Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Golden Days

Kim Cattrall is to star in a BBC adaptation of Agatha Christie's The Witness For The Prosecution. Filming began last week in Liverpool for the two-part drama, which will also star the great Toby Jones and Andrea Riseborough. Cattrall, still best known for her role as Samantha in the US series Sex In The City, appears as the murder victim while Billy Howle plays the suspect. Riseborough appears as the accused's girlfriend, while Jones portrays his solicitor. The Witness For The Prosecution was a twenty three-page short story by Christie, written in 1925. The TV adaptation will be directed by Julian Jarrold, whose credits include The Girl - which also featured Jones - and Appropriate Adult. No transmission date has yet been given. Cattrall spoke out earlier this year about the chronic insomnia that forced her to withdraw from a play at London's Royal Court in November. The fifty nine-year-old was due to play the title role in Linda but pulled out shortly before it opened. 'I didn't want to let down the audience, the theatre, playwright or the actors,' she told the Radio Times. She said that being unable to sleep felt like 'a gorilla sitting on [her] chest' and had left her 'in a void.'
Helen McCrory is to appear in an ITV legal thriller from Homeland writer and executive producer Patrick Harbinson. She will play campaigning defence solicitor Emma Blunt in the six-part series, which is described as 'an exciting, visceral political thriller.' Harbinson said that it was a legal thriller 'but one that's written in the crash zone where law and politics collide.' The Peaky Blinders actress said that she was 'thrilled' to be leading the new drama. 'When I was at drama school I was inspired by Prime Suspect, watching as Britain led the way in creating strong female characters to lead their dramas,' she said. 'It's a thriller that starts deceptively small, then begins crossing borders to different cultures and continents.' She said that she knew and admired Harbinson's writing for Homeland, which starred her husband Damian Lewis in its early series, and 'can't wait' to start filming. The drama - currently going under the working title Fearless - will follow Blunt as she investigates the killing of a schoolgirl in East Anglia and tries to free the man she thinks was wrongly convicted of the girl's murder. As part of her investigation she starts to sense that forces in the police and the intelligence services want to stop her uncovering the truth. Harbinson, who was also an executive producer on 24 and Person Of Interest, said he was 'delighted' that McCrory had agreed to play the lead role. 'She is a complex and contradictory character, and I am incredibly lucky to have someone of Helen's wit, warmth and intelligence bringing her to life,' he said. Harbinson said that he 'immediately said yes' when he was asked if he was interested in writing a legal series inspired by the work of campaigning lawyers like Gareth Peirce - who helped gain the release of Guildford Four member Gerry Conlon - and Helena Kennedy. 'Much of the work I've done in America in the last ten years has been about life in the post 9/11 (and post 7/7) world,' he said. 'The so-called "war on terror" has put serious stress on the ordinary workings of the law. National security justifies all sorts of police and state over-reach - and the great majority of us are prepared to accept this. So I wanted to create a character who challenges these assumptions, who fights for those outside the normal run of society, and who is uncompromising, difficult, and completely indifferent to unpopularity and danger. The result was Emma Blunt and Fearless.' Filming will begin in London and East Anglia in September.
Robert Downey Jr is in talks to team up with True Detective creator Nic Pizzolatto on a HBO project, according to reports. Variety says that it will be based on the Iron Man star's Perry Mason reboot, which he had been developing as a feature film at Warner Bros for several years. It is thought it will be a short series, rather than a TV movie. The 1960s legal drama Perry Mason was one of TV's longest-running legal series. The show, which starred Raymond Burr, was based on a character created by author Erle Stanley Gardner. Mason was an unorthodox Los Angeles investigating criminal defence lawyer and each episode focused on one client's murder trial. Deadline reports that the series 'could be ongoing' with future series dependent on Downey Jr's availability. There have been two series of True Detective - the first staring Matthew McConaughey was highly acclaimed - indeed, this blog gave it the prestigious From The North award for the best TV show of 2014 - but the second disappointed many critics. This blogger thought it was one of the curios of 2015. (It wasn't an entire disaster and the massive gunfight at end of episode four might well have been five of the best minutes of TV this year, produced by anyone. And it did get better as it went along if you stuck with it, the last episode in particular being grimy satisfying. But, it was, nevertheless, a complete contrast with the first series which had such a tight focus.) Perry Mason will be the first TV role for Downey Jr since comedy series Ally McBeal which he left in 2001. He won a Golden Globe Award and a Screen Actors' Guild award for his performance as the title character's boyfriend in the comedy drama, but left after he was arrested for drugs offences and spent time in rehab. Downey Jr is currently filming Spider-Man: Homecoming, reprising his popular role of Tony Stark. It has also been announced he will star in a third Sherlock Holmes film.
TV Comedy Moment Of the Week: One you probably missed unless, like this blogger, you're a near-insomniac (and you live in the North East of England, obviously). BBC Breakfast's local news segment for the North East and Cumbria at 6.58am on Wednesday morning included Colin Briggs finishing his piece with the following item: 'Police are searching for a missing six foot long snake in County Durham. The Cuban boa has been missing from its home in Quinn Crescent, Wingate, for five days. They say it "poses no threat to the public" but you're advised not to approach it should you spot it. It might get a crush on you.' Superb comic timing, mate. Of course, Colin - brother of the voice of the Daleks, Nick Briggs - has been a From The North favourite for many years, as long-term dear blog readers may recall.
TV Comedy Moment Of The Week (part, the second): Another moment of dazzling brilliance from the Goddess that is Victoria Coren Mitchell on this week's episode of Only Connect. 'If you can face it, join me next week for the show that produces more head-scratching than Mongolian super-nits.'
If the BBC are looking for a new Saturday night drama format, may this blogger be the first to suggest Keirin: The Series. It would have everything; tension, tears, triumph, romance, heroes, villains. Seriously, somebody ought to get onto the acting head of drama and commission that sucka.
The exploits of cycling's golden couple yer actual Laura Trott and Jason Kenny his very self helped to boost overnight ratings for the BBC's Olympic coverage to a new high on Tuesday. More than eleven million punters were watching BBC1 live at 10pm when Trott received her Olympic gold medal for the Omnium. Roughly the same figure - 11.1 million - were still watching an hour later to see Kenny win the men's Keirin. Presumably some of these viewers were hanging on for the - much-delayed - News At Ten - but, one suspects that most of them were, actually, there for the cycling. Coverage of the Olympics has also helped give BBC4 record ratings. Before Tuesday night's dramatic events, the highest viewing figures for the Olympics came on Sunday. That was reached when an average of 10.4 million watched gymnast Max Whitlock receive his second gold medal.
Things we learned from watching the Olympics on the BBC this week, number six: The hugely impressive and delightful Sophie Hitchon - Britain's first ever female medallist in the hammer - was a child ballerina before taking up the hammer tossing. At the age of fourteen Sophie, from Burnley, had been practicing ballet for over ten years. Three years later, she would be crowned Commonwealth Youth Games gold medallist in the hammer. 'It was a bit of a whirlwind,' her father Michael told BBC Sport. 'In the space of twelve months she'd gone from not being able to throw, to an Under-Seventeen British record.' 'Ballet takes a lot of strength in yourself and it helps to develop that from a young age,' Sophie added. 'It teaches dedication to sport and how to control your direction.'
American police are reportedly investigating whether Usain Bolt's one hundred metres win in Rio led to a false alarm about gunfire and a panicked evacuation at New York's John F Kennedy International Airport. According to Associated Press, this is 'one of the possibilities' police 'were exploring on Monday' as they 'reviewed security camera footage and interviewed witnesses' about the chain-reaction scare which rippled through two airport terminals Sunday night in the minutes after Usain Bolt sprinted to a gold medal victory. An internal New York Police Department briefing document, obtained by the Associated Press, said that 'a preliminary video review' showed that some travellers had started to act 'extremely disruptive' while watching the Olympics on televisions in Terminal Eight. That set off a chain reaction, with other people running away from the commotion, the document said.
