Sunday, August 01, 2021

"It Blesseth Him That Gives & Him That Takes"

From The North favourite, yer actual Jodie Whittaker is to step down from the lead in Doctor Who, the BBC has confirmed this week. The first woman to play The Doctor will bow out of the BBC's popular, long-running family SF drama in Autumn 2022, along with current showrunner Chris Chibnall. Whittaker will star in a new series later this year and then in three further specials next year. In a statement, Whittaker paid tribute to Chibnall and the Doctor Who team, adding: 'I will carry The Doctor and the lessons I've learnt [sic] forever.' This blogger thinks Jodie is great but he has one complain to make at this point. It's 'learned' Jodie, not 'learnt'. Chibnall, who appointed the actress to replace Peter Capaldi in the role, has been in charge of the BBC series since 2017. 'In 2017 I opened my glorious gift box of size thirteen shoes,' Whittaker said in a statement. 'I could not have guessed the brilliant adventures, worlds and wonders I was to see in them.' She continued: 'My heart is so full of love for this show, for the team who make it, for the fans who watch it and for what it has brought to my life. And I cannot thank Chris enough for entrusting me with his incredible stories. We knew that we wanted to ride this wave side by side and pass on the baton together. So here we are, weeks away from wrapping on the best job I have ever had. I don't think I'll ever be able to express what this role has given me. I know change can be scary and none of us know what's out there. That's why we keep looking. Travel hopefully. The universe will surprise you. Constantly.' For her final series, Whittaker will once again be joined by Mandip Gill as Yaz and large-toothed Scouse comedian John Bishop, who will play a new character named Dan, Dan The Time Travellin' Man. Chibnall is currently producing the next series of Doctor Who, which will be broadcast later this year. It will be followed by three specials, the first of which will be broadcast on New Year's Day 2022, with another later in the spring of 2022. Whittaker's final feature-length special, where The Doctor will regenerate, will be shown in the autumn as part of the BBC's Centenary celebrations. Really tedious and ill-informed speculation will now, inevitably, turn to who Whittaker's replacement might be, as Doctor Who approaches its sixtieth anniversary in 2023. Remember this blogger's - lengthy, but considered - advice when it came to this sort of nonsense from four years ago when first Jodie got the gig, dear blog reader. 'On the last three occasions that a new Doctor has been chosen, in all cases the incoming Doctor - Matt Smith, Peter Capaldi and Jodie Whittaker - have been mentioned virtually nowhere by any newspaper, broadcaster, website, media speculator or bookmaker until about three or four days before the announcement was due, at which point they suddenly become an overnight favourite ... So, next time there's going to be a change of Doctor here's a tip for everyone; don't bother to speculate and ignore all of the people who are speculating to fill column inches. Rather, just wait until about three days before the announcement is due and then check out who is betting on whom. That will save us all a lot of bullshit.'
Chibnall said: 'Jodie and I made a "three series and out" pact with each other at the start of this once-in-a-lifetime blast. So now our shift is done, and we're handing back the TARDIS keys. Jodie's magnificent, iconic Doctor has exceeded all our high expectations. She's been the gold standard leading actor, shouldering the responsibility of being the first female Doctor with style, strength, warmth, generosity and humour.' He added: 'She captured the public imagination and continues to inspire adoration around the world, as well as from everyone on the production. I can't imagine working with a more inspiring Doctor - so I'm not going to!'
Meanwhile, large-toothed Scouse comedian John Bishop has revealed he was involved in a car crash when he swerved to avoid 'a big chicken.' Bishop said he was driving through Wales on his way to catch a ferry to Ireland when the crash happened. He shared photos on Instagram of his Land Rover smashed into a post at the side of the road with a broken windscreen. Bishop confirmed he missed the ferry and, instead, travelled as a foot passenger on a later crossing. He wrote: 'I was driving to catch a ferry to Ireland when something happened. To avoid a car that was swerving to avoid a big chicken as I overtook I ended up like this. Nobody was hurt thanks to Land Rover being brilliant and no oncoming traffic. I missed my ferry but went on as a foot passenger on a later one thanks to James and Tony from Dyfed Powys Police. Amazing how helpful people can be when you need them and thanks to the other drivers for staying, including Andrew who I think sadly hit the big chicken anyway.'
And, just in case you don't know what one actually looks like, dear blog reader, here is an image of a massive cock.
