We don’t just report off-beat news, breaking news and digest the best and worst of the news media analysis and commentary. We give an original take on what happened and why. We add lols, satire, news photos and original content.
FACES of the day:
Joint winner of the Nobel Prize for Physiology or Medicine professor John O’Keefe, a dual U.S. and British citizen, laughs as he is interviewed by The Associated Press in an office he uses at the University College London (UCL), in London, Monday, Oct. 6, 2014. The U.S.-British scientist and a Norwegian husband-and-wife research team won the Nobel Prize in medicine Monday for discovering the brain’s navigation system - the inner GPS that helps us find our way in the world - a revelation that one day could help those with Alzheimer’s. The research by John O’Keefe, May-Britt Moser and Edvard Moser represents a “paradigm shift” in neuroscience that could help researchers understand the sometimes severe spatial memory loss associated with Alzheimer’s disease, the Nobel Assembly said. (AP Photo/Matt Dunham)
ON the plus side, the students at ENSOC, the Engineering Society of the University of Canterbury, are not compliant. On th negative, they are utter bellends, who think mocking ebola victims and war between Israel and Hamas.
THE trial of Shrien Dewani is up and running. It’s Day 1 for the the Bristol businessman accused of murdering his wife Anni on their South African honeymoon.
He pleads not guilty.
The prosecution have called Leopold Leisser, a German-born male prostitute. He claims Mr Dewani paid him up to £400 a session for fetishist sex involving racial humiliation and drug taking.
However, in a string of admissions through his lawyer, Francois van Zyl, at the Western Cape high court, Mr Dewani pre-emptively confessed to seeing Mr Leisser. He choked back tears and stared at the ground as a video of his wife’s body at the crime scene in Khayelitsha, a Cape Town township, was shown to the court. There were gasps in the court as a policeman opened the car door, revealing Mrs Dewani slumped on the back seat, still in her cocktail dress and high heels, her hair blowing in the wind.
Mr Dewani is represented by Francois van Zyll:
He said the couple had been driving through Gugulethu township, returning from a sushi dinner, when they were hijacked. “The next thing I remember was banging noises coming from the front and the right hand side of the car. There was a lot of shouting in a language I did not understand. The next thing I recall is somebody next to me who told me to lie down. This person had a gun in his hand… he was waving the gun in the air. He shouted: ‘Look down! Lie down!’ We were both terrified and we immediately complied with his demands. I was lying half on top of Anni.”
And this is interesting:
Mr Dewani also explained a secretive drive he had made with Zola Tongo, the taxi driver convicted of Mrs Dewani’s murder, during which Tongo said Mr Dewani asked him to arrange the murder. On Mr Dewani’s account, he was trying to arrange a private helicopter ride over Cape Town as a surprise for his new bride.
He said that he gave Tongo 1,000 rand (£55) after the murder, in a meeting they had in the Cape Grace hotel, because the latter had complained to him that he was being hounded by the media, and Mr Dewani felt sorry for him.
Prosecutors argue that Mr Dewani conspired with Cape Town residents Zola Tongo, Mziwamadoda Qwabe and Xolile Mngeni to kill his wife. The court heard forensic evidence that the fatal shot was delivered “at close range”, with a suggestion that Mrs Dewani might have been grabbing on to “someone or something” at the time she died.
And the sex?
Through defence lawyer Francois Van Zyl, Mr Dewani said he had “had sexual interaction with both males and females”.
“I consider myself to be bisexual,” the court was told.
“My sexual interactions with males were mostly physical experiences or email chats with people I met online or in clubs, including prostitutes,” Mr Dewani’s witness statement said.
Extracts of a letter from Shrien Dewani to Anni, dated May 2010:
I realise we are very different but I have always believed in a relationship you can work through those differences. When we first met I immediately liked you … And no not just because you are pretty … but because you made me laugh.
I have always wanted a girl that I can be friends with. One that understands me – and I know that that is not easy. I know that I am so focussed that some people think I am intense. I am focussed on achieving things in life.
I really do love you, and hence I don’t want you to be unhappy. I want to be with you forever but not if that makes you unhappy … that I could not bear … I really hope we work this out.
I am really sorry that I have made you feel like this. You are so precious to me – I know I don’t always show it. I often find it difficult to show how much you mean to me … But please do not think this is because I don’t love you.