There are remarkably few things that Twitter is actually good for dear blog reader. But, there are some things that it definitely isn't. Providing a 'commentary' on a race that lasts under ten seconds would appear to be one for the latter column.
Yer actual Mark Cavendish finally achieved his ambition of winning an Olympic medal by taking silver in the Omnium on Monday. The Manxman has won four world cycling titles on the road and track but missed out on a medal in his previous two appearances at the Olympics. Silver in Rio vindicated his decision to pull out of the Tour De France with five stages remaining to concentrate on the Omnium. Italy's Elia Viviani won the title, with defending champion Lasse Hansen of Denmark in the bronze-medal position. Viviani won the six-discipline event, which is held over two days, with a total of two hundred and seven points, with Cavendish on one hundred and ninety four two clear of Hansen. 'I have got my Olympic medal,' Cav told BBC Sport. 'It is really nice but gold would have finished the collection.' He said that he thought Rio would be his last games but didn't completely rule out trying for Tokyo in 2020. The medal continues a terrific year on the road and track for Cavendish. He won the Madison title at this year's track World Championships with Sir Bradley Wiggins, before switching to the road and claiming the race leader's yellow jersey at the Tour De France for the first time by winning stage one. Cavendish won three more stages in the prestigious race to take his tally to thirty - second on the all-time list behind Belgian great Eddy Merckx, who won thirty four. There was drama during the final event of the competition, the one hundred and sixty-lap forty kilometre points race, when Cavendish collided with South Korea's Sanghoon Park. Three riders ended up falling with one hundred and nine laps to go, including Viviani. The race was briefly neutralised while the Italian got back on his bike, while Park suffered mild concussion, burns and bruises. 'It was my fault, I should have been looking where I was going a bit more,' said Cavendish, who cut down the banking of the track in front of Park. The incident put Cavendish's medal briefly in doubt but the result stood because none of his rivals submitted a protest which could have resulted in a disqualification or a penalty. 'It was not his fault,' Viviani suggested. 'The Korean guy was halfway on his wheel to the right. Normally you stay on the wheel. Cav was in the front and changed direction so it's all normal. It's a normal crash on the track.' Cavendish's first two Olympic experiences both ended in disappointment. He came ninth in the Madison with Wiggins at the 2008 Beijing Games, when the duo had been favourites for gold. Wiggins, chasing a third gold at the games, was fatigued, which meant Cavendish left China as the only member of the British track cycling team without a medal. At the London 2012 Olympics, the sprinter-friendly finish on The Mall looked tailor-made for Cavendish, but the Manxman could only finish twenty ninth. He came sixth in the opening event of the Omnium, the scratch race, before being second fastest in the individual pursuit. He was seventh in the elimination race after being ejected for an illegal overtake to lie third overall going into Monday's final three events. He finished fifth in the time trial and third in the flying lap which saw him go into the points race in outright second place overall, sixteen points behind Viviani. Cavendish consistently picked up points in the sixteen intermediate sprints during the final race but never made significant inroads on the Italian's lead.

There are, unusually, a couple of very good pieces in the Gruniad about British cycling. The first is about some of the ridiculous - though, sadly predictable - jealous whinging which is being done by other nations over Britain's cycling dominance, Team GB Cycling Head Hits Back At Rivals Questioning Olympic Success. The trick is to work hard, guys. Look it up in the dictionary and then try doing it. The second piece, Brutal But Effective: Why Team GB Has Won So Many Olympic Medals is pretty self explanatory. There's also the rather touching story of Callum Skinner asking a pro-Brexit group not to use his Olympic success to promote their campaign. Of course, the Gruniad being the Gruniad, there's also the inevitable, cynical, cheerless Middle Class hippy Communist clickbait bollocks from professional offence-taker - and bell-end - Simon Jenkins. Who, if you haven't come across him before is kind of like Katie Hopkins with a PhD. It's hard not to stand up and applaud the Gruniad's world class ability to be sneering, smug and self-important concerning people who have the ability to do things that they can't. They're really very good at it and on a regular basis too. And, the really tragic thing about this article - and a few others like it scattered around the fringes of the broadsheets - is that you sense Jenkins genuinely believes he's the only sane man in an insane world and that his 'dissent' is valid and righteous. When, actually, he's just a rather bitter, snobbish, arrogant old bore with a hugely inflated sense of his own self-worth and, probably, a very small prick.
So, as noted, some of Britain's cycling rivals have 'raised issues' about the squad's spectacular performance, describing it as 'questionable.' Questionable how, exactly, they didn't say. Of course they didn't, they never do. They just make some vague 'nudge-nudge' type allusions to something being 'questionable.' Whatever that means. In addition to Britain's cycling chief, Iain Dyer, saying - rightly - that he found such utter tripe and nonsense 'offensive', the Sports Minister Tracey Crouch got herself shoe-horned into the story saying that this sort of criticism - mainly from certain German, French and Australian cyclists - were 'really unfair' and that British athletes had 'dedicated their lives' to be where they are today. Speaking to the BBC Radio 4's World At One programme, Crouch said the success of Britain's cycling squad was due to dedication and to the 'best' support team of performance analysts, nutritionists and physiotherapists available. Dyer said he believes that Britain's rivals need to stop giving wind to 'baseless allegations' and would, perhaps, be far better served focusing their energies on how to improve their own approach to competing on the biggest stage. Well-funded for the Olympics and boasting some of cycling's best coaching staff in the world, Cycling UK maintain that their success rests purely on strenuous planning and meticulous attention to detail. Dyer points to the appointment of Justin Grace, the former New Zealand head coach who joined the British set-up ahead of this year's games, as a case in point. Of course, this sort of crap isn't new. Four years ago, pretty much exactly the same non-allegation allegations were being sneakily spun by Britain's green-eyed rivals to their own press. Infamously, the French newspaper L'Equipe ran a scurrilous, borderline-accusatory story based on claims of non-specific skulduggery and shenanigans from Isabelle Gautheron, the French cycling team's whinging boss during the London Olympics. She claimed that the British riders were supposed to be using the same wheels her team got from the French company Mavic. But, she alleged, they could not be the same because the British were going so much faster than her own cyclists. When asked about these 'magic' wheels, the then British Cycling Performance Director, Dave Brailsford - brilliantly - told L'Equipe that they were 'round.' This week, Sir Dave, now running Team Sky, discussed with BBC Breakfast how far the team have come over the past decade and the concept of 'marginal gains. It's night and day - not in the material side, but in the thinking,' he said. 'We have a structure in this country which is second to none in terms of taking an investment and maximising the performance of sport in the country.'
Two Brazilian divers will no longer compete together after one of them reportedly engaged in 'a marathon sex session' in the athletes' village. According to the New York Post, Giovanna Pedroso, seventeen, said that she was booted out of the room the duo shared in the Olympic Village so that her partner, twenty-year-old Ingrid Oliveira, could have 'a late-night romp' of The Sex with another athlete. With the grunting and the thrusting and the two minutes of squelchy-squelchy noises and that. Pedroso reportedly wasn't allowed back in her room all night as naughty Ingrid 'got it on, big-style' with canoeist lothario Pedro Goncalves. ('Is that a canoe in your pocket, Pedro, or are you just pleased to see me?') Pedroso and Oliveira subsequently finished last in the women's ten metre synchronised diving event and, since news of the incident leaked out, the Brazilian press have had something of a field day with naughty Ingrid and her jolly naughty ways. Oliveira and Pedroso came into the Olympics as genuine medal contenders after winning silver at the 2015 Pan Am Games. 'After the Olympics, I will focus on my individual,' Pedroso told Brazilian newspaper O Globo. 'It's good because I will not need to depend on anyone. Then I will be able to improve and evolve more.' Goncalves refused to comment, telling GloboEsporte, 'My personal life, I do not speak about.' Naughty Ingrid's thoughts on the matter are not known.
