Thursday, 25 August 2011

One of Italy's most-wanted Mafia mobsters has been arrested after his blundering girlfriend posted pictures of them on Facebook.

Salvatore D'Avino, 39, was traced by detectives after they spotted the snaps of his heavily pregnant girlfriend Brada Hint in front of sign giving the name and location of a Spanish restaurant.

Italian police alerted the Spanish authorities who traced the couple to their hideout in Marbella on the Costa del Sol and arrested D'Avino.

Facebooked: Mafioso Salvatore D'Avino, 39, was arrested in Spain after his girlfriend posted pictures on the social networking site

Blunder: The mobster's girlfriend posted this picture of herself on Facebook showing a sign with the name and location of a popular restaurant

D'Avino is said to be a member of the Giuliano clan of the Naples mafia which is known as the Camorra and had been on the run for almost ten years.

He was listed on the Italian police's top 100 most wanted and had several convictions for drug trafficking.

Italian police said he had also been arrested in Spain on drug charges and was said to be part of a plot to flood Marbella with more than 250,000 Ecstasy tablets.

Police said he had been hiding in Morocco for years and travelled to Spain by boat a few days ago and his Moroccan companion followed him under a false name as she was about to give birth.

Hint, 31, published several photos on Facebook of her outside upmarket Marbella nightspot Nikki Beach Club where the couple were staying and police swooped as D'Avino was filling up his car with petrol.

A picture released by Italian police showed him handcuffed and wearing a designer Versace T shirt and shorts as he was led to a waiting squad car flanked by Italian and Spanish police.

The Costa del Sol is a popular haven with gangsters from all over the world - including Britain - which has led to it being dubbed the Costa del Crime, in 2008 British mobsters were involved in a shooting at Nikki Beach Club.

The Giuliano clan is one of the most powerful clans in the historical centre of the southern city of Naples and police had issued two arrest warrants for D'Avino in 2003 and 2007 on drug trafficking and mafia charges and he faces up to 20 years in prison.

Thanks for the tip-off: Italian police contacted the Spanish authorities after spotting the pictures on line

Marshall Angelo Mazzagatti, of the Naples police who led the operation said: "He couldn't believe it when police arrived and arrested him. He thought after nearly a decade on the run he was home free.

'When he asked how we had found him and we told him he was not at all happy with his girlfriend who is heavily pregnant and about to give birth.

'When we saw the pictures on Facebook we could not believe his girlfriend had been so stupid. It was very easy to track them down as she was stood in front of a restaurant sign in Marbella.'

He added that D'Avino's Moroccan born girlfriend was not wanted by police and would probably be released after questioning.

It is not the first time that a wanted mobster has been arrested by Italian police through Facebook.

Last year on the run Pasquale Manfredi, 33, was held after police were tipped off he was a user and were given the false log in he was signing in with.

He was wanted for murder after blowing up a rival with a bazooka and they tracked him down through the Internet provider address as he surfed the web from his hideout in Isola Capo Rizzuto.

While in another incident earlier this year another mobster was caught after he posted on his Facebook site he was attending a biker's rally in France giving the exact venue and date.

Tuesday, 23 August 2011

The multimillionaire is reported to be paying 2.4 million Euro for the performance

Christina Aguilera - EFE archiveChristina Aguilera - EFE archive
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A Spanish multimillionaire is reported to be paying € 2.4 million to Christina Aguilera for the US star to perform a private concert for him. She’ll be flying over to Spain for the performance, but it is not known when or exactly where it will take place.

The identity of her fan also remains a mystery.

What is known is that the concert will be a rather short one. Europa Press reports that it will only include four songs, each of them costing him more than half a million €.

The news agency cites its source as the Hollywood gossip blog Perez Hilton.



