2013

January

1 January – New Year’s Day (a Tuesday)

Ireland from the International Space Station, photograph by Chris Hadfield (see 18 February, below)

Ireland from the International Space Station, photograph by Chris Hadfield in 2013 (see 18 February, below)

10 January – April Casburn, a senior detective with the Metropolitan Police (a Detective Chief Inspector with the National Terrorist Financial Investigation Unit, Counter Terrorism Command) is found guilty of trying to sell information on the investigation into phone-hacking to the News of the World, the newspaper at the centre of the phone-hacking scandal:15 months imprisonment and, of course, dishonourable discharge.

11 January at the request of the government of Mali who have lost control of the north of their country, French military brigades begin a deployment in northern Mali, targeting the militant Islamist Ansar Dine group

French intervention in Mali

French intervention in Mali

15 January – The Food Safety Authority of Ireland confirmed the presence of horse DNA in beef burger products on sale in supermarkets (panic in the food aisles in the rush to get that shit off the shelves — turn out that there’s traces of horse meat in load of stuff).

16 January – A helicopter crash in central London kills two people and injures 13 others (helicopter clipped the jib of a crane on a building site in Vauxhall, foggy on the river).

16–20 January: 39 international workers and one security guard die in a hostage crisis at a natural gas facility near in Algeria (Islamist activists it looks like).

Feburary

4 February – In England, former Lib Dem cabinet minister Chris Huhne (energy secretary) pleads guilty to perverting the course of justice in getting his ex-wife to accept speeding points he had incurred, and then lying about it (the ex-wife, as soon as she was made an ‘ex’ tried to throw her former husband under a bus with this poisonous spurned-wife shit, but she is now also caught up in the mangle; both are very probably looking at jail-time because courts take charges of perverting the course of justice very seriously, and the mood in the country is that the system should show that no one is above the law and what better way to do so than to throw a cabinet minister into a jail cell, especially an over-reaching Lib Dem!). Huhne, who was seen as a possible future leader of the Lib Dems, also announces his intention to resign his House of Commons seat. End of Chris.

Chris Huhne and his then wife the economist Vicky Pryce

Chris Huhne and his then wife (the economist) Vicky Pryce

5 February – A report into Ireland’s Magdalene asylums found state collusion in the admission of thousands of “fallen women” into the religious institutions where they were abused and worked for nothing in conditions of slavery. See also 19 February, below.

5 February – The House of Commons votes 400 to 175 in favour of the bill to legalise same-sex marriage in England and Wales.

9 February – Tens of thousands people march against the bank debt burden in Ireland in nationwide demonstrations in Dublin, Cork, Galway, Limerick, Waterford and Sligo.

12 February – North Korea conducts its third underground nuclear test, prompting widespread condemnation and a further tightening of international sanctions.

Kim Jong-Un, North Korean leader

Kim Jong-Un, North Korean leader

15 February – A meteor explodes over the Russian city of Chelyabinsk, injuring 1,491 people and damaging over 4,300 buildings. It is the most powerful meteor to enter Earth’s atmosphere in over a century.

18 February – Astronaut Chris Hadfield transmitted the first message in the Irish language from outer space (from the International Space Station) tweeting “Tá Éire fíorálainn! Land of green hills and dark beer. With capital Dublin glowing in the Irish night.” The message (translation of Irish: Ireland is exquisite) was accompanied by an orbital space station photograph of Dublin at night.

Dublin at night from the International Space Station, photograph by Chris Hadfield

Dublin at night from the International Space Station, photograph by Chris Hadfield

19 February – in Ireland Taoiseach Enda Kenny delivers an emotional apology in Dáil Éireann [the Irish parliament] on behalf of the state to the Magdalene Laundry survivors (see 5 February, above). The estimated 800 to 1,000 surviving Magdalene women were told that a state-sponsored compensation scheme will be set up for them.

23 February – Downgraded by Moody’s credit ratings agency (because of its continuing budget deficit and the economic outlook), UK loses its top ‘AAA’ credit rating (first time since the economic crises of the 1970s).