Two people suffered 'minor injuries' when a television camera crashed to the ground in the Olympic Park on Monday according to several media sources. Or, three people according to the Torygraph. Or four, according to the Daily Scum Mail. Or, seven according to Reuters. Any advance on seven?
The Irish athlete Thomas Barr did not expect to qualify from the four hundred metres hurdles, packing only one pair of socks for his trip to Rio. The twenty four-year-old clocked a season's best of 48.93 seconds to finish second in his heat and make it into Wednesday's Semi-Finals. In doing so, he became the first Irish athlete to reach a four hundred metres hurdles Semi-Final since Bob Tisdall in 1932. But, Barr admitted afterwards that he did not see the performance coming. Whether this excellent progression had anything to do with his - by now, presumably quite sweaty - feet, we simply don't know.
A large forest fire broke out near the Olympic Hockey Centre during Britain's women's Quarter-Final against Spain. But, even that couldn't stop Georgie Twigg, Helen Richardson-Walsh and co from qualifying for the Semis with a three-one win.
As mentioned in a previous bloggerisationism update, ten years ago, Michael Phelps signed an autograph for one of his biggest fans, a then eight-year-old Katie Ledecky. At Rio, the two multiple gold medallists decided to recreate the photograph. Only this time, with Michael asking Katie for her autograph!
The latest example of this very curious trend of pictures emerging of gold medal-winning Rio athletes posing with heroes-turned rivals or team-mates is one of a very young Laura Trott and a slightly-younger-than-now King Of The Mods Bradley Wiggins in 2004. Aw, don't they look lovely?
South African journalist Wes Botton can finally shave off his beard after Wayde Van Niekerk's world record-breaking four hundred metre gold in Rio. Van Niekerk smashed Michael Johnson's seventeen-year-old world record to win the final on Sunday. It was South Africa's first gold, which was a huge relief for journalist Botton who writes for the Citizen in Johannesburg. He had promised not to shave until his country claimed their first gold of the 2016 Olympics.
So, how did the new world record holder and Liverpool Alabama Yee-Haws fan Wayde Van Niekerk prepare for the race of his life? By watching Premier League football, obviously. "I watched the Liverpool match before, I was losing my mind because it was a tight match,' said the twenty three-year-old. 'My brother is an Arsenal fan. Now I've got the world record and Liverpool beat Arsenal.' Van Niekerk could also call upon the expertise of his coach - seventy four-year-old great-grandmother Ans Botha, a former sprinter and long jumper (and, world class athletics coach, clearly).
There appeared to be a few awkward moments in the BBC commentary box in the Olympic Stadium following the four hundred metres final as Gabby Logan and co seemed genuinely unsure as to what to say to Michael Johnson whose long-standing world record had just been broken after all those years.
Of course, Michael himself was - as you'd expect - entirely cool and dignified about it all. He later tweeted: 'Thanks for all the kind words. I'll always have the memory of the accomplishment of breaking it. Like the two hundred [which Usain Bolt broke a few years ago] I think it's in good hands.' Class act, Michael Johnson. Proper.
After Usain Bolt became the first athlete to win three Olympic one hundred metres titles in a time of 9.81 seconds, the question 'How fast is Usain Bolt?' reportedly overtook searches for 'How fast is the speed of light?' on Google. The answer to the former is, of course, 'not quite as fast as the latter ... but not far off.'
On a marginally related note, the success of some British male athletes at the Olympics seems to have pique interest in their love lives on Sunday, with Google Trends reporting that the top five questions asked about Max Whitlock, Justin Rose and Jason Kenny all included one about their current relationship status! Also searched for on Google on day nine was 'Is Usain Bolt in Team GB?', 'What is gymnastics?' and 'How do you play golf?' The answers to which are, of course, a) no, b) a sport and c) firstly, you need to be very rich to afford the membership fees, respectively.
The Canadian Conservative MP Jason Kenney really 'felt the love' on social media after his almost-namesake, Jason Kenny won gold in the men's cycling sprint final. The Calgary politician tweeted in response: 'Thanks for the implausible congrats on Olympic cycling gold, but the credit goes to my infinitely more talented UK namesake Jason Kenny.'
Evgeny Tishchenko's unanimous points win in the men's Olympic boxing heavyweight final was booed by the crowd in Rio. The Russian world champion suffered a cut on his head and appeared to spend most of the bout on the back foot against Kazakhstan's Vassiliy Levit. The judges scored all three rounds in his favour and the crowd continued to boo when he received his medal, while cheering Levit on the podium. Uzbekistan's Rustam Tulaganov and Cuba's Erislandy Savon each won bronze. They don't seem very popular with pretty much anyone at the moment, the Russians. One wonders why.
Japanese pole vaulter Hiroki Ogita has described his bewilderment after Internet reports that his penis had prevented him from progressing in the Olympics went viral. A video of the athlete hitting the bar with what appeared to be - but wasn't - his knob quickly spread online. In actual fact, his leg had already made contact with the bar and his arm finished the job. 'I never expected the foreign media to take me down like this,' the twenty eight-year-old athlete tweeted. 'It's one thing if it was true, but I have to say I'm pretty devastated that they'd go so far to make something up to mock and ridicule me so much.' Ogita did clear the bar on his second attempt but as he only managed a height of 5.45m on his final jump, the earlier foul cost him.
Security forces were called to the Olympic weightlifting arena after Iranian coaches reacted furiously when a lift by Behdad Salimikordasiabi in the one hundred and five kilogramme category was ruled invalid. The twenty six-year-old Iranian's left arm was deemed not to be straight on his second tow hundred and forty five kilogrammes clean and jerk attempt. Sajjad Anoushiravani, Iran's head coach, claimed that there was 'a conspiracy.' What, another one? Who's organising all these conspiracies and why don't we known about them? Because, they're 'secret conspiracies', obviously. You know, like the Moon landings, the JFK assassination and the CIA being behind the death of Michael Jackson. Probably. Georgia duo Lasha Talakhadze and Irakli Turmanidze won gold and bronze, while Armenia's Gor Minasyan took silver. Defending champion Salimikordasiabi and his team angrily approached the five-member jury - an action which is against the rules - and remonstrated with the officials for several minutes as the competition continued. For a while it looked as though there was going to be some geet rive-on with kids getting sparked and aal sorts. The jury had overruled two of the three judges, who approved the attempt. 'There's a conspiracy. Our enemies were on the jury,' said Anoushiravani, appearing to be referring to a jury member from Iraq. 'It's obvious they took the medal from Salimi. The jury was selected for this to happen.' Salimikordasiabi also failed to straighten his left arm sufficiently with his first effort and was never close with his third after setting a two hundred and sixteen kilogramme world record in the snatch earlier. Iranian supporters in the crowd got all stroppy and indignant, booing Talakhadze, who claimed the gold with a world record four hundred and seventy three kilogramme total. 'It was getting ugly and we asked the competition manager to call security because of the behaviour by the Iranian officials,' said Sam Coffa, chairman of the International Weightlifting Federation technical committee.
After Russia's doping whistleblower Yulia Stepanova said that she worries about the dangers of being assassinated, a pro-Kremlin radio commentator in Russia, one Armen Gasparyan, tweeted: 'WADA informant Stepanova fears for her life. The curse of betrayal never brings happiness. She's got to watch her back now.' By Hell, what a total hero you are Armen, threatening a woman. What do you do for an encore, beat up kids too? You worthless scumbag.
