It seems that New York is the favourite destination for Christmas shoppers from Britain and Europe this year, as people flock there to snap up bargains due to the weakening dollar. Apparently many believe that they can easily recoup the cost of their flights in a decent shopping spree! The New York Post described Fifth Avenue as a “virtual flea market” for European travellers due to the depressed dollar! I’m all for snapping up a bargain but I don’t think I’d want to travel all the way to New York to get it, especially not in the Winter time, much too cold!
Stars (including Robin Williams and Nicole Kidman) were out in full force in Leicester Square this week for the premiere of Happy Feet, the animated story of a dancing penguin! The traditional red carpet was replaced by an ice blue coloured one with fake snow completing the winter wonderland scene. Happy Feet follows the story of Mumble a tap dancing penguin who is ostracised because he cannot sing, with stars including Robin Williams and Nicole Kidman doing the voices of some of the film's characters. The movie has already become a massive hit in the U.S. beating the new Bond film Casino Royale to the number one spot at the box office.
Home secretary John Reid has urged the public to keep calm after traces of the radioactive substance polonium 210 were found at London locations associated with the death of poisoned Russian spy Alexander Litvinenko. Traces of the radioactive substance were found at a London sushi restaurant where Alexander had a meeting, his London home and also a London hotel. There were also unconfirmed reports that the substance had been found at two other London locations. Mr Reid also confirmed that a "significant quantity" of polonium 210 had been found in Mr Litvinenko’s urine following extensive tests by forensic toxicologists. I’ve been following the story of Alexander Litvinenko. According to news reports polonium 210 is an extremely rare substance that needs to be manufactured using a nuclear reactor. With security so tight at Britain’s airports and seaports following terrorist threats, I would be surprised if anybody could get through with a substance of this nature. There are many theories as to who caused Alexander Litvinenko’s death. Sadly we will probably never know.
It is rumoured that Princes William and Harry are planning a charity concert next Summer, to commemorate the 10th anniversary of their mother’s death. The young princes are believed to be considering several options with a concert being their preferred choice. It is thought that the concert will be held at Wembley on July 1st which would have been Diana’s 46th birthday. Proceeds from the show will go to some of Diana’s favourite charities.
Photo:- Courtesy of Associated Press Photographs and Yahoo
Stunned commuters couldn’t believe their eyes when the Queen and Prince Philip boarded a packed train, rubbing shoulders with other commuters. The royal couple travelled first class with their security guards on the way to a weekend in the country, to visit friends Lord and Lady Tollemache at Helmingham Hall, Suffolk. Some passengers filmed the royal couple on their mobile phones. It’s nice to see that the Queen and Prince Philip are not too proud to use public transport and rub shoulders with the general public. The Queen as always is a shining example to the rest of the royal family.
According to new research, it seems that taking Folic Acid could drastically reduce the risk of heart disease and strokes. Researchers discovered that heart disease can be caused by high levels of homocysteine, an amino acid but Folic Acid significantly reduces these levels. Coronary heart disease is one of Britain's biggest killers, so this is good news for everyone.
According to the Dick Whittington fairytale the streets of London are paved with gold. It seems this might be true! London is a magnet for billionaires and has been nominated world capital of the super rich with 23 billionaires living there. So there we go!
Tony Blair is planning to bring in a team of “supernannies” in 77 areas of England to target anti-social behaviour amongst youngsters, in a new government scheme. The scheme will run parenting courses, which parents can volunteer to attend or be forced to participate in if their children break the law or refuse to attend school. I’m not sure that’s the answer. The government can make all the suggestions they like to handle problem children. Surely there is no better solution than good old fashioned discipline. With the cost of the supernanny system being estimated at £4 million it’s also a lot cheaper!
Sacha Baron Cohen aka Borat was nowhere to be seen as Kazakhstan President Nursultan Nazarbayez met British Prime Minister Tony Blair this week. Mr Nazarbayez laughed off the insulting remarks about his country made by Sacha's character in the hit movie Borat. Kazakhstan's president told Mr Blair, "This film was created by a comedian so let's laugh at it - that's my attitude." It's nice to see that Mr Nazarbayez is taking Borat's remarks in good humour, whilst Sacha Baron Cohen continues to laugh all the way to the bank. On the other hand, Kazakhstan's president and people owe a debt of thanks to Sacha aka Borat. Before the movie came out, most people in this country had never heard of Kazakhstan but now thanks to Borat, the country is firmly on the map. Unfortunately it's for the wrong reasons!
According to government figures life expectancy of the British population has now reached record levels, with most men living to 81 and a half and women living to their 85th birthday. Here's to the next 45 years!
