Rain May Dampen New Year’s Eve Celebrations In London


New Year's Eve revellers have been warned to expect rain in London as the country prepares to say goodbye to one of the wettest years of

According to the Met office just 1.8in (46mm) of rain is needed to fall before December 31 to make this year the wettest since records began in 1910, with a new high already set for England with 43.1in (1,095.8mm) falling between January 1 and Boxing Day.

The UK as a whole had 50.8in (1,291.2mm) of rain from January 1 to December 26, with the wettest year on record for the UK currently 2000, when 52.6in (1,337.3mm) fell. Confirmation is expected next week, and would be all the more remarkable considering the drought status declared for parts of the country during the early part of the year.

But despite Monday, December 31 likely to endure a wet start to the day, much of that rain is expected to have shifted in time for the midnight celebrations.

Nick Grahame, chief forecaster at the Met Office, said there was likely to be good news for party-goers at most of the UK's favourite end-of-year locations, but that London could still see some rain.

"London's a little bit dubious, there could still be a bit of rain hanging about at midnight. It should have cleared through but there's still that risk.

"But for New Year's Eve going into midnight itself, it should be dry for most of the UK.

"On New Year's Eve itself there will be further rain coming across the course of the day. I think everywhere is going to see rain at times and it is going to be windy, as well, in certain areas.

Edinburgh is likely to be dry for its Hogmanay celebrations, with the risk of the odd wintry shower coming through, while in Dublin will be milder, Mr Grahame said.

In England, Nottingham and the Cornish town of Looe – a favourite of New Year's Eve party top-ten lists – are both also expected to escape rainfall.

Blackberry 10 Launching On 30th January 2013


With Canadian mobile manufacturer RIM keeping schtum beyond stating a Q1 2013 launch date, we could only estimate that their brand new mobile operating system; BlackBerry OS 10 would emerge around March 3rd next year. It now looks as though delivery of the new OS and compatible devices to market is going to take place much sooner, January 30th in fact, with both Three and Vodafone confirming that they’ll be offering new BB10-powered handsets off the bat.

Key features of BlackBerry OS 10

It’s not just a new number that’s gracing BlackBerry OS; the devices set to run the system will offer a number of key new features, some never before seen on BlackBerrys with others having never been seen on any smartphone.

Advanced keyboard – We’ve already seen technical demos of the keyboard technology coming to BBOS 10. Although tradition dictates that RIM will produce both all-touch and touchscreen/hardware keyboard-laden handsets. The on-screen keyboard appears to have impressive text prediction capabilities as well as being able to support up to three languages simultaneously and exhibits elements taken from SwiftKey Flow, with its drag-to-type text entry option.

BlackBerry Flow – In developing a more modern mobile user experience and interface, RIM have dubbed the key elements of BBOS 10’s UI as BlackBerry Flow. This refers to consistent elements between apps and services on the device making for a more unified experience, with consistent design elements and the ability to quickly ‘flow’ between applications.

BlackBerry Hub – A unified hub which will feature on all new BB10 handsets. BB Hub will serve as a single location displaying new messages, emails, social interactions, calendar appointments and more.

BlackBerry Balance – With the long standing history of BlackBerrys used in business, BlackBerry Balance will serve as a way for a single user to switch between work and personal modes. Each can have its own layout and wallpaper as well as its own firewall and encryption.

Time Shift camera – One of the ‘wow’ features at BlackBerry Jam earlier this year was BBOS 10’s new camera, or rather, the Time Shift feature. When the user takes a photo, the BB10 device will be able to pick out faces and let the user scrub forwards and backwards in time by a few frames either side of the photo. This feature is useful to capture more accurately a smile, remove blinking and more.

All-new web browser – BBOS 10’s web browser is anticipated to be fast, really fast, benchmarking of the current build already scores it above the likes of Google Chrome for mobile with regards to HTML5 performance for example. We’ll know more when the OS actually arrives in January.

Better app support – Thorsten Heinz, RIM’s head honcho has already revealed a diverse list of companies and developers looking to offer their own applications to the cause that is BBOS 10. We can expect to see apps from big names like Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Foursquare and eBay and Adobe as well as brands such as E! Entertainment, CBS, TopGear and ESPN.

