Somali musician-MP is shot dead

Posted by MereNews On July - 23 - 2014 ADD COMMENTS

Saado Ali Warsame pictured in parliament in December 2013Saado Ali Warsame, who spent much of the civil war in the US, continued to perform after becoming an MP

Popular Somali musician and member of parliament Saado Ali Warsame has been shot dead by Islamist militants.

She was killed along with a civil servant in a drive-by shooting in the Somali capital, Mogadishu.

A spokesman for the Islamist al-Shabab group, Abdulaziz Abu Musab, told the BBC that she was targeted for her politics and not her music.

The BBC’s Mohammed Moalimu in Mogadishu says she is the fourth MP to be killed this year.

The al-Qaeda-aligned al-Shabab group advocates the strict Saudi-inspired Wahhabi version of Islam and is battling the UN-backed government to create an Islamic state.

Daring career

Ms Warsame rose to fame during the time of former President Siad Barre, who was overthrown in 1991, with her songs which were critical of his rule.

The song that made her famous was called Land Cruiser in which she said Mr Barre and his officials were buying expensive cars and then asking for aid to feed starving people.

The car in which Saado Ali Warsame was shot dead, Mogadishu, Somalia - Wednesday 23 July 2014Saado Ali Warsame’s vehicle was targeted as it travelled along a main road in the capital

She spent much of the civil war in the US and returned home in 2012 to represent her clan in the new Somali parliament.

BBC Somali Service’s Abdullahi Abdi says Ms Warsame will be remembered most for her daring musical career.

Continue reading the main story

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Her work as a committed patriot will never be forgotten”

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Abdiweli Sheikh Ahmed
Prime minister

She was one of the few Somali female musicians to go on stage without covering her head and she sometimes wore trousers, which is highly unusual for women in Somalia, he says.

The singer song-writer continued to perform even after taking up her position in parliament.

UN envoy Nicholas Kay condemned the assassination and said Ms Warsame’s loss would be felt across Somalia.

Prime Minister Abdiweli Sheikh Ahmed said that the she had “not only worked tirelessly in the political arena of Somalia, she was also embedded in Somali culture as a gifted artist.

“Her work as a committed patriot will never be forgotten,” he said in a statement.

Somalia has been a largely lawless state since the fall of Mr Barre, with warlords, religious groups and clans fighting for control of the country.

But since al-Shabab lost control of Mogadishu in 2011, some Somalis in the diaspora have started to return home to start businesses and take up political positions.

The militants have continued to carry out attacks in Mogadishu – and attacked the parliament building and presidential palace this month.

Some 22,000 African Union troops are helping the government to try and win back territory from the group.

They have taken back several key cities over the last three years, but al-Shabab still controls many smaller towns and rural areas of the country where it has imposed Sharia and banned music which it regards as un-Islamic.

Article source: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-africa-28446489#sa-ns_mchannel=rss&ns_source=PublicRSS20-sa

BBC trials high-frame-rate TV

Posted by MereNews On July - 23 - 2014 ADD COMMENTS

Commonwealth Games

The BBC is using the Commonwealth Games to experiment with new ways of delivering TV coverage of live events.

High-frame-rate (HFR) and ultra-high-definition (UHD) streams of the tournament will be publicly tested in London and Glasgow, alongside regular broadcasts.

Other innovations include a “venue explorer”, which allows users to pan around an area on their tablet.

Immersive viewing using virtual-reality technology is also being trialled.

In a blog post, the BBC’s research and development (RD) team explained that while the “technical infrastructure doesn’t exist yet” to deliver these new formats to the average viewer, the public would “be able to come and get a taste of it at our public showcases in Glasgow and London”.

The department will document the experiments’ progress throughout the games, via its blog.

A BBC RD engineer sets up one of the UHD cameras at a games venue A BBC engineer sets up one of the UHD cameras at a Commonwealth Games venue

UHD streams, which have a native resolution of 4K or higher, (roughly four times the resolution of standard 1080p high definition) were already tested during the World Cup, earlier this year.

For the Commonwealth Games, BBC RD is testing a higher frame rate – the speed at which images refresh on the screen – to reduce flickering.

“The high-frame-rate TV demonstration in the Glasgow Science Centre will show that this is even advantageous at ‘regular’ HDTV display resolutions, let alone for UHDTV,” the blog states.

“A frame rate of 100 frames per second enables the human eye to fuse motion in a realistic way and is also high enough to avoid visible flicker.”

Venue ExplorerThe venue explorer provides graphical overlays of useful information

The BBC is also experimenting with delivering live TV streams over internet connections, rather than via traditional satellites.

Virtual reality

Innovations in the way audiences experience live events will also be unveiled, with an “augmented video player”, which can overlay interesting data about the athlete or sport directly on screen.