Speak to you later
The Guardian has other news:
Dewani said he met Anni, from Sweden, on 30 May 2009 after a mutual friend gave him her contact details. “On our first date I was instantly physically attracted to her, loved her bubbly personality and sensed that there was mutual chemistry,” he said in the statement. “We fell in love with each other. We were both ambitious and shared a common view of the future. We were both headstrong and often argued with each other.”
In December 2009, he continued, he was informed by an endocrinologist that as a result of abnormally low hormone levels, he may have fertility problems. The specialist recommended that if Dewani wanted to improve his chances of having children in the future he should start testosterone replacement therapy. Dewani said he discussed the problem with Anni.
After a few turbulent months, Dewani hired a private jet to take him and Anni to Paris, where he proposed marriage in June 2010. They were married in India a few months later and went to South Africa on honeymoon.
Prosecutors argue that Dewani then conspired with Cape Town residents Zola Tongo, Mziwamadoda Qwabe and Xolile Mngeni to kill his wife. The three men are already serving jail terms in connection with the murder.
“I recall there was some discussion about what Africa is really like…. [They went for drive.] The next thing I remember was banging noises coming from the front and the right-hand side of the car. There was a lot of shouting in a language I did not understand. The next thing I recall is somebody next to me who told me to lie down. This person had a gun in his hand; I cannot recall which hand. He was waving the gun in the air. He shouted: ‘Look down! Lie down!’ We were both terrified and we immediately complied with his demands. I was lying half on top of Anni. Another person was behind the steering wheel. I do not know where Tongo was at that stage…. I pleaded with them to let us go. I remember my watch going off my right wrist but I am not sure of the exact sequence of the events. At some point the person with the gun shouted, ‘phone!’ and ‘money!’. I gave him all the money which I had on me. At that point I hid my phone in my trouser pocket… He then said ‘phone?’ to me. He searched me and found my phone in my trousers. He got angry. He placed the gun against my left ear and said words to the effect that I should not lie to him or he would shoot me. I heard a clicking noise from the gun which scared me even more. I have never been close to a real gun before. Anni was screaming. They both instructed me to tell Anni to keep quiet. The driver said that they were not going to hurt us, they just wanted the car and they were going to let us go separately. I begged them to let us go together… The next thing I remember, they were both shouting at me to get out. I pleaded with them to let us both go. They refused. The driver said they would leave Anni at the police station. I insisted that we both have to stay together. They became angrier and shouted at me to get out. The one with the gun put it to my head again and threatened to shoot me if I did not get out. I tried to open the door but it would not open. I recall the window opening. I recall hitting the ground and the car speeding away. The last thing I had said to Anni was to be quiet and not to say anything. I said this to her in Gujarati.”
The Telegraph picks up the story:
Mr Dewani suffered post-traumatic stress disorder after the shooting and fought a four-year battle over extradition back to South Africa on the grounds he was not mentally fit to stand trial.
In April, a panel of High Court judges ruled he was fit and since then he has been an in-patient at a psychiatric hospital in Cape Town.
On Monday morning, he appeared in court promptly and appeared composed, only breaking down briefly when a police video was shown of Mrs Dewani’s lifeless body lying in the back seat of the taxi.
More to follow…
THE death of Brenda Leyland is now a matter of education. The BBC consults an expert:
Dr Arthur Cassidy, a psychologist who specialises in social media, said Mrs Leyland appeared to have a middle class upbringing which was unusual in trolling.
Not if you work for the Daily Mail, it isn’t. But go on:
He said: “In this particular case, her whole repertoire of trolling is slightly different from those of well-seasoned trolls because of her uniqueness and the way she has done this. It would signify to me that she has been quite a novice at this.”
Or perhaps we should say that now more of your money is safe in the bank. For the Bank of England has just decided to raise the amount of deposit insurance that we might get if a bank goes bust. The aim here is to make sure that peoples’ worries don’t set off another bank run like that which happened to Northern Rock.
At the moment a deposit of up to £85,000 in a bank is guaranteed by the Bank of England. If the bank goes tits up then you still get your £80k back. This covers all your accounts at the one bank though: so it’s not each account. Now they’re saying that in certain circumstances it could be up to £1 million which is covered:
The Bank of England said on Monday that if someone has a large amount of money in their account for reasons such as buying a house, they will be protected by the Financial Services Compensation Scheme.