CArdinal O'Brien 5 GT25 February – Cardinal Keith O’Brien, Britain’s most senior Roman Catholic cleric, resigns as the Archbishop of St Andrews and Edinburgh due to allegations of inappropriate sexual behaviour towards young priests and seminarians in the 1980s (O’Brien is a leading hardline-Catholic, against gay marriage, contraception, abortion, et cet, the whole liberal/secularist programme).

28 February – surprising everyone, Benedict XVI resigns as pope, becoming the first to do so since Gregory XII in 1415, and the first to do so voluntarily since Celestine V in 1294

28 February – Lib Dems hold the Eastleigh seat in Hampshire in by-election triggered by the resignation of former cabinet secretary Chris Huhne (see 4 February).

March

Hugo Chavez, 1954-2013

Hugo Chavez, 1954-2013

5 March — death of Hugo Chávez, president of Venezuela (b. 1954).

6 March – Thomas Crosbie Holdings, publisher of the Irish Examiner, goes into receivership.

6 March – UK Foreign Secretary William Hague announces that the UK will send armoured vehicles and body armour to opposition forces in Syria.

7 March – Vicky Pryce, ex-wife of former cabinet minister Chris Huhne is convicted of perverting the course of justice after accepting speeding penalty points on Huhne’s behalf (see 4 February, above). She will certainly get jail because she was defiant to the very end, refusing to take responsibility for her actions; at least Chris Huhne pleaded guilty before it came to trial).

7 March – Ireland’s Sunday Business Post goes into examinership.

11 March – Chris Huhne and Vicky Pryce are jailed for eight months each for perverting the course of justice  (see 4 February and 7 March, above).

13 March – Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio of Argentina is elected the 266th pope, taking the name Francis. He is the first Jesuit pope, the first pope from the Americas, and the first pope from the Southern Hemisphere.

Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio of Argentina, the man who would become Pope Francis, travelling by public transport (he's that kind of character)

Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio of Argentina, the man who would become Pope Francis in 2013, travelling by public transport (he’s that kind of character)

Blurred Lines

‘Blurred Lines’, Robin Thicke et al, music video directed by Diane Martel

16 March: Crushing England in Cardiff, Wales win the Six Nations Rugby tournament for the second time in two years, the first time they’ve won back-to-back championships since the 1970s.

17 March (Sunday)

25 March – The European Union agrees to a bank bailout for Cyprus. The bailout deal precipitates a banking crisis on the island (it is not a full bailout and people are going to lose a proportion of their deposits).

28 March – death of Richard Griffiths, British actor (b. 1947): Uncle Vernon Dursley in the Harry Potter films and Uncle Monty in Withnail & I.

29 March (Good Friday)

31 March (Easter Sunday)

April

Milo O'Shea

Milo O’Shea

2 April – death of Milo O’Shea (b. 1926), Irish stage and Hollywood film actor; credits include Leopold Bloom in Joseph Strick’s 1967 film version of Ulysses, Dr Durand Durand in Roger Vadim’s counterculture classic Barbarella (1968), as the trial judge in the Sidney Lumet’s The Verdict (1982) with Paul Newman and so on. On television he played Chief Justice Roy Ashland in The West Wing, guest starred in the Season 10 finale of the sitcom Cheers, and, in 1995, in an episode of the show’s spin-off Frasier (in Frasier he played Dr Schachter, a couples therapist who counsels the Crane brothers together).

Boston bomber8 April – Former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher (b. 1925) dies following a stroke. Street parties are held in a number of cities to celebrate (see also 17 April, below).