Kiribati weightlifter David Katoatau, who finished sixth in the Olympic men's one hundred and five kilogrammes Group B final, entertained the Rio crowd with his groovy dance moves. Way to go, and shake your funky stuff, Big Dave, baby! But, there's something of a back-story here. The weightlifter, who lost his family's house in a cyclone, danced off stage at the Rio Olympics on Tuesday to raise awareness of the threat climate change poses to his remote Pacific nation. Katoatau's dances became a trademark of his victory in the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow two years ago. That was the first gold medal in any global sporting event for his island nation. He was also a social media sensation for his dancing as Kiribati's flag bearer at the Rio opening ceremony. Kiribati, located in the Central Pacific, is suffering 'extreme coastal erosion not just of the beaches but also of the land' according to its government. Some scientists have predicted a catastrophic effect on Kiribati's twenty one inhabited islands. 'Most people don't know where Kiribati is,' Katoatau told Reuters. 'I want people to know more about us so I use weightlifting and my dancing, to show the world. I wrote an open letter to the world last year to tell people about all the homes lost to rising sea levels. I don't know how many years it will be before it sinks. We don't have the resources to save ourselves,' Katoatau said. Kiribati also lacks the resources for basic sports facilities. 'There was no gym when I started training as a boy and there is no gym now,' he said. 'I trained on the beach in the open sun. The bar would become too hot to touch so I had to train at six in the morning.' Katoatau moved to the Oceania Weightlifting Institute when he was sixteen. He now lives and trains at the Institute in Noumea, New Caledonia. His next target, though, is defending his Commonwealth title in Gold Coast, Australia, in 2018.
Germany's canoe slalom coach Stefan Henze has sadly died following a car crash near the Rio Olympic Park last week. The thirty five-year-old 2004 Olympic silver medallist suffered head injuries when a taxi he was in with a team-mate crashed into a concrete barrier on Friday. The German Olympic Committee said that Henze had died of his injuries 'in the presence of his family. Words cannot describe what we feel in the team after this terrible loss,' said DOSB president Alfons Hormann. International Olympic Committee president and compatriot Thomas Bach added: 'The IOC is mourning the loss of a true Olympian.' The DOSB held memorial service in the Olympic village on Tuesday and asked the International Olympic Committee to fly the German flag at half-mast at all venues. Another canoe team official, Christian Kaeding, suffered minor injuries in Friday's accident and was released after hospital treatment.
They were described as 'cowards' by big-mouthed, arrogant waste-of-space bad-loser Hope Solo after their recent - much-celebrated - Quarter-Final victory over the USA, but Sweden's ladies football team showed further true grit in putting out the hosts, and favourites, Brazil in the Semi-Final of the competition. Again, they needed penalties to progress but, if there's one thing this Swedish team have proved in their last two games, it's that the ladies are deadly from twelve yards. Perhaps significantly, even in a football-mad country like Brazil, and despite the host's huge disappointment at the defeat, no one from the Brazil side had the ignorant, crass sourness to criticise their opponents for another - impressive - defensive display. So, it looks like it's just Hope that can't take getting beat. Whether America will soon be invading Sweden since, that seems to be the country's usual attitude towards other countries that dare to stand up to them is not, at this time, known. Though, one is sure Hope will be voting for Donald Trump just to be on the safe side.
Two days in a row, Thiago Braz Da Silva was celebrated as a national hero in the Olympic Stadium. On both days, however, Renaud Lavillenie was booed by the home crowd. The weeping Frenchman had to be consoled by athletics chief Sebastian Coe and IOC president Thomas Bach. The IOC leader described the booing which echoed around the stands during Tuesday's medal ceremony for the pole vault as 'shocking behaviour,' saying it was 'unacceptable at the Olympics.' It visibly upset Lavillenie - a wonderful athlete and a genuine pole vaulting legend. 'I wish this on no one,' he said, clearly shocked that thousands of people would boo him for a second time. Da Silva had a surprise win over the defending champion late on Monday as thousands of fans kept on booing the Frenchman as he tried to reclaim the gold-medal position during the thrilling, late-night duel. The raucous booing was meant to unsettle the non-Brazilian and, clearly, it did. Lavillenie, instead of concentrating solely on his final jump, gave them the thumbs down. Lavillenie condemned the behaviour of the crowd soon after the event finished, saying that nothing like it had been seen since Jesse Owens at the 1936 Olympics in Berlin, Hitler's propaganda games. He quickly apologised and retracted his statement, but maintained that the Brazilian fans in the stadium were disregarding the Olympic spirit. 'If this is a nation where they only want Brazil and they spit on others, then you should not organise the Olympics. I expected some whistles and it would have shocked me, but I didn't expect it to be so violent,' he said. During the medal ceremony, Da Silva raised his arms in an attempt to calm the fans and applauded the silver medal of world-record holder Lavillenie, who won gold four years ago in London. Lavillenie was consoled later by Da Silva and by pole vault great Sergei Bubka, an IOC member. After the ceremony, the stadium announcer - somewhat belatedly - reminded fans to have 'the utmost respect' for all athletes. Whether Brazilian or otherwise.
The Rio Olympic organisers have grovellingly apologised to Ryan Lochte after he was allegedly robbed at gunpoint when he and three of his teammates were returning from a post-competition party. The car in which Lochte and fellow US swimmers Jack Konger, Gunnar Bentz and Jimmy Feigen's were going was reportedly stopped by robbers posing as police early Sunday morning. The police are said to be still looking for the driver of the cab which was pulled over. 'We, obviously, regret that the violence has got so close to the athletes. We have requested the security authorities that they need to make sure that everybody is safe everywhere in the city. We apologise to those involved and once again, we regret the fact that violence is an issue at these games,' said IOC Communications Executive Director, Mario Andreda. 'The police are looking for the cab driver who drove them back, who seemed to have more information about this,' he added.
Competing in the Olympics is stressful at the best of times - but imagine doing so while having your period (applicable to lady dear blog readers only, obviously). Fu Yuanhui, one of China's swimming stars, became an overnight social media sensation thanks to her frank post-race interviews and exaggerated expressions. Now, she's become a talking point online again - for breaking a sporting taboo by talking about her period. China missed out on a medal in the women's four by one hundred metres medley relay on Sunday, coming fourth. After the swim, team-mates Lu Ying, Shi Jinglin and Zhu Menghui were interviewed by a reporter - but Fu was, initially, nowhere to be found. It turns out she was crouched behind a board, doubled over in pain. When the journalist asked her if she was all right, Fu said: 'I didn't swim well enough this time,' and apologised to her team-mates. 'It's because my period came yesterday, so I felt particularly tired - but this isn't a reason, I still didn't swim well enough.' It was a poignant moment for Chinese viewers, many of whom took to social media to express their support for Fu. 'I really admire Fu Yuanhui, for swimming while she was on her period - women can be affected during their periods, especially with period pain. She felt guilty for coming fourth, but Fu Yuanhui we're still very proud of you,' one person wrote on Sina Weibo. Fu's comments have also reportedly sparked a discussion about tampons which are not widely used in China.
Egyptian judoka Islam El Shehaby has been reprimanded and sent home from Rio after refusing to shake his Israeli opponent's hand. The International Olympic Committee says El Shehaby received 'a severe reprimand' for his behaviour following his first-round heavyweight bout loss to Or Sasson last Friday. When Sasson extended his hand to his opponent, El Shehaby backed away, shaking his head. The referee called the thirty four-year-old El Shehaby back to the mat and obliged to him to bow; he gave a quick nod and was loudly booed by the crowd as he hurriedly exited. The IOC said the Egyptian's conduct 'was contrary to the rules of fair play and against the spirit of friendship embodied in the Olympic values,' adding that the Egyptian Olympic Committee also 'strongly condemned' El Shehaby's actions 'and has sent him home.' Meanwhile, the dignified Sasson has returned home to Israel with a bronze medal after coming third in the one hundred kilogramme category. Good for him.