Speaking of which, ITV have confirmed they have 'no plans' for another series of The X Factor. Because it was shit and, by the end, no one was watching it. The last full series of Wee Shughie McFee, the sour-faced Scottish chef off Crossroads' pop music lack of talent show was broadcast in 2018, although a z-list celebrity edition was shown the following year. During its peak - in the late noughties - The X Factor was one of the most viewed TV shows in the UK. However, ratings have fallen dramatically in recent years. An ITV spokesman told the BBC: 'There are no current plans for the next series of The X Factor at this stage.' A report in that ever-reliable bastion of truthful and accurate reportage, the Sun, claimed the show will be 'rested' for 'at least five years.' The X Factor first shown in 2004 and judges on the show have included Sharon Osbourne, Louis Walsh, Cheryl Whatsherface and Nicole Scherzinger. A US version of the show ran for three seasons from 2011 to 2013 before it was cancelled due to lack of interest. In 2019, ITV signed a deal with Wee Shughie McFee, the sour-faced Scottish chef off Crossroads to broadcast Britain's Got Toilets until at least 2024, but did not commit to keeping The X Factor past 2020. The singing competition regularly attracted an audience of more than ten million a decade ago, with more than seventeen million punters tuning in to see Matt Cardle crowned the winner of the 2010 series. But that was a long, long time ago. Ratings fell in subsequent years. In 2018, an average of 5.3 million people watched Dalton Harris crowned the winner, when the judges were Louis Tomlinson, Robbie Williams and Ayda Field (no, me neither). The show was absent in 2019, with the depressingly z-list celebrity edition taking its place and in early 2020 it was revealed that Wee Shughie McFee, the sour-faced Scottish chef off Crossroads was to give it another year off. Last month, it was revealed the music mogul's attentions have now turned to leading a fresh panel of judges in an upcoming new ITV musical game show, entitled Walk The Line.
A sculpture claimed to be the work of Henry Moore was not made by the renowned artist. The artwork, previously used as a water feature and a door stop, would have been worth up to a million pounds if it had been sculpted by Moore. But, it wasn't. It was assessed by the Henry Moore Foundation, based in Hertfordshire, as part of the BBC's Fake Or Fortune?. Owner Neil Betts said: 'It will go back to being a door stop again.' The piece was found in the long grass of Mergate Hall, near Norwich, when retired dairy farmer Betts was strimming it back for his neighbour. The show saw hosts Philip Mould and yer actual Fiona Bruce visit Norfolk to investigate the sculpture. Betts and his wife Barbara inherited the piece from their neighbour. When she died, she left it to the Betts who subsequently used it as a door stop and to hang a hosepipe on. It was only when a friend suggested it looked 'very much' like the work of Henry Moore they began to see it in a different light - and started to call it 'Henry.' The couple sent photographs of the sculpture to the Henry Moore Foundation in Perry Green, Hertfordshire. It has the authority to decide whether previously uncatalogued pieces are genuine works by Moore (1898 to 1986), who was from Castleford in Yorkshire and studied at Leeds School of Art and the Royal College of Art in London before finding international fame. They were interested enough in the sculpture to ask them to submit it to their Review Panel. But the panel concluded: 'Unfortunately the panel is agreed the work is not by Henry Moore.' Instead the Fake Or Fortune? investigation pointed in the direction of the - much less famous - Norfolk sculptor Betty Jewson, who used to live at Mergate Hall. Mould said despite it not being a Moore piece he had been 'impressed by its presence and boldness.'
Better Call Saul actor Bob Odenkirk is in 'a stable condition after experiencing a heart-related incident' on Tuesday, his management has said. The actor was rushed to hospital while filming his Breaking Bad spin-off show Better Call Saul in New Mexico. Odenkirk's son Nate also tweeted an update on his father's condition, saying: 'He's going to be okay.' The actor and his family expressed thanks for the support he has received from both medical staff and colleagues. His management added: 'He and his family would like to express gratitude for the incredible doctors and nurses looking after him, as well as his cast, crew and producers who have stayed by his side. The Odenkirks would also like to thank everyone for the outpouring of well wishes and ask for their privacy at this time as Bob works on his recovery.' Bryan Cranston had posted about his friend on Instagram, saying: 'Please take a moment in your day today to think about him and send positive thoughts and prayers his way.' Odenkirk has received four EMMY nominations for Better Call Saul, which was first broadcast in 2015 following the conclusion of Breaking Bad. Filming for Better Call Saul is currently in its sixth and final series and is due to broadcast next year on AMC. Odenkirk was also recently seen in the - utterly superb - action thriller Nobody (a particular From The North favourite), with other film credits include supporting roles in Little Women, Nebraska and The Post. He previously worked as a comedy writer for Saturday Night Live and The Ben Stiller Show.