Another new product is the “venue explorer”, which, as the RD team explains, “allows you watch live video feeds on your tablet and then zoom into the images and pan around”.

“A fixed, wide-angle camera supplies UHD video from venues, which means there is no loss of resolution as you manipulate the image.

“The audio is automatically remixed to correspond to the area being looked at, and graphical overlays provide data about what you see.”

Virtual-reality technology will also be employed, with the Oculus Rift headset (acquired by Facebook for $2bn, or £1.2bn), used to view 360-degree videos and three-dimensional audio.

Article source: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-28440076#sa-ns_mchannel=rss&ns_source=PublicRSS20-sa

Paedophile singer appeal bid refused

Posted by MereNews On July - 23 - 2014 ADD COMMENTS

Ian Watkins

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The former singer with the Lostprophets was sentenced to 29 years in prison and a further six on licence

Judges have thrown out an appeal by paedophile rock star Ian Watkins to reduce the length of his jail term for child sex offences.

The Lostprophets singer from Pontypridd was jailed for 29 years in December, with another six years on licence.

Appeal judges said his offences were “of such shocking depravity that they demanded a lengthy prison sentence”.

A woman jailed alongside Watkins – the mother of a girl he abused – also saw a cut in her 17-year sentence refused.

A second woman, whose child was also abused by the singer, was jailed for 14 years and did not appeal.

Watkins, 37, denied all the charges against him when he was arrested in December 2012 but later admitted a string of offences when the case came to court 12 months later.

He was not in court for the appeal proceedings and Sally O’Neill QC, representing him, argued his sentence was too high.

She said that while his offences were very serious, they were “not the worst that can happen”.


She also claimed Watkins should have had a greater sentence discount for his guilty plea, which avoided the need for disturbing evidence to be shown in court.

Simon Smith, defending the woman, argued an appeal was necessary on the grounds of the woman’s immaturity when the offences took place.

He said she lived her life through fantasy and was compliant with Ian Watkins because of his fame.

But Lord Justice Pitchford, sitting at Cardiff Crown Court with two other appeal court judges, rejected that argument.

Sally O'Neill QC and Lord Justice Pritchard

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The appeal by Ian Watkins’ lawyer was rejected by Lord Justice Pritchard

He said the woman had “willing corruptibility” and “offered her child as a sacrifice for Watkins continued interest in her”.

Commenting on Watkins’ case, the lord justice said: “These were offences against infant children of such shocking depravity that a very lengthy sentence of imprisonment was demanded, not withstanding the absence of physical injury.

“It is not demonstrated that the total sentence of 29 years together with the extended licence period was arguably manifestly excessive. Accordingly, the application in his case is refused.”

During the police investigation detectives found a huge cache of child abuse photos and films stored on the rock star’s computers and online.

It was almost five times the storage size of the South Wales Police force’s entire computer database.

Des Mannion from NSPCC Wales said afterwards: “It’s right that the tough sentences originally given to Watkins and his co-defendant have been upheld today.

“They reflect the severe damage caused by the two women and Ian Watkins – a highly manipulative and devious sex offender.”

He added: “If Watkins had an ounce of dignity he’d put his efforts into helping the police identify any other potential victims, not trying to reduce his sentence.”

‘Corrupting influence’

Code-cracking experts from GCHQ were called in as part of Operation Globe to break the encryption set up by the singer to cover his traces.

Sentencing Watkins and the two women at Cardiff Crown Court in December 2013, Mr Justice Royce said the case broke “new ground” and “plunged into new depths of depravity”.

Watkins admitted the attempted rape and sexual assault of a child under 13, but pleaded not guilty to rape.

He also admitted conspiring to rape a child, three counts of sexual assault involving children, seven involving taking, making or possessing indecent images of children and one of possessing an extreme pornographic image involving a sex act on an animal.

The two women also admitted child abuse charges.

Meanwhile an inquiry into whether the singer’s celebrity status prevented him from being brought to justice sooner is being held by the Independent Police Complaints Commission.

Gross misconduct notices have been served on seven police officers as part of the investigations into the handling of allegations against Watkins.

They include three from South Yorkshire Police, two from Bedfordshire Police, and two from South Wales Police.

Article source: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-wales-south-east-wales-28423518#sa-ns_mchannel=rss&ns_source=PublicRSS20-sa

Commonwealth Games begin in Glasgow

Posted by MereNews On July - 23 - 2014 ADD COMMENTS

CeremonyThe 2014 Commonwealth Games opening ceremony was held at Celtic Park in Glasgow

The 2014 Commonwealth Games opening ceremony has taken place at Celtic Park in Glasgow.

Thousands of athletes from 71 nations and territories took part before a 40,000-strong crowd and a global TV audience up up to one billion people.

Their traditional parade around the stadium followed a live show featuring about 2,000 cast members.

