Wednesday, August 29, 2012

You In Your Small Corner, I Stand In Mine

Lord Justice Leveson is expected to launch what is being described as 'excoriating' criticism of various shitscum odious lice in the press after notices went out to all newspaper groups warning them that he anticipates making rulings on everything from privacy to self-regulation. Which is fantastic news. Now, hopefully, some of those sleazy phone-hacking bastards will know what it's like to sweat by having a monkey on your back. It is understood the same generic letter has gone to all the main national newspaper groups, but executives are anxiously awaiting a more damaging Rule Thirteen notice containing specific criticism of individual titles and witnesses. Leveson's Rule Thirteen notice is understood to be around one hundred pages long with a five page summary listing the areas Leveson is intending to make critical pronouncements on, according to alleged 'sources.' These notices are expected to contain 'explicit adverse comment' and could go to anyone in a newspaper group whom Leveson feels has been a bit of a twat and failed to uphold standards, as well as individuals from any other sectors who face criticism in the judge's final report. Witnesses during the one hundred and ninety seven day inquiry included politicians, police and media regulators. Rule Thirteen of the Inquiry Rules 2006, obliges Leveson to give those he intends to criticise a right to reply before publication. According to the Gruniad - which appears from their comments not to have received one of the Rule Thirteen notices, yet, much to their obvious glee - those 'with sight' of the first batch of Rule Thirteen notices said that the appeals court judge has 'thrown the kitchen sink' at the newspaper industry. And, frankly, it's about time someone did. 'It is excoriating,' an alleged 'source' allegedly said. The executive summary is understood to cover specific areas including self-regulation, invasion of privacy, the issue of prior notification of publication, accuracy and, the most vexed of all issues, 'public interest.' The editor of the Independent has said he fears that Lord Justice Leveson is 'loading a gun' against the industry. Chris Blackhurst said the letter issued by Leveson to all major national and regional newspapers warning them of potential criticism he may make in his report amounts to a 'demolition of the industry.' Blackhurst told BBC Radio 4's The Media Show on Wednesday afternoon that there was nothing positive in the letter, which runs to more than one hundred pages. 'It is a damning indictment of my industry,' he said. He added that 'some of the criticisms are certainly justified,' but that others 'raise eyebrows' and do not bear any relation to practices at his paper or other titles at his 'end of the market.' Yeah well, tough, mate. If you chose to swim in the gutter you get flushed down into the sewer with all the other turds. I'll shed no tears for any of you. Blackhurst said his reaction was one of 'shock and anger that it is so one-sided. It's a diatribe.' He said: 'It throws the book at the industry. The best way I can describe it is he's loading a gun, and this document – well over one hundred pages – is all the ammunition. And believe you me there is plenty of ammunition, you read the ammunition and you just gulp.' The letter is divided into sections with headline assertions such as 'self-regulation has failed' backed up with references to the evidence. Newspaper groups and others are anxiously awaiting the second batch of Rule Thirteen notices which could be more damaging, corporately. Leveson said during the inquiry that his findings were intended to 'provide a narrative' on which to base recommendations. But he added that if he felt the need to make a 'specific criticism of any sort against an individual or title, a separate notice would be provided.' News International is preparing for the worst in the wake of the phone-hacking affair, which included the hacking of Milly Dowler's phone, but it will be doing its best to deflect criticism of its flagship brand the Sun, hoping that the disgraced and disgraceful Scum of the World will be Leveson's main target. Some chance. Printing those pictures of Prince Harry's knob couldn't, possibly, have been at a less appropriate time, it would seem. Leveson said earlier in the inquiry that he will not make findings as to the culture and ethics of individual titles 'save, perhaps, in relation to the News of the World,' but he put newspapers 'on notice' that he may make specific criticisms of individual titles. The Press Complaints Commission is also expected to be heavily criticised, but it has already accepted its fate and is currently winding down. Tabloid editors linked to what the inquiry described as 'egregious' breaches of the PCC code of practice seem unlikely to escape censure by Leveson. He has already criticised the Daily Scum Express over coverage of the disappearance of Madeleine McCann. During the inquiry he accused the newspaper of writing 'complete piffle' and 'tittle-tattle' about the McCanns. The Daily Mirra will also be in his sights in relation to its coverage of Christopher Jefferies, the Bristol landlord questioned by police about the murder of Joanna Yeates, but released without charge and cleared of any involvement. Former editor Richard Wallace apologised to the inquiry for this coverage. Leveson has said that under the legislation, he has discretion about warning anyone who is 'criticised expressly or inferentially in the evidence in order' but said in a ruling during the inquiry that he 'cannot include any explicit or significant criticism of a person to whom I have not given such a warning.' It means that those who do not receive a second warning letter can confidently expect to escape censure in his final report.

