Queen receives film award
Queen Elizabeth II has received an honorary British Academy award in recognition of her support of British film and television. John Willis, chairman of the British Academy Film and Television Awards, joked that the prize was also in honor of the queen’s performance as the “most memorable Bond girl yet” during the London Olympics opening ceremony. He was referring to the moment when a stuntman dressed as the queen parachuted into the Olympic Stadium during a skit involving James Bond, the legendary spy.
Arsonist father sentenced
A judge sentenced the father of six children who died in a house fire to life, with a minimum of 15 years in prison, describing him on Thursday as the “driving force” behind setting the blaze. Judge Kathryn Thirlwall leveled most of the responsibility for the fire on Mick Philpott, describing him as a dangerous man. His wife, Mairead, and family friend Paul Mosley each received 17 years for manslaughter. Prosecutors say the couple hatched a plan to start a gasoline-fueled fire and then rescue the children, pinning blame on Philpott’s mistress so he could gain advantage in their child custody battle. However, the plot quickly went wrong, because the fire was far bigger than expected and the father was unable to smash a window to get in. Five of the children — aged between five and 13 — died at the scene, while the sixth died later in a hospital.
Sex offender’s art removed
Tate gallery has removed more than 30 prints by artist Graham Ovenden from its online collection after the 70-year-old, whose major works feature young girls, was found guilty of sex offences against children. The internationally acclaimed artist was found guilty by a court in Truro, southwest England, on Tuesday of six charges of indecency with a child and one count of indecent assault. The artist and photographer’s images of children, some nude, have triggered several legal actions over the years, but his work was highly regarded in the art world and displayed in galleries globally including the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York.
Mandela is doing ‘fine’: wife
Nelson Mandela’s wife has said the 94-year-old icon is “fine” and his health is improving after he was hospitalized more than a week ago for pneumonia, a report said yesterday. “Madiba is fine, Madiba is getting better and better,” Graca Machel said late on Thursday, referring to 94-year-old Mandela’s clan name, the private eNCA news channel reported. On Thursday, President Jacob Zuma said that he had visited his predecessor and that doctors had said he was showing continuous improvement.
Mujica in microphone gaffe
President Jose Mujica was left red-faced on Thursday after disparaging remarks apparently aimed at Argentine President Cristina Fernandez and her late husband were picked up by an open microphone. Buenos Aires swiftly responded with an official protest, calling the comments “unacceptable.” “This old hag is worse than the cross-eyed man,” Mujica was caught saying at the start of a news conference, while speaking quietly with another official. El Observador newspaper, which posted the audio on its Web site, said Mujica was referencing Fernandez and former Argentine president Nestor Kirchner and did not realize that the microphones were already on. Kirchner died suddenly of a heart attack in 2010 and had a lazy eye. Word of the slip-up shut down the paper’s Web site, which recorded historic traffic, according to the outlet’s digital content manager. An hour later, Mujica told the online version of La Republica newspaper that he had not talked about Argentina and was not going to clarify anything.