The Duquesa's marriage to Alfonso Díez will take place at the beginning of October

The Duchess of Alba with her future husband – EFE archiveThe Duchess of Alba with her future husband – EFE archive
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The speculation that the Duchess of Alba is to wed ended on Tuesday with the announcement from the Duquesa herself that she is to marry Alfonso Díez, a civil servant who is 24 years her junior, at the beginning of October.

It’s understood that it will be a private ceremony with just the family and a few close friends.

There has been speculation of a possible marriage ever since the couple first began their relationship, but the rumours increased this July when the 85 year old Duquesa de Alba, Cayetana Fitz-James Stuart, decided to share out her inheritance between her six children before her death. It was seen as a move to overcome their objections to her marrying.

It will be the Duquesa’s third marriage. Her first husband and the father of her children, Luis Martínez de Irujo, died in 1972. She married again six years later to a former Jesuit priest, Jesús Aguirre, who became the 18th Duke of Alba.

Richard Branson says Academy Award-winning actress Kate Winslet helped rescue his elderly mother from a fire that destroyed his Caribbean home.

The Virgin Group boss said about 20 people, including Ms. Winslet, her children, and his mother were staying in the 8-bedroom Great House on Necker, his private isle in the British Virgin Islands when it was struck by lightning during a tropical storm early Monday.

Mr. Branson said no one was hurt. He said in his blog that he wanted to offer “many thanks to Kate Winslet for helping to carry my 90 year (old) mum out of the main house to safety.” He joked that Ms. Winslet “was wondering when a director was going to shout ‘CUT!’”

Mr. Branson said he was staying in another property nearby with his wife Joan and son Sam.

Monday, 22 August 2011

The Australian cricketer and British model Hurley, who are believed to have been dating since last year, reportedly got engaged while cruising around Spain on businessman James Packer's luxury yacht recently.

A source told New Idea: "The boat was moored in Marbella and the Packers were on board along with about 15 people - just close friends, no-one famous. Shane and Liz flew in for a few days and looked so in love during their time.

"He's just a puppy dog for Elizabeth. Absolutely head over heels. It was just a beautiful moment when he proposed. Really romantic. And she said yes. There was no hesitation."

A spokesperson for Warne denied the engagement rumours, but the claims have been backed up by another apparent friend of the couple, who has claimed that the sports star's new trim physique was driven by his desire to propose.

Hurley recently jumped to Warne's defence after various people claimed that he has had cosmetic surgery and likes wearing eyeliner.

Hurley wrote on Twitter: "SW does not wear eye makeup or have an 'eye liner tattoo'... his eyes were born that way. Neither does he wear lip gloss fyi hacks in gossip press; he'd prob just given me a kiss & got a bit of mine (sic)."

Thursday, 18 August 2011

So says the Las Vegas Review-Journal, in a story about Sin City's famed take-it-off attractions.

More than ever, clubs are relying on discounts and special offers to compete against each other and lure clientele, the story says. Cheetah's offers two-for-one lap dances during the day and Treasures provides a free buffet in the early evening, according to the newspaper.

It says the Can Can Room and Crazy Horse III have halved the price of a lap dance at certain times (in Vegas, dances typically cost $20 a song).

Customers "want a deal. They want something for free," Jacko Smiley, a VIP host at Treasures, told the Review-Journal.

Summer is traditionally a slow time for strip clubs, mainly because conventioneers -- the life blood of clubs -- are less numerous. Also, the Vegas economy has been hard hit by loss of jobs (such as construction workers) and a huge number of foreclosed homes. That means clubs need to do more if they want locals in the door.

When I was in Vegas this spring, the Spearmint Rhino -- voted best strip club in Vegas by a panel of insiders selected by USA TODAY -- was offering an amazing lunch deal: $4.40 for a burger, fries and drink. ( CEO Anthony Curtis just checked out that promo recently, which included a beer). Once in the door, the hope clearly is that patrons will drop some cash into the g-strings of the hundreds of strippers who work every shift.