Olympic quote(s) of the week: 'None of my players will get up tomorrow morning feeling they were horrible tonight. They have done their utmost. No one will be buried alive after this.' Romania women's handball coach Tom Ryde reacting to his side's twenty eight-twenty seven loss to Norway. One of Ryde's players, Oana Manea, added: 'Norway is a good team, they have a system in their game. They are like robots. Norway is Norway, all the time they win.'
Olympic quote(s) of the week, part the second: 'A holiday, chocolate and a mighty strong glass of rum.' Australian cyclist and From The North cult favourite Anna Meares on her short-term post-Rio plans.
Following reports that the temptation of free McDonald's at the Olympic Village meant the fast food chain had to limit each person to twenty items at a time, the British boxer Savannah Marshall has a plan. 'My flat's right outside the McDonald's so every day I look outside and think, "A couple more days, one more week and I'll be in that queue." Every day I look at that queue and think, "One more week." I know the times when it's quiet; I've got it all down. They don't do double cheeseburgers so I'm just gonna get four cheeseburgers, throw the buns away and make my own. I've planned it all.'
Meanwhile, Australian badminton player Sawan Serasinghe is the latest to have a fast food blow-out after exiting the games. He posted this picture on Facebook, saying: 'Now it's time to eat some junk food after months of eating clean.'
Hey, that's more than twenty items, surely? I'm counting twenty four - including the water, admittedly.

Things we learned from watching the Olympics on the BBC this week, number seven: 'There's nothing worse than a knee-tremble,' apparently. We'll take Leon Taylor's word for it.
In the prelims of the men's three metre springboard, Ahmad Amsyar Azman tried to do a dive which, presumably, was not meant to end in a belly flop. Despite his best efforts, however, it ended in a belly flop. Aw, bless.
Things we learned from watching the Olympics on the BBC this week, number eight: BBC Breakfast's sports reporter Ben Croucher, seemingly, has a curiously simplistic view of how much effort it requires to become an Olympic medallist. In his report on the remarkable story of Durham schoolgirl Amy Tinkler who won an unexpected - but hugely deserved - bronze in the gymnastics, Croucher observed: 'At sixteen, age is no obstacle for Amy Tinkler. She's the youngest member of Team GB but, in the floor final, she looked like she'd been tumbling for years.' Well, one imagines she probably has, pal. I mean, she didn't just take up the sport last week, did she? You foolish fool.
Things we learned from watching the Olympics on the BBC this week, number nine: Six-time gold medallist Jason Kenny shares a birthday - 23 March - with fellow six time gold medallist Sir Chris Hoy. And, five time gold medallist Sir Steve Redgrave. And, three time gold medallist (for the moment, anyway) Mo Farah. Different years, obviously - 1988, 1976, 1962 and 1983 respectively. Also born on 23 March, Blur singer Damon Albarn, former England cricket captain and Sky commentator Michael Atherton and Barry Cryer. None of whom have ever won an Olympic gold medal. You're rather letting the side down, chaps.
Chris Hoy had a joke with Jason Kenny before his former teammate joined him in the Six Olympic Gold Medals Club on Tuesday.
Though, as Sir Chris pointed out to Clare Balding a bit later, technically speaking, he's got until Tokyo 2020 to be still on top of the list 'due to alphabetical order!'

Allyson Felix lost the four hundred metres final by just seven hundredths of a second, after Bahamanian runner Shaunae Miller sprawled over the finish line to hold off Felix's charge from behind. The thirty-year-old Felix came into the final stretch well behind Miller, but managed to almost chase her down, before Miller literally fell over the line. If that was planned, it was a brilliant plan. But, God, it looked painful!
Of course, some - American - people whinged that this wasn't damn right and wasn't damn fair. And, then Americans wonder why it is that many in the rest of the world hate them.
With bookmaker's odds of seven-to-one on to advance to the men's bantamweight Semi-Finals and secure at least a bronze medal, it wasn't just his Irish compatriots fancying Michael Conlan to defeat Vladimir Nikitin on Tuesday in Rio. However, despite the Irishman seemingly having the edge in an enjoyable and hard-fought first round, all three judges gave it to Nikitin. Few people panicked, as it was a fairly tight round. But when Conlan comfortably led the second and third only for the judges to award the contest to the Russian, uproar ensued. Not only did the crowd in attendance gasp and boo the decision, but social media blew a collective gasket. After Irish boxing legend and leading medal hope Katie Taylor went out in the first bout in her Olympic title defence (which was debatable, though perhaps not as blatantly incorrect as the Nikitin victory), it appears that the Ireland contingent - and especially Conlan - have had enough. 'AIBA cheats. He fucking cheats. That's me, I'll never box for AIBA again, they're cheating bastards, they're paying everybody,' he said in a sensational TV interview with RTE moments after the decision. 'I don't give a fuck for cursing on TV. That's the end of my Olympic gold. My dream has been shattered now. I have a big career ahead of me. These ones are known for being cheats, they have always been cheats. Amateur boxing stinks from the core right to the top. Katie yesterday, I don't know why she lost that fight. It was a close fight but she didn't lose. Today, I thought I boxed the ears off him in the first round, and they ruled against me. I had to go to his fight, which I did, outfought him and they were just being a bit. It's a shambles to be honest. I don't even care what I say now. I'm gutted from the bottom of my heart. I wanted to go back a gold medal to Ireland.' After the decision, Conlan ripped off his boxing vest before giving thumbs-down and middle-finger gestures in what appeared to be the direction of the judges' positions. The 2012 Olympic bronze medallist later sent a tweet to Russian President Vladimir Putin. 'How much did they charge you, bro?' the irate Conlan asked The Butcher Of Grozny. Brave bloke. The last person to criticise Putin so harshly in public ended up being murdered.
Another chap getting a geet stroppy rive-on with officialdom was British open water swimmer Jack Burnell who described his disqualification in his event - for two yellow cards - as 'a joke.' Though, presumably not a very funny one.

A pair of five thousand metre runners embraced the Olympic spirit - and, won the hearts of the crowd in the Olympic Stadium - after a collision in their heat saw both tumble to the ground. Nikki Hamblin of New Zealand and American Abbey D'Agostino helped each other back to their feet as the rest of the field disappeared towards the finish line. 'I had never met her, isn't that so amazing? It is a moment that I will never ever forget for the rest of my life,' said Hamblin. Both runners were, later, given exemptions and will be allowed to compete in the semi-finals.
The head of the Irish and European Olympic committees, Patrick Hickey, has reportedly been arrested in Rio over illegal Olympic ticket sales. Hickey, is suspected of illegally passing on tickets for the games to touts who sold them at extortionate prices, Brazilian media reports say. His arrest comes days after a very naughty man was extremely caught in Rio with eight hundred illegal tickets. Police said that Hickey 'tried to escape' when they came to arrest him.

Canoe sprinter Jon Schofield says that he is using Coca Cola to 'combat any concerns' about the quality of water in Rio, telling the Evening Standard: 'It's really good at killing stuff in your mouth.' Which, good to know as it is, probably isn't the sort of ringing endorsement Coke want to use in their next advertising campaign, one imagines.
Rio Olympics volunteers are reported to be quitting in numbers because of long hours and a lack of food, with around thirty per cent now not showing up for work according to CBS News.

American sprinter English Gardner had a message for the person who stole her phone in Rio.
Harsh, but probably fair.