Yer actual Matt Smith his very self has hinted that a monster from the classic series of Doctor Who could soon return. coughZygonscough. Sorry, yer actual Keith Telly Topping has been rather chesty of later. Anyway, the actor told TV Choice that an enemy from the show's original 1963-1989 run might make an appearance in a future episode. 'Perhaps there are some classic monsters coming back,' he hinted. 'There's one I'm very intrigued by, which we haven't seen for quite some time.' Quizzed about the returning threat, Smith clarified: '[It's] a thing we haven't seen since the series returned to our screens in 2005.' So, let us let Zygons be Zygons. As it were. Meanwhile, Smudger has said that Jenna-Louise Coleman's character - Avocado - will 'redefine' his role as The Doctor. The former Emmerdale and Waterloo Road  actress takes over as the Doctor's companion part-way through the next series oafter the departure of Karen Gillan and Arthur Darvill. Asked how the Doctor would change without Amy and Rory, Smudger told that bastion of truthful honest journalism Heat magazine: 'That's something I'm trying to explore in the playing of him at the moment. I think a new companion coming in changes who he is, so hopefully there'll be some kind of fruits in that relationship redefining him a little.' Gillan added: 'I think The Doctor's going to be sad to see the Ponds leave, but he's also going to carry on, because that's what he's done for the past fifty years, essentially.' On the subject of how Coleman has been getting on, Smith said: 'She's doing brilliantly. She's actually doing night shoots as we speak, poor thing.'

The third part of the Doctor Who web series Pond Life has been released by the BBC. The latest instalment - again written by Chris Chibnall - features Amy (Karen Gillan), Rory (Arthur Darvill) and a popular returning monster. The Ood's intrusion into Amy and Rory's bathroom follows Tuesday's second episode, in which The Doctor stumbled into the couple's bedroom.
The Great British Bake Off is still delivering some remarkable ratings for BBC2,the latest episode being watched by nearly 4.2m punters on Tuesday night. The third edition of the new series of the cookery show served up an average of 4.17m, with the audience growing healthily between 8pm and 9pm, peaking near to five million in the last five minutes. Bake Off's continued prowess also had a positive effect on The Midwives, which climbed four hundred and seventy thousand viewers week-on-week to 2.57m in the 9pm hour. Meanwhile, Jimmy McGovern's unhealthy misery-fest Accused shed more viewers (for the second week in a row), although it still comfortably won its post-watershed slot with 4.08m. BBC1's fellow dramas Holby City and EastEnders performed solidly earlier on. A Born To Kill? documentary about Myra Hindley boosted Channel Five, drawing 1.48m at 8pm. Channel Four's ninety-minute religious documentary - Islam: The Untold Story - interested 1.24m from 9pm, while a repeat of ITV's Lewis had 2.39m between 8pm and 10pm. Overall, BBC1 scored another convincing primetime win with 21.7 per cent against ITV's 12.5 per cent.

Clare Balding has claimed that The X Factor 'feels different' after the London 2012 Olympics. The presenter told Heat that the 'fair' and 'brutal' world of the games has cast the reality talent show in a new light. 'I watched The X Factor last Saturday. It just felt different,' she said. 'After the Olympics, we now really admire real people, achieving things that have taken a lot of training and dedication, and some hint of sacrifice.' She added: 'They win or they lose and it's a fair world, but it's quite brutal. And I think we all just watched The X Factor a little more cynically than before and it didn't feel right. It's like suddenly the chocolate you eat is fake. You know, it just doesn't taste like chocolate any more.' And, you've only just realise this, Clare? Radio 1 DJ Huw Stephens has said that a legacy of the Olympics was the proof that 'hard work and dedication makes real superstars.' Record-breaking Olympian Chris Hoy has admitted that he is 'not a huge fan of reality TV,' adding: 'Real life is not about instant gratification or overnight fame.'

The former Times journalist Patrick Foster has been arrested by Metropolitan police detectives investigating computer hacking. Foster was arrested at his home address in North London early on Wednesday morning. The Met said the arrest related to 'suspected offences under the Computer Misuse Act and conspiracy to pervert the course of justice.' Scotland Yard added that the arrest related to the 'identification of a previously anonymous blogger in 2009.' The blogger is understood to be Richard Horton, a police constable who was unmasked by The Times as the man behind the NightJack blog in 2009. The arrested individual was being questioned at a North London police station on Wednesday morning. This arrest is the first by Scotland Yard's Operation Tuleta investigation into computer hacking that relates specifically to the NightJack case. Horton was unmasked as the NightJack blogger in July 2009. Horton's blog, which won the prestigious Orwell prize for its descriptions of a PC's life, was then closed down and he was reprimanded by his police superiors. Foster is a former graduate trainee at The Times. He left the paper in 2011 and has since written freelance articles for the Daily Torygraph and the Gruniad Morning Star. The NightJack affair resurfaced in February at the Leveson inquiry into press ethics. James Harding, the editor of The Times, and the paper's former legal manager, Alastair Brett, gave evidence to the inquiry over the identification of Horton as NightJack. Horton is now suing the publisher of The Times, News International subsidiary Times Newspapers, for breach of confidence, misuse of private information and deceit. For mucho wonga. The Lancashire detective's claims all arise from the alleged unlawful accessing of his e-mail account in May 2009.

