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‘I’ve eaten a lot of chocolate’: Nigella Lawson reveals how she coped with ‘mortifying’ drug revelations in trial she barely remembers

2 Jan

Celebrity chef Nigella Lawson has spoken publicly for the first time about how she has coped with ‘mortifying’ allegations about habitual drug use and her collapsed marriage to Charles Saatchi.
The mother-of-two appeared on U.S. TV show Good Morning America to promote her new cooking show, but was also asked about the high-profile court case that shed light on her complicated home life.
Throughout the the fraud trial of her two former PAs last month, she said today her ‘only desire’ was to protect her children but ‘alas I couldn’t always do’.
‘I was so focused on answering questions that you don’t have much awareness of yourself…It’s a good thing. I was trying to protect my children as much as possible,’ she told GMA.
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Miss Lawson appeared on the morning show to promote the new season of TV show The Taste where she stars alongside fellow chefs Anthony Bourdain, Marcus Samuelsson and Ludo Lefebvre.
In a relaxed interview on the network her new panel show is on, she revealed she had been ‘eating a lot of chocolate’ to cope.
But the first questions were for Miss Lawson who along with a court case amid a media frenzy, endured a bitter and very public divorce from her advertising mogul husband Mr Saatchi.
Miss Lawson told host Amy Robach that she was looking forward to new beginnings but that it had been a difficult year.
She said today: ‘I’ve eaten a lot of chocolate, had a good Christmas and I’m into the new year.’
The TV star admitted that the ‘distortion of your private life on display is mortifying’ but added: ‘To dwell on it is self-pity… now its 2014 and there’s pie’.
Miss Lawson offered Robach a spoonful of lemon meringue pie to promote The Taste, a show which she has described as ‘Masterchef meets The Voice’. The first episode airs in America tonight and on Channel 4 in the UK on January 7.
Nigella’s acrimonious split from Charles Saatchi has hogged headlines across the world, alongside her confession in court that she has used cocaine seven times in her life and accusations by former PAs Francesca and Elisabetta Grillo sisters that she ‘let her children smoke cannabis’.
The chef landed in the U.S. on January 1. She tweeted on Wednesday: ‘It’s not entirely fair that my first meal of 2014 will be aeroplane food…. Lightening dash to America: hope time to eat well too.’
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Last month, the Grillo sisters were acquitted and Lawson admitted during the trial that she took cocaine with her late husband John Diamond when he found out he had terminal cancer, and in 2010 when she claimed she was being ‘subjected to intimate terrorism’ by her former husband Mr Saatchi.
Police are to review her admission that she took the Class A drug.
Miss Lawson admitted taking cocaine seven times. She admitted she had also smoked cannabis during the collapse of her ‘doomed’ marriage to Saatchi but insisted she was not a long-term or habitual user. She said she had been drug free since leaving the relationship.
Giving evidence at Isleworth Crown Court in West London, Miss Lawson said she had faced ‘a long summer of bullying and abuse’ which she said had been ‘dedicated to salvaging Mr Saatchi’s reputation and savaging mine’.
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Happy New Year ♥

1 Jan

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Love you mum! The moment tiny baby orangutan gently bites his mother’s nose

1 Jan

A photographer has captured the endearing moment a baby orangutan nibbles his mother’s nose.
The tiny Borneon orangutan – aged just 18 months – is seen cuddling up to his 12-year-old mother after tucking into a snack of fresh leaves and branches.
Despite the meal, the adorable youngster was obviously still hungry, as he was photographed chewing on his mother’s nose just minutes later.
Solent News & Photo Agency
Photographer Hiroya Minakuchi from Yokohama, Japan, travelled to Tama Zoological Park in the capital Tokyo to capture the special moment.
The 60-year-old said: ‘The baby Borneon orangutan was playing with the branches next to his mother.’
He added: ‘Some of the branches had large leaves on and the youngster started to rip them off with its mouth before eating the fresh leaves.’
Solent News & Photo Agency
The photographer says he originally set out to document the various facial expressions orangutans use to communicate.
But after spotting the adorable interaction, he was struck by the youngster’s natural charm.
Mr Minakuchi said: ‘After eating, the baby started sucking on its mother’s nose for around 30 seconds – I think it’s a sign of emotional dependence.’
He added: ‘I hope the audience can see baby orangutan’s curiosity and charm and its inquisitive nature.’
Hiroya Minakuchi is one of Japan’s most successful wildlife photographers and has worked in the field for over 30 years.
Much of his work takes place in the Arctic and Antarctic but he has also produced work from tropical rainforests in Asia and South America is recent years.
Somewhat closer to home, Mr Minakuchi’s orangutan images echo those released earlier this month by Twycross Zoo in Leicestershire.
Those shots captured a tiny baby orangutan snuggling up to its mother shortly after being born.
The Twycross zoo baby was born to its 36-year-old mother as part of a European Breeding Programme designed promote reproduction in endangered animals.
The scheme, which is run by the European Association of Zoos and Aquaria, is an intensive form of population management that provides plans to maximise breeding among endangered species.
Solent News & Photo Agency

