Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Remember Their Views Are Not The Gospel Truth

The Doctor Who production crew parked the TARDIS at Trade Street Cafe in Cardiff on Thursday as location filming continued on series eight. The Trade Street Cafe behind Cardiff Central Railway Station was cordoned off for most of the day as the crew assembled the TARDIS prop and yer actual Peter Capaldi and Jenna Coleman her very self filmed scenes, reportedly for episode twelve of the BBC's popular family SF drama. Peter gladly signed autographs for the excited few who were hoping to catch a glimpse of what might happen during the new series. And Jenna, well she just looked gorgeous. As usual.
Is yer actual Frank Skinner about to become the latest addition to the Doctor Who action figure range? The comedian, who recently fulfilled what he said was a lifelong ambition to appear as a character in the show, has revealed that he was photographed by the toy making people 'just in case' they wanted to immortalise him in plastic. He made the claim in a recent edition of his Saturday morning radio show, in which he said: 'This guy said, "I need to take your photo", so I had to stand in front of this white screen in my costume, which obviously I can't describe, and I was photographed in the round – so I had to turn around a little bit, turn around a little bit. I said, "What was that for?" He said, "That was just in case you are an action figure." I'm not saying I will be, but I think that is every man's ambition to be an action figure!'
And, for the Doctor Who collectors out there (and I know there is at least one of you), here's the extra special promotional covers of Titan's new Doctor Who comics range. Some nice brace-work going on there, Smudger.
Not forgetting, of course, the new chap and his geet cush skinheed boots.
What's that, dear blog reader? You want to see even more location shots of Peter and Jenna their very selves from Barry Island last week? Ho-kay.
BBC1's Countryfile topped Sunday's overnight ratings with 5.1m punters at 7.30pm, followed by Antiques Roadshow with 4.9m at 8.15pm. Casualty's latest episode was seen by 4.2m at 9.15pm, while World Cup coverage of USA versus Portugal scored 3.1m at 10.30pm. BBC2's F1 coverage from, Austria attracted 2.4m at 7.30pm, followed by A Cabbie Abroad with 1.5m at 9pm. On ITV, Catchphrase was watched by 2.5m at 6.30pm. ITV's usual piss-poor post-apocalyptic zombie nightmare coverage of the World Cup, in this case the game between between South Korea and Algeria, gathered 3.5m at 7.30pm. A repeat of Rik Mayall's The New Statesman was watched by eight hundred and ninety nine thousand at 10.30pm. Channel Four's Born In The Wild attracted seven hundred and eighty five thousand at 8pm. The Fargo finale had an audience of 1.2m at 9pm. On Channel Five, Bikini Body? The Truth About Diets appealed to six hundred and ninety seven thousand at 8pm, followed by Big Brother: Power Trip with 1.2m at 9pm.

ITV topped a quiet Monday night with its World Cup coverage, overnight data reveals. The match between Brazil and Cameroon scored 5.2 million at 8.30pm, the channel's highest audience for a World Cup match since England's elimination. BBC1's alternative, a New Tricks repeat, interested 2.4m at 9pm. The tennis documentary When Andy Won Wimbledon appealed to 1.3m at 10.35pm. On BBC2, Today At Wimbledon launched with 1.4m at 8pm, followed by Police Under Pressure with 1.2m at 9pm. Channel Four's repeat of Twenty Four Hours in A&E had an audience of eight hundred and fifty thousand at 9pm. CCTV: Caught on Camera was watched by eight hundred and eighty eight thousand at 10pm. On Channel Five, Angry Britain brought in 1.2m at 8pm, followed by Benefits Britain with 2.2m at 9pm. Big Brother: Power Trip continued with 1.2m at 10pm. BBC3's Murdered By My Boyfriend was seen by seven hundred and eighty one thousand at 9pm. BBC4's Only Connect had seven hundred and seventeen thousand at 8.30pm.

England's final World Cup 2014 match attracted just under six million overnight punters on Tuesday. The tedious stalemate against Costa Rica brought in 5.7m thoroughly bored viewers at 4pm on average on ITV. It peaked at over nine million at around 6.30pm. Later, Alan Titchmarsh's pile of manure, Love Your Garden, returned to 3.2m sad crushed victims of society at 8pm. Alison Steadman's Shetland was seen by 1.8m at 9pm. BBC1's coverage of the - surprisingly exciting and dramatic - game between Greece and Côte d'Ivoire scored four million at 8pm. BBC3's showing of Japan and Colombia gathered seven hundred and forty four thousand at 8.30pm. On BBC2, Today At Wimbledon appealed to 1.2m at 8pm, followed by Shopgirls with 1.5m at 9pm and a repeat of Goodness Gracious Me with eight hundred and fifty one thousand at 10pm. Channel Four's Location, Location, Location continued with 1.3m at 8pm. Auction House gathered 1.7m at 9pm, while Kitchen Nightmareshad an audience of eight hundred and thirty four thousand at 10pm. On Channel Five, Dog Rescuers interested 1.2m at 8pm. CSI was watched by 1.3m at 9pm, followed by Big Brother: Power Trip with 1.1m at 10pm. Sky Atlantic's Penny Dreadful continued with one hundred and ninety thousand at 9pm.

Here's the final and consolidated ratings for the Top Twelve programmes, week-ending Sunday 15 June 2014:-
1 World Cup 2014: England Versus Italy - Sat BBC1 - 13.34m
2 Coronation Street - Mon - ITV - 8.68m
3 World Cup Live: Brazil Versus Croatia - Thurs ITV - 8.54m
4 EastEnders - Mon BBC1 - 7.42m
5 BBC News - Sun BBC1 - 6.61m
6 Emmerdale - Tues ITV - 6.09m
7 Ten O'Clock News - Fri BBC1 - 5.82m
8 David Beckham: Into The Unknown - Mon BBC1 - 5.07m
9 Celebrity MasterChef - Tues BBC1 - 4.94m
10 Casualty - Sat BBC1 - 4.86m
11 Countryfile - Sun BBC1 - 4.72m
12 Six O'Clock News - Mon BBC1 - 4.51m
I know it's usually a Top Twenty at least, dear blog reader but, what with the World Cup dominating schedules, and all that ... BBC2's top-rated programme of the week was Springwatch with 2.36m viewers, followed by A Very British Airline (2.09m). Channel Four's highest-rated show was One Born Every Minutes with 2.31m. CSI: Crime Scene Investigation was Channel Five's best performer with 1.82m, higher than any episode of Big Brother the best performing of which - Tuesday's episode - attracted 1.71m. The BBC's pre-and-post-match shows before and after England's defeat to Italy were watched by 8.98m and 9.43m respectively. Sunday's clash between France and Honduras had an audience of 8.41m whilst Spain versus The Netherlands had 7.66m. Exact figures for ITV's coverage of the opening ceremony and the Brazil versus Croatia game immediately afterwards are rather difficult to establish as BARB appear to have divided the broadcast into two separate programmes with the HD figures available for one but not the other. The figures of 8.54m applies to the game itself.