Bob Bird, the former Scotland editor of the disgraced and disgraceful Scum of the World, has been arrested and charged by police investigating allegations of perjury and phone-hacking linked to Tommy Sheridan's conviction for lying in court. Strathclyde police took Bird in for questioning on Wednesday morning as part of their long-running Operation Rubicon inquiry into claims that witnesses lied under oath during the perjury trial of the Scottish socialist leader Tommy Sheridan in 2010. Bird was later released from custody and a report will now be prepared for prosecutors. A Strathclyde police spokewoman said: 'Officers from Operation Rubicon of Strathclyde Police arrested and charged a fifty six-year-old man with attempting to pervert the course of justice at the time of the defamation action of Thomas Sheridan versus News Groups Newspapers. A report will be submitted to the procurator fiscal in Glasgow. Proceedings are now active and it would be inappropriate for us to comment any further.' The Crown Office said that Bird was arrested and charged on suspicion of attempting to pervert the course of justice. Bird is the third former Scum of the World journalist to be held by Strathclyde detectives. His former boss, Andy Coulson, was arrested on suspicion of lying under oath during Sheridan's trial and charged with perjury in May. Bird's former news editor on the scum tabloid's Scottish edition and later Scum of the World's books editor, Doug Wight, was arrested and charged two weeks ago as part of the same investigation. Wight was charged with perjury, conspiracy to hack telephones and breaches of the data protection acts. All three deny the charges. Operation Rubicon was set up in the wake of the closure of the Scum of the World in shame and ignominy last summer, following allegations that News International staff had hacked the phone of the missing schoolgirl Millie Dowler. In collaboration with Crown Office prosecutors, Strathclyde police are investigating allegations that Sheridan and a number of people linked to him were victims of phone hacking, allegations that data protection legislation was breached, and that witnesses in Sheridan's trial lied under oath. Sheridan was convicted in December 2010 of committing perjury when he won a celebrated defamation action against the Scum of the World in 2006, after the paper published detailed allegations about his sex life and alleged adultery.

This Is England star Chanel Cresswell has revealed that the cast are still hoping for a final series of the drama. Shane Meadows was reported to have stopped work on a third TV series based on his 2006 film to focus on his Stone Roses documentary. 'I don't know [if there will be another series], it depends,' Cresswell told reporters. 'Obviously This Is England '90 would be the next one, but we haven't had a definite no or a yes yet. But we all wish it will happen, because that would be a good end. The '90s will be a really fun time to do.' Cresswell - who stars in Sky's wretched, worthless comedy Trollied - plays Kelly Jenkins in the Channel Four drama. 'In This is England, you work really hard and rightly so,' the twenty two-year-old actress explained. 'Shane does it spot on. Filming that, he makes you live what you're filming and your personality does change.'

The BBC has been accused of 'stereotyping Muslims' in its new sitcom, Citizen Khan although by whom is matter for some debate. The broadcaster has reportedly received one hundred and eighty five complaints since the first episode was broadcast on BBC1 on Monday, with some of these allegedly claiming that the sitcom was a 'tasteless depiction of Islam.' Given that it's written by and stars several Muslims, some may feel that's an odd assertion. It's a bit like claiming Mrs Brown's Boys gives a stereotypical representation of the Irish. Complaints are said to have risen overnight, however, the BBC said it has evidence of a lobbying campaign. The six-part series follows a Muslim community worker in Birmingham. It was created by British Muslim, Adil Ray, who also stars in the show. Other members of the cast include My Family's Kris Marshall as a mosque manager and Shobu Kapoor, who played Gita in EastEnders, as Mrs Khan. The media watchdog, Ofcom, said it received 'in the region of twenty' complaints about the programme. One viewer who complained to the BBC said the show 'insulted' and 'ridiculed' Islam. 'We feel though as if this show has crossed the line and we expected a comedy show but now we have witnessed a mocking show,' said the viewer. Who, exactly, 'we' referred to, he or she didn't say. Another wrote that the content was 'bigoted' and 'offensive.' But others, commenting on a BBC messageboard following Monday night's broadcast defended the show. Referring to a scene in which a teenage daughter hastily changed her attire before her father entered the room, one said: 'People are reading too much into Citizen Khan, especially the hijab thing, it happens!' Comedian Humza Arshad, star of the hit Internet comedy Diary of a Badman, told the BBC's Asian Network that he felt some of the jokes 'went a bit too far. I wasn't offended but I think some other people might be. For example, the scene with the Qu'ran. Personally I'd play it safe. Some people might complain about it - I've got similar feedback myself by the audience, the Muslim community is one of the most sensitive communities out there.' Former Secretary General of the Muslim Council of Britain, Yousuf Bhailok said the show was 'the best thing the BBC has done recently. It is good to change the stereotyped image of Muslims always being serious and shouting that has appeared so often in the media,' he said. 'There is great humour among Muslims. I am glad it has been made.' Reviews of the show have been mixed, with the website, Asian Image saying that it split opinion. But then, so did Dad's Army when it started so that's not, necessarily, a bad thing. 'Asians will easily identify with the over-emotional Mrs Khan, the daughter who lives a double life and the sensitive Amjad,' said reviewer Amjad Malik. 'It was stereotypical because in many respects that is what comedy is about. The jokes were a little poor in parts but I sense the criticism is a little unfair.' Arifa Akbar, writing in the Independent said it wasn't a bad comedy, 'it just wasn't new. Comedy doesn't have a duty to represent real people, but it does need to be funny, and while a family comedy requires a broad appeal, this is no reason to unspool recycled jokes that worked a treat forty years ago,' said Akbar. The criticism was echoed in the Daily Lies, which added: 'The show's weakness isn't so much that it's a niche comedy but the fact that its style feels incredibly dated, like an old-fashioned studio sitcom from twenty-odd years back.' Meanwhile, a review in the Gruniad Morning Star described the sitcom as 'un-bold' and 'safe.' The BBC said the first episode of Citizen Khan was watched by 3.6 million viewers, which it described as 'a very positive start.' A spokeswoman said: 'We're delighted that so many people enjoyed this new comedy and we have received a number of appreciations from members of the Muslim community and beyond in praise of the show and for creator Adil Ray, who like the family portrayed, is a British Pakistani Muslim. Alongside these appreciations, a small percentage of viewers have complained to the BBC regarding the show's portrayal of the Muslim community. New comedy always provokes differing reactions from the audience and as with all sitcoms the characters are comic creations and not meant to be representative of the community as a whole,' she added. Yer actual Keith Telly Topping his very self, incidentally, thought it was a pretty decent effort for a first episode - I agree about the feel being rather old-fashioned in some ways - again, not that this is necessarily a bad thing, Miranda has a similar 'I've seen this before' quality to it. But, overall, it had enough jokes which worked in the first half-hour to keep me vaguely interested. And, in terms of any sitcom these days, that's a big plus.

