that turned into a white elephant? Lavish 80th birthday gift arrives in UK from Australia after sparking political scandal
It was meant as an 80th birthday present for the Queen, but the expensive golden coach ended up the centre of a political row over taxpayer dollars while it lay idle for almost a a decade in a backyard workshop in suburban Sydney.
Called Britannia, the jewel-encrusted carriage which cost millions and took thousands of hours of painstaking work, may finally be put into service by the royal family.
A spokeswoman for Buckingham Palace confirmed ‘the coach has now arrived in the United Kingdom and plans are being made for it to be used in the future’.
A political row erupted over the golden royal coach Jim Frecklington (above, left) built with a a taxpayer funded donation from a previous, conservative Australian prime minister
The Queen travels in the Australian State Coach with India’s President Pratibha Patil at Windsor in 2009(right pic)
Since successfully delivering his first coach (above) for the Royal Family in 1988 it has been in constant use, but Jim Frecklington has struggled with his second coach, which until now has been something of a white elephant
Eight years overdue for its original purpose, as Her Majesty’s birthday present on her 80th brithday in 2006, the coach has missed several royal milestones promised by its maker, Sydney man Jim Frecklington.
A former member of the royal household who worked as a carriage driver and cared for the Queen’s ceremonial horses, Frecklington allegedly fell behind schedule for a 2006 delivery.
He has since claimed the coach would be delivered for the Diamond Jubilee in 2012, then the birth of Prince George in July last year.
Now it has finally been shipped to the UK, it is still unclear just who will use the carriage, which Buckingham Palace described as ‘a private initiative which was undertaken by Mr Frecklington’ and not a coach commissioned by the royal household.
The coach, which Mr Frecklington says contains hundreds of historical items including wood from Lord Nelson’s ship HMS Victory and from a tree known to William Shakespeare, took years of toil only to become a political football.
Mr Frecklington, who made the Australian State Coach for Queen Elizabeth to mark the nation’s 1988 Bicentenary celebration, began building the coach after the 2000 Sydney Olympic Games.
Still in service, Jim Frecklington’s 1988 coach (above, carrying the Queen in 2006) has been a royal success his subsequent carriage has failed to emulate, but which may now be put to use(left pic)
Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Phillip ride in the Asutralian State Coach accompanied by members of the Household Cavalry after the State Opening of Parliament in London, in 2012(right pic)
The onetime Australian government of staunch monarchist and former Prime Minister John Howard gave ardent monarchist James Frecklington a $245,000 taxpayer-funded grant towards the cost of construction.
The 5.5 metre long coach, which has modern hydraulics, heating, air conditioning and power windows, is lined with military and other items Frecklington says he sourced from ‘special contacts’ he got to know while working for the Royal Family.
The coach has bits of ‘the Tower of London, Westminster Abbey, St Paul’s Cathedral, Edinburgh Castle, the Palace of Westminster, 10 Downing Street, Balmoral Castle, Blenheim Palace, Canterbury Cathedral, Hampton Court, Holyrood Palace and Kensington Palace’.
Mr Frecklington said items incorporated into the vehicle were also taken from ‘the Battle of Hastings, the Mayflower, the former royal yacht Britannia, a Battle of Britain spitfire a “Dambusters” Lancaster, part of a musketball from Waterloo and a sliver of Isaac Newton’s apple tree’ along with objects relating to naturalist Charles Darwin, polar explorers Sir Ernest Shackleton and Robert Scott and mounatineer, Sir Edmund Hillary.
Carole and Michael Middleton travel with Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall, and Prince Charles in the carriage to the wedding of their children, the Duchess of Cambridge and Prince William(left pic)
Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip descend from the Australian State Coach to be greeted by the Marquess of Cholmondeley for the opening of Parliament in London(right pic)
Undelivered for the Queen’s birthday, the coach became the subject of intense debate in the Australian Parliament, after John Howard lost office and the Australian Labor Party took power.
Labor senator John Faulkner addressed Parliament in 2011 about the whereabouts of the carriage, which public servants apparently could not locate.
The public servants claimed they didn’t know where the coach was, had never inspected it and there was never any contract for its manufacture. The Senate was told John Howard approved the $245,000 payment to Mr Frecklington to support ‘Australian craftsmanship’ as a gift to the Queen.
Mr Frecklington told the MailOnline he could not comment about the coach, because he was ‘under a confidentiality agreement with the Palace’.
While it lay in Mr Frecklington’s North Head workshop, he reportedly allowed visitors paid inspections, saying he’d had people from Melbourne, the Czech Republic (and) England come here and look at it’.
Two years ago, he told the Sun Herald newspaper he was close to signing a deal with a ‘large organisation’ in Britain.
Kidnappers of Nigerian President Jonathan’s Cousin Reject N30million Ransom
Chief Inengite Nitabai
• IYC hopeful of early release
The kidnappers of Chief Inengite Nitabai, President Goodluck Jonathan’s uncle, have allegedly rejected the N30 million offered by his family as ransom for his freedom.
A former lecturer at the Rivers State University of Science and Technology, Port Harcourt, Chief Nitabai was abducted penultimate Sunday at his Otuoke country home in Ogbia Local Government Area of Bayelsa State by 10 armed men.
The kidnapped chief was said to have played a major role in the training of President Jonathan during his school days as an undergraduate and postgraduate student. He is the traditional head of the president’s compound. Nitabai, reports said, has been acting like a father to the president since Jonathan’s biological father died.
According to the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), the alleged rejection of the family offer by the kidnappers is coming on the heels of the Ijaw Youth Council (IYC) worldwide’s warning to the embattled Nitabai family that no ransom should be paid to the kidnappers.
The abductors, report said, had contacted the victim’s family four days after he was whisked away demanding a whooping sum of N500 million as ransom to set him free.
A source said the distressed Nitabai family instead offered to pay his abductors N30 million, which they rejected. “They (kidnappers) rejected the N30 million offer, which they described as laughable coming from a family linked to the president,” the source said.
A security source confirmed the development, saying: “We are aware that the family is negotiating with the kidnappers and they are demanding N500 million, which the family described as outrageous. They instead offered to part with N30 million, which the kidnappers were said to have rejected.”
When the state Police Public Relations Officer, Mr. Alex Akhigbe, a Deputy Superintendent of Police (DSP), was contacted, the DSP said he was not aware of the demand. He however disclosed that its operatives deployed in the creeks are making progress in their search for the kidnapped chief.
However, IYC had earlier warned the family of Nitabai not to pay any ransom to the kidnappers. The IYC described the action of the kidnappers as a crime, which the council would not condone.
It said the three-man committee set up to work with security agencies to fish out the kidnappers of Nitabai was making tremendous progress to secure his release.
Spokesman of IYC, Mr. Eric Omare said contacts had been established with the kidnappers who demanded a ransom of N500 million, assuring Nigerians that the president’s uncle would be released soon.
“In consonance with the position of the IYC, we have advised relevant persons not to offer any ransom to effect the release of Nitabai.
“If we offer ransom, we are encouraging more kidnapping; IYC’s position is that criminality must be erased from Ijawland; so, we have told them not to offer any ransom.
“Although, he has not been released, we will effect his release in the next few days,” he said.
Omare, who disclosed this to journalists shortly after the inaugural meeting of the council at the Ijaw House in Yenagoa, said the identity of the three-man committee working with the security agents would not be disclosed for security reasons as serious progress had been made to free the septuagenarian.
Omare added that the committee had established contacts with his captors, adding that in no distance time, he would be released.
“In consonance with the position of the IYC, we have advised the relevant persons not to offer any ransom in order to effect the release of Mr. President’s uncle because if we offer ransom we are encouraging more kidnapping.
“IYC position is that criminality must be erased from Ijawland, so we have told them not to offer any ransom, though he has not been released but we are very sure in the next few days or hours we would effect his release,” he said.
Gaseous Emission: 13 Students Collapse in Lagos School
No fewer than 13 students yesterday collapsed suddenly at Ogba Junior Grammar School in Lagos after inhaling gaseous emission from unknown chemical at the school premises.
The incident occurred about five months after about 25 students in the same school became unconscious after inhaling similar emission, which the Lagos State Government is yet to unravel.
But THISDAY gathered that the latest incident occurred around 1p.m., when students in one of the classes were suddenly overwhelmed with gaseous emission and started collapsing one after the other.
The affected students, who included 12 girls and one boy, were identified as follows: Memuna Tijani, Subeadat Oladokun, Taiwo Adebiyi, Rodiat Muiz, Omolade Ogunbami, Blessing Onaigbe, Karimot Akiyode, Modupe Idowu and Rasak Gbolahan.
A source in the school told THISDAY that the students had been admitted at the Surgical Emergency Ward, Lagos University Teaching Hospital (LASUTH) and were responding to treatment.
But the source said one of the victims was in critical condition.
Other students fled the class immediately, a development which caused pandemonium among the students, teachers and others in the school.
It was gathered that the incident compelled the school authority to order other students to vacate the premises immediately and the school shut down.
According to THISDAY checks, the gaseous substance emanated from the administrative block of the school sharing the same fence with the Ogba Shopping Mall, which housed several small scale companies, shops and a new generation bank.
Officials of the Lagos Emergency Management Agency (LASEMA), National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA), Lagos Ambulance Services (LASAMBUS), Lagos State Environmental Protection Agency (LASEPA), Lagos State Environmental Health Monitoring Unit (SEHMU) and the Nigeria Police were at the scene to rescue victims of the gaseous emission.
LASAMBUS officials quickly evacuated the fainted students and rushed them to LASUTH for treatment, while everyone was evacuated from the school.
Officials of LASEPA were seen at the school’s premises carrying out investigation to unravel the type of chemical contaminant emitted into the school environment.
The Ogba Shopping Mall, housing several shops, companies and Ecobank Nigeria Plc was shut down by LASEMA officials while hundreds of people working in the shopping complex were evacuated from the complex.
The gaseous substance was also perceived by some people at the shopping complex.
A legal practitioner, Joshua John, whose chamber is in the mall, said he perceived the gaseous substance, which made his breathing irregular, saying that they were evacuated from the premises of the mall to avoid casualty, noting that nobody was affected at the mall.
LASEMA General Manager, Dr. Femi Oke-Osanyintolu, said 13 of the affected students taken to LASUTH were responding to treatment, saying that the rescue operation was swift and prompt.
He confirmed that the students “are responding to treatment very well, but however, we have condoned off the school and the building associated with that area. Why we are doing that is to allow us carry out risk assessment and analysis on the place. We are appealing to our people not to panic that the state is on top of the challenges.
“What we are doing is that we are carrying out an operation and after we might have carried out the operation, we will go into specific and compare issues with what happened the last time when the same thing occur in the same school.
“We try to localise it and we have brought the expert and they are working on it, we brought LASEPA that are experts on this and they are working… They are with us here and at the general hospital. People should remain calm,” the general manager explained.
Ukraine crisis: Crimea vote ‘will not be recognised’
Ukraine’s interim prime minister has warned the Crimean parliament “no-one in the civilised world” will recognise its referendum on joining Russia.
Arseniy Yatsenyuk and others in the Kiev government have called the vote “unconstitutional” and “illegitimate”.
But the referendum has the support of the Russian parliament.
The speaker of the upper house said if the Crimean people vote on 16 March to join Russia then they would “unquestionably back this choice”.
The decision by Crimean MPs to seek to join the Russian Federation comes amid international tensions over the presence of pro-Russian troops in the southern Ukrainian peninsula.
A lot of Russians I have spoken to here in Crimea over the last week say they do not actually want to become part of Russia.
They say they want broader autonomy and protection of their rights, but they want to stay within the Republic of Ukraine and do not want to change nationality.
There are those of course who say they would like to unite with Russia. But there is a lot of support for developing the notion of greater autonomy within Ukraine.
Certainly, the ethnic Ukrainians and the Tatars will vote against it in the 16 March referendum.
I think the Crimean government may have a big fight on its hands persuading citizens to endorse joining Russia.
Moscow has said it “will not accept the language of sanctions and threats” after the EU and US announced punitive measures against Russia on Thursday.
Meanwhile, Ukraine’s Paralympic team has confirmed it will take part in the Sochi Winter Paralympics, which begins later.
The head of the team, Valeriy Sushkevich, said they would participate “so they remember us, remember Ukraine – a sovereign state, which sent its athletes here”.
But he said: “If something major happens, Ukraine will leave the Games immediately”.
Prime Minister Yatsenyuk said on Friday Ukraine was open to talks with Russia as long as it withdraws its troops and abides by international agreements.
In a warning to the “separatist and other traitors of the Ukrainian state”, he said: “Any decision of yours is deliberately unlawful and unconstitutional and no-one in the civilised world will recognise the decision of the so-called referendum of the so-called Crimean authorities”.
Kiev does not recognise Crimea’s pro-Moscow leadership, which was sworn in at an emergency session as pro-Russian forces began to take over strategic sites last week.
Crimea’s leadership for its part has branded as “illegitimate” the interim government in Kiev, which was sworn in at the end of February after the ousting of President Viktor Yanukovych.
Crimea’s parliament on Thursday said it had already asked President Putin to allow the region to join Russia, and would seek an endorsement from the Crimean people in a referendum on 16 March.
The BBC’s Christian Fraser describes the tense atmosphere on board a blockaded Ukrainian warship
Welcoming a delegation of Crimean MPs to Moscow on Friday, Russia’s upper house speaker Valentina Matviyenko said: “Without a doubt, the Crimean parliament, as a legitimate authority, has that right… the sovereign right of the people to determine their future.”
Although the majority of people in Crimea are ethnic Russians, the BBC’s Mark Lowen in Simferopol says the outcome of a referendum is by no means certain – and may come down to a generational split.
One man said: “I am Russian, but I am not a citizen of the Russian Federation. When I was there several years ago, I understood that we are different people now. I want to feel Crimean.”
But his mother-in-law – who remembers when Russia handed over Crimea to Ukraine in 1954 – has a different view.
- Autonomous republic within Ukraine
- Transferred from Russia in 1954
- Ethnic Russians – 58.5%*
- Ethnic Ukrainians – 24.4%*
- Crimean Tatars – 12.1%*
- Source: Ukraine census 2001
“I would say yes to joining Russia,” she told the BBC. “Crimea has always been Russian territory. We feel separate from Ukraine and I don’t have any emotional attachment to this country. Perhaps if the government in Kiev was different then I might vote another way.”
Russia’s foreign ministry accused the European Union of taking an “extremely unconstructive position” after leaders meeting in Brussels agreed to freeze talks on easing travel restrictions to Russians.
Washington also announced visa restrictions against a number of unnamed Ukrainian and Russian officials and individuals.
During an hour-long phone conservation, US President Barack Obama told President Putin that Russia’s actions were a violation of Ukrainian sovereignty, the White House said in a statement.
He said there was a solution available that suited all parties, involving talks between Kiev and Moscow, international monitors in Ukraine and Russian forces returning to their bases.
For his part, President Putin said the new authorities in Kiev had imposed “absolutely illegitimate decisions” on the pro-Russian parts of eastern Ukraine, and Moscow “cannot ignore calls for help”.
But he also said US-Russian “relations should not be sacrificed due to disagreements over individual, albeit extremely significant, international problems”, the Kremlin said.
‘Diana never did tell her the truth’: Late princess’s former chef reveals how she tricked Oprah Winfrey into eating fatty food
Princess Diana’s former chef Darren McGrady has revealed how she fooled Oprah Winfrey into eating a high calorie meal.
Mr McGrady, who worked for Queen Elizabeth II in Buckingham Palace for 11 years before becoming Diana’s personal chef at Kensington Palace for four years, recounts how during a lunch with the TV talk-show host, Her Royal Highness ‘pulled a fast one.’
According to the Huffington Post’s Rebecca Adams, who interviewed Mr McGrady last month, they were eating the chef’s famous tomato mousses when, after a few mouthfuls, Oprah asked: ‘Diana, how do you stay so slim eating rich food like this?’ The princess replied: ‘I just eat small portions and work out.’
That wasn’t quite the truth, though.
Diana, who was focused on eating healthy after overcoming her bulimia, had shifted to a fat-free diet and had asked Mr McGrady to serve her a fat-free version of the mousse, while Oprah was eating the original recipe which includes mayonnaise, sour cream and heavy cream.
‘Diana never did tell her the truth,’ admitted Mr McGrady.
The chef actually served Diana fat-free versions of all his comfort food meals, after she told him: ‘I want you to take care of all of the fat. I’ll take care of the carbs at the gym.’
While Prince William and Prince Harry would eat the chef’s roasted chicken and potatoes – ‘the kind that you bite into and oil just runs down your chin,’ said Mr McGrady – Diana would be served poached chicken and dry bake potatoes.
Darren McGrady, who worked for Queen Elizabeth II in Buckingham Palace for 11 years before becoming Diana’s personal chef at Kensington Palace, has published a book about his time serving the royals
Mr McGrady also recalled Diana’s more personable approach to royal living — and eating.
‘If she was on her own for lunch, she’d actually come and eat in the kitchen on the countertop,’ said Mr McGrady.
‘I’d make a tray for her and I’d just be tidying up the kitchen and things as we were chatting…. The rest of the royals would never do that.’
Mr McGrady remembered how Diana would burst into the kitchen at London’s Kensington Palace, where she lived after her divorce from Prince Charles in 1996, and say: Darren, I need a coffee — oh, you’re busy. I’ll make it. Do you want one?’
Darren McGrady’s Eating Royally: Recipes and Remembrances from a Palace Kitchen is available on Amazon – all proceeds from the book go to the Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric Aids Foundation.
DARREN MCGRADYS TOMATO MOUSSE RECIPE
Princess Diana, who was focused on eating healthy after overcoming bulimia, had asked Mr McGrady to serve her a fat-free version of the tomato mousse, while Oprah was eating the original recipe (pictured)
- 1 lb Tomatoes
- ¼ pint Mayonnaise
- ¼ pint Sour Cream
- 3 fl oz Heavy Cream
- 1 ½ sachets of gelatin
- 2 tsp tomato puree
- 1 small bunch Chives
- 1 small onion
- 1 lemon
1. Blend the tomatoes with ¼ of the peeled onion until you have a fine pulp.
2. Strain the pulp through a conical strainer and into a large bowl.
3. Lightly fold in the mayonnaise, Sour cream, heavy cream, and tomato puree into the sieved tomato pulp.
4. Then add a pinch of salt and pepper and the finely chopped chives and fold into the mix.
5. Add the gelatin to a small pan and “sponge” with the juice from the lemon.
6. Melt the gelatin over a low heat until it dissolves and then pour it onto the tomato mix, stirring it into the mix as you pour.