Pro-Celebrity Drowning! is reported to be 'unlikely to return for a third series next year.' Which is, of course, utterly superb news for anybody that loves television and hates the crass, banal, dumbed-down, lowest-common-denominator tripe that ITV so often serve up as 'entertainment' these days. ITV's wretched, risible, completely worthless 'celebrity diving show' is said to have not been recommissioned, due to coach Tom Daley's workload. Or, more likely, because, after a reasonably successful first series in terms of ratings, viewers finally realised that it was a load of shite and voted with their remote controls. Good riddance to bad rubbish.
David Cameron's former communications chief and, if you will 'chum', Andy Coulson is facing the prospect of doing considerable porridge after being found extremely guilty of conspiring to hack phones while he was the editor of the Scum of the World. Well-known Crystal Tipps lookalike Rebekah Brooks, his predecessor in the job, walked free from the Old Bailey after she was cleared of the four charges she had faced during the eight-month trial. There were 'dramatic scenes' - according to the Gruniad Morning Star, anyway - outside the court as well-known Crystal Tipps lookalike Brooks and her husband, the millionaire Old Etonian racehorse trainer Charlie, who was also cleared, left the building. Coulson stood emotionless as he absorbed the news of his sorry fate. Looking 'faint and close to tears', well-known Crystal Tipps lookalike Brooks reportedly 'walked with the support of the court's matron' and her solicitor Angus McBride. Hang on, the court has a matron? Well y'bugger, you learn something new every day, don't you? Millionaire Old Etonian Charlie followed, as did Brooks's secretary, Cheryl Carter, who was also cleared. Carter and News International's head of security, Mark Hanna, were found not guilty of one count each - conspiracy to pervert the course of justice. The Brookses made no comment on the verdicts and left the Old Bailey to be confronted by a phalanx of photographers, TV crews and members of the public as she was shepherded to an awaiting taxi. Asked if she had a comment to make, Brooks' solicitor Angus McBride claimed that she couldn't say anything because the trial was ongoing with several verdicts still to be reached. Coulson's conviction raises immediate questions for the Prime Minister, who hired Coulson as director of communications only a few weeks after Coulson quit the Scum of the World. Coulson has spent the last seven years denying that he knew anything about hacking but shocked everyone bar his defence team in court when he revealed for the first time that he had listened to the voicemail of the former Home Secretary David Blunkett in 2004, three years before he was hired by Cameron. Coulson went into the trial last year pleading not extremely guilty to committing a crime by conspiring to hack phones and consistently denied that he had any knowledge that the practice was widespread at the tabloid since he had resigned from the Scum of the World in January 2007. At that time he had stepped down because he took 'ultimate responsibility' when one a reporter, the disgraced and disgraceful tabloid's royal editor Clive Goodman, had pleaded extremely guilty to phone-hacking. Coulson's admission that he knew one of his reporters had hacked into the Home Secretary's messages at a time when Britain was at war in Iraq and yet he did not sack or discipline him, raises questions about the security vetting Coulson was subjected to before he was given clearance to work at Downing Street in 2010. Coulson had told The Leveson Inquiry that he 'may' have had 'unsupervised access' to material designated top secret or above and attended meetings of the national security council. At The Leveson Inquiry, in June 2012, Cameron claimed that when the Gruniad Monring Star first reported in 2009 that phone-hacking at the Scum of the World may have gone farther than the 'single rogue reporter' which was the story news International had been sticking too for several years, the PM said that Coulson had 'repeated an assurance' made on taking the job with the Conservatives that he had 'known nothing about it.' That, the verdict suggests, was a lie. Under oath, Cameron replied: 'I was reliant on his word but I was also reliant on the fact that the Press Complaints Commission had accepted his word, the select committee had accepted his word, the police had accepted his word, the Crown Prosecution Service had accepted his word.' But at that point in 2009, Coulson had not been interviewed by the police, CPS or a select committee on the subject: and the PCC never interviewed Coulson personally. Well-known Crystal Tipps Brooks's acquittal on the four charges will provide some relief for billionaire tyrant Rupert Murdoch, who once described the woman who rose to be chief executive of his London based News International operation his 'top priority' when the phone hacking crisis first broke in the summer of 2011. Former managing editor Stuart Kuttner was also found not guilty on phone-hacking charges. The jury have not reached unanimous verdicts on two further charges faced by Coulson and one charge faced by the Scum of the World's former royal editor. The judge instructed them to deliberate further and gave them a majority direction. Well-known Crystal Tipps lookalike Brooks was found not guilty on four charges including conspiring to hack phones when she was editor of the Scum of the World and making corrupt payments to public officials when she was editor of the Sun. She was also cleared of two charges that she conspired with her former secretary and her husband to conceal evidence from police investigating phone hacking in 2011. Coulson's conviction brings the number of former Scum of the World journalists facing jail over phone-hacking to five. Before the trial three former newsdesk executives, including Greg Miskiw and James Weatherup, pleaded extremely guilty, as did the phone-hacker Glenn Mulcaire and a former reporter, Dan Evans, who confessed to hacking Sienna Miller's messages on Daniel Craig's phone. Neville Thurlbeck, the Scum of the World's former chief reporter and news editor, pleaded extremely guilty after the police found the tapes he had of Blunkett's messages in a News International safe. Sentencing is expected a few days after the trial is finished. Meanwhile, the Gruniad alleged that police are to interview billionaire tyrant Rupert Murdoch under caution. Metropolitan Police officers investigating the possibility of a corporate charge against News International - now known as News UK - first contacted the media magnate last year but agreed to wait until the end of the hacking trial, the Gruniad claimed. The verdict on Coulson means that billionaire tyrant Murdoch's UK company is now threatened with a possible corporate charge, while the media owner also faces the prospect of a dozen more criminal trials involving his journalists as well as hundreds more legal actions in the high court from the alleged victims of phone hacking by the Scum of the World. Such a prosecution can occur only if the 'controlling minds' of the company are found to be guilty of a crime. Following Tuesday's verdicts, the Met police Operation Weeting is expected to submit a new file of evidence to the Crown Prosecution Service. If the former UK company were to be convicted of conspiring to intercept communications, the members of its board of directors – including billionaire tyrant Rupert and his son James Murdoch the small – could then be prosecuted personally under section seventy nine of the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act. This makes directors personally liable for prosecution if their company breaches RIPA as 'a result of their consent, connivance or neglect.' Billionaire tyrant Murdoch already faces a volley of threats in the English criminal and civil courts. Eleven more trials are due to take place at the Old Bailey involving a total of twenty current or former journalists from the Sun and the Scum of the World, who are accused variously of making illegal payments to public officials, conspiring to intercept voicemail and accessing data on stolen mobile phones. The journalists have all denied the charges. In Scotland, Coulson and two other Scum of the World journalists face trials on charges of perjury, phone-hacking and breach of data protection laws. They too, have denied the charges. Eleven other current or former Murdoch employees are waiting to discover whether they will be prosecuted for phone-hacking, e-mail hacking or perversion of the course of justice. Police have arrested or interviewed under a caution a total of two hundred and ten people, including one hundred and one journalists from six national newspapers. In the high court, billionaire tyrant Murdoch is mired in civil litigation. His UK company has already settled and paid damages to some seven hundred plus victims of phone-hacking by Mulcaire – an average of nearly three for every week he was contracted to the Scum of the World. Now News UK faces a new round of litigation from victims of Dan Evans, a showbusiness writer who also specialised in hacking phones for the Scum of the World. Evans has, reportedly, been co-operating with police and, according to one alleged 'source', anonymously quoted by the Gruniad, detectives recently have been approaching up to ninety people a week to warn them that they were targeted by Evans with a possible final total of some sixteen hundred victims. The Gruniad says that it 'understands' someone described as 'a senior Murdoch journalist' and two of those who pleaded extremely guilty before the trial - Mulcaire and Neville Thurlbeck - had 'discussions' with police about giving evidence for the prosecution but that in all three cases the negotiations failed. Billionaire tyrant Murdoch's former UK chairman, Les Hinton, was also interviewed under caution for three hours by the poliss in September 2012 as detectives pursued evidence into what happened at the highest reaches of billionaire tyrant Murdoch's UK company. The eight-month trial heard copious evidence of the scale of criminality and badness at the Scum of the World. This included handwritten notes kept by Glenn Mulcaire, which suggested that during the five years he worked under contract for the Scum of the World, he had targeted over five thousand people. Jurors were also shown internal e-mails discussing cash payments for police working in the royal palaces.

