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Katy Perry not a nun

Katy Perry has made it very clear she has no problem being seen as a sex icon, after telling Elle magazine this month, “I’m a sexy girl, so what? I never claimed I was a nun!”

Perry talked at length about her figure, and life in general and told the magazine, “I was shaped like a square at one time. I was! I’m generally around 130 pounds, which is totally fine for me. But when I was a kid, I was the same height and weighed more like 145.”

“And I had enormous boobs that I didn’t know what to do with, so I wore minimizers, which were not cute. Those thick-ass straps! I got made fun of for the over-the-shoulder boulder holder…and all I wanted was to look like Kate Moss. Little did I know…that these things would come in handy someday.”

Perry also talks about new husband, Russell Brand, saying, “Everything clicked really fast. We kind of instantly got past all the surfacey stuff. And ever since then, there hasn’t been a dull moment.”

The singer also talked about how pleased she was people were seeing her as more than a flash in the pan.

“I have a lot more to bring to the table. I’m trying to give people music that they can hopefully adopt as a soundtrack to their lives—songs that speak to a whole range of emotions.”

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James Corden set to present 2011 Brit awards

Gavin and Stacey star James Corden is set to present this year’s Brit awards on 15 February, organisers have announced.

The comedian co-hosted the ceremony with his Gavin and Stacey sidekick Matthew Horne, along with Kylie Minogue in 2009.

It is rumoured that Justin Timberlake was offered the position, but turned it down.

Corden has signed a three year deal with the organisers, saying he hopes he can improve on previous years’ front man Peter Kay.

He said “it definitely works better with one host. It’s the job I want! After watching Peter Kay I’m sure I could do better. Bring it on! Peter was good but he could have been even more enthusiastic.”

The venue of the ceremony has changed; it will take place at London’s O2 Arena for the first time since its launch 30 years ago.

Corden said “I have always loved the Brits and I am honoured to have been asked to host such a prestigious event.”

The show will feature many famous acts, including Tinie Tempah, Ellie Goulding and Plan B.

Take That will also perform together for the first time in 16 years at the Brits.

Another change has emerged this year with the transformation of the iconic Brit award. Designer Dame Vivienne Westwood has been invited to create a new version of the statue for this year’s event.

Nominees for the awards will be announced later, with a special nominations show set to appear on ITV2 on Friday.

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Facebook founder named as Time’s Person of the Year

Social networking guru Mark Zuckerberg has been announced as Time magazine’s Person of the Year, sources have recently revealed.

The annual accolade has been running since the 1920s, with winners such as Hitler, Barack Obama and Stalin picking up the award and appearing on the front page of the magazine. The winner is the figure who is determined to have the most influence on culture and news each year; not always in a positive way.

The Facebook co-founder, worth approximately £4.4 billion, is currently one of the richest people in the US at only 26 years of age. A recent film release in which Zuckerberg was the subject; The Social Network, has charted a rise in Facebook usage this year, leading to his position as one of the youngest recipients of Time’s prestigious award.

Created in 2004, in collaboration with a student at Harvard University, Facebook has over 500 million users worldwide and 1,700 employees. Time managing editor Richard Stengel said Mr Zuckerberg’s social networking service was “transforming the way we live our lives every day”.

Earlier this month Zuckerberg became one of the latest billionaires to make a promise to give a large proportion of his wealth to charity.

A group founded by Bill Gates and his wife, along with Warren Buffet, encourages the wealthiest Americans to publicly pledge to donate to charity. Zuckerberg is one of 17 new people to express their support to the group.

Zuckerberg said the Time award was “a real honour and recognition of how our little team is building something that hundreds of millions of people want to use to make the world more open and connected. I’m happy to be a part of that.”

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Travel Industry Recovery Still Slow as Airport Passengers Decrease

The travel industry has been struggling in this economy. Quite a few travel planning companies have completely closed down their businesses just this summer leaving passengers stranded abroad or unable to go on their planned vacations. It seems that relief for this sector is still not in sight as new reports show there has been a decrease in passengers at major airports.

BAA, an airport operator of six major airports, reported that passenger numbers fell in one year’s time by 3.2 per cent. The reporting period covered September 2009 to August 2010. Glasgow is the worst affected of all airports which reported a 9.9 per cent decrease. Aberdeen was right behind Glasgow at 8 per cent. Heathrow was the airport showing the smallest decrease in passengers reporting a drop of only 0.8 per cent.

Stansted reported a decrease of 7.4 per cent, Southampton 3.2 per cent, and Edinburgh’s decrease in passengers was 3.6 per cent.

In comparing August 2010 with the same month last year, BAA reported a drop of 0.8 per cent. The total number of passengers in August amounted to 10.6 million. This was a total of all six airports combined that BAA manages.

A BAA spokesman said: “BAA has seen a significant rise in confidence this year and with Heathrow enjoying its busiest ever August, passengers across all airports fell only very slightly.

