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HENRY Porter on Jack Straw and Polly Toynbee in the Guardian Online.
The air is clearing now. Each one of us is probably more certain where we stand in the ideological divide that is opening up. Are we for the growth of state power at the expense of individual freedom, or do we believe that our democracy depends on individual freedom and an inviolate system of rights? If you agree with the following propositions you may just find yourself on the opposite side to Straw and Toynbee.
NO – No- No! “Singer Amy Winehouse has been arrested in connection with an investigation into perverting the course of justice”
Nick Cleggs – Not a name that inspires much? Nick, Dave or Gordon..?
MEN make passes with foreigners in glasses: “The Italian company that makes the spectacles worn by new England manager Fabio Capello is to launch its range in the UK.
“Mr Capello has been the public face of the company, Zerorh+, since he started modelling the glasses in 2001.”
Time to get rid of those Svens…
DON’T leave it late to be a professional footballer. This is the Arsenal squad for tonight’s match in Blackburn:
2 Abou DIABY (Age 21)
6 Philippe SENDEROS (Age 22)
8 Lassana DIARRA (Age 22)
9 EDUARDO (Age 24)
15 DENILSON (Age 19)
17 Alex SONG (Age 20)
21 Lukasz FABIANSKI (GK) (Age 22)
26 Nicklas BENDTNER (Age 19)
30 Armand TRAORE (Age 18)
31 Justin HOYTE (Age 22)
34 Kieran GIBBS (Age 18)
36 Mark RANDALL (Age 18)
40 Vito MANNONE (GK) (Age 19)
41 Gavin HOYTE (Age 17)
42 Fran MERIDA (Age 17)
43 Nacer BARAZITE (Age 17)
NOT for being black surely: “Formula One sensation Lewis Hamilton had his driving licence suspended for a month after being caught speeding on a French motorway, police said.
“The British driver was at the wheel of a Mercedes when he was clocked at 196 km/h near the northern town of Laon on Sunday.
Police stopped him, detained the car and fined him 600 euros (£429).”
Almost worth it…
REMEMBER: lock yourself in your room:
AS reported: “The Saudi king has pardoned a female rape victim sentenced to jail and 200 lashes for being alone with a man raped in the same attack, reports say.”
The “Qatif girl” case caused an international outcry with widespread criticism of the Saudi justice system.
The male and female victims were in a car together when they were abducted and raped by seven attackers, who were given jail sentences up to nine years.
Press reports say King Abdullah’s move did not mean the sentence was wrong.
Quoted by the Jazirah newspaper, Justice Minister Abdullah al-Sheikh said the king had the right to issue pardons if it served the public interest.
Women in Saudi Arabia are not allowed to mix with men who are not close family members.
The custodial sentence plus 200 lashes was imposed after the woman, who has not been named, appealed against an earlier sentence of 90 lashes.
THE whole project began out of spite. I had just purchased a digital camera (Nikon CoolPix 900), and it was rather expensive. My girlfriend asked me why I bought it and what I was going to do with it. I explained. She asked me if I was “going to use it every day”, with sarcastic inflection. I told her yes, and resolved to do so. The project began there.
SAYS Bono: “I’m a top line melody guy. That’s what I do. I understand harmony. I understand rhythm. But I sell ideas – musical, political, and in this case, commercial ideas. So many great painters, great musicians, great geniuses ended up with nothing. With broken hearts in rooms with broken windows. I want to see artists sitting at the table that decides the outcome of their lives.”
Bono has set up a £950 million investment company called Elevation Partners. It recently invested £125 million into American magazine Forbes, which openly describes itself as a “capitalist tool“
AS reported: The details of 3 million candidates for the driving theory test have gone missing, the BBC understands.
The loss took place when the hard drive of a computer belonging to a private contractor to the driving standards agency went missing in the US.
Transport Secretary Ruth Kelly is due to give details to MPs at about 1730.
Admittedly, the slight risk is that Israelis will react violently and seek to destroy the instrument of their potential doom, just as they may block up their ears and make a swim for Cyprus.
The Israelis may go further and seek to assassinate Chris de Burgh, in which case we urge anyone who has ever uttered the phrase “Tonight, Matthew, I’m going to be Chris de Burgh” to make themselves known to President Ahmadinejad post haste.