15 April – Two Chechen brothers (Islamist converts) explode bombs at the Boston Marathon, killing 3 and injuring 264. The two, who are naturalised Americans, are identified and focused in on fairly quickly and a massive manhunt ensues (the whole city on lock-down, armoured cars on deserted streets, etc); police corner the pair and shoot them, killing one of them. A few weeks later, the other, Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, controversially featured in a Rolling Stone cover, which was seen as attempting to glamorize him.

margaret-thatcher-funeral--z17 April – State funeral of Margaret Thatcher takes place at London’s St Paul’s Cathedral, massive event (big as a royal wedding). All the establishment in attendance, except Neil Kinnock. ‘Ding-Dong! The Witch Is Dead’ (from The Wizard of Oz) is in the Top Ten in the pop parade (but when they do their chart show the BBC do not play the track — they play it as a bedding track and talk over it describing what has happened in a neutral, matter-of-fact way — ie, trying to please all parties — not that the ‘charts’ mean anything any more, and I suppose it was all just spin and froth anyway).

19 April – Fianna Fáil politician Ivor Callely arrested and charged with fraudulently claiming parliamentary expenses for mobile phone calls and costs over a three-year period (including submitting false documentation).

Ivor Callely19 April – inquest into the death of Savita Halappanavar in a Galway hospital in October 2012 returned a verdict of “medical misadventure.”

24 April – An eight-storey commercial building collapses in Bangladesh, leaving 1,129 dead and 2,500 injured. This was a sweatshop paying its people a couple of pennies a day to make cheap clothes for western franchise shops.

May

Alex_Ferguson8 May – Sir Alex Ferguson, the most successful manager in English football during his 27 years in charge of Manchester United, announces his retirement after the end of the Premier League season later in the month (and, just to finish off, Man Utd win the premiership this year too, his 13th premiership success; altogether he’s won 38 trophies with Man U, including two European Champions League titles). Fellow Scotsman David Moyes, who has managed Everton for the past 11 years (and done well there), is announced as the successor to Ferguson.

woolwich1

22 May – Two men carrying knives and a meat cleaver kill a guy on the street in Woolwich in south-east London, just outside a British army barracks. The victim is a serving British soldier, Drummer Lee Rigby of the 2nd Battalion the Royal Regiment of Fusiliers. The killing is being treated as a terrorist incident (the killers — two black guys, Londoners, Islamist converts — are up-front about it being a revenge killing, designed to draw attention to all the deaths of Muslims which the West is responsible for; they invited people to film them cutting Rigby’s head off with the meat cleaver and even made ranting statements which members of the public recorded on their i-Phones).

25 May: Bayern Munich win Champions League, defeating Borussia Dortmund 2-1 in the final at Wembley Stadium in London.

Irish prime minister Enda  Kenny climaxing because of his proximity to the president of the United States

Irish prime minister Enda Kenny virtually climaxing because of his proximity to the president of the United States

31 May – Republic of Ireland declared a tax haven by United States senators Carl Levin and John McCain: “Most reasonable people would agree that negotiating special tax arrangements that allow companies to pay little or no income tax meets a common-sense definition of a tax haven.” Irish government protests, however, the world and his pretty wife know that the smiley Irish are seeking to have their cake and eat it too because this is how we sell little or no-tax Ireland Inc. to foreign investors.

murad-sezer-in-istanbul.jpg

May-June passim: serious disturbances in Turkey, particularly in Istanbul, which have grown into an anti-government movement, anti-Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and his AK party [the Justice and Development Party], which is moderately Islamist, but, clearly, too Islamist for the young urban secularists behind these protests (protesters believe that the AK mission is Islamification by stealth and they’ve had enough of it) — Erdoğan and the AK party have been in power for about 12 years now. Originally protests about plans to build a shopping mall and office complex on Gezi Park, which, apparently, is one of the few green spaces left in the city centre, an Occupy type effort; however, by way of systematic mismanagement the protests have grown and spread to several centres throughout the country. Erdoğan, the prime minister, has been too long in power, and because he has won three elections he appears to think he has a mandate to do whatever he wants: Turkey has become economically very successful under his stewardship and, of course, his support has been critical for the Americans viz the Iraq war, in return for which — needless to say — he has been granted many favours and concessions. Reminds me of the last days of Mrs Thatcher.