Bankers’ very happy New Year: RBS boss gets £1.5m shares after three months in job as 115 Goldman Sachs executives pocket £3m each

1 Jan

Fury over bankers’ pay erupted again last night after the new boss of RBS was quietly handed an astonishing £1.5million in free shares.
Ross McEwan, who only took over the State-backed bank in October, was given the stock as compensation for missing out on bonuses at his previous employer.
The announcement was made after markets closed for the New Year holiday, and was seemingly designed to attract minimum publicity.
Mr McEwan’s payout emerged as Goldman Sachs revealed ‘obscene’ pay deals worth more than £3 million each to 115 of its senior bankers.
The bumper packages were disclosed as Archbishop Justin Welby said foreign-owned banks in the City of London were ‘in denial’ about their role in the financial crisis, and Barclays boss Antony Jenkins admitted it could take a decade for the sector to win back public trust.
Deborah Hargreaves, of the High Pay Centre, said: ‘When you look at the pay everyone else is getting, to see bankers on that kind of salary is just not justified.’
She added: ‘We live in a country where some people are being forced to go to food banks because they can’t feed themselves, so it’s obscene to see bankers being paid £3 million on average. It’s an outrageous indictment of a civilised society.’
New Zealand-born Mr McEwan, who is paid a basic salary of £1 million, was given 454,106 RBS shares when he joined the bank in 2012 as its head of UK retail to make up for leaving his job at Commonwealth Bank in Australia. In October, he became chief executive after Stephen Hester walked away from the role.
The 454,106 shares were paid out to Mr McEwan yesterday, with a value of £1.53 million. RBS issued a statement confirming the figures only after the stock market had closed for the year.
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Mr McEwan immediately sold 214,019 of the shares to cover tax liabilities arising from the vesting, but will hold on to 240,087 shares, worth £816,775, which he will not be able to sell for six months.
He is entitled to a further 1.05million shares – worth £3.5 million based on RBS’s closing price yesterday of £3.38. They can’t be vested until August 2015.
An RBS spokesman said: ‘Ross McEwan will not sell any shares in RBS while he is chief executive of the bank. He wants everyone to have confidence that his interests are 100 per cent aligned with our customers and our shareholders, including UK taxpayers.’
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Goldman, meanwhile, said 115 of its top staff around the world shared a cash pool worth £122 million, or more than £1 million each.
But senior bankers are also entitled to a bonus paid in shares, which are awarded in three instalments and cannot be cashed in for five years.
The shares are currently worth a combined £250 million, or £2.2 million for each recipient. Taken with the cash, this adds up to a payout of more than £3 million a head.
Goldman employs 5,000 staff in London and 32,400 worldwide. The bank’s role in the global crisis came under heavy scrutiny in 2010, when it was slapped with a £333 million fine by US regulators over claims that it misled investors.
New rules limiting what banks in the European Union can pay in bonuses come into force today. They will be banned from paying bonuses worth more than a banker’s annual salary, or twice as much as their pay if sanctioned by shareholders. But most banks are expected to raise basic pay in order to offset the decline.
Mr Welby, an Eton-educated former oil executive who sat on the influential Parliamentary Commission on Banking Standards, said many bankers did not understand how the industry’s culture of high risk and reckless pursuit of profit had brought the global economy to its knees.
‘I don’t want to name names but I came across some people recently who were senior members of the City from foreign organisations, but who were very clearly still absolutely in denial about what happened in 2008,’ he said.
Mr Welby called on banks to think harder about their role in society. But he was forced to admit that the Church had yet to sell £80,000 worth of shares in Wonga, the controversial payday lender that has been attacked for charging sky-high interest rates.
Mr Jenkins, speaking in his role as a guest editor of Radio 4’s Today programme, said: ‘Trust is a very easy thing to lose and a very hard thing to win back. In my view it will take several years – probably five to ten – to rebuild trust in Barclays.’
Mr McEwan’s first three months as chief executive have been beset by problems, including an IT failure that left 750,000 customers of RBS, NatWest and Ulster Bank unable to use their credit and debit cards for hours. He branded the failure ‘unacceptable’ and vowed to ‘do better’.
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Happy New Year London (and Edinburgh, Berlin, Moscow…)! Midnight sets off dazzling celebrations for 2014 around the world