The Queen declared the Games open by reading her own message from inside the Commonwealth baton.

Adventurer Mark Beaumont landed on the city’s river Clyde in a seaplane carrying the baton to Celtic Park, having tracked its progress across the Commonwealth on a 288-day journey spanning almost 120,000 miles.

Inside the stadium, the baton was transferred between a group of volunteers who have helped children around Scotland find their potential through sport.

Sir Chris Hoy carried it on its final stage to Prince Imran of Malaysia, who struggled briefly to open the container and remove the message to hand to the Queen.

Her Majesty then spoke of the “shared ideals and ambitions” of the Commonwealth and highlighted the “bonds that unite” the 71 nations and territories.

“The baton relay represents a calling together of people from every part of the Commonwealth and serves as a reminder of our shared ideals and ambitions as a diverse, resourceful and cohesive family.

“And now, that baton has arrived here in Glasgow, a city renowned for its dynamic cultural and sporting achievements and for the warmth of its people, for this opening ceremony of the Friendly Games.”

The Queen, in her role as head of the Commonwealth, then sent her best wishes to the competing athletes



Rod Stewart

Events inside the stadium are being shown to the assembled guests and crowd on Europe’s largest LED screen.

The giant display, which stands across the whole of the stadium’s South Stand, is almost 100 metres long, 11 metres high and weighs 38 tonnes.

Other adaptations to the venue include a specially-created stage floor covering the entire pitch and a multi-coloured walkway specifically designed for the athlete’s parade.

Star Wars actor Ewan McGregor opened proceedings with a pre-recorded video message, before Glaswegian comedian Karen Dunbar struck up an elaborate song and dance number celebrating Scotland, accompanied by Torchwood star John Barrowman.

The routine welcomed visitors from across the Commonwealth to Glasgow and included larger-than-life representations of famous Scots inventions, landmarks, cultural heroes and Scottish history.

The QueenThe Games were officially opened by The Queen

Rod Stewart was joined on stage by Bishopbriggs singer-songwriter Amy Macdonald alongside hundreds of ordinary Glasgow citizens to perform a version of his classic song Rhythm of My Heart.

Later in the ceremony, dancers from Scottish Ballet performed a routine to an acoustic version of The Proclaimers hit I’m Gonna Be (500 Miles).

Pipe band

The Scottish Regiment Pipe Band arrived in the stadium to accompany Susan Boyle performing the Paul McCartney and Wings song Mull of Kintyre, as the Red Arrows performed a flypast over the city to signal the arrival of the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh.

India, the hosts of the previous Games in Delhi in 2010, were the first team to enter the arena and received a warm welcome.

The remainder of the competing nations arrived according to geographical region, led by a Scots representative wearing tweeds and walking a Scottie terrier bedecked in a jacket bearing the name of each country.

The England team were met by loud cheers from the crowd as the European nations entered the stadium, Northern Ireland were led by cyclist Martyn Irvine and the Wales team sported black Harrington-style jackets with tartan lining.

The loudest reception of the night was reserved for the host nation Scotland, who paraded into Celtic Park last, according to Games tradition, accompanied by The Shamen’s hit Move Any Mountain.

Commonwealth Games open with spectacular song and dance

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Spectacular musical number opens Glasgow 2014

Towards the end of the ceremony a message was delivered live from the International Space Station to the Commonwealth nations, and Scots musician Nicola Benedetti performed a violin solo as the Games Federation flag was raised.

Scotland’s First Minister Alex Salmond paid tribute to the victims of the crashed Malaysia Airlines flight MH17, leading a silence before welcoming the participating nations to the Games in English and Gaelic.

The sentiments were echoed by Glasgow City Council leader Gordon Matheson and the Commonwealth Games Federation president Prince Imran of Malaysia, who both encouraged and promoted a spirit of competitiveness and friendship.

Glasgow band Primal Scream closed proceedings as fireworks went off all across the city.

Temperatures in Glasgow earlier reached 25 degrees C, officially the hottest day in Scotland this year.

The Games will feature 17 sports across 11 days of competition, beginning on Thursday.

The closing ceremony will take place at Hampden Park on the south side of the city, which has been transformed into an athletics venue, on 3 August.

Article source: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-28440453#sa-ns_mchannel=rss&ns_source=PublicRSS20-sa

Character actress Dora Bryan dies

Posted by MereNews On July - 23 - 2014 ADD COMMENTS

Dora Bryan in 1978Bryan was made an OBE for services to drama in 1996

Dora Bryan, the veteran British actress whose long career encompassed theatre, film, radio and television, has died in Hove, near Brighton, at the age of 91.

She was best known for her roles in Last of the Summer Wine and Absolutely Fabulous, and won a best actress Bafta for the 1962 film A Taste Of Honey.