“It’s been an exceptional 12 months with the ash crisis but we’ve invested in our airports and our people and we’re now delivering a better customer experience.

“Also of importance is that fact that cargo volumes are now above pre-recession levels, which is a great indicator of improved trade and of new confidence in the economy.

“Heathrow is the UK’s biggest trading port and clearly this has all manner of benefits for partner airports in Scotland and for the wider UK economy.”

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BA set to raise fuel surcharge by £10

For the first time in more than two years, British Airways will raise fuel surcharge by £10 on its long distance flights. The airlines will add the extra £10 from Thursday onwards and depending upon the class of travel and distance, total surcharge will vary between £63 and £108.

BA justified the move stating “the substantial recent increase in the price of oil”. However, short haul flights are exempt from the hike.

The last time BA increased the fuel surcharge was in June 2008, which has been reduced twice since then.

Surcharges were introduced to help airlines tide over rising fuel costs and now constitute a major part of total cost. BA said the total hike for a return journey will amount to £20.

In a separate development, the International Air Transport Association (IATA) – an independent industry body, warned on Tuesday that rising fuel costs will be the biggest challenge for airlines in 2011.

Giving out details, IATA said jet fuel prices have soared by 5% in the last one month and by 17.6% over the last twelve months. Oil prices are currently hovering around $90 per barrel from $72 dollars a barrel, recorded in August 2010.

The industry body forecasts the average price to be higher in 2011 to $84 a barrel from this year’s $79 a barrel. The fuel cost will go up to 27% of total operating cost from the present 26%.

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Johnson names England 6 Nations squad

Martin Johnson has named three new faces in his 33 man Elite Playing Squad for this year’s upcoming RBS 6 Nations Championship.

The newly promoted players are Sale Shark’s Charlie Hodgson, Leicester Tiger’s Louis Deacon, and Joe Simpson of London Wasps. The 21 year old Simpson is the only uncapped player in the squad as Johnson looks to win the championship for the first time since 2003, when he captained the side before they went on to also win the 2003 Rugby World Cup in Australia.

Deacon replaces Gloucester’s Dave Attwood who made two appearances from the bench earlier this season against New Zealand and Samoa. Attwood is currently serving a nine week suspension handed down by the ERC after being found guilty of stamping on a player during Gloucester’s match against La Rochelle.

Simpson in turn replaces club teammate Dominic Waldouck. Waldouck recently returned from a lengthy injury lay-off, but was deemed to need more game time prior to turning out for England.

Hodgson’s inclusion along with Toulon’s Jonny Wilkinson and Leicester’s Toby Flood sees Johnson name three fly-halves and is testament to the hard work and match winning performances that he has been putting in throughout the season for Sale, even though it was recently announced he would leave the Lancashire based club, who play their home games in Stockport, to join Watford based side Saracens. This ends Hodgson’s affiliation with Sale that has lasted for over ten years.

Courtney Lawes, who is will be out for the start of the tournament due to injury, has none the less been included in the squad, possibly due to the suspension of Attwood.

Johnson is clearly approaching these championships with one eye on the World Cup which will be hosted by New Zealand this coming autumn. In including Hodgson, he said “with Charlie Hodgson it’s important to have three No.10s there, especially in a Rugby World Cup year we need to have people ready to go if there are any injuries.”

England squad in full:

Forwards: George Chuter, Dan Cole, Tom Croft, Louis Deacon, Paul Doran Jones, Hendre Fourie, Nick Easter, Dylan Hartley, James Haskell, Courtney Lawes, Lewis Moody, Tom Palmer, Tim Payne, Simon Shaw, Andrew Sheridan, Steve Thompson, David Wilson, Joe Worsley.

Backs: Delon Armitage, Chris Ashton, Matt Banahan, Danny Care, Mark Cueto, Toby Flood, Ben Foden, Riki Flutey, Shontayne Hape, Charlie Hodgson, Joe Simpson, David Strettle, Mike Tindall, Jonny Wilkinson, Ben Youngs

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Homeless Man with Golden Voice Proves anything is Possible

The power of YouTube once again has proven its worth, as 4.5 million YouTube hits in four days, have changed a homeless man’s life forever.

53 year old Ted Williams, a man who was born with a powerful voice, which he then transformed into a sensational radio voice, has been given a second chance like no other.

Williams used his talents to break into the radio industry and made a decent career for himself, before bad company, alcohol, and drugs turned his life upside down.

He lost his wife, his children, and his home – everything he had worked for, swapping it for a life on the streets begging for money to fuel his addiction.

But now thanks to an apparent two years of no drugs or alcohol, and the clever eye of a reporter for a good story, Williams has been transformed into a mass media sensation.

William was spotted by a reporter at a road junction in Columbus in Ohio, sporting a sign stating he was a radio broadcaster who had fallen on bad times.