The son of the late Eric Morecambe has said how 'fantastic' it was to find a missing episode of The Morecambe & Wise Show in the family home's attic. Dating from 1970, the tape of the show had been wiped by the BBC. Gary Morecambe said that he was 'hunting round in the attic' when he found film in a canister. 'It's a huge discovery because it was presumed missing and lost for good,' he said. Morecambe and Wise fronted over one hundred and seventy shows over a twenty two-year television career and in their 1970s heyday regularly pulled in more than twenty million punters every week, with the duo's annual Christmas shows seen as a 'must-watch' by British viewers. You knew all that, right? Whilst looking for paperwork, Morecambe's son found the unlabelled film can at the family home in Harpenden. 'I was looking through other stuff. As the decades go by we hadn't really sorted enough out and my mother said why don't you have a look in the attic,' said Gary. 'I came across five large canisters with spools in them. Four of them were blank or damaged, but the other one had a BBC stamp on it.' The film was checked by experts and the episode turned out to be their first show made for BBC1, dating from 8 October 1970 after they moved from BBC2. The Morecambe & Wise Show began on BBC2 in September 1968. It marked the duo's return to the BBC after thirteen years away, during which time they had found success at ITV with the series Two Of A Kind. Eric and Ernie became the nation's most popular double act and their show became unmissable television, culminating in the 1977 Christmas Day special, which was watched by an estimated twenty eight million viewers. Gary Morecambe, who now lives in Ernie Wise's home city of Leeds, said Eric would always watch the Christmas specials with his family. 'He would never stop laughing. He loved watching the show. And at the end he'd stand up and say "I thought Ernie was really good."' The pair returned to ITV at the end of their career in a show that ran between 1978 and 1983. Eric Morecambe died in 1984 and Ernie Wise in 1999. Gary Morecambe said the episode was one from their earliest days of working with writer Eddie Braben, who went on to script the majority of their most famous sketches. 'There is a lot in the show that will be incredibly familiar to people, showing the Eric and Ernie we came to know and love,' he said.
Laugh-a-minute wacky funster John Lydon has railed against an agreement his former Sex Pistols bandmates claim allows the band's music to be used in a forthcoming Danny Boyle TV drama. Lydon said the band agreement made in 1998 was 'like a total trap or prison,' likening it to 'slave labour.' Paul Cook and Steve Jones are extremely suing Lydon to allow their songs be used. They argue the BMA means decisions regarding licensing requests can be determined 'on a majority rules basis.' Pistol, which began filming in March, is a six-part series based on a 2016 memoir by Jones called Lonely Boy: Tales From A Sex Pistol. Lydon's lawyer has argued the drama, which is being made by Disney for its FX channel, portrays the singer in 'a hostile and unflattering light.' Johnny Rotten? 'Hostile and unflattering'? Surely not? Last week Jones denied this was the case, telling the High Court the legal action was 'not about slagging anyone off in this TV series.' The estate of the late Sid Vicious has approved Sex Pistols music being used in Pistol, as has Glen Matlock, whom Vicious replaced in the band in 1977. Giving evidence in London on Wednesday, Lydon said: 'I care very much about this band and its reputation and its quality control and I will always have a say if I think anything is being done to harm or damage [it]. I don't want anything I'm involved in to victimise any one of us. It would destroy the whole point and purpose of the band and so I don't understand the BMA ... I don't remember signing it.' Lydon also told the court: 'You can't let your history be rewritten for us by a complete stranger with no interest in it. This is my life here. This is my history. I didn't write these songs [for them] to be given off to nonsense.' He added that The Sex Pistols had, until now, managed to agree how to conduct their business with 'unanimity' since their split in 1978. Lydon said the BMA had not been applied since its creation in 1998 and that 'all decisions' about the use of Sex Pistols music and imagery had been based on 'unanimous' agreement. 'I don't understand how Steve and Paul think they have the right to insist that I do something that I so morally heart-and-soul disagree with without any involvement,' he continued. 'My fear is that they're demanding that I agree to sign over the rights to a drama documentary that I am not allowed any access to. I don't think the BMA applies,' the sixty five-year-old went on to tell Jones and Cook's QC. 'I didn't ask for this court case, it was brought to me, so I will naturally defend myself. There is no point in me being here or ever was if it is the case that I can just be completely outvoted by the vested interests of all in one management camp.' Edmund Cullen QC, representing Jones and Cook, suggested to Lydon that his reference to 'slave labour' was a sign of 'how deeply you regret having signed the BMA.' The barrister also said: 'Given that you regard it as slave labour, you will do whatever it takes to try and get out of it.' Earlier this week, Cook told the court that he and the other members of the band had 'always wanted to work harmoniously,' but felt they had to take Lydon to court so the group's songs could be used in the TV drama. In his witness statement, Cook said Lydon 'can be a difficult character and always likes to feel that he has control.' Cook added that he had never used the 'majority rules agreement' before because 'I thought that our relationship with John would get worse when we used it. Maybe Steve and I have been too nice to John over the years in trying to maintain good relations and that we should have been tougher,' he said. 'I am unhappy that he would behave like this over an important personal project for Steve, particularly as we have always backed his personal projects.' In a Sunday Times interview in April, Lydon claimed that the script for the TV series had been written and an actor selected to play him without his consent and that he had been put 'in a corner like a rat.' He claimed that Boyle had made 'no attempt' to contact him about the project - a version of events disputed by the Oscar-winning director of Slumdog Millionaire, Yesterday, Twenty Eight Days Later and Trainspotting. Actor Anson Boon will play Lydon in Boyle's TV series, the cast of which includes Louis Partridge, Maisie Williams, Iris Law and Talulah Riley. Lydon was previously portrayed on screen by Andrew Schofield in the 1986 film Sid & Nancy, which did not feature any of Sex Pistols' songs. The singer would go to call Alex Cox's movie 'nonsense' and 'the lowest form of life' in his autobiography, accusing it of 'glamorising' heroin addiction.