7. Test the mix for seasoning and add salt and pepper to taste.
8. Pour the mixture into individual ramekins, molds or mini savarin rings and refrigerate for at least two hours.
9. Just before serving, run a small knife around the edge of the mold and turn out the mousse onto a plate.
Turn your mobile into an EYEphone: App lets blind people ‘see’ their surroundings by converting photos into SOUND
A breakthrough technology that helps blind people ‘see’ the world around them using sound is now available in a smartphone app.
The vOICe system converts images taken on a mobile into ‘soundscapes’ by assigning different musical notes and pitches to different shapes. For example, a diagonal line – such as staircase – is converted to a string of rising musical notes.
The app, available on Android, uses the phone’s camera to record scenes and landscapes, and teaches users how to identify which sounds go with which shapes.
There is even an accompanying app called EyeMusic that adds colour to these shapes.
The vOICe system was created by Dutch engineer Peter Meijer in 1992.
It uses pitch for height and loudness for brightness by scanning the room from left to right.
A rising bright line is converted into a rising tone, a bright spot – such as a lamp – is a beep, a brightly filled rectangle – such as a window during daylight – becomes a noise burst and a vertical grid – such as waffle or trellis – is converted into a rhythm.
HOW VOICE TECHNOLOGY WORKS
During tests, head-mounted cameras were attached to the blind participants before being wired up to a computer and microphone.
As the participants moved around the room, the camera took a photo and converted into a ‘sound scape’.
It uses pitch for height and loudness for brightness by scanning the room from left to right.
A rising bright line is converted into a rising tone, a bright spot – such as a lamp – is a beep, a brightly filled rectangle – such as a window during daylight – becomes a noise burst and a vertical grid – such as waffle or trellis – is converted into a rhythm.
Users are trained to identify which pitch relates to which height, for example. They then listen to, and interpret, the visual information coming from the camera – effectively ‘seeing’ with sounds.
After being taught how to use the technology, blind people could use the devices to learn to read, with sounds representing visual images of letters, for example.
The Eye Music app uses the same principles, but additionally assigns different pitches to colours.
Since 2007, neuroscientist Professor Amir Amedi from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem has been training blind people how to use this technology.
With around 70 hours training, Professor Amedi’s participants recognise the presence of a human form.
They are also able to detect the exact posture of the person in an image, and imitate it.
Using brain scans, Professor Amedi was able to establish the outlines and silhouettes of bodies cause the visual cortex in his participants’ brains – an area specifically dedicated in sighted people to processing body shapes – to light up with activity.
The vOICe for Android app makes this technology widely available. It uses augmented reality to convert live camera views to soundscapes for the totally blind through sensory substitution and computer vision.
Using vOICe, researchers have also created EyeMusic for iOS, pictured. It translates black and white images created by vOICe into colour. Colours are represented by different musical instruments – higher pixels are translated into higher notes while lower pixels are translated into lower notes on the same instrument(left pic)
Researchers first taught people to perceive simple dots and lines. Then those individuals learned to connect the lines with junctions or curves, gradually working up to more and more complex images, pictured(right pic)
The app also features a talking colour identifier, talking compass, talking face detector and a talking GPS locator, while CamFind visual search and Google Goggles can be launched from the vOICe for Android app by tapping the left or right screen edge.
In Professor Amedi’s most recent work, he has taken this a step further and created the EyeMusic app for iOS devices.
It uses an algorithm to translate the original black and white images created by vOICe into colour.
Colours are represented using different musical instruments – higher pixels of an image are translated into higher notes on a given musical instrument, for example, higher pitches on the piano, trumpet or the violin, while lower pixels of an image are translated into lower notes on the same instrument.
TRAINING BLIND PEOPLE TO ‘SEE’ USING SOUND
The researchers from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem first taught people to perceive simple dots and lines. Then those individuals learned to connect the lines with junctions or curves, gradually working up to more and more complex images.
Professor Amedi’s team taught congenitally blind adults, meaning adults who were born blind, to use what’s called sensory substitution devices (SSDs).
For example, when a person uses a visual-to-auditory SSD, images from a video camera are converted into ‘soundscapes’ that represent the images.
This allows the user to listen to and then interpret the visual information coming from the camera, in that way ‘seeing’ with sounds.
After being taught how to use the SSDs, blind people could use the devices to learn to read, with sounds representing visual images of letters.
This skill involved a region of the brain called the Visual Word Form Area (VWFA), which in sighted people is activated by seeing and reading letters (pictured)
After only tens of hours of training, blind people’s VWFA showed more activation for letters than for any of the other visual categories tested.
Pixels closer to the left side of the image are heard before pixels closer to the right side of the picture letting blind people determine shapes, colours and the position of items.
The research has been reported in Cell Press journal Current Biology.
‘The idea is to replace information from a missing sense by using input from a different sense,’ explained Professor Amedi. ‘It’s just like bats and dolphins use sounds and echolocation to ‘see’ using their ears.’
‘Imagine for instance a diagonal line going down from left to right; if we use a descending musical scale -going on the piano from right to left – it will describe it nicely,” continued Professor Amedi’s colleage Ella Striem-Amit. ‘And if the diagonal line is going up from left to right, then we use an ascending musical scale.
Wills and Kate jet off again (minus baby): Couple head off for ‘second honeymoon’ in the Maldives
She’s not long back from Mustique, but the Duchess of Cambridge will be able to top up her tan nicely thanks to another break – this time in the Maldives without her baby.
She and William have jetted out on what has been billed as a second honeymoon after they left George at home with her parents.
The couple arrived in the Maldivian capital, Male, on a British Airways flight yesterday, accompanied by several taxpayer funded Scotland Yard detectives.
They were immediately whisked from the First Class cabin into a VIP lounge before transferring on to a private hydroplane which whisked them off to a paradise isle.
The Duke and Duchess are staying at one of the most exclusive resorts in the Indian Ocean – the five star Cheval Blanc Randheli Hotel on Noonu Atoll.
They and their party will stay in style and seclusion as the resort only has 45 villas.
The holiday comes just a month before the couple embark on a three-week tour of New Zealand and Australia – this time accompanied by George.
Luxury villa: The five star Cheval Blanc Randheli Hotel on Noonu Atoll, where the Duke and Duchess are staying (left)
Airline: The couple arrived in the Maldivian capital, Male, on a British Airways flight yesterday (file picture right)
However, its timing is something of a surprise because William was due to be studying at Cambridge University.
The prince enrolled on the ten-week course in agricultural management on January 7, which should have seen him there until the end of this month.
At the time Kensington Palace said he would have around 20 hours a week of timetabled lectures, seminars and meetings. He was also expected to study in his own time and undertake the occasional field trip.
Family: The royals, pictured with Prince George who they left at home, were whisked from British Airways’s First Class cabin into a VIP lounge before transferring on to a private hydroplane to take them to the isle(left)
Holiday: The Duchess has only recently returned from a week-long family holiday with Prince George in Mustique, along with a full group of police bodyguards. Above, the island in St Vincent and the Grenadines(right)
Last month William attracted public criticism when he went on a four-day boar shooting holiday in Spain with his brother.
The Duchess has only recently returned from a week-long family holiday with Prince George in Mustique, again with a full group of police bodyguards.
Although the couple have recently employed a new nanny, they made the decision to leave eight-month-old George with Carole and Michael Middleton at their Berkshire mansion – accompanied by his own Scotland Yard security detail.
Tour: The holiday comes just a month before the couple embark on a three-week tour of New Zealand and Australia (pictured) – this time accompanied by George
Cheval Blanc Randheli, where the couple are staying, is part of the elite Louis Vuitton Moet Hennessy group and is described as an ‘intimate and contemporary haven’.
It boasts just 45 loft-style tropical villas which have a large living room, adjoining powder room, double dressing rooms and bedrooms and light-flooded bathrooms.
Each has its own 41ft infinity pool and outside dining pergola plus a private beach and spacious over-water sunbathing decks.
Unsurprisingly none of this luxury comes cheap. The hotel is too exclusive to list its prices on its website – but one tour operator offers a four-night stay at more than £6,000.
A five-course dinner in the best restaurant, without drinks, costs £350 per couple.
Prince Harry launches British version of US Paralympic style games for injured war heroes: ‘It was such a good idea by the Americans – we nicked it’
Prince Harry launched an inspirational Paralympic-style sporting event for injured servicemen and women today in typical hands-on style.
After giving a speech to officially unveil the Invictus Games, the fourth in line to the throne got down on the floor for a game of volleyball with military personnel who had lost multiple limbs in Afghanistan and other international conflicts.
Harry has been working to bring the event to the UK after flying to the US last year to see members of Britain’s Armed Forces taking part in a similar competition, the Warrior Games.
The prince has been trying to bring the event to the UK after flying to the US last year to see members of Britain’s Armed Forces taking part in a similar competition, the Warrior Games(left)
Prince Harry took a hands on approach as he joined in with a game of volleyball at the launch with some of the ex-servicemen and women(right)
On the programme will be athletics, archery, wheelchair basketball, road cycling, indoor rowing, wheelchair rugby, swimming and sitting volleyball
He said the Invictus Games, would ‘have a long-lasting impact’ on those who fought for their country
At the official launch held in the Copper Box arena at the former Olympic Park in London the prince declared the competition would ‘have a long-lasting impact’ on those who fought for their country.
And joking about his inspiration, he said the Warrior Games competition was ‘such a good idea by the Americans that it had to be stolen’.
Harry said: ‘I have witnessed first-hand how the power of sport can positively impact the lives of wounded, injured and sick servicemen and women in their journey of recovery.
‘The Invictus Games will focus on what they can achieve post-injury and celebrate their fighting spirit through an inclusive sporting competition that recognises the sacrifice they have made.
‘I am extremely proud to be bringing an event like this to the UK for the first time and believe it can have a long-lasting impact on the well-being of those who have served their nations so bravely.’
Organisers said more than 300 wounded, injured and sick servicemen and women, serving and veteran, from 13 nations would compete in eight adaptive sports in London from September 10 -14. On the programme will be athletics, archery, wheelchair basketball, road cycling, indoor rowing, wheelchair rugby, swimming and sitting volleyball.
Countries taking part range from Afghanistan and Iraq to Germany, Italy and New Zealand. Events will be staged in the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park with track and field events at Lee Valley athletics centre.
Speaking at the official launch held in the Copper Box arena at the former Olympic Park in London, he joked about his inspiration, and said the Warrior Games competition was ‘such a good idea by the Americans that it had to be stolen
Harry, a serving Army officer who wore fatigues at the launch, gave a short presentation at the Copper Box and told the invited audience about his experiences meeting wounded British service personnel who competed in the US Warrior Games in 2012
The Royal Foundation of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge will contribute a significant grant to the staging of the games
In an interview after the launch, Harry urged members of the public to get behind the initiative, insisting that it wasn’t about supporting what had happened in Afghanistan but about the sacrifice of a remarkable group of men and women.
‘It’s not about supporting the conflict in Afghanistan, it’s not about supporting war, it’s not about supporting the forces themselves…..just come along and show your support,’ he said.
‘Look at the journey these guys have been through….and also take the opportunity, if you haven’t done so, and I am sure there are a lot out there, to come and sit in these seats in these iconic venues.’
The prince also expressed his deep-seated fear that people would forget about the on-going battle faced by injured service personnel once Britain pulls out of Afghanistan.
‘We are drawing down from Afghanistan and people will forget this because something else will come into the news. Look at the news, see how busy the world is at the moment,’ he said
Organisers said more than 300 wounded, injured and sick servicemen and women, serving and veteran, from 13 nations would compete in eight adaptive sports in London from September 10 – 14
He said: ‘Hearing the stories that came back from the games really ignited something inside me and made me want to basically broaden this to a wider audience’
‘As I have said the games itself is an excuse to bring attention to the legacy [of servicemen and women]. We want to get as many of these men and women back into society, giving them jobs and to make sure that all the core values they have been taught in the services to make them amazing, wonderful, strong inspirational people…that they bring it back into the community for the younger generation. Why wouldn’t you do that?
‘This is not about the Games, this is about the legacy, using the games to catapult that to the forefront of people’s minds. ‘
Speaking from the heart about the plight of the many hundreds of injured soldiers, Harry said he believed the Invictus Games would play an important part of their recovery.
‘I think the [Warrior] Games [in the US] had such a profound effect on every single individual that actually took part in it,’ he said.
‘Finally they get the chance to set their mind to a task. Bear in mind these are military people who have been cut down in their prime. They want to have a goal in life. To be told in a day, ‘right that’s it, no you’re not going to walk again, you’re not going to see again’. This is an opportunity for them and members of the public as well to walk in together with one goal as such.
‘It’s life changing, really it’s life changing. Listening to them talk about it is inspiring.
Prince Harry with the wheelchair Basketball teams at the Copper Box in the Queen Elizabeth Park, London(left)
There seemed to be a gap in the conversation between the Prince and London Mayor Boris Johnson, as he attended the launch of the games(right)
‘They see this as an opportunity for the next six months to set their mind on a goal, to bring themselves back into society when some of them feel, now that they are disabled, they are pushed aside.
‘They are not. This is so much more than that. ‘
Although there is going to be a competitive edge to the Games, Harry stressed that it was one of the few sporting occasions that the taking part really mattered.
‘It’s not about the winning or losing, the fact that the guys have got to this stage to be able to take part in these events, they have already won in my mind,’ he said.
‘We wanted this to be as inclusive as possible.
‘I just hope that September, summertime this year, the sun will be out and it will be wonderful event. So please come. ‘
Dressed in his arm fatigues, Harry, a serving Army officer who recently quit flying the Apache attack helicopter to take a desk job in London in order to work on the Invictus project, added: ‘Hearing the stories that came back from the [Warrior] games really ignited something inside me and made me want to basically broaden this to a wider audience.
‘I saw first-hand the power of sport to inspire recovery, supporting rehabilitation and demonstrating life beyond disability – a group of inspirational people proving anything is possible.
‘Why bring it to the UK? Well it was such a great concept by the Americans that it had to be stolen, quite simple as that, really.
Prince Harry was inspired after a visit to the Warrior Games in America last year. He is pictured as he participates in a seated volleyball exhibition match, in May 2013
He added: ‘This is an inclusive games and we’re going to have hopefully 100 UK competitors, 100 from America and the rest of the 180 is going to be made up from other nations’
‘I wanted to bring this inspirational event to a broader and more international audience.’
Prime Minister David Cameron welcomed the launch of the event as a ‘wonderful opportunity to recognise the commitment of those who serve in the United Kingdom’s and our allies’ armed forces and to pay tribute to the sacrifice of those who are wounded or injured.’
Also present at the launch was London Mayor Boris Johnson who quipped, much to the prince’s amusement, that when Harry first suggested his idea he thought he was resurrecting the ill-fated It’s A Royal Knockout or an international version of the Eton Wall Game.
But he went on to describe the Invictus Games as ‘a winner’.
The name has been taken from William Ernest Henley’s famous poem which says: ‘I am the master of my fate, I am the captain of my soul.’
Invictus also means, appropriately, in Latin ‘unconquered’.
EXCLUSIVE: Orange Teresa is the new black: Real Housewives star set to do time at prison which inspired hit TV series
Permatanned Real Housewives of New Jersey star Teresa Giudice is set to be put behind bars at the prison which inspired hit TV show Orange Is The New Black, MailOnline can reveal.
Teresa, 41, and her husband Joe, 43, pleaded guilty on Tuesday to several charges including bankruptcy fraud, conspiracy to commit mail fraud and wire fraud, and failing to pay taxes.
The pair will be sentenced in July and if jailed, Teresa could serve nearly two years at the closest federal women’s correctional facility to her home state – Danbury in Connecticut, which is where writer and activist Piper Kerman was jailed.
Piper – who served 13 months from 2004 for money laundering and drug trafficking – went on to write her hit memoir Orange Is The New Black: My Year in a Woman’s Prison, from her time in Danbury, which went on to spawn the Netflix show.
Hit series: Actress Taylor Schilling’s character Piper Chapman in the Netflix show Orange Is The New Black is based on writer Piper Kerman’s real-life experiences in Danbury prison in Connecticut
Today, criminal lawyer Florian Miedel told MailOnline: ‘There are very few women’s prisons that are close to the big metropolitan areas.
‘Danbury is the closest and where Teresa is most likely to be sent, but there is talk of it closing imminently and being turned into a men’s facility.
‘The next major federal prison would be Alderson in West Virginia, where Martha Stewart served her time.’
Once sentenced, Teresa will have about six weeks to surrender to whatever facility the Federal Bureau of Prisons (BOP) tell her to go.
Mr Miedel added: ‘BOP figures out where people serve their time based on a number of factors – the crimes they are convicted of, the length of their sentence, where they’re from and what security designation they are.
‘At the moment, the likeliest facility for Teresa would be Danbury.’
Best-seller: Piper Kerman wrote Orange Is the New Black after her stint in Danbury prison. It was later turned into the hit Netflix show
Life behind bars will obviously be a huge shock for Teresa, who currently resides in her family’s $10million mansion in Towaco, New Jersey.
Writing about her time in Danbury, Piper Kerman detailed the endless lists of rules, petty prison guards, repetitive jobs for pennies an hour – used to buy soap or a radio at the commissary – and waiting for the all-important mail call.
Piper’s very brief life of crime began shortly after graduating from Smith College, when she smuggled a suitcase full of drug money for her then-girlfriend, a high-end heroin importer.
Her crime caught up to her 10 years later later, and she was sentenced to 15 months behind bars in 2004, which was reduced for good behavior. She was released in March 2005.
She has admitted: ‘Memoirs are often about difficult things in a person’s life. In my situation, my story starts with about the stupidest, most immoral thing I’ve ever done, one with terrible consequence.’
And she told MailOnline how to battle boredom she gossiped, read, microwaved ‘prison cheesecake’ from stolen butter, got prison pedicures from a fellow inmate, and discovered feminine hygiene products could be used to MacGyver everything from mops to makeshift dildos.
Last October, troubled singer Lauryn Hill was released from Danbury after spending three months behind bars for tax evasion.
If sentenced to time at Alderson, Teresa will be following in the footsteps of millionaire Martha Stewart, who spent five months behind bars at the minimal security facility nicknamed ‘Camp Cupcake’ because it is so cushy.