Millionaire Old Etonian Charlie Brooks was reportedly 'disappointed' by the way his long-time, if you will, friend David Cameron treated well-known Crystal Tipps lookalike Rebekah Brooks when increasingly damaging phone-hacking allegations emerged, the Gruniad has alleged. The racehorse trainer also accused police of treating them 'like terrorists' when their home was raided and even their daughter's cot was searched for evidence. Well-known Crystal Tipps lookalike Rebekah Brooks initially kept her job as a News International chief executive despite twice offering to resign as the hacking claims intensified. But, claims the piece, Cameron 'heaped pressure' on the former tabloid editor by telling MPs at the time that he would have accepted her resignation. The prime minister has known millionaire Old Etonian Brooks since their days at Eton. In 2009, he attended the couple's wedding and regularly socialised with them as part of the so-called 'Chipping Norton Set'. In an interview carried out in December 2012 but broadcast for the first time on Tuesdat, millionaire Old Etonian Charlie Brooks told LBC's Murdoch crony Kay Burley: 'I was a little bit disappointed when he commented in parliament on whether Rebekah should resign or not because I didn't really feel he had all of the facts at his finger tips to comment on that. When this is all over, I'm sure he'll explain: "I'm sorry but I was ... these are the pressures I was under on that particular day." He also has pressures in this whole thing as well. So I don't feel any anger towards him at all.' During The Leveson Inquiry into press ethics, millionaire Old Etonian Brooks described details of her friendship with the prime minister, including his habit of signing off texts 'lots of love.' Brooks said: 'We were at school together and our families have known each other for a long time I suppose, decades. I'm getting old now. And he's also our MP at home and our neighbour so we know each other pretty well. We obviously don't see each other at the moment and that's his decision and probably his advice and I don't really blame him for that. He's got a job to do and if his advisers say there should be a bit of clear water and distance between him and Rebekah and myself at the moment, I certainly don't hold that against him. I just, you know, think that's life.'

