Sir Paul McCartney paid £1 for Olympic opening ceremony
Bono passed Paul McCartney as the world’s wealthiest rock star this year, thanks to having a 2.3 percent share of Facebook. That’s a cool £1 billion for the U2 frontman, leaving the former lead singer of Wings in second place with a fortune estimated at slightly over $1 billion.
So Paul McCartney needs the money, obviously. Yet his biggest gig of the year — the featured performer at the London Olympic Opening Ceremony — earned him … £1.
Mike Oldfield, Dizzee Rascal and Emeli Sande are also among the stars who are thought to have been paid the token figure. The big names had originally agreed to play the show in the Olympic Stadium for free, but the inclusion of the £1 figure was to make the contract binding. It means the star names were paid less than 1/20th of the cost of the cheapest ticket for the ceremony. Seats ranged up to £2,012 for the best available.
A spokesman for the Games organizer Locog confirmed the £1 fee, which had been necessary for contractual purposes, although the acts had been happy to perform without any payment.
McCartney was originally offered a payment of "your lovin’" but informed LOCOG that it "don’t pay my bills," opting for money, which is what he wants. Oh yeah, that’s what he wants…
Many of the thousands of other performers in the ceremony were given a professional wage for their work, including the stuntman who impersonated the Queen parachuting out of a helicopter. But the headliners agreed to work for nothing.
The Flog It! team has learned of the very sad passing of David Barby.
One of the series’ longest-serving and best loved antiques experts. David died in hospital in Coventry following a short illness, with his family at his bedside.
David was the expert on the very first episode of Flogit! in January 2002, and has been a stalwart of the show ever since. His sense of fun, gentle personality and great knowledge of and passion for antiques, endeared him to the hundreds of people he worked with and millions of viewers at home.
David was an ambassador for antiques TV and loved every minute spent making the many, many episodes of Bargain Hunt, Flog It!, Antiques Road Trip and more… There will be a fuller tribute to David on this website in due course, but in the meantime we all remember David with great fondness, and send our condolences to his family and many friends in the antique trade and beyond.
Australia surfer bitten in half by shark
A surfer was bitten in half in a savage shark attack off Australia’s west coast Saturday, witnesses and officials said, the fifth such fatality in the region in less than a year.
An eyewitness explains how the shark also attempted to attack him.
The man was surfing near Wedge Island, north of Perth, on Saturday morning with a friend when he was mauled by the shark, suffering severe and extensive injuries.
A man jet-skiing near the surfers said it was a gruesome scene, with "half a torso" all that remained of the victim.
"There was just blood everywhere and a massive, massive (great) white shark circling the body," he told ABC television, estimating the fish was four or five metres (13 to 16 feet) long.
"I reached to grab the body and the shark came at me on the jet-ski and tried to knock me off. I did another loop and when I came back to the body the shark took it."
Made infamous by the horror movie "Jaws", great whites are among the largest shark species in the world and can grow up to six metres long (20 feet) and weigh up to two tonnes.
Beach patrol officials confirmed that the attack was fatal, and a large-scale air, coast and sea search was underway for the remains of the victim, who was reported to be in his early 20s.
A police spokesman told AFP: "At this stage no remains have been located."
All beaches in the area were closed until further notice, and fisheries were hunting the shark in order to kill it.
"We’ll go right through to nightfall tonight, we will then resume that tomorrow morning and make some decisions tomorrow," a fisheries spokesman said.
It was the fifth fatal shark incident off Western Australia since September — an unprecedented spate of attacks that sparked calls earlier this year for a cull.
Local marine scientists have described Australia’s west coast as the deadliest shark attack zone in the world, and a tagging and tracking programme has been launched in a bid to limit fatalities.
A sea kayaker narrowly escaped the jaws of a great white last month, with a friend managing to pluck him from the water after he was rammed by one of the marine predators off Perth’s Mullaloo Beach.
That attack came just hours after another great white, thought to be five metres long, lunged from the water at a crab fisherman at a dive park south of Perth.