Curtis, an expert on hitting the discount jackpot in Vegas, agrees freebies and deals are out there at the city's 30 or so strip clubs, but says the offers aren't always new and that a lot are more about getting people in "during the off-hours" than spawned by the edgy economy. Also, the scene is competitive with some clubs closing and new ones opening. just came out with the latest edition of its Topless Vegas guide ($6.95 for an e-book).

Meanwhile, Wayne Bridge, CEO of the Sin City Chamber of Commerce (that's its real name), an association of adult-oriented businesses, told the Review-Journal that strip clubs in the Vegas area generate an estimated $8 billion per year, second only to gambling. That's really hard to prove, since club revenues aren't counted systematically as are gaming revenues, but there's no argument that clubs are a big draw for Vegas visitors, especially males (though women guests increasingly are welcomed at most clubs).

Courting women clients is a strip-club trend, Curtis says. Larry Flynt's Hustler Club, one of the newer Vegas entries has a "ladies drink free" special in the "Hustler Hideaway" after midnight as well as Ladies' Nights with $2 drinks.


This luxury brand promises to be ‘different' and from London and will build something resembling the crayoned image you see above. And that's it.

We desired more information, so we did a bit of digging. Speaking to, an Eterniti spokesperson said the company is funded by a group of international investors, is "independent of any OEM" and that its first car - based on that sketch - will "create a new niche above the most luxurious SUVs currently available". Remember that Bentley off-roader we told you about last week? Eterniti is planning on filling "that space which Bentley and Lagonda are talking about going after". Right, then.

Of course, building a brand new car from scratch is an arduous, pain-staking and money-draining exercise. It also very rarely makes the leap from fantasmic concept to Actual Thing. Eterniti tells us "we'd like to create cars from the ground up, although drivetrain development is of course an enormous undertaking". So the first car will feature bits from an existing vehicle that is best in its class. "Where we use elements of other vehicles", says Eterniti, "we will always choose one that sets the benchmark." Hmm...

This self-proclaimed ‘Super SUV' will feature a handmade interior "with any level of bespoke interior trim a customer requires" (as will future Eterniti products, we're told) and will be sufficiently attractive to appeal to "major economic hot-spots from London to the emerging Asian markets". First deliveries of this luxurious off-roader will begin next year.

And it will carry a price tag somewhere north of £100,000.

Using the spirit of openness and democracy the Internet was founded upon, we will share more information as soon as we get it. Until then, why not share your thoughts on this ‘new luxury brand' and its plans on building a diabolically super SUV below. We wish Eterniti and its unbridled ambition the best of luck. After all, what could possibly go wrong?

Monday, 8 August 2011

Brett Goldstein has such a great story to tell, it almost seems like cheating. The title’s a little misleading, but at the age of 21, his fresh-faced innocence was shattered when he accidentally found himself spending 12 months running a strip club in Marbella. As you might expect, it hardly attracted the most salubrious of clientele – Armenian hitmen, the Irish mafia – while the boss was psychotic and the staff characterful, to say the least.
Goldstein has filtered the funniest moments of that formative experience into an expertly told hour-long story, bringing out the mordant wit of what must have been a tough time. The brief list of incidents he mentions in passing that were too strong to fit into a stand-up show only reinforces the idea that this was a terrifying place for a kid just out of university – where, honestly, he studied film and feminism – to find himself. Like many details here, his degree seems so unlikely that it just has to be true, as a dramatist would probably step back and say ‘no, no, that’s too much’…
Even with Goldstein’s charisma and skill, this isn’t a laugh-out-loud romp, and struggles to fit its ‘comedy’ billing. But it is a tale as vicariously gripping as any gangster movie, full of drugs, power trips and larger-than-life personalities. This is not about the seedy sexual side of the business; even as a hormonal youth, Goldstein had bigger problems on his mind, and the girls barely get a look-in in his tale.
He’s a warm and open guide through the year. By admitting from the get-go he was way out of his depth in a job he only found himself in because his father was living out some mid-life crisis fantasy, he gets the audience’s sympathy. And in the telling, he has great timing, pace and sense of dramatic storytelling that keeps the action moving – as well as the ability to really create a sense of mood and of place, even though most of his audience probably aren’t familiar with the environment.
Maybe it is this way he tells it, but the overall impression is that this yarn would make a cracking film; an eventful, complex Scarface on the costas that could aim for drama as much as the laughs. That, in the end, is the only reservation about this as a comedy – although there elements of farce here, it’s more of a spoken word show than a stand-up one. But if you’re in the mood for an engrossing bit of storytelling, slip Goldstein a few quid and he’ll perform for you.