Currently, £85,000 worth of savings are protected in the event of a bank failure, but the Bank said this should be extended. The increased protection, which would apply from six months after the money is transferred, applies to:
• Funds in an account because someone is buying a house
• Pay-outs from life insurance, divorce settlements and retirement or dismissal pay.
• Compensation for criminal injuries or wrongful conviction
I should be said that this isn’t going to make all that much difference to all that many people. And it’s also not going to make much difference to the chances of a bank run either. For it’s not actually that movement of the money that is a problem in a bank run. It’s the queues of people trying to move their money that is. And as there are never all that many people in hte country in the situations above at any one time they’re just not going to end up causing a queue.
So it’s all vaguely interesting but probably is best classified as someone wanting to be seen doing something. Rather than, you know, anything useful or important.
FACES of the day: 14/05/1945, via the brilliant Flashbak.com.
Prisoners at Dachau flirt with girls in women’s ward througha straw fence. The women’s ward used to be used as brothel for preferred prisoners.
WHY is this a crime? The Express and Echo reports:
A FENITON man possessed hundreds of images and videos showing a person having sex with various live animals – including a dog, horse, cow and pony. Richard Blackmore, 46, of Mount View, admitted seven charges when he appeared at Exeter Magistrates Court this week.
He pleaded guilty to possession of 425 still images and 16 movie images of extreme pornographic images between October 16 2013 and February 6 this year,
EBOLA has arrived in the US. How are they handling things?
Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins drove a family exposed to ebola to their new home. He never did get changed:
“On Friday, while hazmat experts were working inside the apartment wearing Tyvek bio-hazard suits, Jenkins again was seen going in and out of the apartment while not even wearing a mask or gloves.”
Did you meet with the infected, America’s first Ebola patient, who has been identified as Thomas Eric Duncan?
“We are working from a list of about 100 potential or possible contacts and will soon have an official contact tracing number that will be lower,” Texas Department of State Health Services spokeswoman Carrie Williams said in a statement. “Out of an abundance of caution, we’re starting with this very wide net, including people who have had even brief encounters with the patient or the patient’s home. The number will drop as we focus in on those whose contact may represent a potential risk of infection.”
Ebola is not spread by water or directly by food, nor is it transmitted by air like respiratory illnesses such as measles and chickenpox. Coughing and sneezing aren’t common symptoms of Ebola, but if a symptomatic patient coughs or sneezes, and the saliva or mucous comes in contact with another person’s eyes, nose or mouth, these fluids may transmit the disease.
Medical workers pictured in hoods and respirators are wearing those items for precautionary purposes and not out of necessity, Dr. Jeffrey Duchin, chief of communicable disease epidemiology & immunization of public health in Seattle and King County, Wash., told FoxNews.com. Face masks are part of infectious disease control protocols, to avoid splashes and droplets, but masks that filter air are necessary for airborne illnesses, which Ebola is not.
When someone recovers from Ebola, they can no longer spread that specific species of the virus, according to the CDC. People who recover from Ebola develop antibodies that last for at least 10 years, research shows.
Nonetheless, Ebola has been found in semen for up to three months after the person recovers. The CDC advises that those who become infected abstain from sex or use condoms for three months after they recover.
Ebola can live outside of the body — on surfaces like countertops or doorknobs, for example — for several hours. In bodily fluids like blood, on the other hand, the virus can survive outside of the body for several days at room temperature.
A Dallas apartment where the first person diagnosed with Ebola in the United States had stayed is finally getting a thorough cleaning, days after the diagnosis left four people quarantined there with soiled towels and sweat-stained sheets from the Ebola patient.
After some delays, the first of three phases in cleaning the apartment began Friday afternoon. By around 5:45 p.m. (6:45 p.m. ET), the effort was continuing but at least the sheets and towels had been moved out. Crews also worked to remove three mattresses, each of which the Ebola patient Thomas Eric Duncan slept on, city of Dallas spokeswoman Sana Syed said.
And so, too, had the four people — the partner of the Ebola patient Thomas Eric Duncan, her 13-year-old son and her two 20-something nephews.
They had been ordered to stay inside the apartment until October 19. By that point, enough time should have passed to determine if any of them contracted Ebola or if they’re in the clear.
Judge Clay Jenkins, director of the county’s Homeland Security and Emergency Management, said Friday that Duncan’s partner slept last night on a couch pillow on the living room floor. But now she and the others have a new place to call home in the meantime: a private 4-bedroom residence in Dallas, which was arranged with the help of someone in the local faith-based community.