1 Jan

Skylines across the world burst into a riot of colours as the New Year was welcomed in with a succession of spectacular fireworks displays.
In London, the London Eye was again the focus for much of the most intricate pyrotechnics, with thousands of fireworks turning it into an enormous Catherine wheel.
Big Ben was also illuminated against the night sky as 250,000 people who lined the Thames were treated to the city’s first ever ‘multi-sensory’ fireworks show.
Revellers who braved the damp and drizzle were treated to peach snow, edible banana confetti and orange flavoured bubbles which descended on the crowd
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Up to 100,000 people in key viewing areas by the Thames were also given packs featuring scratch ‘n’ sniff programmes, LED wristbands and seven kinds of fruit-flavoured sweets that link to the tastes and smells of the multi-sensory display.
But after a day which saw the Environment Agency issue more than 100 flood warnings, the outdoor event proceeded without any weather hitches.
Mayor Boris Johnson said: ‘There is no better way to celebrate the highs of 2013 and the start of an exciting New Year than by seeing one of the world’s most dazzling firework displays.
‘Watched by millions around the world, and hundreds of thousands of people from the banks of the Thames, it highlights our capital’s fantastic community spirit and its premier position on the global stage.’
The Metropolitan Police, which deployed around 3,800 police officers to monitor the event, said 100 people were arrested up to 4.30am following the celebrations in central London.
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Police made 39 arrests for drunk and disorderly behaviour and 21 for assault, with others held for drugs offences, affray, sexual offences, theft and carrying an offensive weapon.
Chief Inspector Robyn Williams said: ‘Visitors were not put off by the threat of wind and rain and the viewing areas filled up quicker than ever before.
‘Officers worked hard, alongside stewards, to keep people safe during the event and ensure that everyone who came into central London was able to make their way home at the end of the night.
‘Crowds were good-natured and there were no major issues reported to police.’
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In Scotland, tens of thousands gathered in Edinburgh city centre for the famous Hogmanay street party, with music from the Pet Shop Boys as well as traditional Scottish sounds at an outdoor dance event.
It is believed that more than 150,000 guests from over 60 countries from as far away as Australia, Brazil , China, Japan, New Zealand and the USA travelled to celebrate in the Scottish capital.
Chief Superintendent Mark Williams, Police Scotland Edinburgh Commander, said: ‘Edinburgh’s Hogmanay celebrations have once again proven to be a major success and Police Scotland has played a key role in ensuring that everyone has been kept safe during what has been a memorable three days of activity.
‘I would like to thank members of the public whose good-natured conduct ensured the success of each event and I would also like to thank our partners in City of Edinburgh Council, Unique Events, and emergency services for their co-operation throughout the planning.
‘Finally, I would like to wish everyone well for 2014.’
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Preliminary figures show there were five arrests for minor disorder. The big clean-up began at around 3am after the celebrations ended.
The majority of the 60 to 75 tonnes of refuse will be plastic bottles, with the remainder made up of food cartons, clothing and glass.
In Dubai, a Persian Gulf city known for glitz, glamour and over-the-top achievements like the world’s tallest skyscraper, they sought to break another record by creating the largest fireworks show.
Its skyline became a canvas for a dazzling 30-minute show capping off with six minutes of fireworks that engulfed the city’s man-made, palm-shaped island, with its fronds and trunk shimmering in thousands of lights.
The fireworks display was slated to surpass the current world record held by another Gulf Arab state in just the first 60 seconds. Kuwait has held the record since last year, when it fired more than 77,000 fireworks in a display lasting more than an hour.
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Organisers had promised that the fireworks would form a flying falcon, sunrise and United Arab Emirates flag. It was not immediately clear if the world record had been achieved.
In total, the extravaganza included half a million fireworks from 400 firing locations synchronized by 100 computers, said Barrett Wissman, co-chairman of IMG Artists, which was managing the event. ‘It is really mind-blowing the size of this,’ Wissman said of the display.
The company also organised the grand fireworks for the Atlantis hotel opening on Dubai’s Palm island in 2008.
In Ukraine, anti-government protesters hoped to set their own record for the most people to sing a national anthem at the same time.
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On Kiev’s main square, at least 100,000 Ukrainians sang their national anthem in a sign of support for integration with Europe.
The square has been the scene of massive pro-European protests for more than a month, triggered by President Viktor Yanukovych’s decision to ditch a key deal with the European Union.
Crowds heading to New York City’s Times Square could expect the traditional ball drop but no mayor this year. The New Year was rung in by U.S. Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor instead.