Gaming is also anticipated to be a more enriching experience on new BlackBerry 10 devices with Gameloft already confirming a lineup of 11 premium games, costing nothing up to about £4.99.

When will BlackBerry OS 10 become available?

As was stated up top, our initial suspicions led us to think that BBOS 10 would arrive in early March, but RIM have have now officially revealed that their new mobile OS is hitting the UK and other major countries from January 30th, 2013.

Three and Vodafone were the first to confirm earlier today that they’d be offering up the first batch of BB10 handsets running BlackBerry OS 10 and subsequently EE have also chimed in stating that they’ll be offering devices from both Orange and T-Mobile on their 3G networks as well as on their new 4G EE plans as well.

Along with EE, Phones4U have stated that they’ll be stocking BB10 handsets, but neither have confirmed that they’ll be launching their respective ranges on 30th January like Three and Vodafone.

Which devices will support BB10?

From leaks, as well as RIM themselves, we’re expecting to see at least two launch handsets. The main device will be the first of the new L-Series products which will utilise a full length touchscreen design, whilst a more convention hardware keyboard-toting handset will follow up under the N-Series.

World’s Longest Fast Train Line Opens In China


China has opened the world's longest high-speed rail line, which more than halves the time required to travel from the country's capital in the north to Guangzhou, an economic hub in southern China.

Wednesday's opening of the 2,298 kilometer (1,428 mile)-line was commemorated by the 9 a.m. departure of a train from Beijing for Guangzhou. Another train left Guangzhou for Beijing an hour later.

China has massive resources and considerable prestige invested in its showcase high-speed railways program.

China on Wednesday opened the world's longest high-speed rail line that more than halves the time required to travel from the country's capital in the north to Guangzhou, an economic hub in southern China.

Trains on the latest high-speed line will initially run at 300 kph (186 mph) with a total travel time of about eight hours. Before, the fastest time between the two cities by train was more than 20 hours.

The line also makes stops in major cities along the way, including provincial capitals Shijiazhuang, Wuhan and Changsha.
A high-speed train heads for Beijing on the Beijing-Guangzhou high-speed railway in Changsha, in central China's Hunan province.

More than 150 pairs of high-speed trains will run on the new line every day, the official Xinhua News Agency said, citing the Ministry of Railways.

Rail is an essential part in China's transportation system, and the government plans to build a grid of high-speed railways with four east-west lines and four north-south lines by 2020.

The opening of the new line brings the total distance covered by China's high-speed railway system to more than 9,300 km (5,800 miles) – about half its 2015 target of 18,000 km.

Tandoori Chicken With Paratha



  • Ingredients
    1 chicken breast
    1 tsp chaat masala
    1/2 onion, finely julliened
    1/2 cucumber, finely julliened
    2 sprigs coriander, finely chopped
    1 capsicum, finely julliened
    For the tandoori marinade :

    br /> 1 tbsp yoghurt
    1 tsp Karishmiri red chilli powder
    1 tsp ginger-garlic paste
    1/2 tsp garam masala powder
    1 tsp mustard oil
    1 tsp lemon juice
    For the paratha:
    4 cups refined flour
    1 egg
    1/2 tsp sugar
    Salt, to taste
    Water, as needed
    Clarified butter, as required


Paratha: Mix together flour, egg, salt and enough water to form a soft dough. Kneed the dough for 7 to 10 minutes. Make lemonsized balls and coat each ball with a little oil. Keep them in an airtight container and refrigerate for 4 hours.
Roll out each ball to resemble a thick string, then holding one end of the ‘string’, twist it to give it a rope-like appearance. Place one end on the table and arrange the ‘rope’ to form a tight coil. Now, using your palm or a rolling pin, flatten it into a 4mm disc. Place it on a moderately hot griddle and let it cook till brown spots appear. Turn over, apply clarified butter, turn over and repeat. Cook till golden brown on both sides.