“People who contract Ebola in West Africa can get through airport screenings and onto a plane with a lie and a lot of ibuprofen, according to healthcare experts who believe more must be done to identify infected travelers.”
Is paranoia taking hold?
Matthew Continetti thinks:
I … believe it is entirely rational to fear the possibility of a major Ebola outbreak, of a threat to the president and his family, of jihadists crossing the border, of a large-scale European or Asian war, of nuclear proliferation, of terrorists detonating a weapon of mass destruction. These dangers are real, and pressing, and though the probability of their occurrence is not high, it is amplified by the staggering incompetence and failure and misplaced priorities of the U.S. government. It is not Ebola I am afraid of. It is our government’s ability to deal with Ebola.
The report released Tuesday is a tool the agency has developed to help with efforts to slow transmission of the epidemic and estimate the potential number of future cases. Researchers say the total number of cases is vastly underreported by a factor of 2.5 in Sierra Leone and Liberia, two of the three hardest-hit countries. Using this correction factor, researchers estimate that approximately 21,000 total cases will have occurred in Liberia and Sierra Leone by Sept. 30. Reported cases in those two countries are doubling approximately every 20 days, researchers said. “Extrapolating trends to January 20, 2015, without additional interventions or changes in community behavior,” such as much-improved safe burial practices, the researchers estimate that the number of Ebola cases in Liberia and Sierra Leone could be between approximately 550,000 to 1.4 million.
What to do?
BRENDA Leyland appears on the front page of the Daily Mirror. The self-billed “intelligent tabloid” begins the woman’s obituary by calling her the “McCANN TROLL”.
A woman who was charged with no cime, who had no criminal record, is dead. Her alleged offence was to have posted messages online that said nasty things about the parents of Madeleine McCann. You’ll recall that many newspapers did worse, libelling the McCanns. But not one newspaper led with a photograph of the writer who penned the criminal words nor editor who approved them. They were never called “TROLLS”. They were not doorstepped by a TV news reporter.
Can you name any of the journalists, nay ‘trolls’, who monstered Chris Jeffries?
The Sunday Mirror’s Lori Cambell alerted police to Robert Murat’s behaviour, she saw as “creepy”. She told the police. But why did she tell the world? Mr Murat, the poor sod wrongly linked to the disappearance of Madeleine McCann, was monstered and libelled. But was Campbell or her editor doorstepped on the TV news, as Brenada Leyland was?
Only the powerless get the full monstering.
SAD news. The woman monstered by the media and on twitter, Brenda Leyland, is dead.
Leyland, who led the news cycle as a Madeleine McCann “troll” had allegedly posted online unpleasant comments about the missing child’s innocent parents.
BE afraid. The police are hacking the Daily Mail’s phones. With tabloids portrayed as the scum of the earth, the police are freer to eat into your freedoms that little further. The Leveson Inquiry has legitimised a police state.
The journalists who eavesdropped on your voice mails were wrong. But now the State’s law enforcers are at it. Who will police them? No-one. They have all the power and all guns and all the prisons.
REZA Baluchi slid into a Zorb and began to make his way from Florida to Bermuda. It was painfully idiotic. But Baluchi was raising money “for children in need”; he would “inspire those that have lost hope for a better future”. He would run inside his rubber hamster cage to Bermuda.
When Mr Baluchi is hunmanity’s last hope, humanity is f**ked.
TRANSFER Balls: The Mirror has news of Arsenal and Julian Draxler:
Arsenal step up Julian Draxler interest sending scouts to monitor Schalke playmaker - The German World Cup winner has been on Wenger’s radar for a number of years and the Gunners could soon be set to test Schalke’s resolve
This is an “exclusive”.
THE tabloids lead with news that the hunt for 14-year-old Alice Gross’ killer is over. The body of Arnis Zalkalns, 41, has been found in woodland in Boston Manor Park, West London.
The Sunday Times adds a spot of history:
The park, which was built in 1623, has a children’s play area and tennis courts. It is just a mile from where police found Alice’s body wrapped in plastic and weighed down by logs in the River Brent last Tuesday.
CESC Fabregas plays for Chelsea. He used to play for Arsenal. But he left Arsenal because he really wanted to play for Barcelona. But after getting his “dream” move, they sold him.
In 2013, the Mail reported the Fabregas wanted to play for Manchester United:
Cesc Fabregas has told friends in English football that he wants to quit Barcelona for Manchester United.