It’s also where Manhattan’s ‘Queen of Mean’, hotelier Leona Helmsley was jailed between 1992 and 1994 for tax evasion.
From champagne to cell: Teresa and Joe Giudice’s $10million New Jersey mansion – a far cry from the jail cells they may end up in
Sparse: A glimpse inside Danbury Prison’s cafeteria when hotel queen Leona Helmsley served two years for tax evasion from 1992 until 1994(left)
Has it changed much? A look at a bunk inside Danbury prison, which housed the ‘Queen of Mean’ Leona Helmsley(right)
Martha, 72, was jailed in October 2004 for lying about a December 2000 stock sale, and was released back to her her multimillion-dollar 153-acre New York estate in March 2005 to begin the home detention portion of her sentence.
Margaret Roach, former editor in chief of Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia, told fans that Martha had passed the time in prison much as she did at home – cooking, gardening, making crafts and exercising.
Under federal guidelines, Joe Giudice faces a potential sentence of 37 to 46 months and Teresa could get 21 to 27 months.
Mr Miedel explained: ‘The charges carry a recommended guideline range and the judge has the power to sentence them below or higher – the odds are that their sentences will be somewhere in that range.
‘The way it works is that for every year you serve you get 54 days off for good behaviour. So if you get two years, you can be out in 21 months or so.’
Today, TMZ reported Teresa and Joe are so worried about their four young daughters they will ask a judge to stagger their prison sentences so that one parent can take care of their children while the other serves their time behind bars.
Gia, is 13, Gabriella is 11, Milania is nine and their youngest daughter Audriana is only five.
One of the couple’s attorneys, Miles Feinstein, told TMZ he is ‘confident’ the judge will grant the reality stars’ request. Their sentencing date is scheduled for July 8.
Glamour shot: Teresa Giudice, who made her name on Bravo show Real Housewives of New Jersey, could face up to more than two years in jail(left)
Lavish: Teresa Giudice is used to a million-dollar lifestyle – and will get a shock if she is jailed(right)
Sad times: Teresa, pictured with two of her four daughters in September, said she was heartbroken about the effect her crimes would have on her children(left)
Camp Cupcake: Alderson prison in West Virginia, where Martha Stewart served her time in 2004 before being released in 2005(right)
Meanwhile, RadarOnline today reported Teresa will ask if she can serve her time under house arrest.
‘Before Teresa is formally sentenced by the judge, she will meet with the United States Probation Department and a report will be prepared,’ a source told the site, which also said the Bravo cameras have captured the moment Teresa and Joe told their children about their legal woes.
‘The report will outline recommendations for sentencing for the judge to consider and one of those items will include if house arrest is suitable for Teresa.’
If Teresa does get to serve her time in the family’s sprawling mansion, prosecutors will fight to ban her Bravo reality show cameras from filming there, according to the site.
UsWeekly quoted Teresa’s ‘crisis manager and sentencing expert’ Wendy Feldman in its March 17 cover story, saying the Giudices chose to plead guilty rather than subject their daughters to a messy and very public trial.
‘Anybody charged with a crime who doesn’t believ they have committed that crime wants to fight’, she said: ‘But there comes a time when you have to make decision about the quality of your life: ‘Do I want to put my children through that?
‘The amount of stress has been beyond what anybody can imagine. When you have four children, you have to weight everything as to whether or not to have a trial.’
Despite this, Miss Feldman still maintained the couple could have a shot at being put on probation.
However, there’s more trouble on the horizon for Joe who could get 10 years in jail for allegedly using his brother Pietro’s ID in 2010 to secure a driver’s license, the magazine pointed out.
The Giudices arrived hand-in-hand at court on Tuesday and did not talk to reporters assembled outside.
They were asked by U.S. District Judge Esther Salas if they admitted their guilt, to which both replied: ‘Yes, your honor,’ according to NJ.com.
Their lawyer, Henry Klingeman, read a statement on Teresa’s behalf after they left the courtroom.
‘Today, I took responsibility for a series of mistakes I made several years ago,’ she said. ‘I am heartbroken that this is affecting my family — especially my four young daughters, who mean more to me than anything in the world.’
The plea deal comes after they pleaded not guilty last year to dozens of charges including bank fraud, wire fraud and bankruptcy fraud.
They were accused of exaggerating income while applying for loans before their Bravo reality show debuted in 2009, then hiding their fortunes in a bankruptcy filing after the first season aired.
They are also accused of submitting fraudulent mortgage and loan applications and fabricating tax returns and W-2 forms.
Joe allegedly failed to file federal tax returns for several years beginning in 2004.
Earlier this week it was reported the couple had struck a plea deal with the US Attorney’s Office over the 41 counts of fraud.
Federal prosecutors previously said the couple faced up to 50 years in prison.
Joe likely will be given permission to remain in the country. Since he is an Italian and not a US citizen, he could have been deported after conviction, according to prosecutors.
The Giudices were charged with 39 counts of fraud last July plus two more counts in November. The charges allege that between 2001 and 2011 they engaged in conspiracy to commit mail fraud and wire fraud.
They were both charged with bank fraud, loan application fraud and bankruptcy fraud. Joe also is charged with failing to file tax returns for 2005-2009. They pleaded not guilty and the judge denied their request for separate trials.
Teresa has talked about her efforts to stay strong amid the legal trouble for the sake of her daughters, saying: ‘I do have sleepless nights. That’s an understatement.’
Support: The couple held hands as they arrived at the Federal Court in Newark on Tuesday morning and did not speak to reporters
Singer praised as the ‘reincarnation of Michael Jackson’ claims he has DNA evidence that could prove he is the dead star’s SON
A singer once praised as the ‘reincarnation of Michael Jackson’ has claimed he is the dead star’s son.
Brandon Howard, whose mother is pop singer Miki Howard, is said to have ‘groundbreaking’ DNA evidence proving he is the King of Pop’s offspring, TMZ reported.
Ms Howard is said to have met Jacko in 1982, shortly before Mr Howard was born in 1983.
Testing: Mr Howard, 31, having his DNA taken, as he aims to prove he is the eldest child of Billie Jean star, Michael Jackson
Howard Weitzman, Jackson’s estate lawyer, told TMZ: ‘We’ve never even heard from him,” when asked about Howard’s claim.
He added that ‘any deadline for claiming to be Michael’s child has long since passed’.
The results of the DNA test are due to be revealed today live on FilmOn.com at 12pm Pacific time, 8pm (GMT).
The artist known as B Howard released a statement today through his manager Scott Broomfield of Musical Star LLC.
He said: ‘To my fans, family, and friends, despite recent allegations, I did not authorize the testing of my DNA to be compared to that of the late Michael Jackson nor did I contact TMZ regarding the publication of the story.
‘This spring, I agreed to be a part of a documentary with FilmOn.TV and was asked to give a sample of my DNA.
‘Even though I agreed to this I never expected it to be used in this manner.
Comparison: Brandon Howard, who is known as B Howard, has long been compared to the late superstar Affair: Mr Howard is said to be the product of an affair Michael Jackson had with the singer’s mother Miki Howard. The pair are said to have met in 1982, shortly before Mr Howard was born
Family: Mr Howard (centre) is pictured with his mother, singer Miki Howard (right) and Chaka Khan (left)
‘To this day, I have never claimed to be Michael Jackson’s son nor do I have any intention of pursuing the family’s estate.’
The estate has been estimated as holding $17million in cash and earning $600million in revenue.
Mr Howard has long been compared to the Billie Jean singer, but has said in the past the similarity is not intentional.
– Brandon Howard
‘I just do what’s naturally in my heart, and that’s what comes out,’ he told EUR’s Lee Bailey exclusively. ‘I’m doing me.’
‘Who hasn’t been inspired by Michael and the Jackson brothers?’ he added.
‘Most of the people out now, even my good friend Ne-Yo, he’s come out with the sequined jacket and everything. For me, it’s more of I’m doing me. …I’m just me. I’m Brandon.’
His musical legacy spans to his mother the pop star Miki Howard and his grandmother, Rock and Roll Hall of Famer Josephine Howard.
B Howard’s career has been gaining momentum, and he worked on songs with many multi-platinum selling artists including pop superstar Akon —an artist who was very close to Michael and released the star’ last ever song, Hold My Hand.
At the time of Michael’s death, he was named in more than six lawsuits, and 65 creditors’ claims were filed after he died.
Eldest: If the results prove positive it would make Mr Howard the eldest of Michael Jackson’s children Siblings: Jacko’s children, Prince Michael Jackson II (left), Paris (centre) and Prince (right)
Claims: Shortly after Michael Jackson’s death in June 2009, his father claimed Omer Bhatti, who sat with the family in the front row at Jacko’s funeral, was his fourth child. But the Norwegian dancer, pictured (left) with MJ in Tunis when he was 12, denied the claims
Howard’s CV reveals a long list of stars the singer, songwriter and producer has collaborated with.
They include Ne-yo, Chris Brown, Missy Elliot, Lupe Fiasco and Vanessa Hudgens.
Last year he teamed up with Wyclef Jean and Jazmine Sullivan for the World Cup son Ke Nako.
Howard has three different record deals across the world, including a production pact with Universal Music, linked to his own company 6 Point Entertainment.
– Joe Jackson, Michael’s father speaking in 2009
The Jackson family have faced previous claims by people who believed they were the offspring of the star, who died in June 2009.
In 2009, Joe Jackson, Michael’s father, said he believed Norwegian dancer Omer Bhatti was Jacko’s fourth child.
Joe said at the time: ‘I knew Michael had another son, yes I did.
‘He looks like a Jackson, he acts like a Jackson and he can dance like a Jackson.’
But the rapper, who claimed to be Michael Jackson’s best friend, denied he was the King of Pop’s love child, despite being given a front row seat at his funeral.
PLAGUED BY LAWSUITS: THE JACKSON ESTATE IS WORTH $7BILLION
Lawsuits: At the time of his death in 2009, Michael Jackson was named in more than six lawsuits
At the time of the Michael Jackon’s death, the singer was named in more than six lawsuits, and 65 creditors’ claims were filed after he died.
Since his passing in 2009, the superstar had a resurgence of popularity, causing the executors of his estate to try and find ways to re-release his works.
It has propelled his wealth and he is still the highest earning dead celebrity in the world, raking in around $160million last year. However the amount he left in his estate is widely disputed.
He was reportedly $500million debt, but last month, his executors were accused of cheating taxpayers out of millions of dollars by allegedly undervaluing his wealth.
Legal documents filed with the U.S. Tax Court in Washington, which were obtained by the L.A. Times, said that after Jackson died in June 2009, the executors of his estate valued the singers net worth at around $7billion. However the IRS disputed the figure and claim MJ is actually worth a staggering $1.125 billion.
A number of projects released after his death, however lucrative, have also caused legal issues.
Last year his producer Quincy Jones, sought $10million after claiming a deal for his material was breach when the soundtrack for documentary ‘This Is It’ and the 25th anniversary edition of the Bad album were released.
Last October, the family also lost a $13billion lawsuit against his concert promoters AEG, claiming failing to prove the company were negligent for hiring Conrad Murray, who was jailed for his involuntary manslaughter in 2011.
In 2012, Michael Jackson’s father dropped a wrongful death lawsuit filed against the former doctor who was convicted of causing the singer’s death.
Estate: The star’s estate, which includes his Neverland ranch (pictured), was valued at $7billion
Court records show Joe Jackson’s request for a dismissal. The filings did not elaborate on a reason for dropping pursuit of the case.
In 2013, Debbie Rowe threatened to sue Michael Jackson’s doctor over accusations she stole Demerol to supply to the late star.
The 54-year-old nurse got involved in a bitter war of words with dermatologist Dr. Arnold Klein – who introduced Debbie to Michael after being employed as a nurse by him in the 1980s – on Twitter, after he alleged she took the powerful painkillers from his practice to feed the singer’s addiction.
Niger extradites Gaddafi’s son Saadi to Libya
The Libyan government says former leader Col Muammar Gaddafi’s son, Saadi, has been extradited from Niger and is now in custody in Tripoli.
Pictures posted on the internet showed him having his head and beard shaved.
Saadi Gaddafi, the former head of Libya’s football federation, fled after his father was killed in the 2011 revolution.
The 40-year-old is best known for a brief career in Italian football as well as his playboy lifestyle.
Saadi, one of Col Gaddafi’s seven sons, is accused of shooting protesters and other crimes committed during his father’s rule.
“The Libyan government received today Saadi Gaddafi and he arrived in Tripoli,” the Libyan government said in a statement early on Thursday.
Two security sources later confirmed to the BBC’s Rana Jawad that Saadi Gaddafi had been returned and was now in the hands of the Libyan judicial authorities.
Lawyer Nick Kaufman, who has previously represented Saadi and other Gaddafi family members, criticised the move, calling it a “rendition”.
“I don’t think that Saadi Gaddafi was afforded any form of legal process in Niger before his rendering to Libya,” Kaufman said.
Saadi Gaddafi in 2010: The BBC’s Rana Jawad says that the timing of the extradition is “interesting”
Niger had previously refused Libyan requests to extradite him, with the justice minister saying he was “certain to face the death penalty”.
In 2012, Interpol issued a “red notice”, obliging member countries to arrest him.
Saadi Gaddafi had reportedly resided in a state guesthouse in Niger’s capital, Niamey, after fleeing across the Sahara desert.
- Colonel Muammar Gaddafi: killed 20 on October 2012
- Saif al-Islam (son): In prison in Zintan, Libya, awaiting trial
- Saadi (son): In prison in Libya after Niger extradited him
- Safia (wife) Aisha (daughter) Muhammad and Hannibal (sons): In Oman after being granted political asylum
- Mutassim Gaddafi (son): Killed with his father
- Saif al-Arab (son): Killed in Nato air strike in 2011
- Khamis (son): Several reports of death but never confirmed
Since the 2011 uprising, Libya’s new government has sought the extradition of several Gaddafi family members and ex-officials, with mixed success.
Niger extradited Abdallah Mansur, a former top intelligence official, to Libya on 14 February.
He was one of 15 other officials sent back to Libya after Niger accused them of plotting against the new Libya govt
Mauritania also extradited Gaddafi’s former intelligence chief, Abdullah al-Senussi, in January 2013.
Libya’s deputy prime minister at the time was forced to deny that Mauritania had been paid to extradite Mr Senussi.
He said a 250m dinar (£120m; $200m) donation to Mauritania made several months after the extradition was to “help the Mauritanian economy”.
Similarly, Libyan officials denied last year that a $2bn loan to Egypt had anything to do with the extradition of former Gaddafi officials days earlier.
Libya’s highest-profile prisoner, Gaddafi’s son Saif al-Islam Gaddafi, has been held in the mountain town of Zintan since his capture in November 2011.
While court proceedings against the prisoners have been initiated, trials have been set back by security concerns and procedural delays.
Meanwhile, Gaddafi’s cousin and ex-envoy to Egypt, Ahmad Gaddaf-el-Dam, remains in Egypt despite Tripoli’s attempts to secure his extradition.
‘She’s finally agreed to walk down the aisle!’ Kourtney Kardashian and Scott Disick set
to marry in Mexico after seven years and two children together
Seven years and two children into their relationship, Kourtney Kardashian and Scott Disick are finally set to walk down the aisle.
While the notoriously independent star has turned down her partner’s proposals on a number of previous occasions, speculation is rife that Kourtney’s finally come around to the idea, much to her baby daddy’s happiness.
According to Life&Style, the couple are reportedly eyeing up close friend Joe Francis’ luxury five-star property in picturesque Punta Mita, Mexico – where they vacationed as a family in January – for their low-key destination nuptials.
Despite opting to keep things intimate, with just a select group of family and friends invited to their big day, no expense will be spared, with a single night at exclusive residence Casa Aramara costing as much as $30,000.
They’ll also reportedly part with a cool $100,000 on round-trip private jet flights for their guests.
So what’s behind the mom-of-two’s change of heart about marrying her beau?
Friends say the 34-year-old has come to the realisation that she and the couple’s children – Mason, four, and 20-month-old Penelope – are all Scott has following the tragic passing of both of his parents in recent months.
Picture-perfect: The couple are said to be eyeing up close friend Joe Francis’ luxury five-star property in Punta Mita, Mexico – where they vacationed as a family in January – for their intimate nuptials
Location, location! The beachside residence will set the pair back a staggering $30,000 per night, while they’re also said to be forking out as much as $100,000 for round-trip private jet flights for the select group of family and friends in attendance
The 30-year-old’s beloved mother, Bonnie, 63, lost her long battle with illness on October 28, followed less than three months later by Scott’s father, Jeffrey, also 63, on January 3.
‘Kourtney realised that she’s all he has. It’s made her see things differently,’ a friend of the pretty brunette’s tells the latest issue of Life&Style magazine, adding: ‘This is the perfect time for Scott and Kourtney to get married.’
The same pal tells the publication that things have been ‘going really well between them’ of late, leading Kourtney to the decision to ‘finally agree to walk down the aisle’.
With their wedding said to be just around the corner, Life&Style reports that the soon-to-be Mr and Mrs Scott Disick farewelled the single life with bachelor and bachelorette parties in New York City on February 22.
Despite reportedly enlisting the help of wedding planner to the stars Sharon Sacks – who has planned nuptials for the likes of Vanessa and Nick Lachey, Lily Aldridge and Caleb Followill and,
of course, Khloé Kardashian and Lamar Odom – an insider insists the couple ‘doesn’t want a big production like Kim’s wedding’.
‘Kourtney realised that she’s all he has’: The doting parents of Mason, four, and Penelope, 20 months – pictured in Calabasas on Tuesday – had reached an impasse where marriage was concerned, but the death of Scott’s parents made Kourt ‘see things differently’
‘There are rules about that kind of thing’: While the couple are over the moon at their impending nuptials, sister Kim Kardashian – pictured right with Kourtney and Khloé at Elton John’s Oscars Viewing Party on Sunday – is upset at the pair stealing her wedding thunder
Speaking of Kim, who herself got engaged to rapper Kanye West on her 33rd birthday on October 21, Kourtney’s surprise wedding plans have reportedly caused a rift between the tight-knit siblings.
‘There are rules about that kind of thing,’ a source close to Kim tells the magazine. ‘If your sister gets engaged before you do, you don’t get married before her!’