In Australia, exploding fireworks sprayed from Sydney’s iconic opera house and harbor bridge as the world began ushering in a new year.
More than one million people crammed the Sydney Harbor foreshore on a warm summer night to watch Sydney’s renowned annual pyrotechnics show, which appeared to live up to its billing as the city’s most extravagant.
And for the first time in more than a decade fireworks launched from four sails of the Sydney Opera House.
In Hong Kong, the harbour provided the focal point much like Sydney harbour three hours earlier.
A bright spray of fireworks erupted from the water at the same time as rockets burst above the city creating a stunning spectacle of red and white light.
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In Malaysia, fireworks exploded across the sky near Kuala Lumpur’s most famous landmark, the Petronas Towers.
Fireworks lit up the sky as thousands of people gathered to watch the show in the main business district on New Year’s Eve in Jakarta, Indonesia.
Closer to the edge of the International Dateline, New Zealand bid farewell to 2013 two hours before Sydney with fireworks erupting from Auckland’s Sky Tower as cheering revelers danced in the streets of the South Pacific island nation’s largest city.
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In Tokyo, five priests at the Zojoji temple used ropes to swing a wooden pole against a large bell, sounding the first of 108 gongs to mark the new year. Simultaneously, ‘2014’ lit up in white lights on the modern Tokyo Tower in the background.
Both Japanese and tourists jammed the temple grounds for the traditional ceremony. Suburban resident Juji Muto said he was curious to hear how the bell sounded. At his age, the 75-year-old retiree said he wishes as every year for good health in the new year.
Thousands of visitors, some donning kimono, prayed, rang a bell and tossed coins as offerings at shrines, wishing for health, wealth and happiness. Temple bells rang the customary 108 times, for the 108 causes of suffering according to Buddhism, and to welcome in the Year of the Horse.
Japanese are hopeful about the economy for the first time in years after some signs of revival under Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, whose easing lending policies and pump-priming measures have been dubbed ‘Abenomics.’
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Among those upbeat about what the new year might bring is Junya Sakata, a 23-year-old Tokyo waiter looking forward to taking sommelier classes next year so he can move up in his career.
‘I hope the economy will keep improving, building up to the 2020 Olympics,’ he said, which will be held in Tokyo. ‘So many things happened this year, but I was able to grow. Maybe next year I will find a girlfriend.’
In North Korea, all eyes were on the Juche Tower and the Taedong River in Pyongyang to celebrate the New Year.
A group of tourists, including Americans, planned to watch fireworks in Kim Il Sung Square and watch the Pyongyang Bell strike midnight, said Andrea Lee, CEO of Uritours, a tour group specializing in travel to North Korea.
‘There were a lot of people out on the streets today for an outdoor dance event, and cars filled the streets,’ Ms Lee said.
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China displayed light shows at part of the Great Wall near Beijing and at the Bund waterfront in Shanghai.
The city of Wuhan in central Hubei province called off its fireworks show and banned fireworks downtown to avoid worsening its smoggy air.
In Beijing, one flower shop manager said he hoped the new year brought more customers.
‘Since the government started its campaign to crack down on luxury spending and promote frugality, our business with government agencies has been in decline,’ said Mao Xiangfei. ‘In the past, government clients accounted for about 10 percent of our business, but now it’s zero.’
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In the Philippines, more than 260 people were injured by firecracker blasts and celebratory gunfire ahead of New Year’s Eve celebrations, one of Asia’s most violent revelries.
Department of Health spokesman Dr Eric Tayag said he expected the number of injuries to rise sharply when Filipinos ignite powerful firecrackers to end a year marked by tragic disasters, including a typhoon on November 8, that left more than 6,100 dead and nearly 1,800 others missing.
‘Many here are welcoming the new year after losing their mothers, fathers, siblings and children so you can imagine how it feels,’ said village chief Maria Rosario Bactol of Anibong community in Tacloban, the city worst hit by Typhoon Haiyan.
‘I tell them to face the reality, to move on and stand up but I know it will never be easy.’
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In Russia, Vladimir Putin has added a twist to the stolid ritual of Russian presidential New Year’s Eve address by doing two versions this year.
Russian leaders traditionally make short, prerecorded messages to be broadcast as the year begins in each of the country’s nine time zones.
The address broadcast in Russia’s Far East was typical, showing Putin at the Kremlin and calling for Russians to work together, according to Russian news websites.
But an hour later, Putin came out with a different speech mentioning this week’s suicide bombings in Volgograd that killed 34 people and vowing to destroy terrorists, reports said.
Putin made that recording Tuesday while visiting the city of Khabarovsk. Spokesman Dmitry Peskov said there wasn’t time to get it to the Far East, according to Ekho Moskvy radio.
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