Chef Dani Garcia of Marbella restaurant Calima is guest chef at the luxury hotel’s acclaimed French restaurant Jaan for the promotion organized by Tourism Spain and Raffles Beijing Hotel.

The culinary spectacle opens on 23 August 2011 with a Gala Dinner priced at RMB 888 including a glass of Champagne. The event is also highlighted by the attendance of the world’s top chef, legendary Ferran Adria of elBulli in Catalonia.

From 24 - 26 August 2011, Jaan will feature Chef Garcia’s set menu priced at RMB 688 for dinner, including a glass of Champagne, and RMB 288 for set lunch.

Chef García’s cuisine is renowned as “provocative, clever and fresh, notable for its fresh ingredients and impeccable preparation”.

It is also playful, with repeated references to the Andalusian Sea, sky, mountains and sand. Though he works with some meat, seafood is his forte and inspiration. His signature unadorned skewer of sea bass pays homage to beach barbecues of his Marbella childhood.

But he elevates traditional popular gastronomy to a new level, with such celebrated experiments as his take on the classic frituras.

Signature dishes extend to spring salad with olive oil clouds and ca?aillas (local snails), a two-tiered "fried" sole in miso with slow-roasted tomato, and passion fruit tocino de cielo.

A ‘Michelin Star Chef Room Package’ is available during the promotion, for any two nights from 22 – 27 August 2011.

It's official her hit show will soon be cancelled.  But that didn't seem to concern Desperate Housewives star Eva Longoria, who was completely engrossed in her 26-year-old boyfriend Eduardo Cruz at the 2011 Starlite Charity Gala in Marbella, Spain.

Wearing an elegant white Grecian style gown, Eva, 36, added a touch of American glamour to the evening, remaining professional as she posed alone for the photocall upon arrival, before focusing her full attention on Eduardo later on. 

It was clear where Eva's real interest lay as once reunited she and Eduardo couldn't keep their hands off each other.

Getting cosy: Eva Longoria cuddles up to boyfriend Eduardo Cruz at the Starlite Gala in Marbella, Spain last night

Getting cosy: Eva Longoria cuddles up to boyfriend Eduardo Cruz at the Starlite Gala in Marbella, Spain last night

Finding a quiet corner in the crowd the smitten pair kissed, cuddled and whispered to each other, eventually leaving together through a back door at around 4am. 


Despite her relaxed demeanor there's no doubt the actress knew her hit ABC show would be ending after the current eighth season, because show creator Marc Cherry revealed today that he had already broken the news to the cast.

Secret smile: Eduardo appeared to be whispering something
Oblivious: The couple seemed completely engrossed, paying no attention to the the other guests

Oblivious: The couple seemed completely engrossed, paying no attention to the the other guests

While several websites including MailOnline had already reported news of the show's cancellation, Cherry made an official announcement yesterday at the Television Critics Association conference in Malibu, California.

'I wanted to go out when the network still saw us as a viable show and doing well in ratings,' an emotional Cherry told a group of assembled reporters.

'We made this decision together,' Cherry added revealing the decision was a mutual one between him and ABC network brass.