Her grandson Sam said her “longevity as an actress had been truly incredible”.

She died at the Sussex County Hospital in Brighton, with her sons Daniel and William at her bedside.

Daniel told the Argus newspaper: “It was heartbreaking but it was peaceful. “She just left us.

“She was a tiny woman but her constitution was incredible. She loved being on stage, that’s what she wanted. Not only did she do it, but she was good at it.

“She was a star, and a mum.”

Dora Bryan

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Watch a clip of Dora Bryan’s performance in the classic 1961 film A Taste of Honey

Born Dora May Broadbent in Southport, Lancashire, the actress made her stage debut aged 12 before working with Ensa, the armed forces’ entertainment body, during World War II.

After moving to London, she was encouraged to change her surname by Noel Coward while appearing in a production of his play Private Lives.

The actress chose Bryant as her new stage name, after the match manufacturers Bryant and May, but became Dora Bryan when a theatre programme omitted the last letter.

She went on to play the title role in Hello, Dolly on stage and make appearances in such films as The Blue Lamp, Carry On Sergeant and The Great St Trinian’s Train Robbery.

Bryan (second from left) recording Much Binding in the Marsh in 1953 with Kenneth Horne, Richard Murdoch, Sam Costa and Nicholas ParsonsBryan recording Much Binding in the Marsh in 1953 with (l to r) Kenneth Horne, Richard Murdoch, Sam Costa and Nicholas Parsons

She was also heard on radio in Hancock’s Half Hour and alongside Nicholas Parsons and Kenneth Horne in the comedy series Much Binding in the Marsh.

Bryan, who became an OBE in 1996, headlined a number of stage revues and made several appearances at the National Theatre.

She had a recurring role in Absolutely Fabulous as June Whitfield’s on-screen friend Dolly and was seen as Ros Utterthwaite in Last of the Summer Wine.

In real life she endured several hardships. She suffered two nervous breakdowns, her adopted daughter Georgina died from alcoholism and her husband, cricketer Bill Lawton, died from Alzheimer’s in 2008.

She was also afflicted by short-term memory loss that affected her ability to learn lines and led to her retirement in 2006.

Lionel Blair was among those paying tribute to the actress on Twitter.

“So very sad to hear of the passing of my good friend Dora Bryan,” he wrote. “She was wonderful.”

Analysis: David Sillito, BBC arts correspondent

There seemed to be almost an unwritten rule that in the 1950s that a British film had to feature Dora somewhere. The young Dora Broadbent was, by her own admission, a show-off. She would perform at a bus stop if she could.

She certainly had a natural comic talent – but too often it was in bit parts. Her CV was littered with scene-stealing cameos often as a barmaid or a shop assistant or (more than once) a prostitute. If you wanted a bit of chirpy charm you sent for Dora.

There were more than 60 films ranging from The Cure for Love with Robert Donat to Mother Riley Meets The Vampire. Thankfully, she was allowed to be centre stage on the West End. Nothing, she said, topped the feeling of standing on the top of a sweeping staircase with all eyes on her and the band striking up for the opening of her favourite show, Hello Dolly.


Article source: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/entertainment-arts-28451502#sa-ns_mchannel=rss&ns_source=PublicRSS20-sa

Dog’s life for Pudsey film flop

Posted by MereNews On July - 23 - 2014 ADD COMMENTS

PudseyPudsey and his owner Ashleigh Butler won Britain’s Got Talent in 2012

A film based on Pudsey, the dancing dog winner of Britain’s Got Talent, has flopped at the UK box office.

The canine comedy, featuring the voice David Walliams, earned £446,000, taking an average of just £1,100 in each of the 403 cinemas where it screened.

Chart-topper Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, starring Andy Serkis as chimp leader Caesar, took £8.7m.

The second highest new entry was the broadcast of the Monty Python live show at the O2 in London.

The comedy troupe’s farewell show on Sunday night earned £1.26m, according to box office tracker Rentrak.

Screened at 410 locations, and earning £830,586 over the weekend, violinist and conductor Andre Rieu’s 2014 10th Anniversary Maastricht Concert became the UK’s highest-grossing music event of all time, according to website Deadline.

Elsewhere on the chart, How To Train Your Dragon 2 was the second placed movie, earning £1.88m, bringing its UK haul so far to £12.9m.

Transformers: Age of Extinction has earned £15.5m in the two weeks since its release, adding £1.8m over the weekend and giving it the third spot in the chart.

Article source: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/entertainment-arts-28440079#sa-ns_mchannel=rss&ns_source=PublicRSS20-sa

Glasgow ready for 2014 Games opening

Posted by MereNews On July - 23 - 2014 ADD COMMENTS

Glasgow 2014 imagesThe opening ceremony for the 2014 Commonwealth Games in Glasgow will get under way at 21:00

The Queen will formally open the 20th Commonwealth Games in Glasgow later, in front of a 40,000 crowd at Celtic Park.