This blogger had the good fortune early this week to leave the safety of the Stately Telly Topping Manor Plague House and visit his local cinema for the first time in what seems like forever to catch a preview showing of Edgar Wright's much-anticipated documentary The Sparks Brothers. And, not unexpectedly, quite superb it was too with this blogger coming out of the screening with a grin on his geet ugly mush as a wide as ... a very wide thing. Keith Telly Topping highly recommends this entertaining, amusing and (sort of) revealing work to all dear blog readers. He also recommends you check out Edgar, Ron and Russell's interview with Simon Mayo on a recent episode of the BBC's always superb Kermode & Mayo's Film Review. And, whilst you're there, you can also listen to Mark Kermode's glowing - and entirely justified - review of the movie, available here. Hello to Jason Isaacs. There's also a very good interview with Edgar on David Hepworth and Mark Ellen's excellent Word In Your Attic podcast about his music of choice.
The first image of Imelda Staunton portraying the Queen in the fifth series of The Crown has been released. Netflix released the picture via their Twitter account, saying it was an 'early glimpse' of the new monarch in the royal drama. Staunton takes on the role previously played by Claire Foy and Olivia Colman, as the latest series follows the royal family into the Twenty First Century. Netflix said the drama's sixth and last series will end in the early 2000s. Series five and six of The Crown are set to encompass the 1990s - a decade that saw the Prince Charles and Diana, Princess of Wales split, the collapse of the Duke of York's marriage to Sarah Ferguson, the Windsor Castle fire and Princess Diana's death.
A Wembley steward has admitted trying to sell security wristbands and lanyards to ticketless fans for the Euro 2020(ish) final. Yusaf Amin pleaded extremely guilty to theft at Willesden Magistrates' Court. He posted screenshots on Facebook Marketplace offering two passes, two uniforms and wristbands for four thousand five hundred pounds. A second man, Dalha Mohamad pleaded not guilty to theft. He will go on trial in December. Clashes between fans and members of security occurred when hundreds of people tried to storm the ground before the historic game between England and Italy on 11 July. Amin was arrested outside a supermarket on Wembley Way near the stadium after people saw the post and called police. His post read: 'Steward pass available times two with uniform and pass and I'm outside Wembley. Anyone wans [sic] to get in I have two passes and two uniforms and wristbands for you to go in and watch the game. Looking for serious people only. Detailed brief available. Guaranteed entry or money back.' Prosecutor Edward Aydin told the court this raised security concerns, explaining that: 'You will recall the Ariana Grande concert. You can imagine the security risk of people getting their hands on passes and official jackets. People were desperate to get into that game. You saw on television, desperate people stampeding to try to get in,' he said. Amin will be sentenced at Willesden Magistrates' Court on 23 August.