Subtle: Although a little less full-on earlier in the evening, Eduardo kept close to his diminutive sweetheart, holding hands in the crowd

Subtle: Although a little less full-on earlier in the evening, Eduardo kept close to his diminutive sweetheart, holding hands in the crowd


The president of ABC Entertainment Paul Lee was also at the panel discussion adding: 'We wanted to plan it out and we wanted to give it that hero farewell that a show as iconic as this really deserves.'

Desperate Housewives is an international hit with millions of viewers around the world,.

The soap style show which premièred in 2004, made superstars of cast members Teri Hatcher, Felicity Huffman, Marcia Cross and Eva Longoria and it made the show's producers Hollywood power brokers.

Professional: Eva Longoria posed alone looking happy and unshaken as news broke in America that Desperate Housewives was getting the axe

Professional: Eva Longoria posed alone looking happy and unshaken as news broke in America that Desperate Housewives was getting the axe



But it hasn't been all hugs and kisses behind the scenes of Wisteria Lane.

Marc Cherry and ex-Housewives star Nicollette Sheridan have been locked in a nasty lawsuit after she claimed she was wrongfully terminated from the show.

Sheridan made the allegations in 15 pages of testimony submitted in Los Angeles Superior Court as part of $20 million lawsuit against Cherry and ABC.

The actress also accused Cherry of giving her a violent slap during an on-set confrontation. However, Cherry fired back saying the allegations are not true.

'I vigorously deny hitting Ms Sheridan; I did give her a light tap on the head in giving direction for what I wanted her to do to her show husband in a scene.

Giving back: Eva Longoria attended the Starlite Gala to raise money for her charity Eva¿s Heroes which helps teens and young adults with intellectual disabilities

Giving back: Eva Longoria attended the Starlite Gala to raise money for her charity Eva¿s Heroes which helps teens and young adults with intellectual disabilities

'Regardless I did not tap, hit or otherwise touch Sheridan because she is a woman.'

Sheridan was axed from the show in its fifth series in 2009, with her character being killed off after being electrocuted following a car accident.

She was replaced by former Ugly Betty star Vanessa Williams, who is returning for the eighth season and final season.

At the TCA conference today, Cherry said he and ABC began talking a year ago about when to end the show, but they only recently decided to pull the plug after the current season

The show creator also confirmed there was talk of a spin off, but he vetoed the idea.

Help from her friends: Spanish actor Antonio Banderas and his wife Melanie Griffith helped Eva raise money for charity

Help from her friends: Spanish actor Antonio Banderas and his wife Melanie Griffith helped Eva raise money for charity

Although he admits he was tempted when he told 'Housewives' star Eva Longoria about the show's end, because he wanted to keep working with her. 'I love Eva Longoria more than life itself,' he said.

In April, Mail Online reported that the show's original cast members, Hatcher, Huffman, Cross and Longoria had all been given staggering raises, making them the highest paid actresses on US television.



Not true: Show creator Marc Cherry has said Nicollette Sheridan's claims that he hit her are false

Not true: Show creator Marc Cherry has said Nicollette Sheridan's claims that he hit her are false

After months of intense behind-the-scenes negotiations, the four actresses finalised new contracts paying them a reported £250,000-an-episode for the eighth season.

A source said: 'We had to get the girls back. The show simply earns too much money to stop making it.'

The foursome previously took home around £180,000-an-episode.

With Cherry's new ABC project Hallelujah picked up to pilot, Desperate Housewives executive producer Bob Daily will helm the show while Cherry is working on his pilot and is expected to continue to do so if Hallelujah is picked up for a full series.

Despite slipping in the ratings from its heyday, Desperate Housewives is still a big hit and a huge moneymaker.

End of an era? ABC is expected to announce that the upcoming eighth season of Desperate Housewives will be the last

End of an era? ABC is expected to announce that the upcoming eighth season of Desperate Housewives will be the last


Award winner: Since it premièred in 2004, Desperate Housewives has earned multiple awards including three Golden Globes

Award winner: Since it premièred in 2004, Desperate Housewives has earned multiple awards including three Golden Globes

Sunday, 7 August 2011

Ready for a long night of fundraising, Eva Longoria joined co-host Antonio Banderas (and his wife Melanie Griffith) at the 2011 Starlite Charity Gala in Marbella, Spain on Saturday (August 6).