Tandoori chicken: Allow chicken to rest in the marinade for an hour, then cook in a preheated oven at 175˚C for 10 to 12 minutes. Once cool, shred it. Place a portion of the chicken along with a mix of the remaining ingredients on each paratha and roll. Grill in a sandwich maker if desired then serve with a dip of your choice.

Rebirth Of The Viking Warship That May Have Helped Canute Conquer The Seas


When the sleek, beautiful silhouette of Roskilde 6 appeared on the horizon, 1,000 years ago, it was very bad news. The ship was part of a fleet carrying an army of hungry, thirsty warriors, muscles toned by rowing and sailing across the North Sea; a war machine like nothing else in 11th-century Europe, its arrival meant disaster was imminent.

Now the ship's timbers are slowly drying out in giant steel tanks at the Danish national museum's conservation centre at Brede outside Copenhagen, and will soon again head across the North Sea – to be a star attraction at an exhibition in the British Museum.

The largest Viking warship ever found, it was discovered by chance in 1996 at Roskilde. It is estimated that building it would have taken up to 30,000 hours of skilled work, plus the labour of felling trees and hauling materials. At just over 36 metres, it was four metres longer than Henry VIII's flagship Mary Rose built 500 years later, and six metres longer than the Viking ship spectacularly recreated as Sea Stallion, which sailed from Scandinavia around Scotland to Dublin in 2007.

"This ship was a troop carrier," said Gareth Williams of the British Museum. It was built some time after 1025 when the oak trees were felled, and held 100 warriors taking turns on 39 pairs of oars if there was not enough wind to fill the square woollen sail. They would have been packed in tightly, sleeping as they could between the seats, with little room for supplies except a minimal amount of fresh water – or ale or mead, which would not have gone stale as fast – and dried salt mutton.

It would have been an uncomfortable journey, but short: they did not need to carry much as their ship could move startlingly fast – Sea Stallion managed an average speed of 5.5 knots, and a top speed of 20 knots. Once they landed, the warriors could forage with ruthless efficiency, as many a coastal community or wealthy monastery discovered.

The ship would probably not have come alone. "There are records in the annals of fleets of hundreds of ships," Williams said. "So you could be talking about an army of up to 10,000 men suddenly landing on your coast, highly trained, fit, capable of moving very fast on water or land." Such luxury ships were fabulously expensive to build and a devastating display of power, Williams said.

The dates suggest Roskilde 6 may have been built for King Canute, who according to legend set his throne in the path of the incoming tide, to prove to his courtiers that even a monarch could not control the force of nature. At the time the Vikings were consolidating their power from temporary raiders to permanent invaders.

With all the original timbers fitted into a steel frame that will recreate its full length and form, the ship will be the centrepiece of Viking, an exhibition opening at the Danish national museum in June, before being transported to London to launch the British Museum's new exhibition space in 2014. It will travel in two containers, by freighter and lorry.


The vessel was found by accident when an extension was being built to the Roskilde ship museum in Denmark, itself built to hold an earlier find of Viking ships that had been deliberately sunk to narrow the fjord and protect the approach to the town, the old royal capital of Denmark.

In 1996 archaeologists watching the construction work discovered huge timbers turned up in the new foundations, some already chopped in half by the piling. It proved to be a treasure trove of nine ships, of which Roskilde 6, almost half of which was recovered, was the most spectacular.

The timbers stayed in storage while the museum worked out what to do with the unexpected addition to its collection, until the exhibition provided the opportunity for full conservation.

The original Roskilde ships are spectacularly displayed in a purpose-built ship hall, but could never travel: the timbers look solid but might shatter like glass. When excavated, the sodden timbers of Roskilde 6 would have disintegrated into a heap of dust if left exposed to air. National museum conservator Kristiane Straetkvern managed the project, which has been drying timbers up to 10 metres long far more slowly than the older techniques, then replacing the lost moisture with synthetic resin, leaving them lighter but stable.

It was a nervous moment for her when some completed timbers were test assembled, each resting in a felt lined individually laser-cut support, in a frame that bolts together like a giant Meccano set, but that dismantles into hundreds of components for travelling.