American Idol producer nasty Nigel Lythgoe is to develop a remake of the 1980s musical TV series Fame. The original show, based on the Oscar-winning 1980 film, followed the students of the New York City High School for the Performing Arts. The new series will be set in the present day against the backdrop of a fixation with the world of celebrity. Lythgoe, who is also a judge on So You Think You Can Dance, will make the show in partnership with MGM TV. Lythgoe said in a statement the remake would 'expose the gritty struggle, heartache and pain endured in the search for stardom and the often lofty price paid for success.' Lythgoe added: 'In my lifetime, I've discovered a great many incredibly talented individuals - some have achieved stardom. Simultaneously, I've seen many dreams shattered, egos destroyed and lives changed forever. The end destination may well be fame and fortune, but the road to stardom is littered with broken hearts. I look forward to stripping away the glitter and glamour and revealing the true mixture of passion, humanity, exhaustion and sacrifice that these richly talented individuals endure on their road to fame.' The first Fame TV series began in 1982 and ran for five seasons, spawning an LP and a number of - frankly appalling - singles.

Complaints about unwanted marketing calls have trebled to almost ten thousand a month since the beginning of 2012 thanks to a huge surge in activity by PPI and accident claim firms. Telecoms watchdog Ofcom said that in July alone nine thousand eight hundred and three complaints about unsolicited marketing calls were registered with the Telephone Preference Service, the official central opt-out register on which householders can record their preference not to receive such calls. This compares with three thousand two hundred and twelve complaints in December 2011. 'The problem [with such calls] is a growing issue and can be partly attributed to an increase in the aggressive marketing practices of PPI and accident claims firms,' said an Ofcom spokeswoman. The number of people who have complained to the telecoms watchdog about silent or abandoned calls has also trebled to more than three thousand a month since the beginning of the year. Silent calls have become an increasing cause of nuisance and alarm, particularly for older people. They occur when automatic dialer systems used by call centres make more calls than they have people to take them. If there is no one available to take an answered call it is automatically dropped; the consumer will hear nothing before being cut off. Under Ofcom's rules the number of abandoned calls companies make to consumers each day is not allowed to exceed three per cent of the total live calls made on that day. In January 2012 one thousand one hundred and thirty two complaints about such calls were made to Ofcom, a figure little changed from six months earlier. However, since then complaints have rocketed, reaching three thousand three hundred and ninety in July. In April Ofcom fined home insurance and repairs firm HomeServe seven hundred and fifty thousand smackers for making excessive numbers of silent and abandoned calls. At the time Claudio Pollock, Ofcom's consumer director, said: 'We hope the fine will send a strong message to all companies that use call centres that they need to ensure they are fully compliant with the rules or face the consequences.' But, seemingly, it hasn't. The number of complaints suggests that the problem of silent calls is growing, although Ofcom attributes much of the rise to changes in the way it has collated its data over the last few months and a growing awareness by householders about how to complain. Ofcom can take enforcement action against companies making silent calls and is currently investigating two, npower and TalkTalk. Complaints about receiving abandoned and/or silent calls can be registered on its website. The Information Commissioner's Office is responsible for taking enforcement action where a company makes marketing calls to a person who is registered with the TPS and has not given prior consent to receive such calls. Consumers can complain directly to the ICO on its website. For a complaint to be recorded by the TPS, the person making the complaint must have been registered with it for at least twenty eight days. 'The real problem is that companies are prepared to break the law because the Information Commissioner's Office, which is responsible for enforcing the law, hasn't been flexing its muscles. As a result there's no real deterrent for wrong-doers,' said a spokesman for the Direct Marketing Association which runs the TPS. Jo Connell, chair of the Communications Consumer Panel, which highlights consumer issues to Ofcom, said the steep rise in the number of complaints to the TPS was 'of serious concern. We encourage Ofcom, the Information Commissioner and TPS to strengthen their co-operative efforts and take action to reduce the incidence of unwanted calls,' she said.