But Arsenal had first refusal on the player. So, presumably, if the Mail was right, he never did want a second stint at Arsenal.
…when United expressed a serious interest and made two offers last summer, his ‘people’ were happy to flutter their eyelashes in the Reds’ direction, while publicly saying nothing for months… United received stacks of intelligence, including from their own players. One who knew Fabregas well said: “When Cesc says no he sometimes means yes.”
So. Who does the Spaniard want to play for?
Daily Mirror, July 15: Fabregas wanted Arsenal. But Arsenal didn’t want Fabregas.
TIME for the White Hosue to hire bigger bouncers:
A man who jumped the White House fence allegedly knocked over a female officer at the mansion’s double doors before he dashed into the ornate East Room.
An inquiry continues into how Omar Gonzalez, 42, made it into the White House. Investigators are looking through an elaborate closed-circuit video system showing the entire incident, a Secret Service source told CNN.
Authorities said the Iraq war veteran had a knife in his pocket when he ran into the White House, where he was later subdued after a wild chase.
The officer he met at the doorway got up, chased him and tackled him just outside the East Room, a source said.
However, the fact that it was a female officer had nothing to do with the breach, according to the source.
“Gender was not a factor, she got one door secured but was pushed over while trying to get the second door shut,” the source said.
BY now you’ve have heard of Brenda Leyland. She’s an alleged ‘troll’ - someone who says things online. Lots of people say nasty things online, but the police don’t go after them all. Not all make it to the TV news or the front pages. Just some.
What she, allegedly, tweeted about the McCanns is unpleasant. But what are people saying about her?
MADLEIENE McCann: A look at reporting on the missing child in the media.
One day after news that sources had compiled a dossier of people who have allegedly abused Kate and Gerry McCann online, the missing girl’s parents are in the news.
The Daily Star leads with the so-called “trolls”.
The Times focuses on one:
A churchgoing mother of two children has been uncovered as one of the internet “trolls” who bombarded the family of Madeleine McCann with vile abuse.
Brenda Leyland, 63, who lives in a picturesque village in Leicestershire, 15 miles from where Kate and Gerry McCann live with their two children, posted dozens of offensive messages about them.
Mrs Leyland, who attended Goldsmiths college at London University, was part of a group of hate-fuelled critics of the McCanns who believe – despite no evidence – that the McCanns had some involvement in the disappearance of their daughter in Portugal in 2007.
WITH any luck the plague of “black-eyed children” will have a taste for ebola, rather than a liking for blue-eyed children, who are the tabloids’ preferred little monsters.
Following news of a black-eyed child-sized ghost playing peek-a-boo in Cannock Chase comes news that the planet if rife with a tribe of such beings.
The Star’s Jimmy McCloskey has news:
Paranormal experts have reported a puzzling rise in the number of frightening apparitions that have been recorded.
WHEN shopping, deals are not always what they seem. Supermarkets are well known for artificially hiking prices, just so they can knock some money off with a big sale sticker, even though the item is slightly more expensive than it was before the prices up.
And so, to Asda. Have you seen them selling a bunch of bananas for a quid? Seems reasonable doesn’t it?
Well, a clever sod called Alan Hudson from Tyne & Wear decided to get the £1 bananas and stick them on the scale at the self-scan checkout. And what did he find?
They were only worth 54p.
Alan said: “It’s disgusting really. There are millions of people living on the poverty line, trying to reduce the cost of their shopping as much as possible and looking out for bargains.”
WHEN Officer Bron Cruz of Salt Lake City, Utah, shot dead innocent, unarmed 20-year-old Dillon Taylor, it was lawful.
Well, Taylor looked a bit like one a group of men reported on a 911 call flashing a handgun.
The SaltLake Tribune reports that Taylor was with two other men, who were “making a scene”:
Confronted by officers, the two men with Taylor held up their hands, while Taylor alone was “noncompliant.”
A MUSLIM prayer rug has been found on the Mexixo-Texas border. Fears are that it was trying to sneak into the USA, possibly hoping it would be mistaken for a picnic blanket or shawl.
Texas Lieutenant Governor David Dewhurst says it is all true: Muslim prayer rugs have been found on the border between Mexico and Texas.
MADELEINE McCann is back in the news.
The Sun reports:
Ex-soldier ‘saw Maddie with Spanish family’
Is his former job relevant?