Organisers said a global TV audience of up to a billion people was expected to watch the event from 21:00 BST.

More than 4,500 athletes from 71 Commonwealth nations and territories will parade during the curtain-raiser.

About 2,000 cast members will perform in a ceremony that organisers have promised “will surprise, delight and be uniquely Glaswegian and Scottish”.

The Games will feature 17 sports in 11 days of competition, which begins on Thursday. The closing ceremony takes place at Hampden Stadium, which has been transformed into an athletics venue, on 3 August.

Euan Burton will be making his Commonwealth Games debutJudo player Euan Burton will be the Team Scotland flag bearer at the opening ceremony

English Squash player Nick MatthewSquash player Nick Matthew will be the flag bearer for Team England

Welsh gymnast Francesca Jones Rhythmic gymnast Francesca Jones will be the flag bearer for Team Wales

The opening ceremony will feature a parade around Celtic Park by thousands of athletes taking part in the Games.

The journey from their accommodation, at the Athlete’s Village in Dalmarnock, close to Celtic Park, is expected to take about one hour.

India, as the previous host, will lead the parade, which will end with the current host, Team Scotland.

Teams will parade by region. At the start of each region the crowd will be shown video of some of the work that Unicef is doing in that part of the Commonwealth.

At the end of the parade, athletes and team officials will be seated on the field of play, in the centre of the show.

Live show

The centrepiece of the opening ceremony will be a live show consisting of about 2,000 people.

Just over 1,600 will take part in the stadium with the other 400 having been involved in making pre-filmed content.

The content of the show is secret but head of ceremonies and artistic director David Zolkwer promised it would have a distinct theme.

“Our goal has always been to have the people of Glasgow and Scotland take centre-stage, for them to speak and sing and dance for themselves,” he said.

“So, on the night our audience will witness thousands of real people doing extraordinary things – and in the process I know our volunteer cast performers will do themselves, the city and Scotland proud.”

Commonwealth Games Athletes' VillageMore than 4.500 competitors are based at the Athletes’ Village at Dalmarnock

Image of the screen at Celtic ParkThe opening ceremony will be shown on a huge LED screen running the entire length of the south stand at Celtic Park

Celtic Park, home of Scottish Premier League champions Celtic, has been dramatically transformed for the opening ceremony.

Europe’s largest LED screen has been installed, along with a specially-created stage floor covering the entire pitch, including a walkway specifically designed for the athlete’s parade.

The giant screen, which stands across the whole of the South Stand, is almost 100 metres long, 11 metres high and weighs 38 tonnes.

The man charged with delivering the Games, David Grevemberg, chief executive of organiser Glasgow 2014, said the screen would help deliver a “magical” experience.

“It’s going to act as our window to the Commonwealth,” he said.

“I can guarantee you are going to see a lot of colour, imagery and light coming from this.”

The screen will show the Queen formally open the Games when she reads out the message that has been hidden inside the baton.

A swimmer practices at the Tollcross International Swimming Centre in Glasgow, Scotland, 22 July 2014

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The origins of the Commonwealth Games – in 60 seconds

Baton relay

The hand-written message was inserted by Queen, during a ceremony at Buckingham palace, on 9 October last year.

It was then sealed for its journey of more than 190,000 km through Commonwealth territories in Asia, Oceania, Africa, North and South America and the Caribbean.

Along the way it has been carried by thousands of baton bearers, some 4,000 in Scotland alone, amid a carnival atmosphere in cities, towns and villages around the globe.

The Queen launches the baton relayThe Queen inserted her hand-written message into the baton at Buckingham Palace on 9 October 2013

Duncan Bannatyne with Games Mascot Clyde at Ravenscraig Stadium, Greenock in InverclydeDragon’s Den star Duncan Bannatyne was among thousands of baton bearers who transported the Queen’s message around the Commonwealth amid a carnival atmosphere

The opening ceremony will be followed on Thursday by the first full day of events, including badminton, cycling and swimming.

Almost a million tickets have been sold for the sporting extravaganza, which will be controlled in a security operation led by Police Scotland.

Thousands of officers will be joined by about 2,400 members of the armed forces, prison officers and 17 private security firms.

An army of 15,000 specially-recruited civilian volunteers will be deployed in and around venues to aid athletes and spectators.

The £90m cost of security is being met from the overall Games budget of £472.3m.

‘Threats and risks’

Police Scotland Deputy Chief Constable Steve Allen, head of security for the Games. said everything possible had been done to prepare for every eventuality.

“Challenges range from threats and risks that we have to secure the Games from – the ever-present risk of international terrorism, through to organised crime and just managing the sheer numbers of people in and around Glasgow.