Artist Damien Hirst has revealed the inspiration for his famous spin paintings - an episode of children's TV show Blue Peter, which demonstrated the technique in 1975. Presenter John Noakes made a rudimentary spin painting on air, watched by a nine-year-old Hirst. 'I grew up with Blue Peter,' he said. 'I got my idea for the spin paintings from an episode in the 1970s.' Hirst is seen making his artworks on the CBBC show on Thursday. His signature spin paintings have sold for more than one million quid and have helped make him one of the world's most celebrated and wealthy artists. 'I never thought it was real art,' he said of spin painting. 'I remember thinking, "That's fun, whereas art is something more serious." And then as I got older, I started thinking about Van Gogh and all those painters, and cutting your ear off when you're painting, and at that point I thought, "Why does it have to be like that?" I thought, "No, actually, the better art is the art made with the spin machine."' Hirst's passion was then piqued by a stall at a school fete that charged five pence to make a spin painting. 'I queued up all day and I was making them over and over again,' he told the show. Now forty seven, Hirst has gone on to become one of Britain's most well-known but divisive artists. His first major retrospective, which is drawing to a close at Tate Modern in London, has been a hit with visitors, and he created a giant spin-style painting to adorn the floor of the Olympic Stadium for the 2012 London Games closing ceremony. But his detractors include art critic Julian Spalding,who sounds like one of those people who talk loudly in restaurants, who recently suggested Hirst's pieces had 'no artistic content' and would soon be 'worthless financially.' Oooo, get her. Hirst has been presented with a gold Blue Peter badge to recognise his contribution to British art and he will be seen showing children how to make spin paintings on the show on Thursday. Blue Peter editor Tim Levell said: 'I imagine a young Damien Hirst watching Blue Peter with wide-eyed wonder and then going out and trying something new that eventually inspired a whole body of his work. We hope the show continues to inspire and encourage today's children with every episode.'

Three adverts trumpeting the high welfare standards of pork sold with the Red Tractor quality mark have been banned by the Advertising Standards Authority, which found the claims could mislead consumers into thinking pig welfare in Britain was better than it is. 'This is a victory for consumers, who deserve to be able to choose higher welfare meat without being misled,' said Joyce D'Silva from campaign group Compassion in World Farming, which made the complaint. 'Claims of high welfare are clearly a lucrative marketing tool but in this case they were overblown and misleading to the consumer. The "pork not porkies" claim on the advert makes this a particularly embarrassing own-goal for Red Tractor pork. This is also a victory for those pig farmers in the UK who adhere to higher welfare standards like the Soil Association's organic standard or the RSPCA's Freedom Food.' Most British farms are members of the Red Tractor scheme, a label of the Assured Food Standards scheme, accounting for forty per cent of pork sold on UK shelves. The Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board told ASA the three adverts it commissioned were intended to compare the welfare standards of Britain and pork imported from many EU countries, where sow stalls are still in use despite an imminent EU ban and castration is still common practice. The ASA said that this comparison was unclear and that consumers could interpret the adverts as championing the general level of pig welfare in the UK. 'We considered that the claim implied that there were no concerns about the welfare of pigs in the UK, whereas some areas were unlikely to be regarded as "high" welfare,' it said in its adjudication. CIWF has said it is particularly concerned by the scheme's guidelines on the use of slatted flooring and farrowing crates for sows. D'Silva said: 'The Red Tractor labelling scheme for pork does not guarantee high welfare and we are delighted that the ASA agrees with us that the claim was misleading.' In a statement, the RSPCA said that although some Red Tractor farms went 'well above' the basic scheme requirements, others were failing to meet all the animals' needs. But it added: 'Under the Red Tractor scheme pigs can be kept on bare concrete or slatted floors with no comfortable bedding or suitable materials such as straw to root around in – not conditions which the RSPCA, and many shoppers, would equate with "high welfare."' The ASA found that Red Tractor made efforts to control the use of these methods, and that it set stringent standards for their farms with spot checks and inspections. It also pointed out that, due to differences such as a ban on sow stalls in place in the UK since 1999, 'the quality of pig welfare in the UK was high in comparison with the welfare of pigs in many European countries.' In a statement, Red Tractor claimed that animal welfare was at the core of its standards. 'We are pleased that the ASA ruling accepts that Red Tractor pork is produced to higher standards than the EU legislation that underpins pork production in the rest of Europe, but we are slightly disappointed that the ASA felt that this obvious point of reference should have been made more explicit in the adverts. The fact is that much of the imported pork that we see on shelves is produced in systems that would be illegal in the UK, let alone below Red Tractor standards. Even changes to EU pig welfare regulations that come into effect from January 2013 still won't be on par with the Red Tractor standards.' BPEX, a division of the AHDB, said it accepted the ASA's ruling on what it considered 'a small technicality.' Director Mick Sloyan said: 'We will continue to promote the independently audited standards behind Red Tractor pork and pork products, including welfare, in a way that is absolutely clear to consumers.'