Cameron subsequently apologised for employing Andy Coulson as his director of communications. 'I am extremely sorry I employed him. It was the wrong decision,' the Prime Minister said. Oh, so that's all right, then. 'I gave someone a second chance and it turned out to be a bad decision.' In a statement to the media after Tuesday's verdicts, Cameron said he 'took full responsibility for employing Andy Coulson. I did so on the basis of undertakings I was given by him about phone-hacking and those turn out not be the case. I always said if they turned out to be wrong, I would make a full and frank apology and I do that today. I am extremely sorry that I employed him. It was the wrong decision.' Asked what checks he had made before employing Coulson, Cameron said: 'I asked him questions, if he knew about phone-hacking, and he said he didn't and I accepted those assurances and I gave him the job. I would say that no one has made any complaints about the work that he did for me, either as leader of the opposition or here, in Number 10 Downing Street. But knowing what I now know and knowing those assurances weren't right, it was obviously wrong to employ him.'
The press's reaction to the verdicts was an interesting example in glass-half-empty, glass-half-full. Readers of the Murdoch newspapers, The Times and the Sun and of the Daily Torygraph were informed in large headlines that the jury cleared well-known Crystal Tipps lookalike Rebekah Brooks of all charges and that she left the court without a stain on her character. Brooks Not Guilty" said The Times, Great Day For Red Tops crowed the Sun - a bit inaccurately one might argue given that the former editor of one of them had just been convicted of phone-hacking, the pun about well-known Crystal Tipps lookalike Brooks's notorious ginger barnet notwithstanding - whilst the Torygraph went with One Hundred Million Pound Phone-Hacking Trial Ends In Rebekah Brooks Walking Free. All three seemed eager to play down the jury's unanimous decision to find Andy Coulson extremely guilty of conspiring to hack into phone messages. That fact - one could suggest the key outcome of the eight-month trial - was headline news in, of course, the Gruniad (Coulson, The Criminal Who Had Cameron's Confidence) who were feeling particularly pleased with themselves, the Independent (the, genuinely witty, One Rogue Editor), i (Coulson Guilty Of Phone Hacking) and Metro (Coulson Pays The Price For Phone Hacking). Coulson's conviction also called into question the judgment of the Prime Mnister, a point highlighted by the Daily Scum Mail's front page, Humiliation Of Cameron, and in the inside pages of the Daily Mirra (I'm Extremely Sorry. It Was The Wrong Decision), the Daily Scum Express (PM 'Sorry' For Employing Andy Coulson) and the Daily Lies (Cam: Sorry I Hired Phone Hack Coulson). The Financial Times's splash saw the jury's verdicts in business terms by referring to the effect on the media mogul who owned the paper responsible for hacking: Rupert Murdoch's Victory Had A Price, But He'll Still Take It. But it was the different approaches of those papers which loudly celebrated well-known Crystal Tipps lookalike Brooks's acquittal and those that concentrated on Coulson's conviction which revealed the deeper ideological split among national newspaper owners and editors. This was particularly evident in the editorials and commentaries. The celebrators viewed the declaration of well-known Crystal Tipps lookalike Brooks's innocence as some kind of proof that the official reaction to hacking had been ill-judged. In essence, the government had been wrong to set up The Leveson Inquiry, which instituted a new form of press regulation. And the Metropolitan police had been wrong to pursue News Corp executives and journalists so assiduously. The Torygraph, in an editorial headlined Scandal That Could Not Scupper Press Freedom, argued: 'The establishment's reaction to what was unquestionably bad, and in some cases illegal, activity at two News International publications was grotesquely out of proportion. That much is apparent from the unanimous verdict of the jury to clear Mrs Brooks on all charges. What had been dubbed the trial of the century, likely to expose conspiracies in the highest reaches of the land, failed to live up to its billing.' According to the Torygraph 'there has not been a vast criminal conspiracy by the press against the public. Illegal practices were uncovered, but this only highlights the fact that the press is subject to both the criminal and civil laws.' The Sun's leading article saw the acquittal of well-known Crystal Tipps lookalike Brooks as 'a triumph for British justice' but did not add that the conviction of Coulson was a triumph. Nor did it mention that three former Scum of the World reporters had previously pleaded guilty to hacking offences. The Scum Mail believes the verdicts 'raise serious questions, about the strong-arm tactics of the police and – more disturbing still – the prime minister's judgment.'

And speaking of Old Etonians, Matt LeBlanc has revealed that Damian Lewis auditioned for Episodes. Lewis allegedly tried out for the part of sitcom writer Sean - ultimately played by Stephen Mangan - on the Showtime series. 'I remember when we were casting the role of Sean and Damian Lewis came in,' LeBlanc revealed as part of The Hollywood Reporter's Comedy Actor Roundtable. 'The part is this very quiet, optimistic writer - very sort of timid - and Damian Lewis is not like that at all. He came in and read it, and it sounded like two guys about to go out and get into a bar fight! He was like, "I don't think I'm right for this."'

Gordon Ramsay has announced that he will not make any future Kitchen Nightmare series. In a blog post on his official website, the celebrity chef said that his upcoming Channel Four series Costa Del Nightmares will be his last in the franchise. Ramsay said: 'I've had a phenomenal ten years making one hundred and twenty three episodes, twelve seasons, shot across two continents, watched by tens of millions of people and sold to over one hundred and fifty countries. It's been a blast, but it's time to call it a day. Starting in 2004, this was the show that really propelled my TV career, and I'm very grateful for the amazing team behind the series and for the support from the viewers for almost over a decade!'

The great John Hurt is to star in an upcoming WW1 drama on ITV. The veteran actor - who gained a whole new generation of fans thanks to his wonderful appearance in the Doctor Who anniversary special last year - will play Siegfried Sassoon in The Pity Of War: The Lives Of Loves Of The War Poets, a one-off sixty-minute drama. This will be centred on the relationship between Sassoon, Wilfred Owen and Robert Graves while they wrote about their war experiences on the Western Front. It is part of a series of programmes marking the centenary of the outbreak of World War I this year. Olivia Colman will narrate a four-part series titled The Great War: The People's Story, which tells the stories of personal accounts collected from archives and libraries. Alison Steadman, Daniel Mays, Claire Foy and Brian Cox (no, the other one) will also feature in the series, alongside others. 'This programme gives the stage to the authentic voice of the British people as they endured over four years of the greatest violence in human history,' said Richard Klein, ITV director of factual. 'The diaries, letters and memoirs of privates and officers, wives and mothers, working class and the well-to-do all brilliantly and emotionally document the journey from the patriotism and positivity at the start of the war to the gradual understanding of the deadly and mind-shattering realities of modern warfare to the final days of simple endurance and exhaustion. This is a beautifully composed portrait of a country during a war that changed everything for everyone.' Meanwhile, The Pals Army will be a one-off documentary about the million young men who served in The Pals Battalions. The three programmes will be broadcast on ITV from August.