Six countries have won their first ever Olympic gold medal in Rio: Puerto Rico (Monica Puig in the tennis), Singapore (swimmer Joseph Schooling), Vietnam (Hoang Xuan Vinh in the shooting), Fiji (in the rugby sevens), Kosovo (judoka Majlinda Kelmendi) and Bahrain. After Ruth Jebet won the steeplechase, she stood on the top step above fellow Kenyan Hyvin Jepkemoi, received her gold medal from another Kenyan, Paul Tergat, then turned to watch the Bahraini flag ascend to the top of the flagpole. The nineteen-year-old Jebet was born in Kenya, but she began running internationally for Bahrain in 2013. She earned the tiny gulf nation's first gold medal the same day that Eunice Kirwa, another runner from Kenya, won Bahrain their first silver. Bahrain has a total of three Olympic medals, all earned by East African runners who have switched their nationalities to compete for Bahrain. Athletes competing for nations that they were not born in has been around for as long as games themselves, of course. Even in the ancient Olympics, athletes would occasionally compete for rival city-states. All the modern Olympic Charter requires is that an athlete be 'a citizen' of their new nation and that they haven't competed for their old nation for three years (the second requirement can be waived). There are plenty of entirely legitimate reasons why athletes may choose to compete for a specific country - so Mo Farah, for instance. But neither Jebet nor Kirwa have any Bahraini heritage and they almost certainly switched over because they were paid handsomely to do that. So, there you go - if you're a small but rich country, simply buy yourself an Olympic medal.
Rio Olympics officials took the extraordinary step of replacing all of the water in the synchronised swimming and water polo pool after athletes testified that it was too cloudy and eye-irritating for them to compete. While the murky water might have been fine for water polo players, the irritants -caused either by the water, or whatever officials have put in it - were not and synchronised swimmers need crystal-clear water to execute their complex underwater manoeuvres. Officials closed the pool last Friday, promising that their treatments would restore the water. It didn't work, necessitating the full transfusion. Organisers also produced yet another excuse - about their fifth in as many days - for why the water turned green: this time, if was that an inept pool technician dumped one hundred and sixty litres of hydrogen peroxide into the water. Careless.
During the final lap of heat two at the women's Keirin, French rider Virginie Cueff tried to barge her way into the outside lane. She didn't, quite, make it and, instead, sent Kiwi rider Olivia Podmore and Spain's Tania Barbero to the deck. Amazingly, the woman that Cueff edged out in the first place, Laurine Van Riessen, managed to stay on her bike, thanks to some creative bicycle acrobatics. Skill. Van Riessen had no problem riding horizontal-style to the top of the wall, then recovering and staying upright to finish the race. She was last in her heat, but later won the repechage to qualify for the next round.
Ukrainians are reportedly very unhappy with their Greco-Roman wrestling world number one being denied a gold medal by Russia's Davit Chakvetadze. Youth and Sports Minister, Ihor Zhdanov, said on Facebook: 'I believe Zhan Beleniuk's extremely deserved Olympic gold was stolen. What was stolen in an unfair sport competition may not be considered an Olympic victory.' Wars have started over less.
Six volleyball players from the Cuban national team have been charged with aggravated rape in Finland, regional prosecutors said in a statement on Tuesday. The suspected rape occurred in July in Tampere, at the hotel where the Cuban team was staying. The Cubans were in Finland playing in a World League tournament prior to the Olympics. Finnish police initially detained eight players, but released two of them who are no longer suspects. A court ordered the six suspects to remain in custody while the investigation continued. All six men have denied the charge. The Cuban team decided to compete in Rio despite the detention of their players in Finland, but lost all their five games.
A Bulgarian athlete has been charged with assaulting four maids in the Olympic Village in Rio. Police said the man - who has not been named - 'used a broomstick' to attack the maids, punched them and choked one woman. Why he should have done this, they did not elaborate. It is the third time an Olympic athlete has been accused of using violence against maids. Police said the man was not arrested and they are 'continuing to investigate' the incident. Rio 2016 spokesman Mario Andrada said Olympic organisers were 'very concerned' by the report. Moroccan boxer Hassan Saada and Namibia's Jonas Junius - also a boxer - were very arrested for alleged (separate) sexual assault on maids last week.

In the opening days of the Rio Olympics when several British athletes had finished in fourth place in their respective events, narrowly missing out on a medal, a number of media outlets focused upon this with a very British sense of disappointment that this was all going terribly wrong - like, the Sun and the Torygraph - whilst the BBC News site devoted an entire think-piece to the subject. Among those quoted - at length - in the article was one Simon Gleave a 'head of analysis' at something called Gracenote Sport's Virtual Medal Table, whatever the Hell that is. Gleave, apparently, confidently predicted fifty six medals for Britain before the games - eighteen golds, sixteen silvers and twenty two bronzes - putting them in third place in the overall medals table. So, already, with five days left in the competition, he's got two of those figures wrong - what's the betting he gets the other two wrong as well? Gleave - whose job title should, perhaps, be amended to 'head of guessing' - told the BBC: 'There is a shortfall of seven medals. These will have to be made up somewhere if GB is going to get anywhere near that total of fifty six.' Gleave acknowledged that Britain got off to a slow start at London 2012, but added that they then claimed five medals including two golds on day five and three more golds on the so-called Super Saturday. 'Obviously we get some medals wrong but generally most right,' said Gleave rather arrogantly. 'The only other country which is currently underperforming what we predicted by more than two medals is Mongolia - who have one instead of our predicted four at this stage.' Interestingly, after three subsequent days of Britain not 'underperforming' or anything even remotely like it, suddenly Gleave - who, remember, doesn't get many predictions wrong, he said - had revised his 'expected medals total' up to sixty. 'Predicting medals per event is a very challenging process, particularly if trying to get the colour of the medal correct,' he weaselled to the Beeb. Which, kind of renders your 'job' as 'head of analysis' somewhat redundant one could suggest, Simon. Just stick to guessing in future, it's served most of us very well over the years.
Professor Brian Cox (no, the other one) has verbally sparred with a newly elected - though, definitely not mental - Australian politician who believes that climate change is a global conspiracy. The physicist behind the BBC's Wonders Of The Universe was a guest on the adversarial panel show Q&A. Also on the Australian TV show was senator-elect Malcolm Roberts from the anti-immigration One Nation party. That sounds like the sort of line-up you'd pay good money not to be part of. The celebrity scientist was clearly dumbfounded by Roberts' repeated claims that climate change data was 'manipulated by NASA.' The ABC panel show puts politicians, commentators and experts from different fields in front of a live studio audience to face questions about the issues of the week. So, just like The X Factor in other words. Only, less singing. Roberts - who, remember, is definitely not mental - has previously claimed that the United Nations is using climate change to lay the foundations for an unelected global government. A member of the audience asked Professor Cox to address Roberts' request for 'proof' of a human element in climate change. 'I could sit here and read out figures until I'm blue in the face,' Foxy Coxy said. 'The absolute consensus is that human action is leading to an increase in average temperature. Absolute consensus. I know you may try to argue with that,' he said to Roberts, 'but you can't.' But, he did. Roberts worked in coal mining and has an honours degree in engineering and a master's degree in business administration. Throughout the show, the senator repeatedly called for 'empirical data' proving that climate change was 'real.' At one point, Coxy produced a graph showing global surface temperatures of the past century. However, Roberts said the climate data had been 'corrupted.' 'What do you mean corrupted?' Brian asked. Roberts responded: 'Manipulated.' 'By who?' Cox asked. That should have been 'by whom?' but, we'll let off for that one. 'NASA,' Roberts said. And The Rand Corporation. And The Saucer People. And The Reverse Vampires. Probably. Tragically, no one had the wherewithal to ask Roberts for exactly what he's been asking for in relation to climate change, proof of his assertions. An opportunity missed, that, one could suggest. When asked earlier this month if he still believed the UN was trying to impose a worldwide government through climate change policy, Roberts answered: 'Definitely.' Yes, clearly not mental. He also wrote a 'report' in 2013 - in crayon, one suspects - that detailed his 'rejection' of man-made global warming. Australian Science Minister Greg Hunt was also on the show and was asked to 'clarify' the government's 'position' on climate change. 'All of these different organisations, I don't think they're subject to a collective folly, nor do I think that they're subject to some sort of conspiratorial collusion,' he said. No shit? 'I respect the right of people to have different views, but we don't make our policy on that. Our policy is it's real and it's important and it's significant.'