The eldest Kardashian sister is also said to have approached family friends Lorraine Schwartz and Vera Wang to design the couple’s custom rings and her one-of-a-kind gown, respectively.
Of course, both Khloé and Kim walked down the aisle in stunning Vera Wang designs, while Kim has been presented with not one, but two dazzling Lorraine Schwartz diamonds – first from husband of just 72 days Kris Humphries and, most recently, Kanye.
One step closer: According to reports, the pair celebrated their upcoming marriage with bachelor and bachelorette parties in New York City on February 22 – pictured here just two days later enjoying a cosy lunch outing at Cipriani’s
‘It was for security purposes’: Kim breaks hersilence on ‘fake’ house featured on Keeping Up With The Kardashians
Kim Kardashian has spoken out over using a ‘fake’ house for filming Keeping Up With The Kardashians.
Earlier in the week it was reported that the exterior of the ‘Jenner house’ was not the real home of the family, that is seen in the reality show.
Now Kim has revealed that she too had a different exterior used in the show.
Kim was asked by a fan, ‘So is it true that yall used a fake house for your reality show?’.
‘When we film inside, that’s obviously our real home,’ Kim explained, before adding that the exterior was changed for ‘safety reasons’.
‘My old home in Beverly Hills was really my home & I would get people showing up at all hours ringing my gate & had to call the police on several occasions.’
Don’t expect to see Kim: The house that has been used on the show is not the real base for the Kardashian family
‘People hoping the gate & scaring me. It was so unsafe. The hollywood star tours would stop by too, bc they recognized my home from our show.’
‘After that we realized how unsafe it is to show the exterior of our homes. So now we use different homes for the outside for security purposes.’
Kim’s comments come after the ‘Jenner house’ mansion was listed for $6.25million by its real owner.
Faking it: The home featured on Keeping Up With The Kardashians has just been listed for $6.25million. (L-R) Khloe, Kourtney and Kim are pictured here at Elton John’s Oscar party on Sunday
According to TMZ, the stars opted to use exterior images of a property which is in fact located 20 miles away from their actual home for security purposes.
It is worth noting as well that the family’s home appears very modern in the inside shots on the show, but the house pictured from the outside is far more rustic.
After the property is sold, its new owner can decide whether or to continue allowing the house to appear on Keeping Up With The Kardashians.
Not the real deal: The family chose to use exterior shots of a house that is not actually theirs for security purposes House hunting?: A new owner can stop the mansion from appearing in the show anymore, at which (left pic) point producers would have to find a similar property to replace it(right pic)
If they choose to end the mansion’s TV appearances, producers will no doubt be scrambling to find a new, similar house to act as the Jenner home.
The property may be familiar even to those who have never watched the series.
It has also appeared in Entourage, True Blood, NCIS: Los Angeles and Chuck.
Different style: While the interior of the family’s actual house is very modern, the one used for outside shots has a rustic feel Different style: The property’s listing shows what the kitchen really looks like, while the Jenner’s kitchen is sleek
Not their style: While the family may be very grand, it seems they aren’t as far as interior design is concerned, We haven’t seen this before: Fans of the show will notice how different the two homes are on the inside
as their home is not as lavishly decorated as this(left pic)
Keeping Up With The Kardashians is what shot the First Family of reality TV to fame after it hit small screens 2007.
The series is currently in its ninth season and has aired over 100 episodes to date.
It was claimed by TV Guide last year that the family earn a total of $10million per season of the show.
Look familiar: The fake Jenner House has also appeared in Entourage, True Blood, NCIS: Los Angeles and Chuck Still going strong: Keeping Up With The Kardashians is currently in its ninth season and the family allegedly earn $10million per season
We are Hardworking, Honest Citizens Too’: Nigeria’s Sex Workers Demand Recognition
P.M. news reports the Nigerian sex workers feel that the time has come for the “Nigerian government to grant them their due recognition and further recognise that as human beings trying to keep body and soul going, the ‘profession’ should be considered legitimate enough to put a stop to its discrimination and stigmatisation.”
It might be worth every bit of irony to note that most of the sex workers didn’t realize yesterday was the day set aside for them until they were informed by newsmen. They have however capitalized on it to ask that they be granted the freedom to legally practice their trade.
See, many people, including you, do not see us as human beings. In your mind, we are a condemned set of Nigerians who sell their bodies so cheaply, but that thought is not right,”says Jane, a woman who ‘operates’ at a brother close to the Agege railway line.
Jane’s colleague, a 27-year old lady, said if their rights were recognized legally, they would be able to pay taxes and become viewed as decent, respectable in the society.
“In some countries abroad, sex workers pay taxes. There is no discrimination, they can sue and even have streets, mainly in red light districts allocated to them to carry out their trades.
“But here in Nigeria, we are faced with rejection from the society, serious harassment by the police, and victimisation by our customers.
“You can imagine a customer who rushes into this place in a desperate bid to ease himself, jumps at one of us after a bargain and rides like a horse only to renege on the agreement on how much he should pay. If we have our rights, we could call for his arrest without shame or molestation from security agents and other Nigerians,” she observed.
Another sex worker who spoke with P.M. NEWS said prostitutes had various reasons for ‘enrolling’ in the business. For example in her case, she traveled out of Nigeria to hustle in Spain. But I was deported even before reaching the place.
“It was a tough experience and I started sleeping with men as we moved from one country to another just to get money to survive. I stayed two months in Morocco gathering money, but just days to my entering Spain, I was caught with other 80 women and men and sent back to Nigeria.
“I am from Agbor in Delta State and couldn’t go back to my place because of the shame. So I took up residency in this place servicing men daily and making money. I’m even more comfortable here now and I make good money, about N12,000 every week,”the woman – called Judith – said.
The International Sex Workers’ Rights Day is marked on 3 March every year to call the world’s attention to the plight of sex workers and demand for their rights.
With the red umbrella as its symbol, the day came into existence in 2001 with a protest of over 25,000 sex workers organised by the Durbar Mahila Samanwaya Committee in India.
In South Africa, Sisonke, the only movement of sex workers in the country is commemorating the day with a march across streets to call for an end to injustices against sex workers and demand the recognition of prostitution as a legitimate job.
Her biggest coup to date! Kendall Jenner cements her model standing as she walks in Chanel’s Paris Fashion Week show
She’s walked for names including Givenchy and Marc Jacobs during fashion weeks this year.
But on Tuesday, Kendall Jenner achieved her biggest coup to date as she powered down the runway during the Chanel show as part of the Paris Fashion Week Womenswear Fall/Winter 2014-2015.
The 18-year-old showed off her modelling skills as she strutted the catwalk in a black and multicoloured coat, lurex leggings and trainers.
Supermarket sweep: The runway for the show was set up like a supermarket, with the models perusing the aisles before walking the catwalk with baskets and trolleys(left pic) Flawless: Kendall wore her dark brown hair in a centre parting and slicked back, and had some colour added to her look with bright pink eyeliner(right pic)
Kendall’s look was completed by a wire shopping basket style bag – in keeping with the overall supermarket theme of the show.
The Keeping Up With The Kardashians star had her dark brown hair in a centre parting and slicked back into a ponytail, with fluorescent pink eyeliner flicked out at the sides.
Kendall had earlier shared pictures from backstage at the show, including a shot of Chanel spaghetti – specially created for the show
Shopping up a storm: Kendall carried products from the store during the show
Strutting their stuff: Cara Delevingne was among the other models who took part in the show The man himself: Cara finished the show by walking with designer Karl Lagerfeld
Alongside the shot, Kendall wrote: ‘Lifetime supply please? #Chanel.’
Kendall spoke recently of her desire to make it in the modelling world, admitting that her ambition hasn’t been a short-lived one.
She told Marie Claire Mexico magazine: ‘Even as a kid, I remember always looking at my mom’s magazines, I would look up to them and I thought they were so beautiful and they seemed very elegant and cool.’
Success: Kendall walked in the Givenchy show earlier this week, and for Marc Jacobs during London Fashion Week earlier this year
Citing Gisele Bundchen and Rosie Huntington-Whiteley as her supermodel idols, Kendall added: ‘It’s just something I really wanted to be.’
Kendall wasn’t the only familiar face to walk in the highly-anticipated show on Tuesday, with Cara Delevingne also taking part.
The set up for the show was undoubtedly the most unusual of fashion week, with models perusing items in the ‘aisles’ of the supermarket, before walking down the runway with baskets and trolleys.
And Cara certainly didn’t hold back, picking up a bottle of alcohol before walking the catwalk.
Pistorius neighbour ‘heard fight’
A second witness at the murder trial of South African athlete Oscar Pistorius has told a court in the capital Pretoria she was awoken by the sounds of a fight early on 14 February 2013.
Mr Pistorius has pleaded not guilty to intentionally killing his girlfriend, Reeva Steenkamp.
He shot dead the 29-year-old model and reality TV star at his home, saying he mistook her for an intruder.
Estelle Van Der Merwe, a neighbour, said the row had lasted about an hour.
At the scene
Well into day two of the trial, and a second witness, and another neighbour of Oscar Pistorius, has told the court about a commotion she heard in the early hours of the morning of the day Reeva Steenkamp was killed.
It is still early days, but this the state’s argument that Mr Pistorius and her girlfriend of three months had had a terrible row before she died – a version of events the athlete denies.
There are grey skies over Pretoria and it has rained all morning, so unlike the first day of the trial, there are no dancing crowds outside court. There is still much interest in case of the “blade runner”. However, as one woman outside court told me: “Everything that is happening today is not going to change anything, the fact is that poor girl is never coming back.”
“It seemed like somebody was involved in a fight,” said Ms Van Der Merwe, who lives in the same gated Pretoria housing estate as the Paralympic athlete. “People were talking in loud voices.”
The argument woke her at about 01:56 local time (23:56 GMT) and lasted about an hour. After that, she heard four loud sounds in succession.
Ms Van Der Merwe was the second witness to take the stand at the murder trial of Mr Pistorius, which began at the high court in on Monday.
The arrest of the 27-year-old double amputee and gold medal winner astounded South Africa.
For the first time in South Africa, parts of the trial are being televised live, although some witness testimony, including that of Ms Van Der Merwe, is being excluded from TV broadcasts.
However, the audio of the entire trial is being aired.
Mrs Van Der Merwe said she had been irritated by the noise of the argument and placed a pillow on her head “in hope of falling asleep again”.
Oscar Pistorius blocks his ears as he concentrates on his notes on the second day of the trial There is intense media interest in the trial
The country was stunned when the athlete shot dead his girlfriend, Reeva Steenkamp
Tuesday’s hearing adjourned not long after the third witness, Charl Peter Johnson – husband to the first witness Michelle Burger – had taken the stand.
The second day of the trial began with defence lawyer Barry Roux quizzing Ms Burger about her account of hearing a woman’s screams, a man calling for help and then four gunshots.
The BBC’s Andrew Harding in court says the defence line was clear that as Ms Steenkamp was in a closed toilet with a closed window, the screams the witness said she heard could not have come from her.
Mr Pistorius was in the bathroom where the window was open so the screams must have come from him.
Mr Roux also suggested expert evidence would prove that Ms Steenkamp would have been unable to scream between shots.
When he read out details of the bullets hitting her head, Mr Pistorius’s head dropped into his hands, our correspondent says.
At the start of proceedings on Monday, Mr Roux read out a statement from the athlete, giving his version of events of how Ms Steenkamp had died, saying he believed his girlfriend was in bed when he shot at the toilet door.
State prosecutors say Mr Pistorius planned the killing and shot Ms Steenkamp after a row.
If found guilty of premeditated murder, he could face life imprisonment.
He has also denied charges of illegally possessing ammunition.
There are no juries at trials in South Africa, and his fate will ultimately be decided by Judge Thokozile Masipa.
Much of the case will depend on ballistic evidence from the scene of the shooting, correspondents say.
Jay Z Tributes Nelson Mandela In Song, While Game Gets A New Tattoo
Wyclef Jean pens a new track for the late South African icon as hip-hop pays homage.
By Rob Markman
World leaders from around the globe and tens of thousands of South Africans gathered in FNB Stadium in Johannesburg on Monday to celebrate the life of Nelson Mandela. President Obama, former president Bill Clinton and Hillary Clinton were among those in attendance at the massive memorial service. But here in the States, a few hip-hop stars paid tribute in their own ways.
Jay Z took his Magna Carter … Holy Grail Tour to Staples Center in Los Angeles, where he dedicated his set-closing “Young Forever” to the anti-apartheid South African leader who endured a 27-year prison sentence before becoming the first democratically elected black president in his country.
“We want to dedicate this song to Nelson Mandela. Great man, who spent 27 years in prison, came out to be president. All dreams are possible,” Hov told the L.A. crowd on Monday as pictures of the man they called Madiba flashed on the arena’s screens. “Let that great man stand as an example of what you can do,” he encouraged the crowd.
Wyclef Jean chose to honor the beloved world leader by posting a video for his new song “Nelson Mandela Tribute.” ‘Clef sits alone in a room playing guitar and rides the rhythm, telling Mandela’s story in song form. “I wrote this song when I shook the hand of the prophet, Nelson Mandela,” he wailed as a picture of Wylcef, U2’s Bono and Mandela appeared onscreen.
The Game expressed his love for Madiba in a different way. In an Instagram posted on Tuesday, the Compton rapper showed off a new Nelson Mandela tattoo, which he got inked on the side of his torso. “Nelson Mandela lookin out of the prison bars by @NikkoHurtado done on my side. 7 hour sitting…. Few more hours to tie in the tats around it & we solid,” he captioned the pic.
Gas and oil prices soar and petrol could be next: Ukraine crisis shocks world markets amid fears Russia’s energy resources will be hit by trade sanctions
Wholesale gas prices rose the most in two years yesterday as markets reacted to the crisis in Ukraine.
Fears that supplies to western Europe could be affected saw the price surge by 10 per cent at one point.
The cost of crude oil also rose – driven by fears that Russia, which is a major producer, might be hit by trade sanctions.
The turmoil spilled over into stockmarkets, with big falls in share prices in London and New York.
This morning a Kremlin aide said that if the United States were to impose sanctions on Russia over Ukraine, Moscow might be forced to drop the dollar as a reserve currency and refuse to pay off loans to U.S. banks.
Sergei Glazyev, an adviser to the Kremlin who is often used by the authorities to stake out a hardline stance but does not make policy, added that if Washington froze the accounts of Russian businesses and individuals, Moscow would recommend that all holders of U.S. treasuries sell them.
The statement comes as the U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee admitted it is preparing legislation to provide support to Ukraine, and consulting the Obama administration on possible sanctions against individual Russians – ranging from visa bans and asset freezes to suspending military cooperation and sales, as well as economic sanctions.
Moscow has been forced to sell off gold and foreign currency worth £6billion to try to protect the sliding value of the rouble.
RUSSIA’S EMPTY ECONOMIC THREAT
The threat from Kremlin Aide Sergei Glazyev that Russia could sell all its US Treasuries, drop the dollar as a reserve currency and default on loans from the US is an idle one according to analyst Mark Oswald at Monument Securites.
‘It would be a declaration of economic war – and it would hurt Russia a lot more than the US.
‘Russia’s main exports are oil and gas, which are traded in dollars and which means Russia receives constant huge inflows of dollars.
‘Russia would have to find A buyer for what is probably in the region of $100billion in US Treasuries, which, if not impossible, would in any case mean they would get a terrible deal. By defaulting on loans their access to funding globally would be cut off.
‘In the unlikely hypothetical event the threat was carried through, the main impact would be upward pressure on long-term US interest rates – but it is likely that the Federal Reserve could take steps to counter that. There would be passing disruption for the US and world markets but lasting damage to Russia itself.’
Russia’s central bank raised its key interest rate from 5.5 per cent to 7 per cent to try to stop investors taking their money out of the country.
The £34billion tumble in the value of shares on the biggest Russian stock exchange, the MICEX, was greater than the cost of hosting and running the Winter Olympics last month.
Andrei Klepach, Russia’s deputy economy minister, described the reaction of the financial markets as ‘hysteria’, which would subside in the coming days.
Meanwhile, Moscow seemed to be initiating economic sanctions against the Ukraine, with Russia’s top gas producer Gazprom announcing it will remove a discount on gas prices for Ukraine from April
Motorists were warned of potential fuel price rises as speculators bought up stocks to capitalise on the political uncertainty.
An RAC spokesman said: ‘Fuel traders have already begun to buy up stocks to guard against being caught out in the event of the situation worsening, which automatically causes prices to increase due to a tightening in supply.
‘And, to make matters worse, the price of oil will almost certainly be negatively affected, further increasing fuel costs and, in turn, forecourt prices.’
Luke Bosdet, a spokesman for the AA, said: ‘Experience from previous crises shows that commodity market speculation tends to be a greater problem than the actual threat to supply. Over recent weeks, reduced oil flow from Libya has put upward pressure on the price of oil yet it has had little impact on the UK pump price. This is primarily due to the strength of the pound.
‘The average price of petrol is 10p a litre lower than a year ago, when it peaked at 140p a litre. Now it is still below 130p. The $2-a-barrel rise in today’s Brent oil price represents a possible 1p rise in the pump price of petrol, but only if sustained.’Gas from Russia, some of which is exported through pipelines that run across Ukraine, makes up around 25 per cent of supplies to the Continent’s homes and businesses.
PRO-PUTIN MOB GROWS
Masked and wielding makeshift weapons, a crowd of around 3,000 pro-Russian activists led a demonstration in the Ukrainian port of Odessa yesterday.
Members of the group managed to break into a session of the local parliament, smashing windows and injuring an official, according to local reports.
Congregating outside the building, activists in balaclavas and helmets, waved Russian flags and wooden clubs with screws in and chanted ‘referendum’.
Police had to move in to after dozens of young people from the far-right Pravy Sektor arrived on the scene demanding that the pro-Russian demonstrators leave and remove a Russian flag that had been placed on the building.
In the eastern city of Donetsk, around 100 pro-Russian protesters seized two floors of a regional government building after the self-imposed Kiev government appointed a local oligarch as a regional governor.
It is feared that Moscow will use its control over the supply as economic leverage to head off opposition to its decision to send troops in to Crimea. It supplies gas to Ukraine at a deep discount – a concession it warns will end in April.
This could affect supplies to other countries if Ukraine decides to grab gas from the Russian pipelines crossing its territory.
It used this tactic during a dispute in 2009 and prices rose sharply. Russia does not supply gas directly to the UK, however any increase in international wholesale prices will feed through to customers here.