“But we’ve done our work, we know what we’re doing, we’re ready to go and we can’t wait for it to start.”

That figure has helped pay for major upgrades in infrastructure across Glasgow.

Two of the showpiece venues to open in the past year include the £125m Hydro arena at the SECC complex, and the £113m National Indoor Sports Arena and Sir Chris Hoy Velodrome, opposite Celtic Park.

The many agencies involved in delivering the Games hope it will leave a lasting legacy of economic, social, cultural, sporting and health-related improvement for Glasgow and Scotland.

The HydroThe £125m Hydro arena is part of the SECC complex which will host gymnastics, boxing, judo, netball, wrestling and weightlifting

National Indoor Sports Arena and Sir Chris Hoy VelodromeThe National Indoor Sports Arena and Sir Chris Hoy Velodrome is one of the showpiece venues of the Games

Scotland’s First Minister Alex Salmond and UK Prime Minister David Cameron both said the Games would make a hugely positive long-term impact on Glasgow and the rest of the country.

Mr Salmond said: “The real legacy is the people legacy.

“It’s not just in that people have had an opportunity, a life chance – thousands of them in terms of preparations for the Games – but the impact it has on the minds of future generations.”

‘Great advertisement’

Mr Cameron said: “Scotland has a huge amount to offer the world and I think we’ll see that with the opening ceremony and the Games in Glasgow.

“I’m sure from everything I’ve seen it’s going to be well-organised and a great event and a great advertisement for Glasgow, for Scotland and indeed for the United Kingdom.”

Glasgow’s journey to become host city began in September 2004, when the city was selected over Edinburgh as the Scottish candidate city for the Games.

Glasgow was awarded the Games on 9 November 2007, at the Commonwealth Games Federation General Assembly in Colombo, Sri Lanka, seeing off rival Abuja, in Nigeria, in a head-to-head by 47 votes to 24.

Six years, eight months and 15 days later, Scotland’s largest city is finally ready to take centre stage as host of the Games.


Lisa Summers, Commonwealth Games reporter, BBC Scotland

Crowds at Celtic Park

I’ve asked lots of people lots of questions about the opening ceremony, but information is usually thin on the ground.

I’m told there will be contemporary use of technology that will some how help bring the world in and the spectators out, there will be two big surprise moments, and there’s even been quirky rumours of dancing Tunnocks tea-cakes.

We know that Rod Stewart and Susan Boyle will feature, as will children, and the Scottish athletes will take on a bigger role than the usual add-on parade.

It promises to be very Glasgow. Hopefully that Glaswegian humour will translate to the world.

Flying the flag

Flags flying

For 11 days, more than 4,500 athletes from 71 nations and territories will compete in 17 sports, with the hope that years of tough training will culminate in a medal win.

They will be cheered on by more than one million fans inside the 13 official venues, with hundreds of millions more watching from around the world.

So, the big question is how many flags will we see, and which ones? Believe it or not there are protocols around what official flags fly and there are rules about the size of the flag a spectator can wave.


Article source: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-28419129#sa-ns_mchannel=rss&ns_source=PublicRSS20-sa

Adele wins damages over photos of son

Posted by MereNews On July - 23 - 2014 ADD COMMENTS

AdeleAdele and her partner considered the pictures an intrusion of private and precious family time

Lawyers for Adele’s two-year-old son, Angelo Adkins, have accepted a five-figure sum in damages to settle a privacy case over paparazzi photos.

Adele and her partner, Simon Konecki, brought the case against photo agency Corbis Images UK Limited over pictures of the child’s “milestone moments”.

The agency has agreed to pay damages and legal costs and has, in addition, agreed not to use the photos again.

The photos of Angelo with the singer were taken in June and November 2013.

Corbis Images UK Limited, trading as Splash News and Picture Agency, made them available for publishing in the English press.

Continue reading the main story

Start Quote

They will also continue efforts to improve the laws relating to paparazzi and children generally, building on the successful campaign Adele helped fund in California resulting in far stricter harassment laws”

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Jenny Afia, Adele’s solicitor

Adele’s solicitor, Jenny Afia, told the High Court in London that the singer was emphatic that her son was not and must never be public property.

“It is a matter of profound sadness that many of his milestone moments, such as his first family outing and his first trip to playgroup, were photographed and published worldwide expressly against his family’s wishes,” said Ms Afia.

“These images were taken during private, recreational time unconnected with professional or public engagements. They represent a clear infringement of our client’s right to privacy.”

Ms Afia also stated it was Adele and Konecki’s view that “these images were of routine, everyday family occasions which the paparazzi has no right to intrude upon, profit from and file away in picture libraries for future reference and use”.

Regarding the payout, Ms Afia confirmed the couple would be “holding the damages on trust”.