The reporter asked Williams to ‘work for his dollar’, who then went on to give voiceover lines for his possibly imaginary ‘Magic 98.9FM’, and as they say; the rest is history.

Williams has already been dubbed, ‘The man with the Golden Voice’, and he is well aware of his talents.

“I have a God given gift of voice. I am an ex-radio announcer who has fallen on hard times. Please! Any help will be gratefully appreciated,”

These are the exact words of Williams’ begging placard that caught the attention of the reporter who has so far; been offered work by the NBA’s Cleveland Cavaliers, Ohio Credit Union League, and also being pursued by NFL films amongst others for possible work.

Do you think Williams has a God Given Voice, would you like to hear / see more of him? Let us know.

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Ireland child benefit cuts will increase child poverty, claims rights group

The Children’s Rights Alliance has said it is “deeply disappointed” by the decision announced in Ireland’s austerity Budget yesterday to cut child benefit. Finance Minister Brian Lenihan announced a €10 cut in payments for each child, with an additional cut of €20 for three-child families.

The cut to child benefit was one of the many measures unveiled last night as part of the toughest budget in Ireland’s history. The package, part of a deal to secure a £72 billion bailout from the IMF and EU member states, included £5 billion of tax increases and spending cuts.

The Children’s Rights Alliance, a coalition of over 90 NGOs, has said the child benefit cuts will push more children into poverty, pointing out that the numbers of children living in poverty already increased by 38% from 2008 to 2009. The group said the lack of compensating measures to offset the benefit cuts were of particular concern.

It is thought that the double cut of €20 to families with three children will affect one in four families across Ireland.

The Alliance also criticised the Government’s choice to cut benefit while commiting funds to projects such as a bypass for Tralee town. The group said: “If the Government had made a different decision, families across Ireland could have been spared the €10 to child benefit.”

The group also stressed that larger families are more likely to experience poverty, and criticised the social welfare, education and health cuts that would also “have a long term effect on children as they grow up”.

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Stuxnet Cyber Attack on Iran Stirs New Global Awareness

An estimated 60 per cent of computers affected by the dangerous worm known as, Stuxnet, were inside the boarders of Iran. This was the discovery after an apparent cyber attack has affected Iran’s first nuclear power station. The worm was uploaded through a flash drive. A small tool for transferring information among computers.

An attack of this nature is a quick reminder of how vulnerable a country’s infrastructure is to outside influences in technology. The Stuxnet worm was easily planted within a government’s nuclear power plant network, making it possible for hackers to have access to vital information; for how long nobody really knows yet.

Derek Reveron, professor of national security and a cyber expert at the Naval War School in Rhode Island, spoke about the importance of waking up to such an event, saying: “The Stuxnet worm is a wake up call to governments around the world. It is the first known worm to target industrial control systems and grants hackers unobstructed control of vital public infrastructures like power plants, dams and chemical facilities.”

The worm becomes active by taking advantage of security holes in Microsoft Windows and a key Siemens industrial control system.

Experts have come to an agreement that Iran was the likely target, but damage to other systems has likely taken place. Iran has been affected as well.

Reveron offered more insight on how difficult it is to control this type of attack, saying: “In some cases, cyber attacks like biological attacks are very difficult to control. If a government were to launch a cyber attack, the potential for fratricide is very great.”

There are several possible players in the global technology game who are probably capable of such an attack. Remember, this worm was believed to have been uploaded on an Iranian computer, by a flash drive.

The short list of countries in question about this cyber attack with the Stuxnet worm includes Israel, Russia, China, Britain and the United States.

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Industrial espionage rampant in China, warns EADS chief

Louis Gallois, head of EADS – Europe’s defence and aerospace group, said industrial espionage threat is very real in China.

Addressing a New Year’s address, Mr. Gallois said Airbus – the EADS group and the world’s leading aircraft manufacturer, had exercised ‘prudence’ while carrying out test flights in China. The comments assume significance as French carmaker Renault prepares to produce evidence against three of its executives, currently suspended for allegedly transferring sensitive data.

Arguing that the whole episode has bigger ramifications for the entire manufacturing industry, he said: “I … would be interested to have an exchange with them. It is a subject that concerns us”.

Although Renault has not explicitly named China, investigations by French secret services indicate the involvement of at least one Chinese company.

Industrial espionage is a real threat in many countries and Mr. Gallois was not accusing China alone, said people close to him.

The growing speculation of Chinese involvement may result in a diplomatic row as Beijing dubbed the allegations as ‘irresponsible’. French Finance Minister Christine Lagarde and her other cabinet colleagues however, insist that they have not named any country yet.

China largest transmission and distribution company – State Grid Corporation said it is investigating media reports independently, linking it to the spying case. It was quick to refer to the denial issued by the foreign ministry, ruling out any Chinese involvement.

China lags the west in conventional internal combustion engine technology. State Grid Corporation is engaged in developing electric cars and hopes to catch up with the west in green technology vehicles.