Interesting then to see Mr de Burgh scheduled to become the first westerner to play Iran in 30 years. Early next year, Chris and Iranian support act Arian will play shows in Tehran.
In the land that has recently banned rock music, as the Independent reports, Chris de Burgh is permitted to play.
Chris – yes, Chris – and Arian have collaborated on a tune called A Melody for Peace. This is the same Chris de Burgh who once fronted Jeffrey Archer’s The Simple Truth campaign (filed under ‘beyond parody’) and raised money for Kurdish refugees through a concert.
The Indy is mindful of the power of music and how it can even change a nation. In 1985, Wham! played China and a million locals blow dried their hair and reached for the bleach. Then David Hasselhoff reunited Germany by singing on the Berlin Wall. The Israelites had Joshua’s trumpets to bring down the walls; the Germans had a man who wears swimming trunks to work.
It all leaves us wondering if Chris de Burgh can bring about a cultural revolution in Iran and what the resulting country will look like.
In our vision, post de Burgh Iran will be full of people rhyming “dance” with “romance” and going about saying how lovely they look.
Of course it might all be ruse, a plot. British historian Michael Mann researched Jospeh Stalin and noted: “Stalin saw John Wayne as a gigantic propaganda symbol against the Soviets. He was much more subtle than the atomic bomb but Stalin saw him as no less deadly.” Stalin wantd Wayne dead.
Might the Iranians view Chris de Burgh in a similar light, as the epitome of Western decadence? Do they wish to kill him? In which case we urge restraint, and remind them that though popular de Burgh is not as big as Noel Edmonds, Anthea Turner or Lulu…
IN the Guardian: George Monbiot:
Well it was published on December 11 – I mean to say, December 11 1997. The US had just put a wrecking ball through the Kyoto protocol. George Bush was innocent; he was busy executing prisoners in Texas.
Nice line of course, but given that there was one execution in Texas in December 1997 I don’t think “busy” really captures it.
ONCE more the munificent Daily Express gives asylum seekers, refugees and UKIP voters looking for a means of escape the chance to win a campervan.
And what’s more there is a “FREE AA DRIVING LESSON” for every reader.
For your chance to win the van, just answer the Express’s simple question: “Should failed asylum seekers get handouts from Britain?”
CELINE Dion. Thank you and goodnight!
After 717 shows, Celine Dion bids a find adieu to the Caesar’s Palace crowd.
“At one point, it was like feeling like the Titanic was about to sink again,” says Dion, referring to her seminal hit, the theme song to downed ships. “But we believed and we went on with it. Even though the vibe was not that positive for us.”
Celine endured. And in turn we endured Celine.
“I had a life for the first time,” says Celine of her pregnancy and her child. “I knew then that I wanted to have more success as a mother than a singer.”
But she continued to sing. And sing. And sing. And sing. Boats set sail. Boats went down.
Dion’s initial three-year, $100 million contract went on. And for five years she filled a 4,100-seat arena.
“Most of us have left our families behind to give ourselves every night,” says Celine. ”I can assure you it was worth it.” We listen.
Since opening in March 2003, Dion’s show, “A New Day… ” has grossed more than $400 million and has been seen by nearly 3 million fans. Not that they are all different fans. Dion says one fan has seen her Las Vegas show more than 100 times.
“Tomorrow morning, it will be back to reality and back to (being) mommy,” says Dion.
And back to the institution for her avid fans…
BRITNEY Spears denied entering parking garage at Four Seasons Hotel-
SAYS the Yorkshire Post: Reality television lifts veil on life as a temporary Muslim
WHAT do a gay hairdresser, an atheist taxi driver, a skincare centre manager, a glamour model and a mixed race couple have in common?
They all live in Harrogate and, for three weeks this summer, agreed to discard their normal routines and live as Muslims for a TV documentary series.
Under the watchful eye of a team of Muslim mentors, the diverse group were taught to abide by Sharia law while a camera crew followed them around.
Viewers will be able to follow their fortunes in a three-part series called Make Me a Muslim, which begins on Channel Four at 8pm tomorrow. Narinder Minhas, the show’s executive producer, said: “The idea was to try to find a way of demystifying Islam because a lot of people don’t understand the religion at all. We wanted to come up with something that might allow ordinary people to experience it, getting people to practise it and see whether they like it or not.” …
The team of mentors was led by Imam Ajmal Masroor, who believes passionately that Britain is in a state of meltdown, with anti-social behaviour, promiscuity and alcohol corroding the moral fabric of the nation.