June

6 June – American National Security sub-contractor Edward Snowden flees the country and discloses a mass of material relating to the United States government’s mass surveillance operations (especially domestic programs) to Glen Greenwald of The Guardian; turns out Snowden is holed up in Hong Kong and is seeking political asylum there. Looks like this is a fairly well-planned whistle-blowing operation (not just a childish smash and grab and run job). In interview Snowden comes across as calm, collected, informed and concerned (comes across as an old-fashioned patriot, in fact; see video, below). This is going to be an absolute shit-storm for the authorities in the U.S. (GCHQ in Britain implicated too). Swnoden’s revelations do not (so far) tell us anything that we had not already suspected but now, of course, we have documentary proof (and what they tell us is that the architecture for tyranny is being put in place — “Turn-key tyranny” as Snowden himself puts it in the film below). And his revelations clearly show that U.S. intelligence officials have been telling flat-out lies (even in congressional hearings); certainly they have been less than truthful and/or deliberately misleading.

what-do-you-think-of-national-security-leaker-edward-snowden-pollView Laura Poitras’ film ‘Edward Snowden in his own words’ (12 minutes and 30 seconds), interview by Glen Greenwald, which I recommend; it is an important historical document (far more important than most of the stuff you see on the news most evenings).

9 June – death of Iain Banks, British novelist (b. 1954), The Wasp Factory (1984), The Crow Road (1992) et al.

17–18 June – While President Barack Obama attended the G8 Summit in County Fermanagh, his wife Michelle and their daughters Malia and Sasha visited Dublin and Glendalough in County Wicklow (see also 19 June, below). It was just a tourist board photo-op, the two young ones looked bored out of their minds (understandably, they couldn’t give a shit about medieval Ireland, or how fantastic the Irish are — for fuck sake! — embarrassing).

This may look like a set of plastic dolls in a toy town play set but in fact it is the leaders of the G8 countries which met in County Fermanagh in Northern Ireland in June 2013

This may look like a set of plastic dolls in a rubbish toy-town play-set but in fact it is the final photo shoot for leaders of the G8 countries which met in County Fermanagh in Northern Ireland in June 2013

James Gandolfini 1961-2013

James Gandolfini 1961-2013

19 June – Independent member of the Irish parliament Clare Daly, speaking in Dáil Éireann, criticised the media and the government for their “slobbering” over the Obamas during their visit to Dublin (see 17-18 June, above) “prostituting ourselves in return for a pat on the head” and stopping just short of “deck[ing] the cabinet out in leprechaun hats decorated with a bit of stars and stripes to really [make for] abject humiliation”. Daly went on to say that Barack Obama was a war criminal as he “facilitated a 200 per cent increase in the use of drones which have killed thousands of people, including hundreds of children”. She also criticised the special news bulletins covering such trivial items as what Michelle Obama and her daughters ate for lunch with Bono in Dalkey. The Taoiseach [prime minister], Enda Kenny, dismissed her comments as “disgraceful”.

19 June — death of James Gandolfini, American actor (b. 1961), Tony Soprano in The Sopranos (1999-2007), ‘Virgil’ in True Romance, enforcer/stuntman ‘Bear’ in Get Shorty, Eddie Poole in 8mm, et al (many memorable performances).

24 June – The Irish Independent newspaper release secret recordings of telephone conversations between Anglo Irish Bank senior manager John Bowe, who had been involved in negotiations with the Central Bank, laughing and joking as he tells another senior manager, Peter Fitzgerald, how Anglo was luring the state into giving it billions of Euros.

July

Bernie Nolan1 July – Croatia becomes the 28th member of the European Union.

4 July – death of Bernie Nolan, 52, soap actress and singer with The Nolan Sisters.

2 July – Requests for asylum are made to 19 countries, including Ireland, on behalf of American whistleblower, Edward Snowden, stuck in the international transit lounge of Sheremetyevo International Airport in Moscow. Ireland refuses request on the grounds that his application could only be accepted if he had landed in, or was within, the Irish state.