Analysts point out that Western Europe is less reliant on Russian gas than before.
The unusually mild winter means that the UK has 25 per cent more in storage than normal.
At the same time, European nations have spent billions on wind power with the result that many gas-fired power stations have been mothballed.
And strong westerly winds have allowed UK windfarms to consistently produce more than 10 per cent of the country’s electricity in recent weeks.
The wholesale cost of gas had been falling for three weeks and – despite the Ukraine crisis – it is still below the level of February 2012.
Joe Conlan, an energy trader at Inenco, said: ‘Gas prices remain volatile and are closely linked to the power price – further price rises may be seen.
‘The situation could be worse but, with Europe having had a mild winter, prices have fallen significantly of late. However, this morning’s rise has eradicated three weeks of constant falls.
Riot police outside the government building targeted by the protesters in Odessa
‘Should this continue, prices are likely to carry on rising in the medium term.’
UK gas prices rose as high as 61.95p a therm – up 9.4 per cent – at one stage before falling back to around 60p a therm.
The events in Russia will be watched with particular concern by the British energy giant BP. Last year it ended a troubled partnership with Russian oligarchs and decided to get into bed with the Russian state-owned oil giant Rosneft, where it owns 20 per cent of the shares.
Sanctions imposed against Russia could directly impact BP and its desire to be the partner of the Kremlin in exploiting oil and gas reserves in Siberia and the Arctic.
The 3D crocodile escalator ad that’s terrifying Brazilian commuters (no wonder everyone is taking the stairs)
This terrifying National Geographic advert of a 3D crocodile is proving too realistic for comfort.
The optical illusion, which looks as though the sharp-toothed beast is ready to launch itself out of the water, has been scaring commuters travelling down an escalator in Brazil.
It’s part of a campaign for ‘Mundo Salvagem de Richard Rasmussen’ – translating to: ‘Ready for an adventure through the Brazilian forests? Wild world with Richard Rasmussen.’
Make it snappy: The 3D crocodile advert at the foot of an escalator in Brazil
The advert was posted to Reddit by user SAT0725, generating hundreds of comments, including ‘I’ll just take the stairs’, ‘As if getting off of an escalator isn’t terrifying enough as it is’, and ‘Why? Why would you do that do innocent people? Oh…because it’s funny’.
The same Reddit user also drew attention to this graphic American Disability Association advertisement.
Disability campaign: The advert aimed to raise awareness of places that are not wheelchair accessible
Using an image of mountains on a flight of stairs, the campaign aimed to raise awareness of places that are not wheelchair accessible.
It ran with the tagline: ‘For some, it’s Mt. Everest. Help build more handicap facilities.’
Deadly attack on court in Pakistani capital Islamabad
At least 11 people have been killed in an attack at a court in the Pakistani capital, Islamabad, officials say.
Gunmen burst into the court complex and opened fire before at least two suicide bombers detonated explosives at a time of the morning when crowds gather.
A judge and several lawyers are reported to be among those killed and at least 24 people were wounded.
No group has said it carried out the attack – one of the deadliest assaults on the capital for years.
It comes after a weekend in which the Pakistani Taliban (TTP) pledged a month-long ceasefire and the government said it would suspend air strikes against militants.
Both are moves aimed at reviving the stalled peace process.
The TTP have reportedly denied having anything to do with this attack, but the BBC’s M Ilyas Khan in Islamabad points out that it sits at the helm of a loose network of territorially independent militant groups who have different agendas. Not all of them will favour peace talks.
The injured were transported to nearby hospitals – at least 24 are thought to have been wounded.. Police spread through the area of the district court as the shock of this rare attack on Islamabad set in
Police officials have described this as a complex attack.
Officials say an unknown number of gunmen, thought to be armed with grenades as well as AK47 assault rifles, stormed the area where judges’ chambers and lawyers’ offices are located, a convoluted maze of corridors and walkways.
Islamabad police chief Sikandar Hayat told reporters that two of the attackers blew themselves up when surrounded by police.
Pakistani TV showed footage of the area with windows blown out, walls broken and people carrying the dead and wounded from the buildings.
Policemen with weapons raised were seen running into the area. It is unclear if any of the attackers have been captured by police.
The area has been cordoned off and local schools evacuated.
Correspondents say the attack has shocked many in the city, which has not seen violence on this scale since 2008 when an attack on the Marriott hotel left 40 dead.
Islamabad has largely been spared the militancy that has beset other areas of Pakistan in recent years.
Why Nigerian Government Granted Visa To Islamic Terror Preacher?
Oscars ceremony 2014..
Slave and Gravity share Academy spoils
All the best bits of the Oscars in three-minutes
Historical drama 12 Years a Slave has won best picture at the 86th Academy Awards, while space drama Gravity won the lion’s share of awards.
Gravity’s Alfonso Cuaron became the first Latin American to win the best director award, adding to the film’s six Oscars for technical achievement.
Cate Blanchett was named best actress for her portrayal of the heroine in Woody Allen’s Blue Jasmine.
Matthew McConaughey won the best actor Oscar for Dallas Buyers Club.
It is the second consecutive year the best director and best picture prize have been awarded to different films.
Cuaron praised the “transformative” power of film and singled out the film’s star Sandra Bullock as “the soul, the heart of Gravity”.
The film – which took five years to complete, and owes much to the technical prowess of British visual effects specialists – also won Oscars for film editing, sound mixing, sound editing, cinematography, visual effects and original score.
OSCARS – MAIN WINNERS
Gravity – 7 awards
12 Years a Slave – 3 awards
Dallas Buyers Club – 3 awards
Frozen – 2 awards
The Great Gatsby – 2 awards
Blue Jasmine – 1 award
Her – 1 award
Steve McQueen, the British director of 12 Years a Slave, dedicated the best picture Oscar to “all those people who have endured slavery”.
“Everyone deserves not just to survive, but to live,” he said. “This is the most important legacy of Solomon Northup.”
Based on a true story, it follows the life of a free black man – Northup – who is kidnapped and sold into slavery in Louisiana.
Producer Brad Pitt praised “the indomitable Mr McQueen” – a Turner Prize winning artist-turned-director – for “bringing them all together” to tell Northup’s story.
Newcomer Lupita Nyong’o won the best supporting actress award for her film debut as slave worker Patsey.
The Kenyan actress paid tribute to her character and thanked her for her “guidance”: “It doesn’t escape me for one moment that so much joy in my life is thanks to so much pain in someone else’s,” said the star, who turned 31 this weekend.
The film won a third Oscar for John Ridley’s adapted screenplay. “All the praise goes to Northup,” Ridley said, “these are his words”.
Spike Jonze collected the best original screenplay for Her. Jonze’s first film as sole writer and director stars Joaquin Phoenix as a man who falls in love with a computer operating system, voiced by Scarlett Johansson.
As predicted, McConaughey took the best actor prize for his role as real life rodeo cowboy Ron Woodroof, who smuggled HIV drugs into the US.
The 44-year-old actor, formerly a rom-com regular whose roles centred on his good looks, lost 50lbs (23kg) to play Woodroof in the low budget indie drama.
During his speech, he thanked God “because that’s who I look up to”.
“He’s graced my life with opportunities that I know are not of my hand or any other human hand,” he added.
Best actress winner Blanchett paid tribute to her rivals, including Dame Judi Dench – who was not at the ceremony – acknowledging “the random and subjective” nature of awards ceremonies.
McConaughey’s co-star Jared Leto won the first Oscar of the night, picking up best supporting actor for his role as transgender woman who becomes Woodruff’s business partner and unlikely friend.
In an emotional speech Leto thanked his mother, who accompanied him to the awards, “for teaching me to dream” and dedicated his award to “those who have ever felt injustice because of who they are, or who you love”.
“This is for the 36 million people out there who have lost the battle to Aids,” said the 30 Seconds to Mars frontman, whose last film was six years ago.
Dallas Buyers Club also picked up a third award for make up and hairstyling – with the transformation of Leto and his co-star, Matthew McConaughey, rumoured to have been achieved on a budget of $250 (£150).
Frozen, which recently tipped $1bn (£600m) at the global box office, scored two Oscars.
The 3D film about an icy princess and her sister was named best animated feature film, with its song, Let It Go – performed by star Idina Menzel – winning best original song. It is loosely based on The Snow Queen by Hans Christian Andersen.
The Great Gatsby also picked up two Oscars, for costume design and production design. The awards were picked up by Baz Luhrmann’s partner Catherine Martin.
But there were no awards for David O Russell’s American Hustle, which had 10 nominations, including nods in all the acting categories. Nor were there any awards for Martin Scorsese’s The Wolf of Wall Street.
The first British win of the night came for Tim Webber and his team from London-based company Framestore for their visual effects work on Gravity.
Webber paid tribute to his team, Gravity actors George Clooney and Bullock and director Cuaron “for having the vision to create this breath-taking film and the audacity to make it happen”.
The second British win of the night went to director Malcolm Clarke, who won an Oscar for his documentary short The Lady in Number Six: Music Saved My Life.
The film follows Alice Herz-Sommer, the oldest known survivor of the Nazi Holocaust and an accomplished pianist. Paying tribute to Herz-Sommer, who died last week at the age of 110, he praised “her extraordinary capacity for joy and amazing capacity for forgiveness”.
“She taught everyone on my crew to be a little bit more optimistic,” he added, dedicating his award to her.
Ellen DeGeneres hosted the ceremony, for the second time, at the Dolby Theatre in Hollywood.
Islamic extremists kill at least 90 in northeast Nigeria
Almost 100 people have died in a series of attacks across the north of Nigeria.
At least 51 people were killed in one attack, in the northeast Nigeriancity of Maiduguri, after Islamic extremists set off two car bombs in a busy market.
Officials expected the death toll to rise, as many more people are thought to be buried under rubble from collapsed buildings.
The victims included children dancing at a wedding celebration and people watching a football match at an outdoor cinema, according to witnesses.
Hassan Ali, the leader of an anti-terror vigilante group, said the first blast came from a pickup truck carrying firewood and did not cause many casualties.
Most of those killed had run to the scene to help when a second explosion came from a car, he said.
People search the area where a twin car bomb exploded in Maiduguri, Nigeria (Haruna Umar/ AP)
The attackers chose to attack the market on a Saturday night when the market was open late.
Survivors said they had captured a man who jumped out of the car, grabbed a tricycle taxi and tried to escape. He was beaten, before being taken to a nearby hospital.
A security guard said later that he had died in hospital.
A policeman, who asked not to be named, said: “The insurgents targeted a busy area where they knew many people usually visit in the evening for commercial activities. It appears Boko Haram are in the city again.”
On the same night, in a second attack, Islamic extremists killed 39 people in Mainok, a village 37 miles from Maiduguri.
Taxi driver Mansu Buba said he returned to Mainok village on Sunday to find the victims being buried. Mainok has been attacked many times in the past year.
A state Security Service agent said no huts were left standing after the attack.
The attacks came a day after reports that a military fighter jet had accidentally bombed Daglun village in Yobe state, killing 20 civilians.
Most of those killed were elderly, because most residents had fled because of the recent violence and rumours that the military was about to mount attacks in the area in response.
An elderly resident of Daglun said he was sitting under a tree when he saw bombs dropping from a military aircraft. A nurse at the local hospital said it received many dead and wounded. A community leader said 20 people had died and 25 were wounded.
Military spokesman Captain Jafaru Nuru of the 23rd Armoured Brigade said he was unaware of any civilians being killed in an air strike.
Jets have been bombing suspected Islamic militant power bases around Daglun every day for three weeks in an attempt to flush the extremists out of their remote hideouts near the Cameroonian border.
More than 300 people were killed last month in the neighbouring states of Adamawa and Yobe..
Mississippi man found alive in body bag at funeral home
A Mississippi man has been found literally alive and kicking in a body bag at a funeral home after being declared dead.
Workers at Porter and Sons Funeral Home were preparing to embalm Walter Williams on Thursday when he moved.
A coroner pronounced the 78-year-old dead after finding no pulse when he was called to Mr Williams’ home in the city of Lexington on the previous evening.
It is thought that his pacemaker may have temporarily stopped working.
Holmes County coroner Dexter Howard told the BBC he was called to Mr Williams’ home by a hospice nurse, who said the man had passed away.
Mr Howard said he went through the “normal procedure” of checking for Mr Williams’ vital signs, but found none.
Mr Williams was taken to Porter and Sons Funeral Home and was being prepared for embalming when “we noticed there was some kicking and moving going on”, Mr Howard said.
“He began to breathe,” he added. “It was a miracle.”
The farmer and school board employee was taken to a hospital for treatment, where Mr Howard visited him.
“He’s still holding on,” he said.
The coroner said Mr Williams’ family were rejoicing and “just in a state of shock” after learning of his recovery.
Mr Howard said he had never seen anything like this in more than two decades as a coroner.
“It’s an unusual case,” he said. “I hope he keeps on keeping on.”
Williams’ nephew, Eddie Hester, told ABC affiliate WAPT: “I don’t know how long he’s going to be here.
“But I know he’s back right now. That’s all that matters.”
Zuma’s snub for Mandela tribute: South African president misses Westminster Abbey service to attend lavish wedding of Mugabe’s daughter
South African President Jacob Zuma has pulled out of today’s memorial service for Nelson Mandela at Westminster Abbey to attend the lavish wedding of Robert Mugabe’s daughter.
The Abbey service, thought to be the first for a foreigner, had already been rescheduled to accommodate Mr Zuma.
However, Mr Zuma instead spent the weekend in Zimbabwe at the £3million wedding of Bona Mugabe. His spokesman denied it was a snub to Mandela.
Prince Harry, representing the Queen, and Prime Minister David Cameron will be among 3,000 at the memorial for Mr Mandela, who died in December aged 95.
The date of the service was originally planned for February 11, the anniversary of his release from prison in 1990, but was changed so Mr Zuma, who was preparing for his annual State of the Nation address on that date, could attend.
Honour: The service today at Westminster Abbey will be the first for a foreigner
South Africa’s controversial 71-year-old leader informed memorial organisers last week that he would now be too busy to join the unique event and would send his deputy and two ministers in his place.
Instead, Mr Zuma spent the weekend at the extravagant wedding of Bona Mugabe, daughter of President Mugabe, 90, who hosted 4,000 guests at his large estate in the Zimbabwean capital, Harare, for a two-day celebration.
After Mr Zuma announced he would not be attending in person, Buckingham Palace informed the Abbey that Prince Harry would be attending on behalf of the Queen.
A spokesman for the Abbey confirmed that Mr Zuma had sent his apologies, and admitted they were ‘disappointed’.
‘Clearly we were expecting President Zuma and we were disappointed that he can’t come but we understand that schedules change,’ Abbey spokesman Duncan Jeffrey said.
Back home, Mr Zuma’s decision to spend the weekend with the Mugabes instead of paying tribute to Mr Mandela in London was being interpreted as a deliberate snub to the former colonial power.
Both white and black South Africans used Twitter to express their anger at their leader’s decision to prioritise the Mugabe wedding over an historic service in honour of Mr Mandela.
At the main South African memorial in the days after Mr Mandela’s death, which was attended by current and former world leaders, Mr Zuma looked visibly rattled as he was booed loudly and repeatedly by crowds at the stadium in Soweto.
Tensions: Many South Africans are angry at the current government when compared with Mandela’s ideals
Mac Maharaj, Mr Zuma’s official spokesman, said Mr Zuma was too busy with domestic issues to attend the London event, but denied it could be interpreted as a snub.
‘He has sent the second-highest office [his Deputy President Kgalema Motlanthe] and two ministers,’ he said.
‘I have seen some articles saying this is a snub. This is not a snub – people are wrong.’
Mr Zuma and the ruling ANC will on May 7 run in what are widely expected to be the most hotly-contested parliamentary and provincial elections the former liberation movement since Mr Mandela led it to power in 1994.
A series of corruption scandals have seen Mr Zuma’s personal popularity plummet and many now believe the ANC could lose its two-thirds parliamentary majority for the first time.
The ultimate in hatchbacks, a £330,000 Ferrari with room for the family dog (Labrador not included)
They are known for speed and style, not comfort and practicality. So a Ferrari may not be the first car you’d think of to take the family – plus dog – for a spin in the country.
But the marque famous for its luxury sports cars and Formula One pedigree now has a model perfect for the well-heeled on a weekend break – a hatchback.
The Ferrari FF not only has a boot space big enough to fit a labrador, it has four seats and four-wheel drive.
First world problems: Stuck on how to take the Lab down to Monaco? Fear not – Ferrari have a hatchback
Not a ruff deal: We road-tested the car with tweed-clad former Miss UK Kirsty Heslewood, 24.. Walkies: Many supercars have no inside space, which leaves owners with options unsuited to a motorway
The combination certainly seems to appeal to Country Life magazine, bible of the green welly brigade.
It gave the car, which Ferrari prefers to call a shooting-brake rather than a humble hatchback, a glowing review.
The 6.3litre V12 FF comes in the distinctive racing red, has a top speed of 208mph and is capable of going from 0 to 60mph in just 3.7seconds.
On the down side, it does about 18 miles to the gallon and, depending on optional extras, costs from £230,000 to £330,000… labrador not included.
The eternal problem of how to take your dog in your supercar was solved this week by a road test article in the quintessentially English magazine.
Giving the kennels the boot: Jake the five-year-old Lab looks perfectly at home in the back of the Ferrari.. I won’t turn my nose up at this: The age-old problem of what to do with the dog was solved by Country Life
Teasingly, however, the magazine didn’t prove it by showing a dog in the car – so step forward the Mail, Ferrari, a yellow Labrador retriever named Jake and a tweed-clad driver called Kirsty Heslewood, the current Miss England and Miss United Kingdom, all willing to take up the challenge.
First, the car. It’s the latest result of Ferrari’s long-standing endeavour to create exciting supercars that can also be practical.
FF stands for Four by Four, a four-wheel drive shooting brake that has an exhaust note that barks louder than any dog.
Crucially, its 450-litre boot has the same capacity as a decent size family hatchback, and the rear seats fold flat to provide 800 litres of space.
Next, the dog. Jake’s owner Alan Buckland admits the five-and-a-half-year-old gun-dog would rather be out retrieving pheasants, but today he is our test-Lab.
Suddenly, the car’s £3,500 hi-fi system has acquired a new woofer. The experiment is a success. Now, where’s that map of Monaco?