English Defence League founder so-called Tommy Robinson has been ordered to pay one hundred thousand knicker in libel damages to a Syrian schoolboy. The anti-Islam activist who is, obviously, not a vile racist scumbag, real name Stephen Yaxley-Lennon, published two Facebook videos in response to a viral clip of Jamal Hijazi being attacked. He failed to convince the High Court his claims, such as Hijazi attacking 'young English girls,' were true. Which they were not. Mr Justice Nicklin found in Hijazi's favour after a trial earlier this year. The judge also ordered Yaxley-Lennon to pay legal costs understood by the BBC to amount to about an eye-watering half-a-million wonga. Which, to be fair, was funny. Hijazi was filmed being attacked in the playground at Almondbury School in Huddersfield in October 2018. Shortly after the video of the assault went viral, Yaxley-Lennon made unsubstantiated claims in two Facebook videos that the teenager was 'not innocent and he violently attacks young English girls in his school.' In clips viewed by nearly one million people, the thirty eight-year-old also claimed Hijazi 'beat a girl black and blue' and threatened to stab another boy at his school, allegations denied by Hijazi. 'As was entirely predictable, the claimant then became the target of abuse which ultimately led to him and his family having to leave their home and the claimant to have to abandon his education. The defendant is responsible for this harm, some of the scars of which, particularly the impact on the claimant's education, are likely to last for many years, if not a lifetime.' The judge said Yaxley-Lennon's defence that the 'very serious' allegations were 'substantially true' had not been proved and that he had used language 'calculated to inflame the situation. The defendant's contribution to this media frenzy was a deliberate effort to portray the claimant as being, far from an innocent victim, but in fact a violent aggressor,' he added. At a further hearing, the judge granted an injunction against Yaxley-Lennon preventing him from repeating the allegations. The final damages and costs figures will be agreed and submitted to the High Court at forthcoming hearings to establish Yaxley-Lennon's means and assets. Yaxley-Lennon's repeated jailings down the years - including nine months for interfering with a trial of a sexual grooming gang - have, so far, failed to silence hs odious views. But, a turning of the legal screw on his finances may have a more profound effect. He made a small fortune from his provocative social media channels attacking Islam and Muslims - enough to fund a lifestyle which would be the envy of many, complete with a large country house. The cash, however, began to dry up as he was thrown off Facebook and Youtube and some of his wealthy benefactors in North American backed away. Now his social media reach is a shadow of what it once was. It's never been clear how much coin he has made over the years and, indeed, where it has all gone - and that is why this judgement is so important. Not only does it vindicate Jamal Hijazi - but it opens the door to a court examination of Yaxley-Lennon's finances in forensic detail to find out exactly how he affords to keep his activities going. Jamal Hijazi's lawyers welcomed the judgement and praised Hijazi's 'courage' in pursuing the claim. Francesca Flood, from Burlingtons Legal, said: 'Jamal and his family now wish to put this matter behind them in order that they can get on with their lives. They do, however, wish to extend their gratitude to the Great British public for their support and generosity, without which this legal action would not have been possible.' During a trial in April, Catrin Evans QC, for Hijazi, said that Yaxley-Lennon's comments led to the teenager 'facing death threats and extremist agitation.' She described Yaxley-Lennon as 'a well-known extreme-right advocate' with an 'anti-Muslim agenda' who used social media to spread his repulsive views. His videos 'turned Jamal into the aggressor and the bully into a righteous white knight,' she said. Yaxley-Lennon, who represented himself during the trial, maintained he was 'an independent journalist,' telling the court: 'The media simply had zero interest in the other side of this story, the uncomfortable truth.'
Health Secretary Sajid Javid has grovellingly apologised after saying people should no longer 'cower' from coronavirus. He made the comments in a tweet announcing he had made a 'full recovery' from Covid, a week after testing positive. Labour accused him of 'denigrating' those who followed the - government suggested - rules, while the founder of a victims' group said his comments were 'deeply insensitive.' Javid said: 'It was a poor choice of word and I sincerely apologise.' No shit? 'I was expressing gratitude that the vaccines help us fight back as a society,' he claimed. In a new tweet, the health secretary also said that he had deleted his earlier post, adding: 'Like many, I have lost loved ones to this awful virus and would never minimise its impact.' Cower, if you were wondering, is defined by the Cambridge Dictionary as meaning to bend down or move backward with your head down because you are frightened. The tweet on Saturday said: 'Full recovery from Covid a week after testing positive. Symptoms were very mild, thanks to amazing vaccines. Please - if you haven't yet - get your jab, as we learn to live with, rather than cower from, this virus.' Nearly seventy per cent of UK adults - including this blogger - are now fully vaccinated, and eighty eight per cent have had their first jab, according to the latest figures. Every adult in the UK has now been offered a vaccine. But, amid a spike in cases caused by the Delta variant, the government has launched a series of appeals in recent weeks to encourage people who have not yet come forward to have their jab. Javid replaced Matt Hancock as health secretary last month after his predecessor resigned shortly before he was sacked and thrown into the gutter along with all the other turds. Javid tested positive for Covid on 17 July and spent the following week in self-isolation. The Covid-19 Bereaved Families for Justice group said Javid was 'right' to apologise. The group's co-founder, Jo Goodman, said that the 'flippancy and carelessness' of Javid's comment had 'caused deep hurt and further muddied the waters of the government's dangerously mixed messaging.' Shadow justice secretary David Lammy also questioned Javid's use of the word, saying: 'Don't denigrate people for trying to keep themselves and their families safe.' Lib Dem health spokeswoman Munira Wilson (no, me neither) said Javid's tweet was 'outrageous' and his 'careless words have insulted every man, woman and child who has followed the rules and stayed at home to protect others.'
