Talent judges 'stupid'
SINGER Annie Lennox has launched a scathing attack on "horrible" television talent shows and their "stupid rows of judges". The former Eurythmics singer criticised the "feeding frenzy" of celebrity culture, which she said led to a "Faustian pact with brand empires".
In an attack written on her Facebook blog, the 58-year-old questioned what some people were actually famous for. The Aberdeen-born singer, who has sold more than 80 million records, also blamed celebrity on "collusion" between the music and fashion industries.
Islamist kidnap video
A video appearing to show seven French citizens, including four children, kidnapped in Cameroon last week has been posted on YouTube.
In the video, a male hostage says the group was taken by Nigeria's Boko Haram militants who were demanding the release of Islamist militants jailed in Nigeria and Cameroon. One of the apparent kidnappers warned that the hostages would be killed if their demands are not met.
Frostbite fells Fiennes
EXPLORER Ranulph Fiennes has pulled out of the expedition to cross Antarctica during the region's winter after developing a severe case of frostbite.
The 68-year-old and his five-member team had hoped to conquer what has been called one of the last great polar challenges – traversing nearly 4,000km in a place where temperatures often dip as low as minus 70C. The rest of the team plans to carry on.
Italian prosecutors have officially requested an indictment of the Costa Concordia's captain on manslaughter charges in the shipwreck of the cruise liner that killed 32 people last year off the Tuscan coast.
Prosecutors also are seeking a trial for Francesco Schettino, the captain of the luxury cruise liner, on charges of causing a shipwreck and abandoning the vessel during the frantic and confused evacuation.
Russians to stub out
RUSSIAN President Vladimir Putin signed an anti-smoking bill into law yesterday that looks set to transform Russian public life. The legislation will see smoking outlawed in government buildings and other public institutions from this summer, and in all restaurants, bars and cafes from next year.
The law mirrors legislation already in force in many Western countries but will be felt particularly in Russia, where almost half the population are smokers.