Meanwhile, three Al-Jazeera journalists have, disgracefully, been jailed for seven years after being found guilty of 'supporting the Muslim Brotherhood.' Not for actually doing anything properly illegal, you know like Andy Coulson, but merely for 'writing stuff that the government of Egypt doesn't like.' Peter Greste, Mohamed Fahmy and Baher Mohamed were convicted on Monday in Cairo, while nine defendants tried in absentia received ten-year sentences. The jailed trio, who maintain their innocence, were accused of 'spreading false news' and supporting the banned Islamist group. Al Jazeera English managing director Al Anstey said in a statement: 'Today three colleagues and friends were sentenced, and will continue behind bars for doing a brilliant job of being great journalists. "Guilty" of covering stories with great skill and integrity. "Guilty" of defending people's right to know what is going on in their world. Peter, Mohamed and Baher, and six of our other colleagues, were sentenced despite the fact that not a shred of evidence was found to support the extraordinary and false charges against them. At no point during the long drawn out "trial" did the absurd allegations stand up to scrutiny. There were many moments during the hearings where in any other court of law, the trial would be thrown out. There were numerous irregularities in addition to the lack of evidence to stand up the ill-conceived allegations.' He added: 'There is no justification whatsoever in the detention of our three colleagues for even one minute. To have detained them for one hundred and seventy seven days is an outrage. To have sentenced them defies logic, sense, and any semblance of justice. The support shown for Mohamed, Peter and Baher has been loud, unified and determined, and has come from every corner of the world. The call for their freedom has come from journalists, people right around the globe, as well as leaders worldwide. This great solidarity is a stand for basic freedoms - the freedom of speech, for the right for people to be informed, and for the right for journalists around the world to be able to do their job. And, of course, a demand to free our colleagues. There is only one sensible outcome now. For the verdict to be overturned, and justice to be recognised by Egypt. We must keep our voice loud to call for an end to their detention. Alongside us is a worldwide solidarity, a global call for their release, and a demand for basic freedoms to be respected. The authorities in Egypt need to take responsibility for their actions, and be held to account by the global community. We will continue with resolve and determination until Baher, Peter and Mohamed are free and safely reunited with their families.' Baher Mohamed has been given a further three years in jail on a separate charge regarding weapons possessions. Two British journalists are among those sentenced in absentia - former ITN reporter Sue Turton and Dominic Kane. Also sentenced were laa Bayoumi, Anas Abdel-Wahab Khalawi Hasan, Khaleel Aly Khaleel Bahnasy and Mohamed Fawzi. Of the total twenty defendants, Al-Jazeera said that only nine were its employees, the remainder being students and activists. Two of this group were acquitted. The future of three who were jailed looks bleaker after Egypt's president, Abdel Fatah al-Sisi, refused a pardon, ignoring pleas from Barack Obama among other international leaders to release them and other political prisoners. 'We will not interfere in judicial rulings,' Sisi said on Tuesday morning. 'We must respect judicial rulings and not criticise them even if others do not understand this.' On Tuesday journalists from the BBC and other London media organisations gathered outside the corporation's New Broadcasting House headquarters, while staff did the same in Salford, other UK offices and overseas bureaus also held a one minute silence in support of the three jailed journalists.

The acting chair of the BBC Trust has said the corporation will be putting forward proposals to ensure people who only watch the corporation's content via the iPlayer on computer devices still pay the licence fee. Diane Coyle, the BBC Trust vice-chair who has applied to become Lord Patten's full-time replacement, also defended the existing licence fee system, saying it remains the 'best funding model' for the corporation. Coyle, in a lecture titled A Twenty First Century BBC at the LSE on Monday evening that will inevitably be viewed as her public pitch for the job, also defended the trust, insisting it did not do that much 'cheerleading' for the corporation. She said that it was right that there should be a debate about decriminalisation of licence fee evasion, including the potential impact on BBC income. 'We will also want to put forward some ideas about how to incorporate on-demand viewing to iPlayer into any future licence fee system,' Coyle added. 'There is every reason to think the licence fee, which pays for the creation of new programmes no matter how they're viewed, is the best model and a sustainable model for at least another charter period.' She said that the upcoming review of the BBC charter and funding mechanism, beginning after the May 2015 general election, should be 'very different' from the licence fee deal hurriedly negotiated with the then recently-elected coalition government in October 2010. Coyle reminded her LSE audience that this had resulted in the negotiation being 'lumped together' with the government's spending review, which led to the BBC being forced to take on extra funding obligations while the licence fee was frozen until 2017. 'In some cases, like the World Service, these [obligations] made some sense. In others – like local television and broadband roll-out – we find ourselves funding government policy initiatives in a way that doesn't feel independent,' she added. 'This principle of "top-slicing" the licence fee must not be baked into the next licence fee settlement before the process even starts.' The BBC Trust has come in for sustained criticism over its handling of the Jimmy Savile fiasco and other recent crises to hit the corporation, leading to calls for it to be scrapped and replaced with a new governance and regulatory body. However, Coyle signalled that if she gets the top job at the BBC Trust she will not be lobbying for its demise. 'A lot of nonsense is talked about the trust not being able to be both "cheerleader" and "regulator". In practice a constructive tension of this sort exists for directors on any board, or for that matter for hundreds of thousands of school governors up and down the country,' she said. 'And – as the BBC executive would no doubt confirm – the trust rarely does much that you could call cheerleading – except of course to recognise the BBC's role as a vital national civic and cultural institution serving its public purposes. We won't ourselves be proposing major structural change, not least because the existing structures are only eight years old. Frequent governance change can itself be a route for exerting political pressure on the BBC, but that doesn't mean we want to defend every detail of the current set-up.' Coyle also expressed 'concern' about threats to the BBC's independence from political interference. She said that over the last decade 'the BBC has become more and more entangled with parts of the machinery of government, parliament and the state', including the National Audit Office having almost unlimited access to review and investigative the corporation. 'My concern is that, through this range of small changes, many rather technical and in themselves either understandable or seemingly unremarkable, the BBC is less independent than it used to be and than it needs to be.' Coyle said the BBC had to ensure failures such as excessive severance payments do not recur, or it will invite further parliamentary oversight. She added that the BBC's recent governance review had addressed this by clarifying the roles of the Trust and the corporation's senior management. 'I don't have an immediate answer here. But I think we need clearer terms of engagement, to establish when and how Parliamentary scrutiny should take place, and what it should involve,' Coyle said. 'Otherwise, there is a real risk that the BBC could in the future end up looking over its shoulder trying to please politicians rather than focusing on licence fee payers.' She also outlined four priorities the BBC Trust had set for the corporation's management: improving the quality, variety and originality of new BBC1 drama; keeping 'firm control of overall headcount', including more reductions in senior managers; making 'tangible progress' in reflecting the ethnic diversity of the UK's population, especially in the number of women on air: and pursuing more partnerships with UK cultural and creative organisations.