Kicking things off with cocktails and dinner at Hotel Villa Padierna, the festivities are set to run well into the morning hours with an afterparty capping things off with a 1AM start time at Purobeach Marbella.

As for the cause, the Starlite Gala is "an international platform which benefits several foundations by raising funds for different causes: education, primary needs, cancer, etc. with the aim bringing a better quality life to children, families and communities with no resources."

Tweeting about the charitable plans, Miss Longoria wrote earlier in the day, "In Marbella, Spain getting ready for the Starlite Gala with Antonio Banderas to raise money for children all over the world!"

With collected cash being shuffled to numerous organizations, one of the beneficiaries is Eva Longoria’s Foundation (USA)- which "focuses its efforts on children and the Latin community (immigration problems, social integration, health, education…), supporting the Foundations Parents Against Cancer (children with cáncer and their families) and Eva’s Heroes (teens and young adults with intelectual special needs)."

Enjoy the pictures of Eva Longoria with Melanie Griffith and Antonio Banderas at the 2011 Starlite Charity Gala (August 6).


The party prince, 26, has sent women “mental” as they clamour to get his attention.

A source said: “He was in our bar the other night and girls were going mental.

“It was unbelievable. I thought there was going to be a fight. I’ve never seen anything like it.”

Harry headed for the Spanish island after ­celebrating the wedding of his cousin Zara Phillips, 30, where guests rocked the streets of Edinburgh with their non-stop partying.

Friday, 5 August 2011

A spokesman for Peterborough and Stamford Hospitals this morning said Atkinson was in a stable condition after being admitted last night.

It has not been confirmed when he will be ready to leave the hospital's care.

Atkinson is believed to have suffered a shoulder injury after his high-performance car crashed on the A605 in Haddon, Cambridgeshire.

The 56-year-old Mr Bean actor was reportedly driving a McLaren F1 supercar when it spun around several times, ran into a tree and a lamppost and caught fire.

The actor is said to have walked from the vehicle and was with a passing motorist until emergency services arrived.

A spokesman for the star has not yet commented on the incident.

Atkinson, known to be a car enthusiast, recently topped the leader's board on Top Gear's Star in a Reasonably Priced Car contest.

He told presenter Jeremy Clarkson he was keen on racing and was currently driving a 1964 Ford Falkan.

Atkinson is best known for his work on Not The Nine O'Clock News, Blackadder and Mr Bean, in which his hapless character drives an old Mini.

Thursday, 4 August 2011

The past week or so has been Piers Morgan's trial by media. The verdict was in pretty early. Morgan is definitely guilty of something, but it is that "something" that Tory MPs, bloggers and journalists have found to be elusive. As so far in all of this swirling smoke there has yet to any sign of fire, but the appetite to find it is undiminished.

What we do have is plenty of ambiguity, a degree of bitterness and some suggestion in the form of old newspaper quotes, book quotes and Radio 4 radio excerpts that appear to suggest that Morgan had knowledge of phone hacking and the possibility that one of the paper's biggest scoops, the Sven-Goran Eriksson and Urlika Jonsson affair story, might have been based on phone hacking or it might not.

However, it is all inconclusive, it is all hearsay, and lacks any substantial evidence, but in the current climate, where hacking grips the media, it simply will not go away, no matter how many times Morgan denies it.

It was this that led to a heightened frenzy last week when it was revealed on Twitter that Morgan had been suspended by CNN when in fact nothing of the sort had happened. It was simply that the media inhabiting Twitter was ready to believe it.

The tweet was a fake, but it didn't matter. No one checked it and it was quickly retweeted by Channel 4 News presenter, John Snow, and spread like wildfire across the social web. Very soon people were deleting tweets and issuing apologies having realised their error. Me included.