A California man who had previously mocked Covid-19 vaccines on social media has died after a month-long battle with the virus. Stephen Harmon, a member of the Hillsong megachurch, had been a vocal opponent of vaccines, making a series of online jokes about not having the vaccine. 'Got ninety nine problems but a vax ain't one,' the thirty four-year-old sneered to his seven thousand Twitter followers in June. He was treated for pneumonia and Covid-19 in a hospital outside Los Angeles, where he died on Wednesday. In the days leading up to his death, Harmon documented his fight to stay alive, posting pictures of himself in his hospital bed. 'Please pray y'all, they really want to intubate me and put me on a ventilator,' he said. In his final tweet on Wednesday, Harmon said he had decided to go under intubation. Despite his struggle with the virus, Harmon still said he would reject being jabbed, saying his religious faith would protect him. But, it seemingly didn't. Prior to his death, had joked about the pandemic and vaccines, sharing memes saying he trusted the Bible over top US disease expert Doctor Anthony Fauci.
Supermarkets have warned the rising number of retail workers being forced to self-isolate is beginning to affect the availability of some products. The Co-op said it was 'running low on some products,' while Iceland said shops might have to be shut. Sainsbury's said it 'might not always' have the exact products people wanted, but downplayed fears of shortages saying the problem was 'not widespread.' Iceland also urged shoppers not to panic buy, claiming it was 'not necessary.' The Co-op said items such as soft drinks, personal care products such as deodorant and beer were worst affected. And toilet rolls, obviously. Business Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng said the government was 'concerned about instances of shortages. I don't want people to get the impression that every shelf in every supermarket is bare - that is not the case but we are certainly concerned about instances of shortages, we are looking at the supply chains of critical industries and we are reviewing that situation,' he added. Supermarkets and other sectors, including hospitality and transport, have said growing numbers of staff have been affected which means they have to self-isolate for ten days. Some companies have reduced opening hours to cope with the staff shortages or shut parts of the business. Firms want people who have been doubly vaccinated or have daily tests to be able to return to work.
An Australian activewear firm has been fined five million Australian dollars for claiming - based on on evidence whatsoever - that its clothing 'eliminated' and stopped the spread of Covid. Lorna Jane had advertised that its clothing used 'a groundbreaking technology' called LJ Shield to prevent the 'transferal of all pathogens.' However, in a ruling, a judge said the company's claim was 'exploitative, predatory and potentially dangerous.' Lorna Jane said that it 'accepted' the court's ruling. Though, to be fair, it couldn't really do anything else apart from prove its claims. The company maintained that it had, itself, been 'misled' by its own supplier. 'A trusted supplier sold us a product that did not perform as promised,' alleged Lorna Jane chief executive Bill Clarkson. One or two people even believed him. Because, as excuses go, 'miss, don't cane me, I was led stray by older boys' isn't really cutting it. 'They led us to believe the technology behind LJ Shield was being sold elsewhere in Australia, the USA, China and Taiwan and that it was both anti-bacterial and anti-viral. We believed we were passing on a benefit to our customers.' The legal action was brought by the Australian Competition & Consumer Commission after Lorna Jane began marketing the clothing last July during the Covid pandemic. In a judgement published on Friday, a federal court judge found that Lorna Jane 'represented to consumers that it had a reasonable scientific or technological basis' to make its claims when it had none. The court fined the company 'for making false and misleading representations to consumers and engaging in conduct liable to mislead the public.' And for being a bunch of daft planks. Probably. Rod Sims, chairman of the ACCC, said: 'This was dreadful conduct as it involved making serious claims regarding public health when there was no basis for them.' He added: 'The whole marketing campaign was based upon consumers' desire for greater protection against the global pandemic.' The company also admitted that its founder, Lorna Jane Clarkson, who is also its chief creative officer, 'authorised and approved' the LJ Shield activewear promotional material and 'personally made some false statements' in a press release and an Instagram video. The judge said that he had taken into account that 'the conduct emanated from a high managerial level within the company.' Clarkson, who was born in Lancashire but emigrated to Australia with her family when she was a child, started the business more than thirty years ago. Lorna Jane, which has stores across Australia, New Zealand, the US and Singapore, has been ordered by the judge to publish corrective notices. It is also not allowed to make any anti-virus claims related to its activewear clothing for three years unless it has 'a reasonable basis' to do so. Last week, the company was also fined forty thousand Australian dollars by the Therapeutic Goods Administration drug regulator for 'alleged unlawful advertising' in relation to Covid. It said: 'This kind of advertising could have detrimental consequences for the Australian community, creating a false sense of security and leading people to be less vigilant about hygiene and social distancing.'