The advertising watchdog has told BSkyB to stop 'exaggerating' the speed of its film download service, after rival BT complained its claim that it was 'instant' was misleading. BSkyB ran a press advertisement promoting its new film rental service, Sky Store, marketing it as a 'movie store in your home – available instantly through your Sky+ box. Rent movies instantly.' BT, which owns rival pay-TV broadband video service BT Vision, lodged a complaint with the Advertising Standards Authority. The telecoms company argued that BSkyB's claim misleadingly exaggerated the speed with which films would be available to consumers using the service. BSkyB countered that customers would understand that 'rent movies instantly' meant via a download to the Sky+ box, and that films would be available to view very quickly – 'within seconds, as opposed to minutes.' The advertising watchdog was not swayed by BSkyB's argument. It said that making a claim of 'instant' indicated to consumers that they could watch a film 'straightaway, or with no noticeable delay,' when in fact Sky admitted that for some viewers with slower broadband connections the delay could be considerably longer. 'We considered that a delay of up to a minute for most customers (and longer for those with slower broadband connections) would not be in line with their reasonable expectations for an online movie service which was described as "instant"' the ASA ruled. 'We therefore considered that the ad had exaggerated the capabilities of the service and we concluded that it was likely to mislead.' The ASA told Sky not to exaggerate the speed with which consumers would be able to access movies using the Sky Store service.

Two attendees were ejected from Republican National Convention on Tuesday for throwing nuts at a black CNN camerawoman. The individuals told her 'this is how we feed animals' as they threw the nuts, multiple witness said. Convention security and police removed the two from the convention centre shortly after the incident. In a statement, convention officials said the attendees had 'exhibited deplorable behaviour. Their conduct was inexcusable and unacceptable. This kind of behaviour will not be tolerated.' The identities of the two ejected was unclear. News broadcaster CNN confirmed the incident but had no additional comment. The incident happened on Tuesday in the Tampa Bay Times Forum, where delegates officially nominated Mitt Romney as the Republican candidate to face President Barack Obama in the November presidential election.