This led a day later for Tory MP and former chick lit writer Louise Mensch to apologise also. It was she who had fanned the initial flames with erroneous claims in parliament that Morgan had admitted knowing about obtaining stories by intercepting mobile phone messages. Her apology came after a week of refusing to do so and in the end she only came forward as it emerged that a reporter was shopping allegations that she had taken drugs in an earlier life at EMI.

With Morgan and the fake CNN suspension tweet what became apparent very quickly was that many people desperately wanted it to be true and so were ripe to be fooled. They wanted him to fall from grace, and they wanted him to lose his plum CNN presenting job, and to be generally laid low.

As people really seem to really dislike Morgan and it is at times easy to see why. Morgan has an unstoppable self confidence, which is seen by some as arrogance, and he is incredibly successful; more than that too successful as if he is a man who has made some Faustian pact; and that is definitely a crime that some think he should go down for. In all of this it might very well turn out to be his only crime.

As whatever else you say about Morgan his career as a journalist and latterly TV personality is impressive. This is a journalist who started his career writing about the thing he has become: a celebrity in his own right.

He started his career as a showbiz journalist working on the Sun's Bizarre column. From his time at Sun he had a meteoric rise: editor of the News of the World at 28 and editor of the Daily Mirror a few years later.

That would alone be an impressive for anyone, but it is all the more so for Morgan as it has been achieved on the back of what now seems like serial adversity and an ability to court trouble.

He first survived the 2000 City Slickers scandal after he was found to have bought shares being tipped in own paper. He was investigated by the then DTI and found in breach by the Press Complaints Commission. He dodged that bullet and kept his job, but the two reporters at the scandal's heart, Anil Bhoyrul and James Hipwell, didn't and that is now coming back to haunt Morgan.

Hipwell is portrayed as a very bitter man. He served two months in prison for his part in the City Slickers scandal after a long running case and a dislike for Morgan.

Five years ago Hipwell came out and claimed that his former editor had asked him to frustrate the investigation into the City Slickers affair and now he's back tossing some fuel on the hacking scandal. Hipwell claims that hacking was endemic and at the Mirror and that it was inconceivable that Morgan did not know - but clearly not impossible as so far nothing has emerged. And Hipwell only spoke after Mensch tossed Morgan's name into the mix (he had come forward and spoken to the Guardian in 2006).

Having survived one crisis as Mirror editor Morgan fell four years later when he lost his job after the paper had been found to have been publishing fake pictures of alleged Iraqi prisoner abuse by British soldiers.

That was a big fall. Morgan loved being editor of the Mirror and enjoyed the proximity to power that came with it. He met Tony Blair and Gordon dozens of times as the paper remained Labour's only staunch backer despite war disagreements.

For many that kind of fall might be a knockout, but in Morgan's case it acted as a launch pad to send his career much higher. It helps if you compare him to his contemporaries.

Think of his then former sparring partner at the Sun, David Yelland. Where Morgan struts his stuff globally for CNN, Yelland is a forgotten figure working in PR - publicly dismissed by Morgan:

"Yelland is now some obscure business PRO, last seen defending Tesco or something. Know what I mean? I couldn't bring myself to ring another editor and say "Can you help my client out, they've got a new line of runner beans."

No runner beans for Morgan, but that brawler's ability to make enemies very apparent. He wanted the limelight and he got it. From his tabloid fall he went on to be a judge on ITV1's 'Britain's Got Talent', bigger still won a similar role on America's Got Talent, alongside Baywatch star David Hasselhoff, and big name interviews for GQ.

Even away from successful format talent shows. Morgan proved to have TV pulling power of his own. There were the four million viewers who tuned in for ITV1's 'Piers Morgan on Marbella', which was part of a £2m 2008 ITV deal, or creating Gordon Brown's best 2010 election moment with his ITV1 election interview. No small achievement.