She added they would “continue to do all they can to protect Angelo’s rights in relation to the paparazzi, including taking legal action where necessary”.

“They will also continue efforts to improve the laws relating to paparazzi and children generally, building on the successful campaign Adele helped fund in California resulting in far stricter harassment laws.”

Ms Afia also said legal firm Schillings had been in contact with the freelance photographers who took the shots to explain that legal action would be taken if they photographed Angelo Adkins again in this way.

Article source: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/entertainment-arts-28439754#sa-ns_mchannel=rss&ns_source=PublicRSS20-sa

Commonwealth edged out of Booker

Posted by MereNews On July - 23 - 2014 ADD COMMENTS

Pile of shortlisted novelsThe 2013 Booker shortlist excluded US literary works for the final time

Authors from most Commonwealth countries have been sidelined from the Booker Prize longlist, after the award was opened up to American writers.

Australia’s Richard Flanagan is the only non-British representative of the Commonwealth on the 13-strong list, while US novelists fill four spots.

Former winner Howard Jacobson is in the running again, but some high-profile names, including Ian McEwan and Donna Tartt failed to make the list.

The winner will get £50,000 in October.

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Booker Prize longlist 2014




Joshua Ferris

To Rise Again at a Decent Hour


Richard Flanagan

The Narrow Road to the Deep North


Karen Joy Fowler

We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves


Siri Hustvedt

The Blazing World


Howard Jacobson



Paul Kingsnorth

The Wake


David Mitchell

The Bone Clocks


Neel Mukherjee

The Lives of Others


David Nicholls



Joseph O’Neill

The Dog


Richard Powers



Ali Smith

How to be Both


Niall Williams

History of the Rain


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Flanagan is nominated for The Narrow Road to the Deep North, a haunting account of the Australian servicemen who, as Japanese prisoners of war, were forced to build the so-called Burma railway.

The author, from Tasmania, wrote the book in tribute to his late father who survived the experience – but thousands more did not.

Considered by many to be the finest Australian novelist of his generation, his other works include The Sound of One Hand Clapping and he also co-wrote the script for the Baz Luhrmann film, Australia.

He is up against best-selling authors including David Nicholls, whose upcoming novel Us is about the “the bond of marriage and the demands of parenthood”.

Cloud Atlas author David Mitchell gets his third Booker nomination for The Bone Clocks which follows the story of Holly Sykes, who runs away from home in 1984 and 60 years later can be found in the far west of Ireland, raising a granddaughter as the world’s climate collapses.

The Man Booker Prize judging panel for 2014This year’s judging panel features (standing L-R) Alastair Niven, Daniel Glaser, chair AC Grayling, Erica Wagner and (seated L-R) Sarah Churchwell and Jonathan Bate

Only three women make the longlist, including Scotland’s Ali Smith, for her inventive new novel How To Be Both.

The book tells two interlinking stories, one about a renaissance artist in 15th Century Italy, the other about a child of the 1960s – and the reader can decide which half to read first.

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The prize has gone global and the longlist reflects that change – but only up to a point. There are four Americans, alongside Joseph O’Neill who lives in New York, but was born in Ireland. Richard Flanagan, from Tasmania, flies the flag for Australia and Niall Williams is Irish.

But there are no Indian or African authors and that will raise eyebrows among those who feared writers from some Commonwealth countries might get squeezed out by the new rules.

Five Britons make the list, including the former winner of the prize, Howard Jacobson. David Mitchell and Ali Smith have both been shortlisted in the past. And David Nicholls, the author of the phenomenally successful One Day, is also longlisted for his new novel Us. It is one of five books on the list which won’t be published until September.

There are some notable absentees. No room for the American Donna Tartt as well as high profile British authors including Ian McEwan, Will Self and Martin Amis.

The American newcomers are represented by Joshua Ferris, Karen Joy Fowler, Siri Hustvedt and Richard Powers, while Joseph O’Connor – born in Ireland, raised in the Netherlands and living in New York – is described as “Irish/American” by the Booker panel.

His latest novel, The Dog, is about a man who flees his position in a Manhattan law firm after a bad breakup with a colleague. Settling in Dubai, he lives a luxurious existence, but must come to terms with alienation and vulnerability.

Fowler, who is best known for her light-hearted novel The Jane Austen Book Club, is nominated for We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves, about an ordinary Mid-western family: two parents and three children…. Except one of those children is a chimpanzee.

The plot was inspired by several real experiments, including the work of Winthrop and Luella Kellogg, scientists at Indiana University who raised their baby son alongside a chimp for almost a year in the early 1930s.

Ferris’s third novel, To Rise Again at a Decent Hour looks at atheism through the eyes of a dentist, who spends the day looking at death and decay, but cannot find solace in religion.

The longlist also includes a crowd-funded novel by first-time author Paul Kingsnorth.