Manservant who was left £30m by Lord Glenconner WILL share it with peer’s grandson
He became the world’s richest manservant when left a £30 million fortune by his playboy boss who cut his heir out of his will.
But now Kent Adonai – who was Lord Glenconner’s valet and carer for 30 years – has struck a secret deal to share the windfall with the peer’s grandson.
The 51-year-old had been facing a legal battle with 20-year-old Cody Tennant, who became the fourth Baron Glenconner when the former owner of Princess Margaret’s favourite island retreat died in 2010.
He had expected to inherit the family estate – only to discover his grandfather rewrote his will seven months before his death aged 83.
The Scottish university student was backed in his battle by his family, including Glenconner’s widow, Lady Anne, who was also shocked to learn she had not been left a penny.
Mr Adonai, who cannot read or write, hired a top legal team on St Lucia, Glenconner’s home after leaving Mustique, where he once hosted Royalty.
The inheritance included the peer’s Indian-style mansion, jewellery, art and antiques, and 192 acres of shorefront development land.
Legal battle: Cody Tennant, the fourth Baron Glenconner, now stands to gain millions after a deal was struck to share his grandfather’s fortune
However, appearing before a judge last week at the East Caribbean Supreme Court, Mr Adonai’s representatives agreed he will share the property with the new baron.
A court insider told The Mail on Sunday: ‘The lawyers who represent Kent and Cody respectively each handed a sealed brown envelope to the judge. The deal was in them.
‘My understanding is that Cody is getting a share in the land that potentially will make him a multi-millionaire.’
Cody’s lawyer Peter Foster – also speaker of the St Lucia Parliament – said: ‘Yes, there was a dispute over the will and now it has been settled amicably.’
He declined to put a value on the property relinquished by Mr Adonai, but added: ‘The way it has been settled is to the mutual satisfaction of all parties.’
Although the grounds of the challenge have not been revealed, one legal expert said it may have involved a clause in which Glenconner directed the servant to ‘apportion’ the fortune ‘to himself and heirs in whatsoever manner he wishes as I have discussed with him’.
‘One might argue that Glenconner expected Kent to look after his heirs, including Cody and Lady Anne,’ the expert added. ‘It also might have been argued he was elderly and not in his right mind.’
Lady Anne has also pointed out that her husband was battling cancer when he died.
The Lord Glenconner at his home on Mustique in February 1985: When he died Glenconner was sitting on one of the Caribbean’s most desirable pieces of land and had plans for a potentially lucrative resort development
Mr Adonai has always maintained that, along with inheriting land worth millions, he was also saddled with Glenconner’s debts which, he claims, left him impoverished. He says this was the reason he sold the peer’s belongings two years ago.
However, at the time of his death, Glenconner was sitting on one of the Caribbean’s most desirable pieces of land and had plans for a resort development that was to include seven villas priced up to £7 million each.
‘Developers are vying for land in the area,’ a Caribbean property specialist said. ‘Cody and Kent each stand to earn millions.’
Mr Adonai’s lawyer did not respond to a request for comment..
Two children among 12 people killed when gas cylinder explodes in Qatar restaurant opposite petrol station
By John Hall
A gas explosion at a restaurant in Qatar has killed 12 people, including two children, emergency services in the country said today.
The blast happened shortly after 10am this morning at a Turkish restaurant near Landmark Mall in the capital Doha, and left 30 more people suffering serious injuries.
Preliminary investigations suggest a faulty gas canister inside the restaurant may be to blame, with the explosion causing a fire that led to part of the building near a petrol station collapsing.
Deadly: A security source added that at least two Asian children are believe to have died and said investigations continue to look into what caused the gas tank to explode
Major General Saad bin Jassim al-Khalifi, Qatar’s head of public security, said ‘Arabs, Asians and one Qatari’ were among the dead and wounded.
‘It was a very big blast…It blew away cars and the shrapnel scattered 50 or 100 meters away,’ he said.
A security source added that at least two Asian children are believe to have died and said investigations continue to look into what caused the gas tank to explode.
Qatar’s Ministry of Interior, which is responsible for police and emergency operations, said on its official Twitter feed that the blast has led to all roads in the area being shut down due to the risk posed by the proximity of the petrol station.
Qatar’s prime minister, Sheikh Abdullah bin Nasser al-Thani, confirmed there had been an explosion in remarks to state television.
Preliminary investigations suggest a faulty gas canister inside the restaurant may be to blame, with the explosion causing a fire that led to part of the building near a petrol station collapsing
Visit: Qatar’s prime minister, Sheikh Abdullah bin Nasser al-Thani, confirmed there had been an explosion in remarks to state television. He visited the site this afternoon (right, centre)
Major General Saad bin Jassim al-Khalifi, Qatar’s head of public security, said Arabs, Asians and one Qatari were among the dead and wounded
Roads around the blast site have been closed due to the restaurant’s proximity to the QNB petrol station
‘Some deaths occurred that were announced, and there will be a press conference through the Ministry of Interior to give more information about the incident,’ said Sheikh Abdullah, who is also interior minister.
Asked if security regulations would be tightened up after the incident, he replied that ‘safety precautions are all there and the precautions for civil defence are there.’
The area around the Istanbul restaurant is on the outskirts of the capital near Landmark mall, a well-known shopping complex usually busy area with families.
From Hamad hospital, Abdul-Rahman Abdul-Kareem, an Indian driver who was eating in a restaurant nearby, told Reuters: ‘I have too much damage now, my legs are broken and my head is open.’
Hamad Medical Corporation, which manages eight hospitals in the country as well as the national ambulance service, put out a call for blood donations on social media shortly after the blast
The area around the Istanbul restaurant is on the outskirts of the capital near Landmark mall, a well-known shopping complex usually busy area with families
Hamad Medical Corporation, which manages eight hospitals in the country as well as the national ambulance service, put out a call for blood donations on social media shortly after the blast.
They said all blood from all groups were desperately needed.
The star-run Qatar TV aired pictures of damaged cars and smoke rising from near a gas station close to the shopping center.
Injured bystanders were seen being wheeled to ambulances on stretchers while police officers examined the scene.
The explosion is the worst in the country since May 2012, when nineteen foreign nationals – including 13 children – were killed in a fire at another Doha mall.
A member of Qatar’s ruling family was among five people sentenced to prison by a court last year for negligence over the fire.
The blaze was caused by faulty wiring in Doha’s Villagio Mall and quickly spread to a nursery, the court found.
Qatar is a small, wealthy Gulf Arab state with abundant reserves of natural gas that will play host to the 2022 World Cup.
The OPEC member state is generally safe, with little violent crime or civil unrest.
South American mummy ritually sacrificed
By Melissa HogenboomScience reporter,
The mummy was brought to Germany by a Bavarian princess
A previously unidentified female mummy was killed in a ritual sacrifice in South America, new research has found.
A team of scientists analysed the skull to find evidence of a blunt trauma to the head, suggesting she died very quickly from the blow.
DNA analysis also revealed she suffered from a parasitic infection called Chagas disease, they write in Plos One.
Her symptoms indicated she would not have lived for much longer even if she had escaped her killers.
Chagas is still endemic in South America – especially those living in poverty – and can be deadly if not treated early.
Andreas Nerlich, co-author of the study from Munich University, Germany, said that the girl was likely to have come from a poor family.
“The parasite lives in mud-brick walls typical of those from lower social classes, not in stone houses or better equipped, cleaner surroundings,” he told BBC News.
For more than 100 years, it was unclear where the mummy was from, but now detailed CT scans, injury reconstructions and DNA evidence have finally given clues to her origin.
The mummified woman is over 500 years old, and would have died in her early 20s.
She is thought to have arrived in Germany after a Bavarian princess brought her back from an expedition to South America in 1898.
Where exactly she would have lived remains unclear, but based on a stable isotope analysis of her bones and hair, her diet was rich in fish. The researchers therefore suggest she lived near the Peruvian or Northern Chilean coast line.
The rope which tied her plaits was made out of material that originated in South America and her skull formation was also typical of the Inca people.
She was killed and buried in a hot and dry sandy region that resulted in natural mummification. For many years, however, it was simply assumed she was a German bog body.
“We assumed she died in a ritual killing but we have no clear evidence from written sources,” explained Prof Nerlich.
A 3D reconstruction highlighted signs of a massive cranial injury
“Present-day techniques offer such a wealth of information that we can reconstruct various aspects of past lives, diseases and death.”
The analysis will now help scientists understand the origin of the Chagas pathogen and its molecular construction.
Evidence of ritual sacrifice in South American mummies is well documented.
In the Incan empire, young girls were often given up to the sun god in religious rituals. The parents and local communities of sacrificed victims were consequently highly respected.
Emma Brown from the department of archaeological sciences at the University of Bradford, UK, who was not involved with the study, said that due to the lack of contextual data it was hard to definitively say that the mummy was a human sacrifice.
“This individual is older than the usual profile of ritually killed females, who are typically around the age of 13 or 14,” Dr Brown told the BBC.
“It is important to recognise the historical context of this mummy. The radiocarbon dates cover the period of the Spanish conquest of the Americas.
“Historical records describe repressive and extreme forms of violence and recent bio-archaeological investigations of conquest-era cemeteries have revealed that many types of trauma, including massive blunt force cranial trauma [shown here] are quite common,” she added.
Revealed: The five tricks rich parents use to cut private school costs
Putting your little darlings through private school can be eye-wateringly expensive. From the age of five to 18, it will set you back around £195,745 per child, according to the latest figures from insurer LV=.
They are under such financial pressure that as many as 37 per cent of parents have considered taking their children out of private school because of the costs, a survey from Lloyds Bank Private Banking has revealed.
Officially, there are no tax breaks for education. But savvy parents use a range of tactics to shrink the bill — all of which are perfectly legal.
1) A DISCOUNT FOR HELPING THE SCHOOL INVEST
These can see parents save thousands of pounds if a school has charitable status. The average fees cost £4,765 a term — not exactly loose change — which is why most parents pay by monthly direct debit.
But parents who pay their children’s school fees upfront as a lump sum — anything from a term to several years’ worth — can take part in these schemes.
The school will take the money and invest it in low-risk investments. Any profit the school makes is tax-free because of their charitable status. The school then splits the benefit with the parents.
Those parents are given what the schools class as a discount based on the profit the school makes from the investment. And the school keeps whatever is left over.
Some one investing in this way on their own could be hit with a capital gains tax charge of 28 per cent, unless a parent was able to take funds out of an Isa. Most top private schools have a scheme like this.
Harrow, which charges £11,095 per term, describes it as a ‘tax-efficient advance fees scheme, which offers attractive returns’. Radley College, in Oxfordshire, claims one in six of its boys have their fees paid in advance.It adds: ‘It can be very beneficial when parents are assessed at the higher rate of tax.There should be no involvement with capital gains tax.’
The Independent Schools’ Bursars Association says: ‘A higher rate taxpayer may find the scheme attractive even at a rate somewhat lower than could be obtained in the financial markets.’
2) START A FAMILY BUSINESS
This involves granny and granddad setting up a family business and naming the children as the shareholders. The school fees are then paid through dividends to the children.
The grandparents need to be wealthy and offer to pay for the school fees, rather than leave an inheritance. They put an asset — such as property or shares — into the family firm.
When the school fees are due, they pay out a dividend to the grand- children by creating special shares to give them — calling them B shares or Z shares. This payment is tax-free for the children because it is classed as income tax and they should not have any other earnings.
Tricks: Grandparents can set up a family business, name the children as shareholders and the school fees are then paid through dividends to the children
Everyone has a tax-free personal allowance of £9,440. It’s important that the grand- parents set up the business — and not the parents — because parents can’t gift investments to the child without incurring tax.
This is so that parents don’t try to take advantage of a child’s tax status for their own gain. This scheme tends to be more popular with families fortunate enough to have wealth across several generations, rather than those who are self-made.
Though, with greater numbers of grandparents retiring with large amounts of equity in their home, many are taking money out of their property to help relatives. However, this scheme is not straightforward.
The actor Jack Hawkins, who appeared in The Bridge On The River Kwai and Ben Hur, lost a tax case in which he tried to have income paid through a family business to his children.
3) INVEST OFFSHORE FOR THE CHILDREN
Parents can invest a lump sum in an offshore bond and then name themselves as trustees and the children as beneficiaries. The bond is then split into a number of policies — with each one having enough to pay out for each term of school fees.
By assigning the policies to the children, the tax on the gain will be payable by the child and not by the parent. Everyone is allowed to cash in £10,900 of capital gains a year without incurring a tax bill.
The word ‘offshore’ conjures up pictures of millionaires sun-lounging in tax havens. But these tax-efficient schemes are often used by middle-income families.
‘These savings can be important for ordinary families. They’re making lifestyle sacrifices, such as not going on holidays or upgrading the cars, to afford the fees,’ says Tim Stovold, tax partner at Kingston Smith.
4) CASH IN A PENSION
Under the rules, you can take a quarter of your pension pot as a tax-free lump sum from 55. As a higher-rate (40 per cent) taxpayer, you’d have to earn around £8,000 to pay fees of £4,765 after tax. But anything put in a pension has had income tax repaid to you.
So, by taking it as a tax-free lump sum you can avoid any further income tax. It doesn’t matter if a person is planning on retiring at 55, they can still take their lump sum. For most, the money will come a little late for school fees. So, an alternative trick is to increase the mortgage to pay off the fees. Then, when you hit 55, you with draw the lump sum and pay it off.
5) HAGGLE FOR A BETTER DEAL
It is possible to haggle for lower fees. Find out what the school needs. Is it cash? Expertise? A legacy? ‘If a school is in the middle of a capital intensive building project, it may need cash upfront and so could agree to a discount if you pay the fees as a lump sum,’ says Mike Batchelor, head of investment advisers Broadstone Private Office.
Would the school be interested in a bursary for the school in lieu of school fees? If you set up a philanthropic trust, there may be the expectation that there will be further donations through later generation..
Cambodian necrophiliac who attempted sex act on corpse a day after the funeral arrested after falling asleep in the COFFIN
A man who tried to have sex with a corpse after digging into the grave was arrested when he fell asleep in the coffin, police in Cambodia confirmed today.
The 47-year-old man, named as Chin Chean, was caught when villagers saw his foot sticking out of the grave and told the family of the teenage girl whose body lay in the coffin.
Chin Chean told police that he started digging up the coffin at 10pm, the day after he had attended the funeral of the 17-year-old girl.
The Cambodia Daily reported that after digging down through the earth he reached the coffin and managed to open it.
He then admitted to police that he had tried to have sex with the body but because the coffin was too small he was not able to do so.
Then, he admitted, he fell asleep on top of the body.
‘Villagers saw Mr Chean’s foot by the grave at about 6am and told the deceased’s family,’ said police chief Keo Vutha of the Prey Poun community 103 miles south east of the capital, Phnom Penh.
‘We don’t know at this stage whether he knew the victim when she was alive,’ said Mr Vutha.
But he said that Chin Chean was known to take drugs and commit unusual acts, such as running around the local pagoda naked.
‘We are going to send Mr Chean to the district police for questioning before we sent him to court,’ said a police spokesman.
Father arrested for fitting a PADLOCK to four-year-old son’s mouth to stop him screaming as he beat him to death for being ‘a child of evil’ in Nigeria
A Nigerian father has been arrested after he allegedly padlocked his son’s mouth shut to stop him screaming while he battered him to death
Chris Elvis, 30, allegedly accused four-year-old Godrich of being an ‘Ogbanje’ or ‘child of evil’ and blamed him for his bad luck in recent days.
The security guard beat his son, burned him all over his body with a hot iron and then locked him in a plastic drum, according to court documents.
The child’s mother called police after returning from the market to find her son’s horrific death.
Elvis tried to act mentally ill when he was arrested, but the authorities said his condition was normal, according to International Business Times.
He is being held in custody after being charged with murder.
The charge sheet reads: ‘That you, Chris Elvis, on February 10, 2014, about 5pm at 7, Adetola Adelaja street, Meiran Lagos, in the Lagos Magisterial District, did unlawfully kill one Godrich Elvis, aged four years by using hot pressing iron to burn him all over his body and putting him inside a plastic drum and locked the drum with padlock and thereby committed an offence punishable under Section 221 of the Criminal Law of Lagos State, Nigeria, 2011.’
Beaten to death: Four-year-old Godrich suffered horrific injuries allegedly at the hands of his father who padlocked his mouth shut to stop him screaming during the attack
The alleged incident took place in the Meiran area of Lagos.
PICTURE EXCLUSIVE: Victoria Beckham visits Cape Town to support Born Free initiative to end mother to child HIV transmission
Victoria Beckham is using her celebrity status for a good cause and has just spent two days visiting Cape Town in South Africa in support of Born Free.
The 39-year-old is doing her bit for the charity which aims to end the transmission of HIV from mothers to their children, and found the trip ‘educating and inspiring.’
A representative for Victoria told MailOnline: ‘It was a whirlwind trip, however Victoria was inspired and motivated by the wonderful people she met and will continue her support to help raise awareness of the objective to end mother to child transmission of HIV’
On Monday, Victoria took in an educational trip to the Children’s Infectious Disease Clinical Research Unit.
She later took to Twitter on thank the ‘inspiring’ people she met at the facility, writing: ‘Thank you @bornfreeafrica and the inspiring doctors, mothers and children that I met today. #JoinBornFree x vb’
She also wrote: ‘thanks @UNAIDS @m2mtweets @florencengobeni for sharing your incredible work to eliminate mother to child transmission of HIV x vb’
Touching: Victoria also posed with staff from the Mother2Mother programme at the Delft Community Health Centre in Cape Town
The brunette star also took to the social networking site on Sunday after seeing the work done by the Desmond Tutu HIV Foundation.
She wrote: ‘Inspiring day in Cape Town, at The Tutu Tester, where I spent time with children of @lalelaproject. x vb (sic)’
The British fashion designer and businesswoman spent some time with a patient called Esmonic, during a site visit to Tygerberg hospital.
She also talked to staff and mentor mothers from the Mother2Mother programme at the Delft Community Health Centre.
Earlier, Victoria had explained the reasons for her trip, writing on her Twitter page:
‘Looking forward to meeting @bornfreeafrica in Cape Town to support the initiative to end mother to child HIV transmission x vb #JoinBornFree.’
