Tuesday, 19 May 2015

The Daily: May 19

We scour the news so you don't have to

Written by Eliza Riley-Smith
Joanna Lumley: feeds and cares for 'completely charming' urban foxes
Joanna Lumley has this week spoken out in defence of an animal many deem to be an unwelcome pest: the urban fox. The 69 year old Absolutely Fabulous actress revealed that she cares for several foxes in her back garden, finding no problem with their home under her garden shed. Lumley, a vegetarian and self-confessed animal lover, feeds the animals with dog food, explaining "if we don't feed them they get mange and die and that's not fair." The foxes are also known to wander into Lumley's London home and 'curl up' on the sofa whilst her composer husband Stephen Barlow practices. The actress is evidently touched by such scenes, saying of the fox "like a little dog, she just sat there and listened to him playing." Although pest control authorities have warned of the risks of feeding foxes, to Lumley they are simply "completely charming" animals.

Simon Cowell: future producer of leadership debates?
Britain's Got Talent boss Simon Cowell has revealed he would "love" to produce party leaders' debates in the future. In an interview with Radio Times, the TV mogul confessed that he had a few ideas in store for the debates, including walk-ons and music, as well as a clap-o-meter to gauge leaders' popularity. Cowell also added that there would be fire and a trap door if "people didn't like what they said". Britain's Got Talent is well known for its theatre, a niche that has proven successful as the show last month was revealed to be the highest-rated entertainment programme on TV. Cowell also confessed that he is not always genuine when judging, preferring 'a kind lie' to let acts down lightly.

Prince Charles and Camilla to host their first dog show
Well known pet aficionados Prince Charles and his wife Camilla, the Duchess of Cornwall, are to hold their first ever dog show. The show is to be held at Dumfries House, the Scottish stately that was saved with £20 million in donations from the Prince's own charitable trust. Prizes up for grabs include 'Cutest Dog or Puppy', 'Best Trick' and 'Bad Hair Day', a surprising entry given the ceremony and pomp usually associated with such shows. Amongst the entries could be Camilla's own dogs Bluebell and Beth, rescue Jack Russell terriers adopted from Battersea Dogs Home. Prince Charles has also come to the rescue of endangered animals in the past, having pleaded with ministers to make the case of the endangered Patagonian toothfish a 'high priority'.

Is your star sign more likely to make you famous?
According to a new academic study, astrological signs can be used to indicate whether you are more or less likely to become a celebrity. Dr Hamilton of the University of Connecticut, whose findings are published in the journal Comprehensive Psychology, conducted his study on 300 celebrities drawn from art, science, sports, literature and the public eye to find that the majority of their birth dates fell between December and March. Dr Hamilton concluded from his findings that 'relative age'-the date a child is born relative to their classmates' birthdays- is a key factor in determining potential fame. The study suggested that those with earlier birthdays, who are therefore older than their classmates, are more likely to be successful in later life. Studies on successful footballers have revealed a similar trend, with those who are older and more psychically advanced than their classmates more likely to succeed in early training. Astrologically speaking, 'celebrity signs' are Aquarius and Pisces.

'True face of Shakespeare' found in botany book
Perhaps the only known portrait of Shakespeare taken in his lifetime has been found in a botany book. The image of the playwright features along with 3 three other figures on the cover of a 1,484 page book, credited as the largest single-volume work on plants published in the English language. Botanist and historian Mark Griffiths decoded an "ingenious cipher" that surrounded one of the four figures to reveal the identity of the bearded man as William Shakespeare himself. Full details of the discovery are to be published in this week's issue of Country Life, with the magazine's editor Mark Hedges describing it as "the literary discovery of the century". Griffiths deciphered the image by analysing decorative advices surrounding it, such as heraldic motifs and emblematic flowers. One of the motifs used by the artist was a fritillary and an ear of sweetcorn-plants associated with Shakespeare's poem Venus and Adonis as well as Titus Andronicus, according to Griffiths.


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