Norwegians have been left pure-dead proper awestruck by a bright meteor that illuminated the night sky in the country's South-East. Footage shows powerful flashes of light over Norway, followed by what witnesses described as loud bangs on Sunday. Norwegian police say they received a flurry of emergency calls but there were no reports of injuries or damage. A team of experts are hunting for the meteorite, which they believe landed in a forest near to Oslo. A meteor is a space rock that burns brightly after entering Earth's atmosphere at high speed. It becomes known as a meteorite if it survives its passage to the ground. The Norwegian Meteor Network says Sunday's fireball was visible for at least five seconds after it appeared at about 1am local time. Travelling at about sixteen kilometres per second, the meteor could be seen over large parts of Southern Scandinavia, the network says. Norwegian astronomer Vegard Rekaa has told the BBC that his wife was awake at the time. She could hear 'shaking in the air' before an explosion she assumed was something heavy falling near the house. Rekaa woke up, he said, to 'fantastic' videos of the meteor, which was 'something very seldom seen' in Norway or anywhere in the world. A team of experts have been sent to the area where the meteor is suspected to have landed, he added. Initial research suggests the space rock may have hit the ground - hard - in a wooded area called Finnemarka, about forty miles West of Oslo. One group of campers reported 'a large explosion just above their heads,' Rekaa said. A female camper told him of seeing the fireball from a short distance but thinking it was her friends playing a trick on her. Analysis of the meteor suggests it could have weighed at least ten kilograms. While not astonishingly large, the meteor was special because so many people either heard or saw it, Rekaa said. His colleague at the Norwegian Meteor Network, Morten Bilet, was among the witnesses. He told Reuters news agency the meteor had probably hit our solar system's asteroid belt as it was travelling between Mars and Jupiter. Bilet described it as a 'spooky' event, rather than a dangerous one. Such meteor strikes are rare, but one did cause widespread damage and injure at least sixteen hundred people when it crashed down in Russia's Ural Mountains in 2013.
The International Space Station was destabilised after engines of a newly arrived Russian module inadvertently fired up. 'Mission control teams corrected the action and all systems are operating normally,' NASA said. This was done by activating thrusters on other modules of the ISS. An investigation is now reported to be under way. US and Russian officials stressed that the seven crew members aboard the space station were never in any danger. One or two people even believed them. The malfunction happened three hours after the Nauka module docked with the ISS on Thursday, following an eight-day flight from Earth. NASA officials said Nauka's jets started firing uncommanded 'moving the station forty five degrees out of attitude.' The Russian Zvezda segment and a Progress freighter then responded to push the station back into its correct pointing configuration. 'What we saw today was just an awesome job by the mission control flight teams,' said Joel Montalbano, NASA's ISS programme manager. 'Those guys were rock stars again and got us back in attitude control. That also shows you what a robust vehicle we have, and our ability to take these contingencies, recover from them and move on,' he told reporters. Communications with the ISS crew were lost for two periods, of four minutes and seven minutes, during the incident. However, the US agency said that the astronauts were safe. They 'really didn't feel any movement,' it added. The mishap forced NASA and Boeing to push back Friday's uncrewed test flight of Boeing's Starliner capsule, a vehicle intended to carry astronauts in the future. 'We wanted to give the ISS programme time to assess what had happened today, to determine the cause and make sure that they were really ready to support the Starliner launch,' explained Steve Stich, the manager of NASA's commercial crew programme. the earliest opportunity would be 3 August. The thirteen metre-long, twenty-tonne Nauka was earlier attached to the rear of the orbiting platform, linking up with the other major Russian segments on the station. The module should have launched in 2007, but the vessel suffered repeated slips in schedule, in part because of budget difficulties but also because engineers encountered a raft of technical problems during development. Even after it launched from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan a week ago, it experienced propulsion issues that required workarounds from controllers in Moscow. In the end, however, it docked with the station on the planned date. The new module will result in a significant boost in habitable volume for the ISS, raising it by seventy cubic metres. Cosmonauts will use the extra space to conduct experiments and to store cargo. They'll also use it as a rest area, and it has another toilet for crew to use on the station. In addition, the module carries with it a large robotic arm supplied by the European Space Agency. This eleven metre-long device will be able to operate all around the Russian end of the ISS. With the aid of an 'elbow' joint, it will shift position by moving hand over hand. Nauka's installation comes just as Russia has been questioning its future role in the ISS project. Moscow officials recently warned about the more-than-twenty-year age of some of their on-orbit hardware and intimated the country could pull out of the station in 2025. And Russia has shown little interest in joining the US-led lunar platform, known as The Gateway, which will be assembled later this decade.