The Paralympic flame has reached outer London as part of a twenty four-hour torch relay to herald the start of the 2012 Games. Four national flames, kindled last week, were united in a cauldron at a ceremony in Stoke Mandeville - the spiritual home of the Paralympics. A flame lit from that cauldron is being carried ninety two miles from Buckinghamshire to London's Olympic Stadium. The Queen and the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge are among those attending Wednesday's opening ceremony. Crowds gathered in the market square in Aylesbury, to watch the start of the relay on Tuesday night and thousands more turned out overnight to cheer on the torchbearers along the route. Running about ninety minutes late, the flame, which is being carried by some five hundred and eighty torchbearers in total, is due to arrive at Britain's first traditional Hindu temple, the Shri Swaminarayan Mandir Temple in Brent. It will then visit Lord's, London Zoo and the Abbey Road zebra crossing made famous by The Beatles among other famous landmarks in the capital. In Trafalgar Square later, former boxer Michael Watson, wheelchair racer Dame Tanni Grey Thompson and Paralympic swimmer Chris Holmes will carry the flame. About three thousand invited guests, including Paralympians, representatives from disability groups and local residents, attended Tuesday evening's ceremony at Stoke Mandeville Stadium. Some one hundred and fifty local residents took part in a lantern procession and formed a guard of honour for eight torchbearers who carried flames representing England, Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales. The children who were invited to take part in the procession, together with their parents, had gathered at Stoke Mandeville last week to make the lanterns out of canes, tissue paper and sticky tape. One of those involved was twelve-year-old William Lansdown from Hazlemere in Buckinghamshire, who has Down's Syndrome and attends a sports group for disabled children. 'The lanterns looked brilliant,' said William's mother, Lynn. 'It was a great atmosphere, with the emphasis on families taking part and not just disabled people. The fact that so many children were involved made it special, given the theme of inspiring a generation to do more sport.' Earlier, performers entertained the crowds ahead of speeches by International Paralympic Committee president Sir Philip Craven, Lord Coe, chairman of Games organisers LOCOG, and the lack of culture secretary the vile and odious rascal Hunt. Eva Loeffler, the daughter of the founder of the Paralympic Games, Dr Ludwig Guttman, paid tribute to the role the Stoke Mandeville Games - and her father - had in defining the modern Paralympic movement. Lord Coe addressed the crowd, saying he was 'excited' to be at the home of the games on the eve of their opening. Speaking of Dr Guttman, he said: 'It is simply not possible to stand here without feeling a mountainous debt of gratitude for one of the world's great visionaries.' Carrying the English flame was Katie Piper and Paralympian Tony Griffin. Piper, who suffered major injuries when her ex-boyfriend attacked her with sulphuric acid, was nominated for setting up the Katie Piper Foundation and raising awareness of burns survivors. During a ten-year career Griffin won thirty eight medals and works as Bolton's Sports Ambassador promoting disabled sport. The Scottish flame was carried by boxer Jon Jo Look, who has a prosthetic leg and coaches youngsters in the sport, and Noel McShane, who set up the National Wheelchair Tennis Association of Great Britain and the British Open Wheelchair Tennis Championships. Darren Ferguson, a special constable who talked down a distressed man from a bridge, and Joseph Morris, who saved a girl from drowning in a river, carried the Northern Ireland flame. Julie Gilbert and Marsha Wiseman carried the Welsh flame. Shortly after 20:00, the first team of torchbearers - Paralympians chosen by the IPC - left the stadium, signalling the start of the twenty four-hour torch relay. Just before midnight the torch was carried through the village of Weston Turville, in Buckinghamshire, where residents lit candles to line the route. A London 2012 spokeswoman said: 'Each place has got a different way of doing things. In Weston Turville the candles along the street were superb, in Tring it was the sheer number of people, and in Berkhamsted there was music while the torch went along the High Street, and when it left the church bells rang out.' Making up the first team of torchbearers were IPC president Sir Philip Craven took part in five Paralympic Games mainly in wheelchair basketball, and swimming, Baroness Susan Masham represented Britain at the first two Paralympic Games winning medals in swimming and table tennis, Caz Walton has been involved in every Paralympic Games since 1964 as both an athlete and team manager, Sally Haynes took part in the first Paralympic Games in Rome in 1960 and went on to compete at a further three games winning medals in the Epee discipline of wheelchair fencing and table tennis, Jane Blackburn took part in five Paralympic Games between 1972 and 1992 competing in archery, athletics, lawn bowls, swimming and table tennis and winning eleven Paralympic medals including five golds. When it arrives at the Olympic Park in Stratford it will be used to light the cauldron during the opening ceremony of the games. The event, called Enlightenment and created by Bradley Hemmings and Jenny Sealey, will showcase the skills of disabled artists with a cast of three thousand adult volunteers including injured soldiers and past Paralympic athletes.

Any club hoping to lure a big name away from yer actual Newcastle United during the remaining days of the summer transfer window would have to make an 'astronomical' offer to succeed. The Press Association says it understands only bids which the club simply 'could not ignore' would prompt the Magpies to even consider parting with the likes of skipper Fabricio Coloccini or midfielders Cheick Tioté and Yohan Cabaye. Coloccini has been linked with Premier League champions Sheikh Yer Man City in recent days, while both Tioté and Cabaye have been touted as targets for The Arse ahead of Friday's deadline. Gunners boss sour-faced Arsene Wenger has played down his reported interest in the Côte d'Ivoire international, although Newcastle counterpart Alan Pardew will be a relieved man if he gets to Saturday morning without losing any of his key players. However, potential purchasers will be left in little doubt that, with the Magpies not looking to sell, they would have to find in excess of twenty million smackers to give themselves any chance of landing a member of Pardew's blue chip brigade. Indeed, it is understood that if Wenger was to pursue an interest in Cabaye, for example, it would take much of the proceeds of Robin van Persie's twenty four million knicker switch to The Scum to unlock the door at St James' Park. The values of all three men have grown appreciably during their time on Tyneside with Coloccini recovering from a difficult start in English football to not only justify his ten million quid price-tag, but prove an astute acquisition. Both Tioté and Cabaye, of course, are products of the club's much-envied recruitment policy which has seen chief scout Graham Carr scouring the continent and identifying players with potential for the Magpies to snap up at competitive prices. The Ivorian cost Newcastle just three and a half million smackers when he joined from Dutch side FC Twente during the summer of 2010, while the Frenchman's signature was secured from Lille in return for £4.8million a year later. Both have been big hits in the Premier League with Tioté's all-action, aggressive style complementing Cabaye's cultured passing game, and both have played central roles in the club's return to prominence. Pardew, who spent the first two months of the summer hoping no club would activate the £7.5million release clause in striker Demba Ba's contract (now expired), knows all players have their price following Andy Carroll's thirty five million knicker departure for Liverpool just weeks into his reign. However, he is desperate to strengthen, rather than weaken, his current crop and to that end, still has hopes of adding further recruits of his own. Pardew has so far drafted in midfielders Dutch Vurnon Anita, Gael Bigirimana, Romain Amalfitano and Australian teenage defender Curtis Good, and is keen to boost his options in both defence and attack. His interest in Lille full-back Mathieu Debuchy and Twente's Brazilian central defender Douglas has been well-documented, while Carroll's proposed return from Anfield, either on loan or at a knock-down price, remains a big talking point in the press at least despite the Reds' disdain. But with all three deals having proved difficult to execute, the club has alternatives, although all activity will be governed by the insistence of owner Mike Ashley and managing director Derek Llambias that they will only do business on their own terms, a policy which has occasionally frustrated fans but which, in the long term,s seems to be paying dividends.