Raising awareness: Beckham talked to Mothers2mothers mentor Nozi, at home with her daughter and UNAIDS project workers
Dr Mitch Besser, founder of Mothers2mothers and the husband of HIV and Aids activist, Annie Lennox, said:
‘We are at the cusp of seeing the dream of an HIV-free generation become a reality and need dedicated and compassionate people like Victoria Beckham to spread the word.
‘[We need] to make sure the resources and political will continues to be strong, to speak out on behalf of the women and children whose voices often go unheard and to make sure every baby has a chance for a healthy future.’
Educational: The brunette star also took to the social networking site on Sunday after seeing the work done by the Desmond Tutu HIV Foundation..
Nigeria school raid in Yobe state leaves 29 dead
The BBC’s Will Ross in Lagos says the remote school in Yobe state was attacked overnight when students were in their dormitories.
All the victims were teenage boys and 11 others were seriously injured. Most of the school was burned to the ground.
Islamist militants have attacked dozens of schools in north-east Nigeria.
Last September, 40 students were killed at an agricultural college during another night-time raid.
Teachers at the school in Buni Yadi said the gunmen gathered the female students together before telling them to go away and get married and to abandon their education.
The name Boko Haram means Western education is sin.
The group says it aims is to replace Nigeria’s political leadership and establish a new state under strict Islamic law.
Nigeria’s military said on Tuesday it was pursuing the attackers.
“We assure all law-abiding citizens that we will continue to do what is necessary to protect lives and property,” a statement said.
President Goodluck Jonathan condemned the killings, calling them “heinous, brutal and mindless”.
Our correspondent says Nigeria’s armed forces are facing increasing criticism for failing to protect civilians or to respond to raids by the militants.
Yobe state Governor Ibrahim Gaidam said more troops were needed to contain the militants.
“It is unfortunate that up to five hours when this massacre took place, there were no security agents around to stop or contain the situation,” he said in a statement.
“I have also been informed that the military here in Yobe state lack adequate number of troops on the ground.”
This year close to 300 people have been killed in large-scale Boko Haram attacks.
The BBC’s Isa Sanusi, from the Hausa service, says Boko Haram tends to attack schools that teach Nigeria’s national curriculum, which the militants consider to be Western.
Earlier this month, militants claimed responsibility for killing a prominent northern Nigerian Islamic scholar, Sheikh Mohammed Awwal Albani, because he said the group’s actions were un-Islamic.
Thousands of people have been killed since 2009, when Boko Haram launched its campaign to install Islamic law.
The latest offensive, ordered by President Jonathan in May, has been blamed for triggering reprisals by militants against civilians.
Addressing a news conference on Monday, the president defended the army’s record, saying it had achieved some successes against Boko Haram and that the militants had been contained to a small area of north-east Nigeria close to the border with Cameroon.
He said the two countries were working together to stop the militants from staging attacks in Nigeria and then escaping over the border.
Correspondents say Yobe has been relatively peaceful this year, unlike neighbouring Borno state, where at least 250 people have been killed in a series of large scale attacks by the militants.
The men behind the masks: The hidden world of the men who practice ‘female masking’
- A subculture known as ‘female masking’ is thriving online
- Men wear latex or silicone masks and torsos to make themselves look like women
- The result is a largely immobile face, giving the impression of a doll or mannequin
- A British Channel 4 documentary, Secrets of the Living Dolls, screened earlier this year
- Unlike transgenders, ‘rubber dollers’ don’t feel born in the wrong body
- Dressing up as a member of opposite sex is way to have fun or explore sexuality
- Many who practice are married heterosexual men
Kerry, a green-eyed, crimson-lipped beauty with suspiciously smooth skin and a full bust, looks like a woman with something to hide. And she is: Kerry is actually a 52-year-old heterosexual man wearing a latex mask and full bodysuit to emulate a woman.
Kerry is part of a subculture known as ‘female masking’ that until very recently has remained relatively unheard of, even among dedicated cross-dressers.
Male enthusiasts don elaborate latex or silicone masks and bodysuits complete with breasts to become glamorous female alter-egos.
Married man Kerry, from Seattle, has been fascinated by masks ever since he saw an episode of Mission: Impossible in 1970 depicting actresses wearing masks to impersonate other characters.
At 15, he tells The Atlantic, he began wearing female masks, at first from local costume shops, and later self-made latex creations.
‘It’d be one thing to disguise myself as a guy, but I’d still be a guy,’ he told the Atlantic of his initial desire to wear a mask.
‘But if I could disguise myself as a woman that would be a total transformation.’
With the advent of the internet, Kerry found a community of like-minded female maskers and realized he wasn’t alone.
Finding other female maskers not only provided Kerry with a community, it launched a whole new career.
Plastic fantastic: The ‘Jessica’ full head and torso silicone mask with foam breast inserts costs $600
He began selling his realistic masks to other men, and became so successful that he was able to leave his day job as a printer and create his own business in mask-making.
For about $500, a mask and body suit including foam-stuffed breasts can be purchased from Kerry’s website.
His wife of 12 years, he says, thinks his obsession is ‘weird.’
‘She doesn’t have anything to do with it. Once in a while she might help me with something but it’s not really her thing,’ he told the Atlantic.
And while his masking has a sexual element to it, he says that his wife is not into it, and he is OK with that.
‘It’s one of those things where we all sort of have fantasies, scenarios we’d like to do but I think the reality would be really, really disappointing. So probably better not to try that,’ he said.
‘In a way I don’t want to fetishize my wife. You know, I have sex with my wife because I love her. And I don’t want to turn her into a sex object, if that makes any sense at all. Because the mask is a fetish object, that’s the only thing it really exists for.’
Female masking, while taboo even among the cross-dressing community, has managed to reach the edges of popular culture.
Photographer Steven Meisel even shot model Carolyn Murphy in a mask of Italian Vogue in 2012 after stumbling across the fetish online.
A British documentary called Secrets of the Living Dolls that screened earlier this year featured female maskers from all walks of life.
Unlike transgender people, ‘maskers’, or ‘rubber dollers’ as they’re also known, do not feel born in the wrong body. For them, dressing up as a member of the opposite sex is a simply a way to have fun.
A new Channel 4 documentary, Secrets of the Living Dolls, will reveal the lives of ‘maskers’ – men dressed in an elaborate body suit designed to make them look like the glamorous women they are not
‘They’re not freaky people, they’re not weird, they’re just like you and me,’ explains Barbie Ramos, the owner of Femskin, a company that makes the $850 (approximately £518) custom-made silicone outfits worn by maskers.
‘They’re just like what they call “vanilla people” – that’s you and me – except for at night or on special occasions, they like to put on a mask. Why not?’
Her son Adam, who also works at Femskin, adds: ‘I don’t think it would be fair to call them gay or even attracted to other men.’
‘It’s about fun. A lot of men have fun by pretending to be women. Not all of them even want to be hot. Some want to be nasty hags.’
One masker who has no interest in being a nasty hag is Robert, who following a painful divorce, has spent the last 12 years dressing up as Sherry, a 40-ish buxom blonde.
Robert is one of a growing number of men for whom time off means time spent dressed in an elaborate body suit, complete with breasts and a vagina, designed to make them look like the glamorous women they are not.
But while many of the maskers who appear in Channel 4 documentary say it’s all about having fun; for 70-year-old Robert, matters don’t appear quite so simple.
‘That’s why I do this,’ he breathes as he pouts at his reflection in the bathroom mirror, ‘because I think I look amazing.
‘I just can’t believe that’s a 70-year-old man in the mirror and that’s why I do this,’ he continues. ‘If I saw a 70-year-old man in the mirror I would quit this tomorrow. ‘
Asked what he sees when he looks at his dolled up reflection, he replies: ‘An exciting looking female,’ adding: ‘If I saw a woman like this and she asked me to go hang out, I’d say yeah. ‘
For him, the appeal of Sherry seems to lie partly in the fact that for him, dating real women has been something of a disappointment.
‘You see, after all, I’m 70 years old and I’ve tried dating, and when I’m dating, the women I meet are generally 55 to well up into their 60s,’ he explains.
‘Some of them are in really good shape for their age but they don’t look anything like this and it’s very difficult to date when you have this to come home to.’
But not every masker has a troubled love life. For Joel, a British bartender who lives with his girlfriend, Mel, dressing up is all about escapism.
‘I get enjoyment out of it, I get a sense of escapism out of it,’ he reveals. ‘I’m just out to have fun. It’s like the extension of another persona within me that just wants to go out and have fun.
‘The conundrum is people ask: “What do you do when you get dressed up?” And the answer is: not much.
‘Sometimes I just take photos to put up on masking websites, other times it just happens to be who I want to be that day.’
‘I wouldn’t walk 20 steps down the road dressed as a doll because I know general society in the area we live in would be very, very against it,’ he explains. ‘Who knows what could happen?’
One masker who is far less reticent about his hobby is Jon, a Minneapolis father-of-six who works as a forklift driver in a warehouse.
According to Jon, not only does masking make him feel good, it also helps him to bond with his daughters.
‘I try to find ways to fit in and be involved with the daughters, and that sometimes means make-up and fingernails and things like that as well,’ he explains.
‘You don’t have to have your guard up and necessarily be afraid of other people if you want to dress in a way that makes you feel really good.
‘One guy in particular that I trust at work – he knows that I put on the boobies!’
But not everyone is quite so understanding. Jon’s wife Sunny is his second, met and wed after his first marriage broke up because of his penchant for rubber dolling.
‘This does affect my relationships because I make my priorities and sometimes other people are not happy about my choices,’ he admits.
So is it all worth it? Jon’s friend ‘Vanessa’, a 56-year-old who is also father of six, thinks it is.
‘When I’m in my male mode, I go out in public and I just blend in,’ he confesses. ‘When I walk down the street, people don’t pay any attention to me.
‘But when I dress up, put this mask on and the wig, it’s like being a beautiful woman walking down the street.
‘You become one of the beautiful people and you draw a lot of attention, and attention is not something I’ve had a lot of.’
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“How Do I Make Friends With Benefits Work?”
I’m a little late to the party as far as one-night stands are concerned. I recently ended a four-year relationship with a guy I met my first year of university, so now I’m trying to figure out the “rules” of one-night stands and casual dating. For example, I hook up with a younger guy I meet at a bar, and he not only stays the night but gives me his number and tells me he wants to see me again, neither of which I was expecting. What do I do? Neither of us is looking for a relationship, but I’ve never done the friends-with-benefits thing before. I need some guidelines, before I scare him away and mess up the whole thing.
Tell me about it. Sometimes I wish there were a universal Casual Sex agreement that we could all sign, so everyone could abide by the same guidelines. Unfortunately, people want different things. And the first rule of Casual Sex Club is that there are no rules. Aside from the obvious — don’t be a creep, a liar, a cheat, or unsafe — there’s no standard protocol. You can’t trust the golden rule, because you can’t assume that anyone else shares your assumptions of what’s right and what’s not or even what’s normal.
Consider your first night together: Before you hopped into bed, were you required to explain your romantic history? No. Did you know whether he was casually dating or sleeping with anyone else? Probably not. The morning after, were you expected to share hopes and dreams? No. Will this sometimes occur? Yes. What happens next? That’s up to you.
First off, remember that if you don’t want to see this guy again, it’s no big deal, even if it feels odd. Think of it as a free trial month at the gym: You might feel obligated to show up, or to make a commitment — but it’s definitely not required. Just because you used their shower once doesn’t mean you have to use it again.
I think part of the problem is that we don’t even have a word to describe what happens when you don’t want to see a one-night stand again. It’s not a breakup after just one night. You’re not breaking anything. You’re just choosing not to see someone again. You’re just unhooking yourself from your hookup. Maybe we should call it an unhookup.
But it sounds like you want to start an ongoing casual relationship with this guy, because you say that you’re worried you’ll scare him away and mess this up. So here’s what you do: You tell him that. Say something as simple as, “I just got out of a four-year relationship and I’m not looking for anything serious, but I’d like to see you again.” You don’t have to tell him your whole life story. In fact, please don’t. You just want to be honest about where you are now, just as you’d like him to be honest with you. Pro tip: If you figure out exactly what you want first (and I know that’s easier said than done), it’s way easier to be honest and to act honorably.
The rest is all about self-defense, I suppose — knowing your limits and protecting yourself when feelings change or someone’s not honest with you.
After a four-year relationship, it will take some time to adjust to casual dating. You may tend to presume that you both share common expectations (which you don’t) and you may accidentally begin treating your new guy with the attention and care of a serious girlfriend (which you aren’t) and suddenly — actions speak loudly — he’ll feel like a regular boyfriend anyway. Calling a relationship “casual” isn’t the same as having a casual relationship; the way you act matters much more than the label you use.
One of the advantages of a casual relationship, as opposed to something long-term, is that you set limits. You can focus on what you have in common and draw boundaries where they make most sense: You have great sex, but his friends drive you crazy? No problem: Spend more time in bed and less at watching the game. His family is nuts? He can tell his shrink: They’re not your in-laws, and they’re not your problem. You can choose how close you want to be. Not everything has to click. In fact, the reason you’re keeping it casual is because not enough does click.
But before you start an casual relationship, there is obviously one question you have to ask yourself: Would it bother you if he was sleeping with someone else? If it’s a completely open situation, be safe and have fun. But if sleeping around is a dealbreaker for your friends-with-benefits situation — and you’re aiming for casual monogamy, which rarely works — you have to tell him, because that’s definitely not what he’s going to assume. When to have that talk? It’s utterly up to you: The first time you have sex? The fifth? If it matters to you, don’t wait until he brings it up — because he could avoid that conversation forever. Have the talk when you need to have it.
You should also think about your exit strategy: In other words, if you know it’s not serious, how long will you let it go on? Ongoing casual relationships that never get more complicated rarely exist.
Have fun dating — and have fun developing your own personal, casual code of conduct. Just don’t be surprised to find that each guy has his own code too.
My boyfriend and I have been dating for two years. I love him and want to be with him, but he is starting to get serious about the idea that we will spend the rest of our lives together. It’s not that I don’t want that, but I can barely commit to what sandwich I want for lunch, let alone what guy I want to be with for the rest of my life. I sometimes get bored and right now can’t imagine my life with the same person forever. I know he is feeling pressure too ’cause all our friends are getting engaged. What should I do?
Maybe this guy is your “one.” Maybe you just need to talk it out and work out the kinks. Maybe he’d be a great lifelong partner and you’re just scared of committing — like most sensible people. And maybe you’re bored sometimes because everyone gets bored sometimes. No boyfriend — no matter how great — is going to thrill you every day. Think of him as your favorite TV show: I love Mad Men. I am obsessed with Mad Men. But a lot of last season was a total drag. I’m still tuning in next season, because I am committed.
The other possibility is that the reason you can’t imagine your life with the same person forever is that you can’t imagine a life with this particular person. After two years, maybe you don’t want to renew your season pass.
I don’t know how old you are, but I’ve known plenty of people who, despite feeling that they weren’t ready to settle down, got married young because it seemed like the right next thing to do. For most of them, it turned out to be the wrong move. I don’t know enough about your situation, but I do know that “Hey, why not?” and “Everyone else is getting engaged” are never good enough reasons to get married — and yet we hear them all the time. It’s one thing to get peer-pressured into having another tequila shot. It’s another to get peer-pressured into a lifelong relationship. A great way to get divorced is to get married for the wrong reasons.
Remember, too, that getting married isn’t the only way to fully commit to someone. In the best-case scenario, an engagement shouldn’t be a tentative test. But it is true that you’ll never know what it’s like to fully commit to someone unless you try it. So, here’s my advice: Try tabling the marriage question and ignoring what your friends are doing. Instead, throw yourself into this relationship. See what it feels like to fully commit without a proposal. Try putting aside your doubts for a while and see what it feels like to let yourself love him unconditionally. If there’s some part of yourself that you’ve been hiding away because you’ve been hedging your bets or felt insecure about what might happen, reveal it. If there’s something you haven’t been saying, say it. See how much of you he can handle, and vice versa. Then maybe some of that indecision will fade away. Maybe then it will feel right and you’ll know he’s the right guy to share your life. Or maybe you’ll try to fully commit and find that you can’t quite do it — that something’s just not clicking. Either way, you’ll have tried without the extra pressure of a ring and the heavy expectations of all your family and friends.
I hope that you can renew your love, season after season. But also remember that it’s perfectly OK to go out on a high note and call it quits after a long, successful run. Hey, it worked for Breaking Bad..
Don’t have enough room for books? Store them neatly near your bed and crate a very…knowledgeable headboard. Or open up the books and post them on the wall, for easy access to any famous quote. Mirrors, wallpapers, old wooden panels, an aquarium and even skis- when it comes to designing your perfect headboard, there are no limitations. Unless your sleep partner is not all that much into extravagant bedroom features- you guys should probably have a chat first. From traditional to modern, the headboard ideas below will surprise and inspire you. As usual, please feel free to leave a comment and let us know which design is your favorite!
Fact or fiction? 6 myths black people believe about themselves
Media outlets can perpetuate these beliefs and keep them alive for decades. But, sometimes, members of those communities perpetuate them on their own.
There are, in fact, certain stereotypes about the black community that are believed and passed down, not by outsiders, but by folks within the black community itself.
Is there a such thing as “the itis”? Does black ever “crack”? Does a large group of black people generate a lot of heat? Are black people born with rhythm? Are black people naturally more athletic than other races? Do black men really have larger penises than other men?
Read further to find out which self-perpetuating characteristics of the black community are facts and which are fiction..
1..Black folks get “the itis” after eating..
Short for the less palatable term “ni**eritis,” the term is used in both the United States and Caribbean to describe the routine of becoming sleepy after eating a large meal. “The itis” is jokingly said to affect blacks more than any other group. The term also implies that the person who has “the itis” is lazy, and often too fatigued to return to work after their mid-day meal.
So is it fact or fiction?
“All of us are sleepier during early to mid-afternoon,” says Dr. Mark Mahowald, former director of the Sleep Disorders Center at Hennepin Medical Center, and now a professor of neurology at University of Minnesota Medical School. “There is no racial difference in the sleepiness we all experience.”
Most humans have their body clocks set to become sleepier between midnight and 6:00 am, and again around noon. Many people erroneously attribute this mid-day sleepiness to their big lunch, sitting in a dark room, hot weather, or a boring meeting.
However, these things do not cause sleepiness or “the itis,” they simply bring out the mild sleepiness that was already there from their intrinsic body clocks.
“This is why cultures wiser than ours have picked that time for their siesta [or nap] time,” says Mahowald.