The exhibition will display finds from across Scandinavia and from deep into the countries they penetrated wherever a river could carry their shallow draft ships – as far inland as Lichfield in England, deep into Russia, to Byzantium in the east, where Vikings fought as mercenaries on both sides, and beyond. Objects from 12 countries, including many recent finds, will demonstrate that Vikings were traders, farmers, fishermen, and superb craft workers in timber, bone and metal.

However the most spectacular single artefact will be the ship, a potent witness that the Vikings were also dreaded raiders.

The Roskilde team are now experts on recreating ancient ships, regularly commissioned to build them. One day they hope to recreate a full-size, ocean-going replica Roskilde 6, and send it across the sea to awe rather than to terrorise the coasts of the British Isles.

Steve Jobs Superyacht Free To Sail


The yacht commissioned by Steve Jobs is free to set sail after a dispute over non-payment of the designer Philippe Starck’s fees was resolved earlier this week.

“The Venus is no longer impounded, we have found a solution,” Gerard Moussault, a Hague-based lawyer for the Jobs estate, told AFP.

“A security deposit was paid into a bank account, but I cannot say for how much,” Moussault said after French designer Philippe Starck last week asked Amsterdam bailiffs to seize the sleek 70-metre (230-foot) yacht.

The vessel, which cost over $130 million to build, was impounded after Starck said Jobs’ estate still owed him three million euros for his contribution to its design.

Starck said he was to be paid a fixed sum of nine million euros, while lawyers for Jobs’ estate said he was to be paid a percentage of the project’s cost equal to six million euros.

The yacht will reportedly be shipped by another ship to the United States, where Jobs’ family, including widow Laurene Powell Jobs and their three children Reed, Erin and Eve, are to take charge of her.

Venus - the luxury yacht commissioned by the late Steve Jobs Seven iMacs are installed in the bridge

Boxing Day Bargain Hunters Hit The Shops


Millions of shoppers are hitting Britain’s high streets, with a large number of retailers having opened for business from 6am this morning.

Boxing Day salesShoppers queue outside a store on Boxing Day.

More than four million will be on the lookout for Boxing Day bargains, as stores slash their prices following the run-up to Christmas Day.

Analysts Experian predict this year’s festive period will be the ‘biggest and busiest ever’ for online retailers, with cyber-shoppers having already splashed out a record £26million on Christmas Day.

Boxing Day sales Boxing Day shopping madness.

‘Christmas 2012 is on track to be another record-breaker for online retail, outstripping 2011 on all fronts,’ explained Experian’s digital insight manager James Murray.

‘The current market trends suggest that in the UK, Boxing Day will be the biggest day for online retail, with an estimated 126million visits to online retail outlets and a massive 17million hours spent online shopping on this day alone.’

Boxing Day sales Shoppers are on the look-out for a bargain.

In Manchester, there were reports of shoppers camping outside the city’s Trafford Centre from as early as 2am for the shops to open.

Shoppers in London face disruption getting to the sales however, with Tube drivers set to strike over a dispute about bank holiday pay.

Christmas shoppersShoppers walk along Oxford Street in central London.

Replacement bus services have been put in place for those travelling to the West End, as well as the Westfield shopping centres in Stratford and White City.

Despite the huge spending predictions, the British Retail Consortium (BRC) said high-street spending was ‘acceptable but not exceptional’ this festive period.

‘Retail sales over the weekend have been up to expectations but expectations were relatively modest,’ said BRC spokesman Richard Dodd.

UK Weather: Rain Prompts Fears Of Landslides And Further Floods


A landslide warning has been issued by the Met Office, as continued heavy downpours sparked fears of unstable cliff faces.

Boxing Day walkers were urged to take extra care in "dangerous conditions" with flooding set to worsen across parts of England and Wales on Wednesday.

The Met Office, which issued the warning following advice from the British Geological Survey, said coastal areas in the south-west of England are in particular danger of collapsing cliff edges and rockfall, but stressed that all areas enduring heavy rain are at risk.

A spokesman for the Met Office said: "We have had such heavy and persistent rainfall over the last few days and weeks and that there is a danger of landslides and rockfall along the coast, even on coastal paths.

"We are advising Boxing Day walkers in the south-west of England to take particular care in these dangerous conditions, especially those not familiar with the area.