Jackie Mason, the US comedian and actor, has died at the age of ninety three. The stand-up was ordained as a rabbi before turning to show-business in the 1950s. He was well known for his social commentary, talk show appearances and one-man shows on Broadway. Mason won numerous awards in his career, including a TONY Award and an EMMY for voicing Krusty the Clown's father on The Simpsons. Born Yacob Maza in Sheboygan, Wisconsin in June 1928, Mason and his family moved to New York when he was five. His father, grandfather, great-grandfather and great-great-grandfather had all been rabbis and after college he was ordained and began leading congregations in North Carolina and Pennsylvania. He would later tell the Chicago Tribune that a lot of non-Jewish people 'would come to the congregation just to hear the sermons' because he told so many jokes. Mason turned to comedy full-time after his father died in the late 1950s. Known for his heavy New York Jewish accent, Mason's humour was based on pun, innuendo and sometimes gloriously politically incorrect humour. 'Eighty percent of married men cheat in America. The rest cheat in Europe,' he once joked. The comedian was a registered Republican and later in life spoke out in support of now extremely former President Mister Rump. He was also staunchly pro-Israel. Mason was hospitalised two weeks ago and died at New York's Mount Sinai Hospital on Saturday. He is survived by his wife Jyll Rosenfeld and daughter Sheba.
Pink (she's a popular beat combo, yer honour) has reportedly offered to pay the fines disgracefully handed out to the Norwegian women's beach handball team, after they wore shorts like their male counterparts instead of bikini bottoms. Good for her. The team was, disgracefully, fined fifteen hundred Euros for 'improper clothing' at the European Beach Handball Championships last week. 'I'm very proud of the Norwegian female beach handball team for protesting sexist rules about their uniform,' tweeted the singer on Sunday. 'Good on ya, ladies,' she added. 'I'll be happy to pay your fines for you. Keep it up.' The Norwegian Handball Federation had announced last week that it was prepared to pay the fines, adding that what to wear when playing the sport should be 'a free choice within a standardised framework.' The European Handball Federation - who are, obviously, all utter vile sexist bastard scum - said it fined the Norway team for its choice of kit during their recent bronze medal match against Spain in Bulgaria because the players' shorts were 'not according to the athlete uniform regulations.' However, the country's minister for culture and sport, Abid Raja, described the ruling as being 'completely ridiculous.'
Pizza for Italy, Dracula for Romania and Chernobyl for Ukraine. These were the pictures and captions used by one South Korean broadcaster to depict nations at the opening ceremony of the Tokyo Olympic Games. MBC has since snivellingly apologised for offending viewers, after complaints the visuals were 'offensive' and 'ridiculous.' The channel claimed that it wanted to 'make it easier' for viewers to understand the entering countries quickly but said it was an 'inexcusable mistake.' At a press conference on Monday, the channel's CEO Park Sung-jae apologised, saying MBC had 'damaged the Olympic values of friendship, solidarity and harmony. I bow my head and deeply apologise,' he said, adding that MBC would be putting 'in all [their] effort to prevent another accident from happening.' A Twitter thread by freelance journalist Raphael Rashid drew wide attention to the 'unique' descriptions where even civil unrest was not off the cards. When Haiti's athletes walked on to the stadium, for instance, an on-screen caption described the country as one 'with an unstable political situation due to the assassination of the president.' And, when the Syrian team entered, a caption read: 'A civil war that has been going on for ten years.' Neither of which are technically incorrect but, you know, here's a time and place for that sort of thing, guys. 'Did they literally just pick whatever the first picture was that popped up on Google when they did an image search for the country?' one person asked on Twitter. Others started trying to guess what images would be used for different countries. Some - like a piece of salmon for Norway - would have been easy enough to figure out. Others like Chad which was described as 'the dark heart of Africa' could not have been. MBC has been in trouble for this very same offence before. It was fined after using similar captions and images at the Opening Ceremony for the 2008 Beijing Olympics. It had then referred to Zimbabwe 'as a country with deadly inflation.'
And finally, dear blog reader, this blogger trusts you've all been watching and enjoying the much-delayed Tokyo Olympics which has been jolly entertaining thus far despite the weird cirumstances. And also, appreciating the performances of Great Britain's young men and women in their various sporting endeavours. Which - with a few notable, shamefully inept, exceptions - have been broadly adequate. Mostly.