‘Adrian Mole’ author dies
Sue Townsend, the British author responsible for the multimillion-selling Adrian Mole series documenting the humdrum life of an awkward teenager, has died aged 68, her son told the BBC yesterday. According to the broadcaster, her son, Danny Townsend, confirmed that the novelist had died at home on Thursday after a short illness. After writing a series of well-received plays, Sue Townsend was catapulted to mainstream fame when she released The Secret Diary of Adrian Mole aged 13? in 1982. Within three years, the book had sold close to 2 million copies and was followed in 1984 by The Growing Pains of Adrian Mole, which helped her to become the nation’s top-selling author of the 1980s. The books are widely recognized as having captured the essence of the 1980s under the rule of then-prime minister Margaret Thatcher. Townsend left school at 15, but remained a voracious reader and wrote in secret for many years, while carrying out a series of jobs, including as a factory worker.
Man attracts 460,000 bees
A Chinese beekeeper covered his semi-naked body in more than 460,000 bees for a publicity stunt aimed at selling more of his honey, he said on Thursday, using a technique known as “bee bearding.” She Ping (佘平), a 34-year-old honey merchant from Chongqing, covered himself in bees that collectively weighed more than 45kg in a display for a group of French photographers on Wednesday, he said. Bee bearding is a global pursuit, and Indian Vipin Seth holds the world record for wearing a mantle of bees weighing 61.4kg, according to Guinness World Records’ official video channel. Participants generally attract the bees by placing a queen bee in a small cage hanging from their body. “To be honest I felt very nervous, but I do it to promote my honey,” She said, adding: “I’m used to dealing with bees ... and started these activities when I was about 22. Of the people who do it naked, I’m probably the most awesome.”
Former speaker cleared
A former deputy speaker of the House of Commons was cleared on Thursday of charges of sexually assaulting six young men and raping another. Nigel Evans, 56, said he had been dragged through “11 months of hell” by the case, and “nothing will ever be the same again.” The openly gay former Conservative lawmaker had been accused of using his “powerful” political influence to take advantage of the men in a trial that laid bare his drinking and clumsy flirting. A jury at Preston Crown Court found Evans not guilty on all counts, including one count of rape, five sexual assaults, one attempted sexual assault and two indecent assaults. The court heard he could make “cack-handed” passes, “almost like a drunken 14-year-old at a disco who could not chat you up with words.” One alleged victim dismissed an incident where Evans put his hand down his trousers as “crazy” and “just Nigel being drunken Nigel.”