In the documentary, he tells the group it is time to start a “spiritual revolution” in the UK to restore its moral backbone.
Best-selling author and Bilderberg sleuth Daniel Estulin says he has received information from sources inside the U.S. intelligence community which suggests that people from the highest levels of the U.S. government are considering an assassination attempt against Congressman Ron Paul because they are threatened by his burgeoning popularity.
Estulin, whose information has unfortunately proven very accurate in the past, went public with the bombshell news during an appearance on The Alex Jones Show today.
“I am getting information from my sources that there are people involved from a higher level of the American establishment who are seriously considering – this has not been confirmed – but assassination is definitely on the agenda and I pray to God that this is not the case,” said Estulin.
You know you’ve made it in the US when someone is plotting to kill you…
SAYS Mel B. on the “official” Spice Girls blog:
“Alright you lot!
Wow, it’s been a mental few days! Sorry this is late, I’ve been living it up in Vegas – haha.
We had a lot of fun in Vancouver and the US but its great to be back in England – even if it is bloody freezing!
Thanks to all of you that showed up to welcome us at Heathrow on Thursday after we flew home on Spice One, its so cool that we have a plane named in our honour!
Emma is doing well. She’s been having treatment from David Beckham’s doctor and has been resting since we arrived home.
We can’t wait to get on stage at the O2. We’ve been looking forward to this show since we announced the dates in June… we are going to rock it!!
I’ll be at Selfridges on Monday night (6pm) for a Christmas sing-along, so I’m sure I’ll see some of you nutters down there.
Full marks to Mel B for working in a mention of David Beckham..
MICKEY KAUS: “Obama goes after Edwards: Hillary’s not even Obama’s main rival anymore?”
IN The Times: “A WOMAN will be denied free National Health Service treatment for breast cancer if she seeks to improve her chances by paying privately for an additional drug.”
Colette Mills, a former nurse, has been told that if she attempts to top up her treatment privately, she will have to foot the entire £10,000 bill for her drugs and care. The bizarre threat stems from the refusal by the government to let patients pay for additional drugs that are not prescribed on the NHS.
Ministers say it is unfair on patients who cannot afford such top-up drugs and that it will create a two-tier NHS. It is thought thousands of patients suffer as a result of the policy.
Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie are great – Just Jared
Poker’s Pamela Anderson and Rick Solomon Get Own Reality Show – Celebslam
Owen Wilson and Woody Harrelson puff – City Rag
David Hasselhoff dives back in – Celebrity Smack
Tyra Banks says she didn’t say, “Britney Kill Yourself” – Hollywood Rag
This is what the celebrity watchers are in to…
Bill Clinton: Desperate Times Call For This:
“DO you realize I have the power to release you or have you crucified?”: ROME (Reuters) – Italian film and opera director Franco Zeffirelli is offering his services to Pope Benedict as an image consultant, saying the German pontiff comes across as cold and needs to review his wardrobe.
Zeffirelli, acclaimed for movies such as “Romeo and Juliet” and “Jesus of Nazareth,” said in an interview with la Stampa daily on Saturday the 80-year-old pope did not have “a happy image.”
“Coming after a media-savvy pope like John Paul II is a difficult task … Benedict XVI still communicates coldly, in a way that is not suited with what is happening around him,” Zeffirelli said.
“It’s an issue I have been discussing with people who have key roles in the Vatican,” said Zeffirelli, who has directed some Vatican television events.
The Pope will be played by Robert Powell
A GRAVEYARD in the Philipines being used by the living:
10,000 Filipino families live in this massive graveyard in Manila. I recently spent five days walking among its residents taking photos and hearing stories of struggle and survival.
Some families ended up here almost accidentally. Some inherited the mausoleums that they now live in from their great-grandparents. Others came from the provinces and couldn’t make enough money to live in the big city. In all cases, they’re basically families with nowhere else to go.
The people who live here manage to extract livelihoods from the dead. Teenagers carry coffins for 50 Filipino pesos—about 50 American cents. Children collect scrap metal, plastic, and other garbage to sell. Their fathers are employed to repair and maintain tombs while their mothers maintain the house, which could be the family mausoleum or the mausoleum of their employers. Rent-free shanties are wedged between or on top of crypts.