Meanwhile, Trinity Mirra's Sunday Sun title has suffered a sales decline of more than twenty per cent in the first six months of the year, with the publisher blaming the circulation drop on the paper's local team, Newcastle United, doing 'too well' in the Premier League last season. The Sunday Sun, which has also had to face the arrival of billionaire tyrant Rupert Murdoch's near-namesake national tabloid, has reported a 22.1 per cent decline in circulation in the first half of 2012 compared to the previous six months. A spokesman for Trinity Mirra cautioned against linking the slump in circulation to the launch of News International's new national Sunday tabloid, the Sun on Sunday, first published on 26 February. Instead the spokesman pointed to the impressive performance of Newcastle United, finishing fifth in the last Premier League season that ended in May. The Magpies' strong end to the season saw more of their matches during the run-in switched from Saturday to Sunday for broadcast on Sky Sports. Just three of Newcastle's last eleven Premier League games were on a Saturday, robbing the Sunday Sun of a day of readers digesting match reports, comment and analysis. In addition, the Euro 2012 tournament meant that the usual summer of news and gossip about signings and transfers was muted during May and June. 'The ongoing economic downturn continues to present challenges across the entire regional publishing industry,' said a spokesman for Trinity Mirra. 'However, we continue to take actions to strengthen our brands across all platforms including our newspapers, websites and mobile sites.'

England captain Andrew Strauss has retired from all forms of cricket. Strauss skippered his country in fifty of his one hundred Tests and is handing over to one-day captain Alastair Cook. Strauss, thirty five, said: 'For me the driver to it all quite frankly was my form with the bat. In truth, I haven't batted well enough for a long time now. I think I have run my race.' He denied his decision to quit was influenced by the furore over Kevin Pietersen's axing from the team. Strauss scored seven thousand and thirty seven Test runs at an average of 40.91, leaving him ninth in England's all-time run-scorers list. During his time in charge, England became the world's best team for the first time. Cook, twenty seven, will take charge of his country for the first time in the four-Test series against India in November. He said: 'I'm very excited by this new challenge. It is a huge honour to be appointed Test captain and I am very much looking forward to captaining the side in India this winter and beyond.' Strauss was England's third-most experienced captain and the second-most successful behind Michael Vaughan, with a record of twenty four wins from his fifty matches at the helm. He also led the side to home and away Ashes triumphs during a run of victories which saw them crowned as the world's number one team for the first time since the rankings were introduced. Strauss added: 'I am extremely proud of everything I have achieved as a cricketer and I have found myself very fortunate to play in an era when some of English cricket's greatest moments have occurred. I have loved every minute of it. It hasn't been something that occurred overnight. It has built over a few months. I would like to go out on my own terms with my head held high and I think this is the right time.' The retirement of Strauss will be overshadowed to an extent by the unsavoury controversy involving Pietersen. Strauss was said to be the subject of 'provocative' text messages which Pietersen sent to South African players during England's two-nil series defeat by the Proteas. But Strauss was insistent he had made a decision about his future before the news of the texts broke on the eve of his one hundredth Test match at Lord's. 'I first spoke to Andy Flower about it prior to the Kevin Pietersen incident rearing its head,' he said. 'It just hasn't been a consideration. I first spoke to Andy about this a few weeks ago and said I'm considering it and would talk to him at end of the South Africa series. By the time I spoke to him again, my mind was made up and I think he knew that.' Strauss sent letters to members of the England team explaining his decision to retire and they responded by sending him one hundred bottles of wine. It was a sign of the high regard the dressing room held him in, a view Cook voiced as he paid tribute to his predecessor. 'Obviously I've got huge boots to fill,' said Cook. 'It feels like I've spent all my England career walking out to bat with him. Unfortunately it might mean I have to take the first ball now.'

German referee Dr Felix Brych embarrassed himself in a Bundesliga match between Hannover and Schalke on Sunday by drenching himself with his own bottle of water. Bet he felt like a right drip. He may well be a doctor in law and refereed some of football's top games in the Champions League, but Brych was left wet-faced after a battle with a water bottle. Mid-way through the second-half, the thirty seven-year-old saw the opportunity to take a quick swig when a Hannover defender was being treated for an injury. But despite all those years of studying, he struggled to undo the admittedly odd sachet of water. After asking for help from goalkeeper Ron-Robert Zieler, Brych could only succeeded in bursting the liquid all over his mush. Brych was officiating Hannover's match against Schalke on Sunday, which ended 2-2 thanks to a last minute equaliser from Adrian Nikci.

Anyway, on that amusingly moist note, here's yer actual Keith Telly Topping's 45 of the Day, dear blog reader.

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