Sir Tony Robinson has led tributes to Patsy Byrne, best known for playing Nursie in Blackadder II, who died aged eighty. Sir Tony later, cast Byrne in his own children's series Maid Marion & Her Merry Men. He told BBC Radio 5Live that Patsy had been 'like a mother' to 'her boys' on the Blackadder set. 'Patsy was just a real confident centre of all the scenes,' he said. 'She had unerring skill to make the daftest, silliest thing sound absolutely real and absolutely plausible. I was so fond of her as a person and so in awe of her capabilities that when I decided I wanted to introduce a mother to Maid Marion, my first choice was Patsy. I was thrilled that she took it. Even though she has done such grand work she came down to Minehead and rolled her sleeves up and was just one of the lads, as she always was, and did a great performance.' Another of the Blackadder cast, Stephen Fry, tweeted: 'I've just heard that Patsy Byrne, darling Nursie has died. Hope St Bernard has welcomed her to eternal rest. Adorable woman.' Blackadder producer John Lloyd also paid tribute to Byrne, saying that she and Miranda Richardson were 'a fantastic double act. It's ironic that she will be remembered for that lovable, slightly idiotic person with that ludicrous drawl, but she was a proper actress. With the RSC, she played Chekhov opposite Rex Harrison, was incredibly well spoken, but she would put up with our little ways,' he told 5Live. 'The rehearsals on Blackadder were interminable, with us changing our minds all the time and she was always on top of it and she never complained. We had famous actors walk out of rehearsals because it was such a nightmare and shambles. But with Patsy there was never a peep of complaint.'

Obviously we all know that Blackadder Goes Forth was set during a real-life event, but now it transpires that the characters in the BBC series also had namesakes that fought in the first world war. The Daily Torygraph reports that Forces War Records, a - no doubt cunning - military genealogy website, has trawled through six million military records and found there was actually a Captain Blackadder, a Private Baldrick, a Captain Darling and a Lieutenant George. Dominic Hayhoe, from Forces War Records, said: 'As fans of the television show, we wondered if we could find the military records of the characters' namesakes, and we did. The only person we haven't been able to track down so far from the first world war is a General Melchett. But according to the military records we have, he makes an appearance in the second world war.' Mehhh!
Scientists have outlined their 'best explanations' for a mysterious feature dubbed 'the magic island', which has been spotted on Saturn's moon Titan. The Cassini spacecraft captured the 'island' during a fly-by, but it had vanished by the time of the next pass. The bright splodge is seen in Ligeia Mare, one of the seas of methane and ethane found at Titan's north pole. Icebergs, waves and gas bubbling up from the lake bottom are all possibilities, the scientists say. The study by an international team has been published in the journal Nature Geoscience. Saturn's largest moon shares much in common with Earth, such as a substantial atmosphere and a seasonal cycle. Wind and rain shape the surface to form river channels, seas, dunes and shorelines. Titan's mountains and dune fields are made of ice, rather than rock or sand and liquid hydrocarbons take up many of the roles played by water on Earth. Indeed, the seas and lakes that pepper the moon's north polar region are filled not with water, but with methane. This exists in a gaseous state on Earth, but at typical Titan temperatures of minus one hundred and eighty degrees, they are liquids. The mysterious bright feature was spotted in pictures from a Cassini fly-by of Titan in early July 2013. The 'island' appears to be absent in imagery of Ligeia Mare taken on three previous fly-bys of the moon. By the time of the next pass of Titan, on 26 July, the feature had vanished, and it could not be seen in two subsequent Cassini fly-bys over the area. '"Magic Island" is a colloquial term that we use within the team to refer to this. But we don't actually think it's an island,' co-author Jason Hofgartner told BBC News. The feature appears and disappears too quickly to be a volcanic island. So the team were left with a handful of potential explanations. Hofgartner, who is based at Cornell University in New York, explained: 'We have four different hypotheses that are all equally preferred. In no particular order they are: waves, rising bubbles, floating solids and suspended solids.' Titan operates on a thirty-year seasonal cycle, and the moon's northern region is expected to become a more dynamic place as Titan approaches its summer solstice in May 2017. 'Right now, Titan is basically half way between the vernal equinox - at the beginning of spring - and the summer solstice, the start of summer. It's roughly equivalent to what we would consider the beginning of May,' said Hofgartner. 'As Titan approaches its summer, more of the Sun's energy is being deposited in the northern hemisphere.' Winds will get stronger over the course of time, causing waves to pick up on the surface of lakes and seas. Waves are one potential explanation for the 'magic island' and researchers have already seen possible evidence for small waves on another body of liquid known as Punga Mare. Another intriguing possibility is that of floating or suspended solids, including icebergs. However, any such bergs couldn't be made of water-ice - which, because of its relatively high density, would sink in a liquid hydrocarbon sea. Instead, icebergs on Titan would have to be made from a frozen mixture of methane and ethane. A previous study by Hofgartner and Professor Jonathan Lunine, also of Cornell, suggested conditions on Titan might cause methane-ethane ice to sink in the winter and float in summer. But the moon's surface is also thought to be covered in various organic carbon-based compounds, including one, polyacetylene, with a density low enough to float. It could be suspended below the surface of a sea much like silt in a terrestrial river delta. The final possibility is that Cassini captured gas bubbling up to the surface from a subsea volcanic vent. 'We do have evidence for volcanism on Titan in the past, or even going on now. But we haven't found the smoking gun,' said Hofgartner. John Zarnecki, an emeritus professor at the Open University in Milton Keynes, co-authored the first paper to predict wave heights on Titan. But he said that there was little evidence from more recent observations that winds on the moon could raise waves big enough to detect. Speaking to the BBC from Rio de Janeiro, where he has been following the England football team in the World Cup, Zarnecki referred to the waves he could see crashing on to Copacabana Beach and said: 'I'd love to think that this paper represents the first positive indication of a similar phenomenon on Titan.' He added: 'These are clearly observations that are close to the limit of detectability - and therefore very difficult to interpret. But it looks like something is going on in Ligeia Mare. Titan surprises us at every turn. When I first embarked on this project, over twenty years ago, my nightmare was that Titan, after all the hype, would turn out to be dull and boring but nothing could be further from the truth. Is this feature showing us floating solids or gases erupting at the surface - or a phenomenon that we haven't thought of? After all, we tend to think in terms of Earth-like phenomena. But based on this so far sparse data, any suggestion is likely to be little more than speculation until we get some more supporting information.' The authors of the latest study hope that future observations by Cassini might yield evidence of similar phenomena. And if they do, there might be a chance of distinguishing between different possible causes. For example, if a transient feature is seen to move its location on successive passes by Cassini, it could be more suggestive of an iceberg being moved by currents. Zarnecki commented: 'This is just further evidence, if we need it, that we just must go back to Titan with a dedicated mission, ideally to land in one of Titan's seas - a Titan Sea Probe. And then we can understand what is happening on the seas of this incredible place.' Asked for a prediction on whether England would return home from the World Cup pointless, he said: 'Look, I'm an astronomy not an astrologer.' Probably.