The Wake, set just after the Battle of Hastings, depicts guerrilla warfare against the Norman-French invaders in the Lincolnshire fens, and uses a semi-invented language “intended to convey the feeling” of Old English.

It was picked up by the small and relatively new publisher Unbound, who encouraged readers to pledge money towards its release – eventually securing enough to get the book printed.


Announcing the longlist, chair of the judging panel, AC Grayling said: “This is a diverse list of ambition, experiment, humour and artistry. The novels selected are full of wonderful stories and fascinating characters.

“The judges were impressed by the range of issues tackled – from 1066 to the future, from a PoW camp in Thailand, to a dentist’s chair in Manhattan; from the funny to the deeply serious, sometimes in the same book.”

Eleanor CattonEleanor Catton was the youngest-ever winner of the Booker last year, for The Luminaries

The shortlist of six books will be announced on 9 September, followed by the main prize on 14 October at a ceremony to be broadcast by the BBC.

Last year, the Booker was won by New Zealand’s Eleanor Catton for The Luminaries.

At 28, she was the youngest-ever winner and said her life had been changed by the award.

“I’ve been given opportunities to travel and to see my book read by such an astonishingly wide readership all over the world,” she said.

Article source: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/entertainment-arts-28420602#sa-ns_mchannel=rss&ns_source=PublicRSS20-sa

Geldof died of heroin overdose

Posted by MereNews On July - 23 - 2014 ADD COMMENTS

Peaches GeldofThe inquiry has heard heroin is “likely” to have played a role in her death.

Peaches Geldof died of a heroin overdose, a coroner has ruled.

The TV presenter had been a heroin addict and took the substitute drug methadone for two-and-a-half years before her death, the inquest heard.

A police search found 6.9g of heroin in her house but there was no indication she had planned to take her own life.

Her husband, musician Tom Cohen, told the hearing in Gravesend the 25-year-old had started using the drug again in February this year.

He added he had also witnessed her flushing drugs she had hidden in their loft down the toilet, but was not aware of any other drugs in the house until they were found by police.

‘Fatal range’

Pathologist Peter Jerreat said puncture wounds were found on Geldof’s body on her elbows, wrists and thumbs.

He added the levels of heroin in her body were in a “fatal range”.

Evidence of codeine, methadone and morphine were also found in her blood.

Peaches Geldof and Tom CohenPeaches Geldof and Tom Cohen married in 2012

In his evidence, the musician said Geldof had been undergoing weekly drugs tests since seeking treatment for her drug problem two years ago, however she had always informed him they had been clear.

Mr Cohen said he now believed his wife had been lying about the tests.

It is thought Geldof had given up heroin at the end of last November until February when Mr Cohen said he found some text messages suggesting she had returned to using the drug.

The coroner said he believed Geldof had lost the tolerance she had previously built up, therefore the purity of the heroin found in her house had a fatal impact.

Mr Cohen, who married the presenter in 2012, found his wife slumped on the bed at their home in Wrotham in Kent on 7 April after becoming concerned when she failed to answer the phone.

He had been away for the weekend with the elder of their two sons, Astala, leaving Geldof at home with their 11-month old son, Phaedra.

She was pronounced dead at the scene.

Peaches Geldof's coffin arrives for her funeral serviceGeldof’s funeral took place in April at the same church where her mother’s funeral was held in 2000

‘History repeating’

After a toxicology report was issued in May, the police launched a criminal inquiry “into the supply of drugs” in connection with her death. No arrests have been made so far.

Det Ch Insp Paul Fotheringham, who led the investigation, said “importation quality” heroin with a purity of 61% – “far exceeding” the 26% purity usually found at street level – was found in a black cloth bag inside a cupboard over a bedroom door.

“The black bag also contained 34 medical syringes, some were with needles and some without, some were sealed in original packaging and some contained traces of a brown coloured residue,” he said.

“There were also 45 packaged and sealed syringes, alcohol wipes and cotton buds.”


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Jannat Jalil reports from the inquest in Gravesend

Police also found a pair of knotted black tights under Geldof’s body and two other pairs of tights with knots in them elsewhere in the property, along with a number of burnt spoons.

Geldof’s mother, Paula Yates, died of a heroin overdose at the age of 41 when Peaches was 11 years old.

Coroner Roger Hatch said: “It’s said that the death of Peaches Geldof-Cohen is history repeating itself but this not entirely so.

“By November last year she had ceased to take heroin as a result of the considerable treatment and counselling that she had received.

“This was a significant achievement for her but for reasons we will never know prior to her death she returned to taking heroin.”

He said her death would be recorded as “drugs related” and expressed his deep sympathy to the Geldof family.

Article source: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/entertainment-arts-28438913#sa-ns_mchannel=rss&ns_source=PublicRSS20-sa

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