Sharks are common in Australian waters but deadly attacks are rare, with only one of the average 15 incidents a year typically proving fatal.
Experts say the average number of attacks in the country has increased in line with population growth and the popularity of water sports.
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WikiLeaks to release vast dossier of 2million incriminating emails sent by Syrian officials | Mail Online
WikiLeaks to release vast dossier of 2million incriminating emails sent by Syrian officials
By Ian Garland
WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange prepared a statement from his hiding place in the Ecuadorian Embassy
WikiLeaks has announced it has begun publishing more than two million embarrassing and incriminating emails from Syrian government officials.
In a news conference, the whistle-blowing website’s spokesman Sarah Harrison revealed the emails were sent by political figures, government ministers and companies between August 2006 and 2012.
She read a statement from the website’s controversial founder Julian Assange – currently holed up in the Ecuadorian Embassy in London – claiming the emails contain material embarrassing to both ‘Syria and its opponents’.
Assange, who is attempting to avoid extradition to Sweden to face allegations of rape and sexual abuse, wrote : "The material helps us not merely to criticise one group or another, but to understand their interests, actions and thoughts. It is only through understanding this conflict that we can hope to resolve it.’
WikiLeaks said the emails, which it has called ‘The Syria Files’, would shine a light on the inner workings of the Syrian government and economy, and ‘also reveal how the West and Western companies say one thing and do another.
Syria Files: WikiLeaks announce the release of the leaked emails online
There are more than eight times as many documents in "The Syria Files" as the number of diplomatic cables WikiLeaks published in 2010, when it angered Washington by disclosing confidential information relating to the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.
The Ecuadorian Embassy in London, where Assange is reportedly sleeping on a blow up mattress
The range of files extends from the intimate correspondence of the most senior Baath party figures to records of financial transfers sent from Syrian ministries to other nations, WikiLeaks said.
The emails are in several languages and include 68,000 in Russian. Moscow is one of Syria’s main arms suppliers and has shielded its long-standing ally President Bashar al-Assad from tougher U.N. sanctions over his crackdown on a 16-month uprising.
The revolt, which started with peaceful pro-democracy protests in March 2011, has turned into a something approaching a civil war as the government’s crackdown triggered an armed uprising.
Opposition leaders and Western governments say more than 15,000 people have been killed in the uprising. The government says "terrorist gangs" steered from abroad have killed several thousand troops and police.
WikiLeaks said that although it had not yet verified all the emails due to their significant volume, it was "statistically confident" the vast majority of files were genuine.
Weather alert as deluge expected
More than a month’s rain is expected to fall over just two days in parts of the UK this week.
A severe weather warning has been issued by the Met Office, with fears of flooding and disruption on Friday and Saturday.
Central and northern England is expected to be worst affected, with an amber alert – the second most severe category that can be given – in place for north-east England.
Up to 100mm (3.9 inches) of rain could fall in 36 hours during the downpours. The average UK rainfall for July is 69.9mm (2.8 inches), and 64.4mm (2.5 inches) for the north of England.
Met Office chief forecaster Martin Young said: "We are expecting outbreaks of heavy rain across a wide area of the UK, with worst affected spots likely to be in central and northern parts of the country.
"Rainfall totals could be 40-60mm (1.6-2.4 inches) widely across warning areas, but some places could see up to 100mm (3.9 inches) of rain through Friday and into Saturday.
"Given the saturated ground from the record rainfall in June, this could cause disruption – including difficult driving conditions and flooding in some areas."
People living in the affected areas have been warned to be prepared for flooding.
An Environment Agency spokesman said: "Heavy rain on Friday and Saturday may lead to significant flooding of properties across parts of northern England. We urge people to remain vigilant and prepared for flooding by checking the Environment Agency website and signing up for localised river flood warnings."
Last month was the wettest June since records began, with double the average rain falling during the month. Provisional figures from the Met Office showed the UK received 145.3mm (5.7 inches) during June, beating the previous record of 136.2mm (5.4 inches) in June 2007.