Former Slade singer Noddy Holder is to be given the freedom of Walsall. Yer man Nod, who was born in the Caldmore area, will receive the honour at the council house. Noddy said that he was 'really, really chuffed' with the news. 'It's a great honour. I only wish my mum and dad were alive to be there. They both lived in Walsall all of their lives,' he added. 'Hopefully it can give Walsall a bigger profile around the country.' Council leader Mike Bird said: 'We're absolutely delighted and very proud that Noddy Holder has accepted this honour.' He said it was 'a special occasion' for the town. Bird added: 'We are very grateful Noddy has kindly agreed to spend a few minutes in the town hall after the ceremony so fans can take pictures and get a glimpse of the rock legend. There won't be time for individual signings or photos but fans will at least be able to see him and take photos of him with the scroll he will have been presented with.' Nod, who made his singing debut aged seven on stage at Walsall Labour Working Men's Club, has said he still thinks of Walsall as 'home' and regularly returns for 'a decent curry.'

Uruguay's Luis Suarez was involved in an ugly World Cup incident as he appeared to take a bite out of Italy's Giorgio Chiellini during their Group D clash on Tuesday. The Liverpool Alabama Yee-Haws striker lunged at Chiellini in the penalty area just before Diego Godin score the late winner for the Uruguayans. Chiellini angrily pulled his shirt down to show the referee - and the watching world - a mark on his shoulder, but no action was taken by the official.
The maximum ban which Suarez could face if governing body FIFA takes retrospective action is twenty four matches or two years. 'It was ridiculous not to send Suarez off. It is clear, clear-cut,' Chiellini told Italian TV network Rai. 'Then there was the obvious dive afterwards because he knew very well that he did something that he shouldn't have done.' After the clash between the players Suarez dramatically fell to ground clutching his mouth and, apparently, suggesting that he had been elbowed in the mush. As Chiellini ran after referee Marco Rodriguez, the Uruguay forward Gaston Ramirez attempted to get the Juventus defender to cover his shoulder and stop being such a Copper's Nark. Suarez, of course, has considerable form over this sort of thing, of course, having twice been banned for biting opponents. FIFA will wait to receive the referee's report, with a spokeswoman told BBC Sport: 'We will gather all the necessary elements in order to evaluate the matter.' The disciplinary committee of world football's governing does have the authority to 'sanction serious infringements which have escaped the match officials' attention.' The longest ban in World Cup history was eight games for Italy's Mauro Tassotti for breaking Spain's Luis Enrique's nose in 1994 with an elbow, while Zinedine Zidane was given a three-match ban for head-butting Marco Materazzi in the chest during the 2006 final. FIFA vice-president Jim Boyce said: 'There is no doubt Luis Suarez is a fantastic footballer but, once again, his actions have left him open to severe criticism. FIFA must investigate the incident seriously and take whatever disciplinary action is deemed necessary.' Uruguay coach Oscar Tabarez tried, unsuccessfully, to play down the incident claiming that there is 'a vendetta' from 'certain media' towards Suarez. 'I'd like to see the images first before making any comment. If it happened, then the referee probably didn't see it,' said Tabarez. 'Despite mistakes Suarez has made, he is the target of certain media, a certain press.' Uruguay captain Diego Lugano also defended Suarez, whose two goals in the tournament so far came in the victory over England, and criticised the actions of Chiellini. 'What did you see? You saw this, really? You need to show me because I didn't see anything,' claimed Lugano. 'Did you see it today or did you see what happened in other years. You couldn't have seen it today because nothing happened. The worst of everything is the attitude of Chiellini.' Italy's manager Cesare Prandelli said that he was offering his resignation after the defeat, which eliminated his side from the tournament. 'I didn't see the images of Suarez but I did see the bite marks in Chiellini's shoulder,' said Prandelli. Suarez was banned for ten games for biting Moscow Chelski's Branislav Ivanovic in a Premier League match in April 2013. He was also banned for seven games for biting PSV Eindhoven midfielder Otman Bakkal's shoulder while he was playing for Ajax in 2010. BBC Sport pundit and former England international Alan Shearer believes that Suarez should be severely punished for the Chiellini incident. 'I could not believe it,' he said. 'The pictures are pretty damning and, if found guilty, they should hammer him. He has built up his reputation over the last twelve months and to come into the tournament and do that, I am lost for words. I can understand why the referee did not see it clearly but they can look at video evidence and there is no way he can get away with that. It is disgraceful and disgusting. There is no place for it. Suarez did exactly the same after the Ivanovic incident, too. He feigned injury and pretended he was hurt in order to distract the referee. What on earth is he thinking of? Suarez was found guilty at Ajax, he was found guilty at Liverpool and if he is found guilty here, FIFA should give him as long a ban as they can. Three bites and you are out - they should absolutely hammer him.' Another former England international, Chris Waddle, said that Suarez needs to be 'severely punished. Let's see how strong FIFA are,' he added. 'There will be people who will defend him, but I don't know why. I'd make him wear a gumshield.' Mind you, dear blog reader, some of the reaction was hilariously over-the-top. Whilst on ITV, Glenn Hoddle was doing his best Helen Lovejoy impression and bewailing why won't anyone think of the children, former England full-back (and skinhead numskull) Danny Mills was up to his usual 'talking bollocks' schitck: 'It has to be the longest ban in football ever. A worldwide ban, not just an international ban. It is the third time it has happened and it is a clear bite this time, in a tournament of this magnitude, the most watched tournament in the world. They have got to throw him in jail and lock him up forever.' Yeah. Thanks for that, Dan, we'll let you know. Earlier in the game, Italy midfielder Claudio Marchisio was sent off for a nasty studs-up challenge on Egidio Arevalo. Uruguay will now play Colombia at the Maracana on Saturday in the last sixteen, but Suarez controversy is likely to rumble on. Italy left the field furious at the manner of their defeat but having to come to terms with a second World Cup in which they have failed to get beyond the group stages - the first time that has happened to the Azzurri since 1966. Prandelli said before the game it was 'the most important match of my professional career.' It was a tense and turgid contest that was bad-tempered both on the field and the touchline. On a number of occasions the officials had to step between the two benches, the referee's whistle interrupted play constantly and the players spent as much time on the turf as they did running with the ball at their feet.
While all that malarkey was going on, England's rotten World Cup ended without even the scant consolation of a victory as they played out a tame draw with Costa Rica in Belo Horizonte. This was a dead rubber game after England's losses to Italy and Uruguay - and there was nothing on show here to offer any belated cheer at the end of a thoroughly miserable tournament. Costa Rica's status as the surprise package of Group D was cemented by a result that ensured they finished top, but England coach Roy Hodgson has presided over a dismal England campaign. Daniel Sturridge came closest for the group's bottom side but wasted a succession of chances while goalkeeper Ben Foster - deputising for the rested Joe Hart , who was probably off filming another shampoo commercial - did brilliantly to turn Celso Borges' free-kick on to the bar in the first half. Hodgson gave Frank Lampard the captain's armband and used Steven Gerrard as a late substitute as the veteran duo played what may be their final England appearances. If so, it was an inglorious conclusion for the pair as the match developed into the sort of low-key game many feared after England arrived in Belo Horizonte with their World Cup ambitions already shattered. Hodgson had hoped England might be inspired by the selection of fresh faces, but as he and England's squad applauded their travelling fans at the final whistle, there was an air of disappointment and anti-climax. England had found themselves on the back foot almost from the kick-off, when Joel Campbell's shot was deflected just wide off Gary Cahill - although both sides looked puzzled when a goal kick was awarded. Sturridge was presented with England's best chances, shooting just wide from twenty yards after good control then heading over from six yards after Phil Jones knocked back Ross Barkley's corner. He also had presentable claims for a penalty ignored when he fell in a tangle with Costa Rica's Oscar Duarte but referee Djamal Haimoudi was not interested. Foster was impressive, especially in dealing with a Borges free-kick bound for the top corner - but otherwise it was a first half that was as low key as expected in such a meaningless fixture. Sturridge also had England's first opportunity of the second half but the Liverpool striker's control let him down and keeper Keylor Navas was able to block, albeit sustaining a knock in the process that left him requiring treatment. All of England's best chances were falling to Sturridge and he was off target again when he tried to be too precise from Jack Wilshere's flick and curled a shot wide of the far post. Hodgson then made his substitutions in quick succession, sending on Raheem Sterling for Adam Lallana, and Gerrard for Wilshere, while Wayne Rooney announced himself with a clever chip that forced a save from Navas. But there were to be no goals and no glory - and this was a game that deserved neither.