"Do not get too close to the cliff edge or walk under the cliff face along the beach and remember that coastal paths could be impacted too."

Many coastal paths have been closed over the last few weeks along the south-west and train services have been disrupted by small coastal landslides.

Weather experts said up to 15mm of rain fell across the south-west of England and south Wales, with up to 20mm expected again on Wednesday.

Matt Dobson, a meteorologist for MeteoGroup, the weather division of the Press Association, said: "A band of rain will move eastwards across Wales and south-west England, with heavy rain falling mainly on areas that have already seen a lot, increasing the risk of flooding and causing river levels to remain high.

"There will be further showers of rain across the rest of the UK, with the weather expected to stay much the same until the end of the year."

The Environment Agency has 151 flood warnings in place, which urge residents to take immediate action against expected flooding, while 252 less severe flood alerts have been issued across most of England and Wales.

The Scottish Environment Protection Agency has removed all its warnings, with lighter showers expected only through the south-west of the country.

Around 470 properties have flooded since Wednesday, while Floodline revealed it has received 18,000 calls during the recent wet weather.

The worst affected areas have been south-west England and stretches along the south coast from Cornwall to Kent, along with Wales and northern Scotland.

In Devon and Cornwall 245 properties flooded over the weekend and although a number of people were evacuated, most have now returned home.

Officials said the rivers Severn, Trent, Avon and Thames are at most risk of flooding.

Rail and road networks were badly hit in the days leading up to Christmas, with a number of key routes struck by weather related delays.

The soggy Christmas comes towards the end of what is expected to be one of the wettest years in Britain since records began.

The UK's average rainfall in 2012, excluding December, is 1,202mm – placing it 13th in the list of wettest years since records began in 1910.

The year 2000 remains the UK's wettest year, with an average rainfall of 1,337.3mm.

Muslim Council Of Britain Against Gay Marriage Legislation


Muslim leaders have demanded the same legal exemptions as the Church of England in legislation to introduce gay marriages.

The Muslim Council of Britain (MCB), with more than 500 affiliated mosques, charities and schools, said it was "appalled" by "utterly discriminatory" legislation on same-sex marriage set out by the government.

The MCB secretary-general, Farooq Murad, said his organisation had strongly opposed gay marriage alongside other religions and was seeking an urgent meeting with culture secretary, Maria Miller, to express the concerns of many Muslims over the proposals. "No one in their right mind should accept such a discriminatory law," he said. "It should be amended to give exactly the same exemption to all the religions."

Twitter Closes Accounts After Graphic Child Abuse Images Revealed


US to investigate after hackers expose indecent images after breaking into accounts, according to NSPCC reports.

A string of Twitter accounts have been closed after they were revealed to contain disturbing images of child abuse.

The graphic pictures were apparently made public late last night after hacking groups claimed to have broken into private accounts to expose their indecent content, the NSPCC said.

The charity said it received a "flurry" of reports overnight relating to at least half a dozen Twitter accounts which were later disabled.

They will now be investigated in the US, where the micro-blogging site is based.

An NSPCC spokesman said: "Apparently these were pretty disturbing images of child abuse.

"We understand the authorities in the US are now looking at the accounts."

The Child Exploitation and Online Protection Centre (Ceop) said it had also received around 30 reports, relating to at least four accounts.

A spokesman added: "Twitter are obliged by law to send details of any accounts containing indecent images of children to the National Centre for Missing and Exploited Children [NCMEC] in the US.

"NCMEC will then forward information for investigation to law enforcement agencies in the relevant country where the user is believed to be based, or children believed to be at risk."

Authorities were first alerted to the apparent abuse by a number of Twitter users at around 11.30pm.

This came after hackers apparently opened up a number of private accounts which were previously kept hidden from public view, the NSPCC said.

It remains unclear whether any of the images were uploaded by a British user or a user based abroad.

The nationalities of any children involved are also unknown.

Twitter has yet to comment on the images but has apparently issued a response to anyone contacting the company over the images of alleged abuse.

This reads: "We do not tolerate child pornography on Twitter. When we are made aware of such images they will be removed from the site without further notice."