According to a food watchdog, salmonella is present in one in every thirty boxes of imported eggs, bought from corner shops and discount stores in Britain. Apparently Spanish eggs have the highest rate of salmonella in Europe. The Food Standards Authority stressed that the majority of eggs we buy in this country are salmonella-free but warned vulnerable people like the elderly, pregnant women and sick people to cook eggs thoroughly to reduce any risk of food poisoning.
Many British fans who had paid over £100 to see Michael Jackson’s first UK performance for 9 years were bitterly disappointed. It was thought that Jackson’s performance at the World Music Awards at Earls Court would re-establish him as the King of Pop. However according to some fans, the event was an absolute shambles, with some fans demanding ticket refunds. Jackson who is now rarely seen in public since being cleared of child abuse charges, appeared on stage with a children’s choir, after collecting a lifetime achievement award. However he stunned fans by only singing a couple of lines of “We are the World”, stopping to say “I love you, I love you”, to the crowd, as he was booed off the stage. The troubled star also angered fans by not stopping to greet them outside the ceremony. He was so nervous that the show’s embarrassed and angry organisers had spent over an hour persuading him to go on stage. Many fans say they were misled after being told that Jackson would be performing a version of his hit “Thriller” at the ceremony. It seems that Michael Jackson has a long way to go before he can reclaim his title as the King of Pop.
Apparently eating a small amount of dark chocolate everyday is good for you and can help prevent fatal blood clots. American experts made the startling discovery when volunteers on an aspirin study broke the rules and ate chocolate. Good news for chocolate lovers everywhere (including myself)!
Apparently the latest must-have fashion item is plasters (band-aids) encrusted with four Swarovski crystals for covering cuts. With a 10 pack costing £20, people buying these must have more money than sense.
It seems that the traditional British “booze cruises” to hypermarkets across the Channel for duty free drink and cigarettes could soon be a thing of the past, if a proposed ruling by the European Court of Justice goes ahead. The ruling will allow shoppers to order duty free drink and cigarettes from EU countries either over the phone or via the internet. The ruling is the first stage in setting a single rate of taxes across Europe.
Critics argue that being able to buy cheap drink and cigarettes will only lead to an increase in cancer deaths. In addition there will be a fall in tax revenue coming into Britain, which means there will be much less money to spend on essential services like hospitals and schools. For a lot of Britons, the end of cross-channel trips to the hypermarket will be like the end of an era! Life will never be the same again!
The Queen led the nation in two minutes’ silence laying the first wreath at the Centotaph on Sunday, as the Royal family, politicians and war veterans gathered for the Remembrance day service in honour of British serviceman killed in battle. It was a sad day with four British serviceman killed in an attack on a patrol boat in Basra and another three seriously injured. If ever the country needed a reminder of the constant and awful danger British troops face in Iraq, this was it. With the death toll of British troops now at 125 and no end to the Iraq crisis in sight, surely it is time for Mr Blair to bring our troops home before any more lives are lost.
It's official, Ricky Gervais, British star of The Office has the funniest face on tv, according to scientists. Apparently his face fits the profile that amuses viewers most; small forehead, big lips, large eyes and high cheekbones!
Dame Eliza Manning, the head of MI5 says her agents are currently tracking 1,600 Al-Qaeda terror suspects who are plotting at least 30 major attacks in the U.K. What a chilling thought!
Meanwhile British UFO expert Nick Pope believes the government aren't doing enough to investigate UFO sightings and are leaving us wide open to an extra-terrestrial invasion!
Also in the news this week, I was interested to read that many British police are afraid to tackle yobs and teenage thugs. What happened to the days when law and order ruled and the police were treated with respect? Surely the job of the police is to protect us from the criminals on the streets. If they're not capable of doing this, then something has gone badly wrong and the law and order system in this country needs a serious overhaul.
British scientists have successfully restored the sight of mice using retinal cells transplanted from newborn mice. The animals treated had irreversible damage to their eyes, similar to that found in humans. The news offers hope to thousands of blind and partially sighted people throughout the U.K., many suffering from age related macular disorders and hereditary eye diseases.
British children with Type 1 diabetes are being recruited to test an artificial pancreas in a trial run by Cambridge University. If successful, the device could revolutionise treatment for childhood diabetics, eliminating the need for repeated jabs to test blood and give insulin. The artificial pancreas is made up of a computer sensor which calculates how much insulin is needed by the body and an insulin pump. It is hoped that after clinical trials over the next couple of years, the device could be available for diabetic children to use in their own homes.