Following Hapless Harry Redknapp's coy 'revelation' (or, 'claim', anyway) that some of his former (anonymous) Stottingtot Hotshots players tried to get out of international duty, Mouthy Almighty Ian Wright has weighed in with a suggestion. It should, of course, be noted that Mad Wrighty has recently suffered a traumatic event, after his family were reported to have been held at knifepoint while he was away commentating (badly) for ITV in Brazil. That sort of thing is obviously absolutely awful and can affect people in many different ways. At least, that's the only rational explanation one can make for Mad Wrighty's solution to the issue of players 'shirking' international duty as published - as a shitehawk 'exclusive' - in, of course, the Sun.
Mental, as usual, dear blog reader. There was some interesting online reaction, needless to say.
Sadly, I don't think anyone had the courage to explain to Mad Wrighty - using graphs if necessary - exactly what our brave lads are supposed to be fighting for in Afghanistan. Freedom of choice, for instance. Footballers and 'thinking' eh? It's a really dangerous mix at times.
Bosnia- Herzegovina went out of their first World Cup with a sense of some injustice and a photo has only increased the anger. The Bosnians exited the tournament after they lost 1-0 to African champions Nigeria which followed a 2-1 defeat to Argentina in their first game in Group F. The clash with Nigeria hinged on two controversial calls in the first half from the officials, led by New Zealand referee Peter O'Leary. That was bad enough but when the photo emerged, showing O'Leary apparently 'celebrating' with the Nigerian goalkeeper Vincent Enyeama at the full-time whistle, the anger intensified. Bosnians have now set up an online petition asking O'Leary to be fired and it already has over twenty three thousand signatures. Bosnia's striker – Sheikh Yer Man City's Edin Dzeko – described O'Leary's performance as 'shameful' and said that 'he should be going home too.' Dzeko was denied what appeared to be a legitimate goal with the scores at 0-0 when he was incorrectly ruled offside in Cuiaba. Bosnia-Herzegovina's captain Emir Spahic also appeared to be fouled by Nigeria’s Emmanuel Emenike just before Peter Odemwingie scored the only goal of the game. 'The referee was shameful,' said a stroppily furious Dzeko. Ooo, fair discombobulated, so he was. 'We are going home and we are sad because of that but this referee should be going home too. He changed the result and he changed the game. That's why we lost. It was obviously a foul on our captain. And before when I scored the goal, it was never offside. We fought till the end but we didn't have luck today.' Diddums.
FIFA TV, which provides live World Cup images for the global television audience, displayed the wrong graphic which indicated Brazil's third goal in their 4-1 win over Cameroon was offside, it claimed on Tuesday. Striker Fred headed home after forty nine minutes but millions of viewers thought that the assistant referee had made the wrong call because during the replay FIFA TV showed the offside line from the position of a Cameroon player and not the Brazil striker. Fred was, seemingly, behind the ball when it was crossed by David Luiz and the goal in the Group A match on Monday rightly stood. Niclas Ericson, the Director of FIFA TV, acknowledged the error and promised that FIFA would do everything to ensure its production team did not make the same mistake again. 'We discussed with the production team why the line was placed wrongly,' he told reporters. 'The production team have to make a very fast decision and mistakes can happen. The production director has total freedom to put in the line and correct it, but again we are reviewing this particular incident from yesterday to try to see how we can improve it.'
In the aftermath of France's - impressive - qualification for the second round on Wednesday evening, the BBC reporter Anna Holligan was strategically placed in a bar in Paris - and, hey, why ever not?! - to do a piece to camera about the reaction of French fans whilst surrounded by revellers bellowing a jolly stirring rendition of La Marseillaise. Just like in that scene in Casablanca, so it was. Total credit to Anna, she managed to finish her summary of the French performance, without blinking. Now, that's professionalism worthy of Didier Deschampes classy squad their very selves.
And so we come to the latest Keith Telly Topping's 45 of the Day. This one, from the Goddamn king of rock and roll, Bruce Foxton, seems appropriate.

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