Maxine Peake has joined the annual Peterloo Massacre commemorations in Manchester City Centre. At least ten people were killed and hundreds injured in 1819 when militia charged a crowd at St Peter's Field who were demanding political reform. Talks are ongoing about creating a permanent memorial, The Peterloo Massacre Campaign said. Peake, from Bolton, said that the event highlighted the importance of 'democracy and liberty.' More than sixty thousand people, who were reported to be unarmed and peaceful, attended a meeting on 16 August 1819 which called for voting rights for working men. But, local magistrates sent in armed cavalry through the crowd to arrest speakers, including the political reformer and orator Henry Hunt. The consequent carnage, dubbed 'Peterloo' after the battle at Waterloo four years earlier, inspired the protest poem The Mask Of Anarchy by Percy Bysshe Shelley. Ah, yes. 'Arise, like lions after slumber, in unvanquishable number! Shake your chains to Earth like dew which in sleep had fallen on you: Ye are many - they are few.' Brilliant stuff. Mind you, it also spawned the birth of the Gruniad Morning Star newspaper. So, it's got a lot to answer for, frankly. Peake, famous for her roles in Silk, Shameless and The Village, said: 'I think we should never forget events like this. It is not just about remembering a historical event. It is about how it affects our future and how in some ways things haven't changed that much and in some ways they have. But it's about the importance of protest, the importance of people having a voice. The importance of democracy and liberty, it is something that should never be forgotten and the fact that Manchester is a really progressive city and it should be really proud of that.'
A plane carrying Sheikh Yer Man City staff and media to a Champions League match has been evacuated after reports smoke was seen in the cabin. Passengers were evacuated as the aircraft was preparing to depart from Manchester Airport, causing a forty-minute delay. An investigation by the Romanian airline Carpatair found it was not smoke but steam that had been released from the air conditioning system. Why, exactly, the air conditioning system should be, you know, steaming, they didn't say though if this blogger was about to get on that plane, frankly, he'd quite like to know. Sheikh Yer Man City play Steaua Bucharest on Tuesday. A spokesman for Manchester Airport said: 'It appears that there was a smell of smoke in the cabin after [the passengers] boarded.' However, the charter airline's president, Nicolae Petrov denied this, saying: 'The crew decided to disembark passengers because steam was released into the passenger cabin. After the necessary checks, it was established that it was caused by condensation accumulated in the air conditioning ducts system on the long previous flight.' There were no players on board the plane. The passengers were taken to the departure lounge while the fire service carried out checks.
A pastor, a hairdresser, a nurse and an aerospace engineer are among those who will be seen competing for this year's Great British Bake Off crown. Viewers will see twelve amateur bakers trying to impress judges Mary Berry and Paul Hollywood when the new series begins on BBC1 on 24 August. Last year's winner Nadiya Hussain was a big success and Hollywood said that this year's contestants had felt the pressure. 'Nadiya went to a whole new level. It put pressure on them more,' he said. 'I think we felt it in the tents as well. They started quite nervously, but once they settled down they got into it.' Berry concurred, saying: 'They know the standard that it is, which is now pretty high. And I think they were slower to bond this year than they were in the past.' A teacher, a student and a garden designer are also among the hopefuls. Mel Giedroyc and Sue Perkins will return to host the show.
A Swedish top-flight football match was abandoned on Monday after Ostersunds goalkeeper Aly Keita was attacked by a pitch invader. Ostersunds were drawing one-one at Jonkoping Sodra in the closing stages of their Allsvenskan match when the intruder ran on to the field and grabbed Keita, who fell to the ground. Players and security promptly tackled the man, who was escorted away by the scruff of his neck and, presumably, giving a right hiding round the back for his daft plankish hooligan ways. Keita was given medical attention before being led off the pitch. The twenty nine-year-old later told reporters that he had been struck in the temple, saying: 'I am shocked and angry. It is awful that something like this could happen.' Match delegate Nicklas Bengtsson said that Keita was 'not fit' to play on. Ostersunds coach Graham Potter, a former West Bromwich Albinos player, added: 'Keita is shocked. He's not doing so well.' Police said that a seventeen-year-old thug had been arrested. 'He is under arrest, we have informed the prosecutor of the arrest and interviews will be conducted with him about the suspected breaches of the law,' Jonkoping police commander Peter Nordengard added. This was the second time that a game in the Swedish top flight had been abandoned this year. In April, Gothenburg's match against Malmo was halted when a firework exploded at the feet of a substitute who was warming up.
Observers say that the annual Perseid meteor shower was 'more active than usual' across the UK in the early hours of Friday. The Perseid shower occurs every August but this year scientists say that 'a gravitational nudge' by Jupiter made it 'more intense.' Some researchers were predicting up to two hundred meteors per hour in the night sky at the shower's peak. While Friday was the peak, meteors could be seen for several nights thereafter. The Perseid meteor shower is caused by a trail of debris from a comet called Swift-Tuttle which orbits the Sun. Every year between July and August, the Earth drifts into the belt of material left by Swift-Tuttle and is peppered with meteors, which burn up as they hit the atmosphere creating streaks of light across the sky like The Coming Of The Lord. These meteors are called the Perseids, because they appear to be coming from the constellation Perseus. But, this year is unusual according to astronomers, as the Earth moved through a particularly distinct bit of debris a day earlier than normal. This clump of material has been nudged into the Earth's path by Jupiter's gravity. Those who were out early on Friday morning enjoyed a wonderful display. 'It's hard to tell with the naked eye, but I did certainly notice quite a lot of spectacular bright fireballs,' said Doctor Sam Lindsay from the Royal Astronomical Society. 'I'm not sure I would have seen so many of in previous years.'
Whatever you did with your weekend, dear blog reader, it probably wasn't as exciting as the activities of yer actual Eric Clapton. The celebrated guitarist managed to catch a record-breaking salmon in an Icelandic river. According to local reports, the captured fish was the biggest catch of the year. It required Eric and a guide to run along the river for two-and-a-half hours to land the wriggling beast. Fortunately for the salmon, it won't be spilling any tears in heaven - sorry - as the fish was released back into the river soon after it was caught (albeit, it did have a look on its face like it was owed an explanation). At least it got to pose for a photo with Eric Clapton. Like Eric the fish is, apparently, good with cream. I'm here all week, dear blog reader. Try the veal.
The Central Office of the Irish High Court was 'entirely correct' in refusing to accept a sworn statement in which a litigant described his occupation as 'a disciple of the Lord Jesus Christ,' a judge has ruled. Mr Justice Richard Humphreys said that the litigant, who had sought to 'duplicitously' challenge in the High Court a decision by the Residential Tenancies Board to fix a market rent for his tenancy, had issued 'frivolous, grandiose and vexatious' proceedings. 'The courts are not a playground in which litigants can amuse themselves at will,' he said. 'For the court to bask in self-congratulatory patience for quirky insouciance of applicants would be to play the role of a judicial free-rider,' Humphreys added in a reserved judgment. Sadly, the judge didn't take the opportunity to tell the man to grow-the-fek up and stop acting like such a daft plank. Which he could have done. The judge said that the man and another tenant had sought leave to apply for judicial review to quash the Residential Tenancies Board's determination. The application had been filed in the Central Office and the man had put further evidence in the sworn statement. The Central Office had refused to accept the man's affidavit, on the grounds that it did not comply with the rules of the court. The judge said that, in his mind, 'fanciful' descriptions such as 'disciple of the Lord Jesus Christ' do not constitute a description of an occupation. 'If such a mode of description were permitted, one could not stop the next deponent describing themselves in the opening of an affidavit as a "Guardian reader" or the one after that as a "keen golfer" and so on,' the judge said. Although, if anyone does describe themselves as 'Guardian reader' can this blogger suggest a minimum of fifteen years hard labour, yer very Lordship?