Mohamed Morsi3 July – Amid mass protests across Egypt, President Mohamed Morsi (and his Islamic Brotherhood government) deposed in a military coup d’état, leading to widespread violence and chaos. (Shamefully, despite their bleating about the virtues of democracy, not one democratic leader in the West stands up for him, which is, of course, tacitly to support the military coup. Comically, the United States even refuses to acknowledge that it is a military coup. What hypocrisy! What short-sightedness — this will lead to a revolutionary situation eventually, or else a brutal Assad-like dictatorship to prevent it, both of which are worse than a relatively moderate Islamist democracy).

7 July – following years of legal wrangling, Abu Qatada, a Muslim cleric with alleged links to al-Qaeda, is departed to Jordan from the UK to face charges of terrorism.

andy-murray-wimbledon-trophy_29700227 July – Andy Murray wins the Men’s Singles at Wimbledon 2013, defeating Novak Djokovic of Serbia in straight sets. Murray becomes the first British man to win Wimbledon since Fred Perry in 1936.

15 July – In Britain, the House of Lords finally approves the Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Bill, enabling gay marriages to take place in England and Wales from 2014.

17 July – Rising temperatures lead to heat health warnings being issued in Britain and Ireland, the first prolonged heatwave since 2006.

On Stephens Green enjoying the wonderful weather we've had all this summer — a summer to remember

On Stephens Green enjoying the wonderful weather we’ve had all this summer — a summer to remember

22 July – UK records its hottest day since July 2006, with 33.5C (92.3F) recorded at Heathrow and Northolt in west London.

22 July – Catherine [Kate Middleton], Duchess of Cambridge, wife of Prince William, gives birth to a boy, who becomes third in line to the throne. He, the infant, will be christened George Alexander Louis.

23 July – Donal Ryan’s début novel, The Spinning Heart, which is a portrait of post-Celtic Tiger Ireland, long-listed for the Man Booker Prize.

August

1 August – Temperatures of 33.7C recorded at Heathrow Airport and 34.1 in London – hottest summer since 2006.

12th of July3 to 5 August (Bank Holiday Weekend: Sat, Sun, Mon).

5 August – The world’s first lab-grown burger – produced from bovine stem cells – is cooked and eaten at a news conference in London.

6 August – sewage workers from Thames Water have removed a fifteen ton (bus-sized) “fatberg” from a  sewer in London.

10 August – in Northern Ireland 56 police officers are injured in Belfast after a night of loyalist rioting.

DeathOfANaturalist27 August – David Cameron recalls Parliament from summer recess to discuss responses to the Syrian crisis in the wake of a chemical weapons attack in Damascus.

29 August – in a defeat for the British government, MPs vote 285–272 against involvement in any military intervention in the Syrian conflict

30 August – death of Seamus Heaney, Irish poet (b. 1939); Nobel laureate, 1995: Death of a Naturalist (1966), Field Work (1979), Station Island (1984) The Spirit Level (1996), District and Circle (2006) et al.

30 August – death of David Frost, British journalist and broadcaster (b. 1939), That Was The Week That Was (1960s satirical television show on the BBC, precursor of SNL and the like), The Frost Report, the Richard Nixon interviews, the launch of breakfast television in Britain and so on.

September

Robin Thicke and Miley Cyrus at the VMAs

Robin Thicke and Miley Cyrus doing that butt-fucking thing at the VMAs which sets off a silly season storm (making Miley — who not many in the general population had heard of before this — into a huge name: she’s now up there with Lady Gaga and the like)

Giovanni Trapattoni

Giovanni Trapattoni

11 September – Irish football team manager Giovanni Trapattoni resigns following successive World Cup 2014 qualifier defeats (which most people are delighted with because he had the team playing very unadventurous and unattractive football, which is tolerable if you’re winning, but not if you’re not, and following successive defeats in the qualifiers, Ireland will not now be going to the party in Brazil in 2014).

21 September – Islamic militants (apparently) attack the Westgate shopping mall in Nairobi, at least 62 civilians killed and over 170 wounded (not clear if attackers have taken hostages).

22 September – Dublin win All-Ireland GAA football final: Dublin 2-12 – 1-14 Mayo

23 September: Angela Merkel leads German Christian Democrats to historic third term victory confirming her as unquestionably and without compare the most powerful political figure in Europe (and one of the most powerful on the world stage).