All that led to his biggest post Mirror coup: succeeding Larry King on CNN, which is a prize role in American journalism.

It is a job that he could now lose although nothing is certain and CNN looks in no mood to drop its star presenter until some real evidence emerges. As yet we do not have that.

Morgan might now receive an invitation from John Whittingdale MP to appear before the Culture select committee, but that might prove no more damaging than anything else we have seen so far. He might be questioned, but he is free to restate his denials and walk away unless evidence materialises to show that hacking went on at the Mirror and Morgan was complicit.

In all of this you are left with several strong impressions. Chief among these is that Morgan doesn't seem that worried as he merrily fires back at all comers on Twitter and that he is a media survivor who has become one of the most successful British journalists of his generation. Possibly he has become too successful for this media island, although he and the rest of us might eventually get over that.

Former editor of the Daily Mirror, Piers Morgan, has been urged to return to Britain to help answer questions over claims a journalist from his paper hacked the phone messages of Heather Mills.

Tory MP Therese Coffey has advised him to return to the UK to explain an article written in 2006 where he claimed to have listened to a voice message.

Harriet Harman showed her party’s tougher public stance on the matter, declaring: ‘He’s got to answer now’. She believes that comments Morgan made five years ‘give rise to the assumption he heard a tape recorded message,’ she said.

These statements come after ex-wife of Paul McCartney, Heather Mills, alleged that a Mirror reporter admitted hacking her phone while she was in a relationship with the former Beatle.

The supposed incident occurred after McCartney left a conciliatory message on his wife’s voicemail following an argument.

Mills then says that she was approached by a senior journalist soon after, quoting verbatim her messages from her machine. She then confronted the reporter and threatened to go to police, which prompted him to admit he had listened to her messages. He then promised not to run the story.

The 43-year-old has confirmed that the guilty journalist was not current CNN presenter Piers Morgan. However, it is thought that this is the same message that Morgan admitted having listened to five years ago.

In 2006, Morgan quoted in the Daily Mail that he had heard a message that Sir Paul had left for his wife. ‘At one stage I was played a tape of a message Paul had left Heather on her mobile phone,’ he wrote.

Now Mills is arguing that ‘There was absolutely no honest way that Piers Morgan could have obtained that tape that he has so proudly bragged about - unless they had gone into my voice messages.’

Morgan, however, who was the Mirror’s editor between 1995 and 2004, has consistently denied any involvement in phone hacking. ‘Heather Mills has made unsubstantiated claims about a conversation she may or may not have had with a senior executive from a Trinity Mirror newspaper in 2001,’ he said in a statement through CNN.

‘To reiterate, I have never hacked a phone, told anyone to hack a phone, nor to my knowledge published any story obtained from the hacking of a phone.’

A Trinity Mirror spokesperson also added: ‘Our position is clear. All our journalists work within the criminal law and the PCC code of conduct.’


Monday, 1 August 2011

“It’s going to be a great night,” adds Al, who has been writing music for over five decades. “We have so many fans in Spain so it will be a fabulous night.”

It has certainly been an astonishing career for a band whose hits include Boogie Wonderland, After the Love has Gone and Got To Get You into My Life.
It all started way back in the early 1970’s when Al was approached by Maurice White and asked whether he wanted to start a band with a new sound that combined elements of African, Latin American, funk, soul, pop, rock and jazz.
Their music was an immediate smash and they saw hit after hit, particularly between 1973 and 1981.
“It was an incredible time, so many hits,” Al explains by phone from his mansion in California. “A golden period I guess you could say.”
His favourite song is September, ‘not just because it was our biggest hit but because for me it contains all the elements of what makes our sound so unique’.
He also explained that the name EW&F came from Maurice’s astrological chart, and that he has always had a strong interest in astrology.
Indeed, had it not been for music, he would have liked to have become a professional astrologer. ‘I’m an Aquarian’ he adds ‘and we kind of have a feeling for these sort of things.’


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