And, speaking of Christian nutters, a Nebraska woman - who is, obviously, like that Australian bloke not a complete and total mental - is reported to be suing every gay person on Earth and asking a federal judge to rule on whether homosexuality is 'a sin.' Which it may be or it may not be but that's not, actually, illegal and, hence, nothing to do with him. Is there, one wonders, a law to extremely jail people who make frivolous, ridiculous claims like this? And, if not, why not? Sylvia Driskell, sixty six, describes herself as 'an ambassador of God and His son, Jesus Christ [sic]' and will serve as her own lawyer in Driskell Versus Homosexuals, NBC News reports. Whether 'the ambassador's alleged father and son 'employers' will be appearing in court to support her claim is not, at this time, known. Though, if they do, that would be news. In her seven-page petition, written entirely in cursive script, Driskell does not reference any previous case laws for District Judge John M Gerrard to consider, but does quote the Bible - extensively - and Webster's Dictionary. 'I never thought that I would see a day in which our great nation or our own great state of Nebraska would become so compliant to the complicity of some people['s] lewd behaviour,' writes Driskell, who says that 'homosexuality is a sin and that they the homosexuals know it is a sin to live a life of homosexuality. Why else would they have been hiding in the closet.' I think you'll find most of them are now Out of the closet, Sylvia, and dancing in the street on Gay Pride Day. And, good on them. Plus, it's always nice to see Christians who claim that they've actually read the Bible - not just the bits of it that support their own particular sick prejudices and bigotry - putting Matthew 7:1 into such positive action, isn't it?
A Utah police sergeant is recovering after someone tried to poison him, officials confirmed on Tuesday. Authorities said that the sergeant stopped at the Subway restaurant for lunch Monday. When he took a sip of his drink he 'tasted chemicals' and said that he knew 'something was wrong.' The officer said he came to a red light on his way back to the station and his body wouldn't let him hit the brake, according to KSTU. He made it safely back to the station and was taken to the hospital. Authorities said that the officer's drink 'tested positive for marijuana, THC and methamphetamine.' Sergeant Clint Bobrowski said surveillance video from Subway showed what had happened. 'The suspect was seen taking the sergeant's order, filling his drink,' Bobrowski said. 'The suspect left the sergeant's drink on the counter and left the picture frame. In the video you can see him returning with something in his hand and then leaning over the sergeant's drink for an unusual amount of time. The suspect then provided the sergeant with the drink.' Officers arrested eighteen-year-old Tanis Lloyd Ukena after seeing him on the surveillance video. Authorities said they believe this is 'an isolated incident.'
A Queensland woman has admitted to three counts of bestiality when she appeared in court on Thursday. Jenna Louise Driscoll, twenty six, faced Brisbane District Court, where she also entered very guilty pleas to three 'drug-related matters.' She is expected to be extremely sentenced to some time in the Big House on 3 November. After her arrest in October 2014, the Courier Mail reported that police discovered 'a cache of dirty videos' in which Driscoll allegedly 'had sex with a dog.' Her phone was searched after she was arrested for suspected drug trafficking. At a previous court hearing, prosecutors alleged that Driscoll arranged for four ounces of cannabis to be sold for eleven hundred and fifty Australian dollars. On another occasion she sold three ounces for nine hundred bucks. Police investigating the trafficking offence allegedly 'came across' three videos on the woman’s phone which showed her having sex with a dog.
Two North Myrtle Beach women were very arrested 'in connection with indecent exposure' after police said the pair was swimming in the nude at a Myrtle Beach-area apartment complex pool on Monday night. Kadie Lynne Naumann, twenty three, and Kyla Elizabeth Cole, thirty two, were each charged with indecent exposure, police said. Naumann was also charged with assaulting a police officer while resisting arrest. Police said that she kicked an arresting officer 'in the groin area and his left thigh.' Oo, makes yer eyes water just thinking about it. Horry County police were reportedly called about 11pm on Monday to the amenities centre at Breakers Drive at the Alta Surf apartment complex in reference to 'a loud noise complaint,' according to a police report. Authorities said that the women were 'swimming completely naked' when they arrived. Police 'spoke with another woman there,' who 'was clothed' and told them that she lived in the complex and 'invited the women over,' the report states. The women said that they wanted to go swimming, but didn’t have their swimsuits, so they decided to go swimming in the naughty nude. Everyone seemed 'highly intoxicated' and had 'slurred speech and poor balance,' authorities added. Naumann and 'another person with the group' began to walk off while police were checking to see if any in the group had outstanding arrest warrants and Naumann became 'belligerent and unpredictable,' police said. Officers decided to arrest Naumann in connection with indecent exposure, the report states. Naumann allowed her towel to fall to the ground as an officer placed her in handcuffs. The officer wrapped the towel back around Naumann who then executed 'a mule kick' — delivering a rear-thrust kick with the heel of her foot, striking the officer in the groin, according to the report. He went down like a sack of spuds in all probability. Police then pinned Naumann to the ground and the arresting officer placed his left knee between Naumann’s shoulder blades, police said. Naumann kicked the officer in the thigh as he was arresting the other woman, the report states. Police said that after they had covered the women's shameful nakedness, they took the pair to J Reuben Long Detention Centre without further incident where they were banged up in the pokey for the night. Naumann was released on five thousand dollars bail and Cole was released on two thousand five hundred dollars bail, according to jail records.
The North Korean government has reportedly banned its thirty one Olympic athletes from accepting complimentary smartphone gifts being given out by South Korean electronics giant Samsung. Samsung is an official sponsor of the Olympics and it announced in July that it planned to give the eleven thousand two hundred athletes attending the Olympic Games a special commemorative 'Olympic Games Edition' of the Galaxy S7 Edge, which is the handset manufacturer's latest phone. However, according to Radio Free Asia, North Korea's Olympic Committee refused to give the phones to the athletes and, during the opening ceremony on Friday 5 August, it was visible that the North Korean Olympic contingent were the only athletes in the Maracana that didn't have the devices. During the International Olympic Committee press conference on Wednesday 10 August, RFA asked the IOC where the smartphones for the North Korean athletes were and, eventually, an IOC spokesperson confirmed that a manager from the North Korean Olympic Committee had picked up the handsets from Samsung's office, even though the devices did not make it into the athletes' hands. Athlete Kim Song seemed to indicate this was the case by shaking her head when asked if she received a Samsung smartphone by the RFA while she left the stadium after beating Singapore in the women's table tennis Quarter-Finals. There is no official reason why the North Korean athletes are being prevented from accepting Samsung's gifts, apart from the rivalries between the two countries, but South Korean athletes say that North Korean coaches often tend to confiscate gifts given to their athletes when they participate in international competitions.
And finally, dear blog reader, a brief illustration of the areas on the planet which contain people who have done a Google search using the words 'Anna Meares bum' and ended up being directed to From The North. Take it from this blogger, honestly, there's nothing to see here!
Congratulations, by the way, to the Federated States of Micronesia - and, also, some chunks of sub-Saharan Africa - for avoiding the temptation. You're an inspiration to us all, guys.

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