I know this is going off my usual news topics. But every so often I see blogs that really take my eye. I discovered one such blog today. Anthony Mole is 19 years old and new to the British Blogosphere. I was very impressed with his blog. It is very well written. In his profile Anthony states:-
Society should reward ambition and punish criminal behaviour. I'm proud to be British but happy to welcome others. Decisions should be made by common sense and not by politically correct puppets. A life sentence should mean life - how can prison defer offenders if they know they'll be free again in a few months? Policeman should be on the beat and not behind a desk. The health service should be there for all - smokers included. Why should 60% of our laws be made by an undemocratic European Union?
My sentiments exactly. Go and pay Anthony a visit soon, using the link shown below:-
It seems that the government’s plan spurred on by celebrity chef Jamie Oliver, to improve the quality of school meals has backfired with fewer pupils than ever before now having school dinners. It’s an unfortunate fact of life that many children prefer the taste of chips and unhealthy food to healthier fare like vegetables and salads and are finding it difficult to get used to the new eating regime.
Tonight Britain celebrates Bonfire Night. Many readers have e-mailed me asking me to explain the origins of this special night. In 1605 a man called Guy Fawkes plotted with a band of others to blow up the Houses of Parliament, in the "Gunpowder Plot". They were angry at the persecution of Catholics by the King and planned to kill him in the explosion. The group were captured in the cellar of parliament, and executed before they had chance to go ahead with their plan. All over Britain on 5th November, we celebrate the capture of Guy Fawkes by having bonfire and fireworks displays and burning an effigy of Guy Fawkes. Groups of children can be seen with "guys" made out of old clothes asking for a "penny for the guy", a few days before Bonfire Night.
It seems that Britons are now constantly under surveillance with “Big Brother” watching our every move. According to a recent report Britain is the most spied upon nation in the free world, with a rise in CCTVs, speed cameras, internet monitoring and other sophisticated equipment monitoring our every move. Monitoring of travel, work rates and telecommunications is also on the increase. So now we know!
Well done to little Kirsty Howard on reaching her £5million target in her amazing fund-raising campaign. In reaching the target, Kirsty has secured the future of Francis House Children’s Hospice in Didsbury, Manchester. Kirsty, the brave little girl born with her heart back to front was given just 6 weeks to live 7 years ago. She is an inspiration to everyone who meets her and has formed friendships with many celebrities during her fund-raising campaign, including Ronan Keating and David Beckham. A book about Kirsty’s life, “Kirsty - Angel of Courage” is out on Friday with a foreword written by David Beckham. Well Done Kirsty!
As Britain celebrated British Sausage week, I’m a Celebrity winner Carol Thatcher launched the “Supreme Sausage Sarnie” competition. Bangers (sausages) are a great British favourite and the contest is open to anyone who thinks their sausage sandwich is the best. Regional winners will receive a prize of a weekend break in London!
British scientists made a breakthrough this week by developing the world’s first mini-liver. It was created using stem cells from umbilical cord blood in a machine used by NASA, which speeds up cell growth because of near zero gravity. The livers will be used by pharmaceutical companies to test new drugs, avoiding the need for both human and animal testing. In addition the small sections of liver could be used to treat patients in the next 10 to 15 years. Good news for anyone suffering from liver problems.
Britain’s Prime Minister Tony Blair warned this week that we face global catastrophe on a massive scale unless we take action now on global warming. Mr Blair’s message comes hot on the heels of a 700 page report by Sir Nicholas Stern, painting an apocalyptic future for the world if we carry on regardless, including rising sea levels and drought leaving over 200 million people homeless, 40 per cent of the world’s animal kingdom being wiped out and worldwide recession. Environment Secretary David Miliband has called for a menu of green taxes including duty on flights, pay-as-you-drive road taxes and higher duty on energy wasting appliances such as washing machines. It is clear to everybody that the world climate is changing. Britain has had the hottest summer on record and unseasonably warm weather this year. The results of Sir Nicholas Stern’s report are truly frightening. Hopefully they will be enough to convince the British public to change their ways and do their bit to save our planet. Even small things like switching off the tv rather than leaving it on standby or using energy saving lightbulbs could make a big difference to our future.
It seems that the latest “must have” accessory for Britain’s teenagers isn’t the latest mobile phone or gadget but an ASBO (Anti Social Behaviour Order)! Many teenagers believe that having an ASBO gives them “street cred” amongst their friends and far from seeing it as a punishment, they treat it as a badge of honour to be worn with pride! According to a survey by the Youth Justice Board, youngsters don’t take ASBOs seriously anymore, with many breaching the conditions of the orders. With more and more people afraid to go out at night because of rising crime and attacks by young thugs and yobs, surely it’s time that the Youth Justice Board ditched ASBOs and found a more appropriate method of punishment that works.