So where did the “itis” notion come from?
One theory is that, given the predisposition for sleepiness during those times, that any group of people that are also exposed to the heat after eating a large lunch, without taking a nap is set up for “the itis,” so to speak, says Mahowald.
The fact that both now, and decades ago, blacks in the United States and the Caribbean have been overrepresented in outdoors work during warmer climates, makes this theory a strong possibility.
In a subset of African-Americans, a condition called obstructive sleep apnea could play a role. Overall, it tends to affect people who are obese, but African-Americans are more affected despite body habitus. People with obstructive sleep apnea stop breathing several times during sleep, for seconds at a time, usually due to obstruction from the tongue, fat around the neck, or in the case of many African-Americans, the natural construct of their airways – the nose, throat or adenoids. Because of the lack of restful sleep, people with this condition are often sleepy during the day. This also increases the risk of decreased alertness in the setting of the other factors already mentioned.
Conclusion: Since all people technically get “the itis,” the myth is somewhat true. But, since it doesn’t affect blacks more than other groups as the stereotype says, that makes it fiction.
2..Black Don’t Crack..
The popular belief that people of African descent look younger than their stated age is what sits behind the quip, “black don’t crack.”
Numerous black celebrities have aged gracefully over the years, including singer Lena Horne who died last year at 92, 45-year-old actor Blair Underwood, and 45-year-old actress Stacey Dash who still convincingly plays 20- and 30-something characters. Many black families have their own personal stories of ageless beauty to tell.
So, is it fact or fiction?
“In my dermatology practice, black men and women tend to present with skin aging concerns about a decade later than my patients with lighter skin,” says Dr. Andrew F. Alexis, director of the Skin of Color Center at St. Luke’s Roosevelt Hospital in New York City.
The types of complaints are also different, Alexis says. Aging black men and women often seek treatment for uneven skin tone, large pores or moles. Yet, the leading cosmetic concerns in his aging Caucasian patients involve fine lines, wrinkles and other signs of sun damage.
Melanin, a pigment that affects the color of hair, eyes and – most importantly – skin, serves as natural sun protection. Since ultraviolet radiation from the sun causes skin to age faster, darker skin is more protected from those changes. People with fairer skin who did not use sunscreen at a young age are thus exposed to decades of sun damage long before reaching their older years.
However, the sun can still damage darker skin, and in addition to cosmetic changes, people with darker skin can develop skin cancer. So, even though “black don’t crack,” staying out of the sun, using a hat or umbrella to block sunrays, wearing sunscreen and avoiding cigarette smoking can stave off the cracks for a few years longer.
3..Black folks generate more heat..
The clichéd scenario is a room filled with black people, where the room then becomes uncomfortably hot and someone frustratingly calls out, “There are too many black people in here,” as he or she escapes the room. Said person is usually referring to the concept that a group of black people generates more heat than other races. And, thus requires areas with more aeration or simply not gathering so closely together or so numerously.
So is it fact or fiction?
“The amount of heat radiated can depend on a handful of factors – race does not appear to be one of them,” says Dr. David Keller, assistant professor in the Department of Kinesiology at the University of Texas, who regularly performs research on how the body regulates its own temperature.People with larger body size, for example, tend to radiate more heat than those who are smaller, he says. Yet, no studies have shown a significant difference merely based on race.
Researchers in North Carolina recorded the body temperatures of nearly 100 elderly volunteers and found that black women had higher readings than the white women in the study — 98.5 degrees compared to 98.3. No difference was seen between black men and their white counterparts. The study was too small to draw larger conclusions.
All humans radiate heat throughout life, Keller explains. As the body’s temperature changes, so does its need to release heat. Temperatures can change throughout the day, even at rest, but most people — regardless of race — remain within the same narrow range.
Since black objects, like clothing, absorb the sun’s heat more intensely, older theories have implied that darker skin would also absorb more heat. However, in a lecture on heat transfer at the University of Houston, Engineering Professor Dr. John Lienhard confirmed that there is no difference: Dark skin absorbs no more heat than light skin does.
4..Black people are born with natural rhythm..
When one sees the prevalence of African-Americans in the music and dance industries, it can easily appear as though black people do have natural rhythm. In a nightclub or simply while listening to music, it is common to find people of African descent moving to the beat of the music in a way that appears innate. If a black person doesn’t have rhythm, it is a cause for shame or, potentially, a reference to “dancing like a white person.”
So is it fact or fiction?
If black people have innate rhythm, it is likely because of environment, not birth, says Dr. Andrée Grau, professor of the anthropology of dance at the University of Roehampton in London.
Children are often exposed to music and rhythm unknowingly. A child carried by his or her mother, as an infant, while she works around the house, or dances and sings to herself will have an experience different from a child who is not, says Grau. In certain cultures, this exposure continues at events such as parties, church services and theatrical events.
In cultures of Sub-Saharan African descent, the music is often polyrhythmic, forcing different body parts to move uniquely to different rhythms in dance.
It is also known that children who have early access to dance and music are more likely to be better at both later in life than those who wait until adolescence.
This is in line with the debated concept that race is cultural rather than biological.
British psychologist Richard Lynn argues that the stereotype is fiction altogether. In his 2006 book,Race Differences in Intelligence, Lynn compares the IQs of African-Americans to those of European descent with respect to musicality — tone, pitch, music memory, chord analysis — as well as rhythm.
African-Americans scored higher on the rhythm portions compared to musicality, but there was no difference in rhythm IQs between them and the Europeans tested. This suggests that both cultures have the same capacity for rhythm.
However, studies of identical and fraternal twins suggest that musical ability has a genetic component, raising the question of whether rhythm is also affected by genetics.
Grau is still not convinced it’s genetic. “It is easy for people to assume that because participating in dance is not a choice [in many African societies] and often an unavoidable social duty, and as a result, everyone is at least an adequate performer, these people must have dance ‘in the blood,’ especially when compared to some ‘two left-footed’ Europeans!”
She adds that even in ballet, usually dominated by non-blacks, certain techniques require fast footwork and body isolation similar to polyrhythmic dance. Yet, they are able to master those exercises without difficulty, despite not being of Sub-Saharan descent.
Conclusion: There are more sound explanations for why rhythm is a learned skill rather genetically based. The verdict is still out, but this seems to be more on the side of fiction.
5..Black men are naturally athletic..
More than 80 percent of the National Basketball Association and over 60 percent of the National Football League are made up of black players. Blacks hold every major running record in the world, according to Jon Entine in an article about why race matters in sports. He adds boxing to the list of sports black men dominate as well.
One theory is that black men are just naturally athletic, and can dominate most sports without additional effort.
Is this fact or fiction?
Fact, depending on the sport.
Through research on his book, Taboo: Why Black Athletes Dominate Sports and Why We’re Afraid to Talk About It, and collaboration with experts on the topic, Entine makes the case that it is less about race and more about environment and ethnicity.
In the book, he explains the athletic features of particular ethnic groups:
People of West-African descent are superior in speed and jumping. With more fast-twitch fibers than other groups, muscles can contract faster and more powerfully. The athletes’ small, efficient lungs lend itself to sprinting as well.
“The best whites and Asians cannot jump as high as elite African-American athletes,” Entine says.
However, these characteristics make athletes of West-African descent less effective at endurance sports, and with their lower body fat, less buoyant when swimming.
On the other hand, East Africans win more than half of the top endurance races, and have more slow-twitch fibers, which contract for longer periods of time, and have lung capacities and a metabolism for longer races.
Whites of Eurasian backgrounds have more upper body strength and dominate in weight lifting and shotput.
And, East Asians excel at diving, ice skating and gymnastics due to an inherent predisposition for flexibility.
“From this standpoint [the Negro] is the most highly selected stock in America… physically strong, showing great endurance at strenuous labor under severe climactic and nutritional hardships and producing a disproportionately large number of champions in representative fields of athletics.”
Conclusion: While black men dominate certain sports, namely basketball, football, boxing and track, Entine points out that whites still dominate the majority of athletics, especially winter sports. So, it is fact that black men are genetically programmed to excel in those specific sports. However, this fact is not generalizable to all sports.
6..Black men are well endowed..
If hearsay and the images perpetuated in the pornography industry are true: black men are more endowed than men of other races.
Is it a fact?
If so, the difference in size is not huge.
There are extremes in size across every race — extremely short penises, called micropenises, and extremely long ones. But, overall, most men fall close to the average lengths, ranging between 5.5 inches and 6.3 inches. The Kinsey Data suggest that black men have similar lengths as white men or, if larger, just slightly and insignificantly so. Asian men, however, consistently measure shorter than both white and black men in various literature.
n line with that finding, the Indian Council of Medical Research measured 1,200 men and found that 60 percent were too small for the international standard size for condoms.
Six years ago, on the other hand, after South African men complained that the government standard condoms were too small, condom maker Durex created and ship special extra large condoms to the country.
Incorrectly fitting condoms is an important factor in condom failure worldwide.
As a result, the World Health Organization created size guidelines for the condoms shipped to certain regions. These measurements are based on three studies that indicate that African men require slightly longer and wider condoms, Caucasian men require medium condoms and Asian men require shorter and slightly narrower condoms.
In a study on condom fit among African-American men who have sex with men, 1 in 5 felt the condoms were too tight, 1 in 5 felt the condoms were too short. Only 1 in 10 felt the condoms were too loose. But, the actual lengths and girths were not measured.
Not all studies support such large measurements in African men, however. A study of Nigerian men in 1985 measured over 300 men age 17 to 23 and found the average length of a flaccid penis to be 3.47 inches, which is almost one inch shorter than the average flaccid length.
If one were to ignore the previous Nigerian study and assume that the hypothesis that African men have larger penises is true, it still does not necessarily translate to African-American men. The common mixtures of Caucasian, African and Native American in African-American families, as well as the addition of other ethnicities and races such as Asian populations ultimately brings the measurements closer to the average, experts say.
If this stereotype is not conclusively factual, where did it come from?
Herbert Samuels, professor at LaGuardia Community College in New York writes that this stereotype is likely linked to the opinions of 16th century West Africa that described black men and women as bestial, animalistic and hypersexual. This description also included the black man as a “sexual superman” with a penis larger than the white man and increased potency.
In the present day, Samuels describes, African-American men may perpetuate their own stereotype, since it is a rare time when a stereotype about them is not drastically negative. In some ways, it has become a sense of the black male identity.
Conclusion: Perhaps among African men, there is a slight difference in size, but among African-American men, this stereotype is likely fiction and rooted more in racist, historical rhetoric.
Fibroids are non-cancerous tumours that grow in or around the womb (uterus). The growths are made up of muscle and fibrous tissue and vary in size.
They are sometimes known as uterine myomas or leiomyomas.
Many women are unaware they have fibroids as they do not have any symptoms. Women who do have symptoms may experience:
- heavy periods or painful periods
- tummy (abdominal) or lower back pain
- a frequent need to urinate
- pain or discomfort during sex
In rare cases, fibroids can cause significant complications such as infertility and problems during pregnancy.
Seeing your GP or doctor..
As they commonly cause no symptoms, fibroids are sometimes diagnosed by chance during a routine gynaecological examination, test or scan.
However, you should see your GP or doctor if you have persistent symptoms of fibroids so they can investigate possible causes. If your GP or doctor thinks you may have fibroids, they will usually refer you for an ultrasound scan to confirm the diagnosis.
Why fibroids develop
The exact cause of fibroids is unknown. However, fibroids are linked to the hormone oestrogen. Oestrogen is the female reproductive hormone produced by the ovaries (the female reproductive organs).
Fibroids usually develop during a woman’s reproductive years (from approximately 16 to 50 years of age) when oestrogen levels are at their highest and they tend to shrink when oestrogen levels are low, such as after the menopause (when a woman’s monthly periods stop at around 50 years of age).
Who is affected?
Fibroids are common, with over 40% of women developing them at some point in their life. They most often occur in women aged 30-50 years.
Fibroids are thought to develop more frequently in women of African Caribbean origin. It is also thought they occur more often in overweight or obese women because being overweight increases the level of oestrogen in the body.
Women who have had children have a lower risk of developing fibroids and the risk decreases further the more children you have..
Types of fibroids
Fibroids can grow anywhere in the womb and vary in size considerably. Some can be the size of a pea whereas others can be the size of a melon.
The main types of fibroids are:
- intramural fibroids – the most common type of fibroid, they develop in the muscle wall of the womb
- subserosal fibroids – fibroids that develop outside the wall of the womb into the pelvis and can become very large
- submucosal fibroids – fibroids that develop in the muscle layer beneath the inner lining of the womb and grow into the middle of the womb
In some cases, subserosal or submucosal fibroids are attached to the womb with a narrow stalk of tissue. These are known as pedunculated fibroids.
If fibroids do not cause symptoms, treatment is not needed. Fibroids will often shrink and disappear without any treatment over time, particularly after the menopause.
If you do have symptoms caused by fibroids, medication to help relieve the symptoms will usually be recommended first.
If these medications are ineffective, surgery or other less-invasive procedures may be recommend.
The causes of adult acne and how to treat it
14 January 2014 by Bridget March
Adult acne can affect up to 50% of us. So let’s understand it, treat it and reverse the damage it does to our skin.
A whopping 60% of UK women (yes women, not teenagers) suffer from spots, blemishes, blackheads and acne. As many as 41- 54% of us will suffer from acne at some point in our adult lives so it’s high time we talked about – and tackled – the commonest skin disease in the Western world.
So why do we suffer from it and how come we’re four times more likely to experience severe acne than men?
Causes for adult acne in females can include hormone fluctuations (periods and pregnancies can spark havoc, GREAT) and coming off the contraceptive pill which can see the return of spots that the medication previously aided. Stress is another common factor but the cause often overlooked is the way we chaotically engage with beauty practices. Who, us?
Yes, the over-cleansing, excessive-exfoliating and long-wear foundations or concealers used in a bid to correct the problem can actually unbalance the skin, resulting in breakouts.
Cosmetic dermatologist Dr Samantha Bunting says “every spot starts out life as a clogged pore, so targeting this is key to acne prevention”.
Here are her must-do steps for stopping and treating acne:
1) Get rid of beauty habits and products that push you closer to your breakout threshold. Stick to skincare and cosmetics labelled non-comedogenic.
2) Use a product to prevent clogged pores on a regular basis.
3) Keep a ‘fire extinguisher’ to hand to target anything red and inflamed that arises – key ingredients in skincare are salicylic acid and benzoyl peroxide.
4) Don’t smoke or sunbathe – both can promote the formation of clogged pores. And sun-exposure will worsen the appearance of dark marks left behind by spots.
5) Minimise refined carbs and dairy in your diet and get plenty of zinc.
6) Don’t fiddle!!! Extraction is not a good solution to the problem of clogged pores and blemishes; treating the root cause is.
7) Be patient – it’s important to give any acne strategy at least six weeks to determine how you’re going to respond. I tell patients to expect results over the course on months, not weeks.
So make a resolution to have a rational approach to your skincare, choose multi-functional products so you don’t overload your pores and stick to your routine with patience. This should help prevent further spots of bother and can correct damage that’s already done. And remember, skin is an adaptable organ, so don’t worry if your scars are as concerning as your spots.
Dr Samantha recommends the new La Roche-Posay Effaclar Duo + (£15.50), which is the re-worked version of the iconic product for blemish-prone skin, of which three sell every minute worldwide.
The updated formula still has a gel-like feel and can be used as a moisturiser day and night, delivering visible redness reduction in 24 hours, but it also works on post-inflammatory pigmentation. The anti-mark action suits different skin types, correcting reddish marks on lighter complexions and brown marks on darker tones.
The magazine Cosmopolitan will be putting it to the test in the Cosmo Beauty Lab and will share their before and after picture review soon.
7 odd and crazy technologies at consumer electronics show 2014..
A backward mobile keyboard;
The Mobile QWERTY keyboard from TrewGrip flips and rotates the traditional keyboard. It works with tablets, phones and laptop computers..
Jewelry that detects UV rays;
With Netatmo’s June, a sensor disguised as a bracelet or brooch tracks sun exposure and gives healthy advice to the wearer.
The Jumping Sumo smartphone-controlled robot from Parrot speeds, leaps into the air, has a small camera and can do tricks.
The Phantom 2 Vision drone from DJI Innovations has a built-in camera and a smartphone app, and can fly up to 400 feet into the air.
The Aura is a smart communications lamp from Withings that communicates with a sensor placed in your bed to track sleep patterns and wake you at just the right moment.
Full-body virtual reality;
The PrioVR suit tracks your body movements using an array of strapped-on sensors. It can be used for games or more serious uses, like military training.
Two-wheeled rugged robot;
The Sphero 2B is another smartphone-controlled robotic toy that can speed and jump into the air.
Omotola Jalade Ekeinde interview On CNN’s African Voices
Nollywood actress and mother of three, Omotola Jalade Ekeinde featured on CNN’s African Voices.
The programme which brings on board some of Africa’s biggest personalities already, through its CNN correspondent, Vladimir Duthiers, interviewed her where she talked about her upbringing, career, achievements, activism and future plans..
Speaking during the interview, she said, ‘I’ve reached a point in my life where I’ve realised I have to leave something, a legacy. I decided I will be an activist for Africa. My experience with the UN and other humanitarian organisations inspired me to want to speak out and say more and there’s so much you can just say with words. This was my motivation for singing.’
Beyonce shares photo of Blue Ivy’s mini Ferrari, Cadillac…
The 2-year-old daughter of Queen Bey and Jay Z is riding in style as she ups one on North West, who has a mini Lamborghini
Beyonce’s 2-year-old daughter Blue Ivy’s mini Cadillac and Ferrari
Blue Ivy is showing up other celebrity kids by having not one but two luxury cars.
Beyonce shared a photo via Tumblr on Friday showing off her 2-year-old daughter’s new rides — a pimped out blue Ferrari and a pink Cadillac.
KIM KARDASHIAN VIA INSTAGRAM
Kim Kardashian revealed that 6-month-old North West now has her own mini Ferrari car just like dad Kanye West Credit: Instagram
“It was really cute,” an eyewitness added. “They’re such fun and attentive parents and pretty normal people considering how famous they are.”
Now, Blue Ivy is giving fellow celeb kid, 6-month-old North West, a run for her play money as Kim Kardashian and Kanye West gave their baby girl a mini Lamborghini to match her dad’s for Christmas.
“Like father, like daughter,” Kardashian captioned the pic.