Angela Merkel28 September – County Clare win All-Ireland hurling final – Clare 5-16 to County Cork’s 3-16 (replay following draw a couple of weeks earlier)

October

4 October – Two constitutional referendums held in Ireland: the Thirty-second Amendment Bill proposed abolishing Seanad Éireann [the senate], which was rejected, and the Thirty-third Amendment Bill proposing the establishment of a Court of Appeal (to sit between the High Court and the Supreme Court), which was approved.

8 October — British physicist Peter Higgs is awarded the Nobel Prize in Physics for his  ‘Higgs boson’ theory (the so-called ‘God particle’) recently experimentally validated

Professor Peter Higgs of Edinburgh University

Professor Peter Higgs of Edinburgh University

28 year old Eleanor Catton, winner of the 2013 Man Booker Prize

Eleanor Catton

10 October: Alice Munro wins Nobel Prize for Literature.

13 October: St Patrick’s Athletic clinched their 8th Premier Division title after a 2-0 win against holders Sligo Rovers

15 October: 28-year-old New Zealander Eleanor Catton wins Man Booker with The Luminaries.

15 October – Irish crime boss John Gilligan was released from prison after 17 years (acquitted of the murder of crime reporter Veronica Guerin, he was imprisoned for drug-trafficking offences).

21 October – UK government approves Hinkley Point C proposal, which will be the first nuclear plant to be constructed in the UK since 1995. It is planned to be completed by 2023 and remain operational for 60 years, supplying about 7% of the country’s electricity.

27 October – Lou Reed, American singer, songwriter, musician, and granddaddy of the go fuck yourself attitude in popular music, dies (b. 1942).

Lou Reed (1942-2013) and his wife Laurie Anderson

Lou Reed (1942-2013) and his wife Laurie Anderson

November

Rob Ford5 November: Toronto mayor Rob Ford admits to smoking ‘Crack’ cocaine (while he’s been in office) but denies that he is an addict. He says that he ‘may’ have done so in one of his ‘drunken stupors’. He also rejects claims that he sexually harassed female members of staff at City Hall. Denying that he once asked a staffer whether he could “eat her pussy”, he said “I would never say such a thing. I am a happily married man, I have more than enough to eat at home.” (Classy dude.)

3 November: Sligo Rovers win FAI Cup (soccer) defeating Drogheda United 3-2 in the final.

O'Neill and Keane

5 November — India launches a Mars orbiter mission.

5 November – The Football Association of Ireland announce that Martin O’Neill will replace Giovanni Trapattoni as manager of the Irish football team, with (surprisingly) former team captain Roy Keane as his assistant. This creates one of the most expensive football management teams in Europe. The €2 million per annum deal is funded by businessmen Denis O’Brien and financier Dermot Desmond, with O’Neill to be paid around €1.2 million and Keane to receive €0.7 million.

12 November – Francis Bacon’s triptych ‘Three Studies of Lucian Freud’, sells for $142.4 million (USD) in a New York City auction, setting a new world record for an auctioned work of art.

francis-bacon-three-sudies-of-lucian-freud-1969

Doris Lessing 1919-2013

Doris Lessing 1919-2013

14 November – The last living British person to be born in the 1800s, Grace Jones, dies at the age of 113.

17 November – Doris Lessing, Anglo-African writer dies (b. 1919); Nobel laureate, 2007.

20 November – The General Synod of the Church of England votes in favour of legislation to allow the ordination of women bishops from 2014.

21 November — pro-EU demonstrations begin in Ukraine after President Viktor Yanukovych rejects an economic association agreement between the European Union and Ukraine in favour of closer ties with Mother Russia.

Bishop Pat Storey

Bishop Pat Storey

24 November – Iran agrees to limit their nuclear development program in exchange for sanctions relief (first piece of big diplomacy between Iran and the USA in 30 years; Israel and Saudi Arabia not happy at all, they want another war in the Middle East).

29 November – Eight people are killed and 19 seriously injured after a police helicopter crashes into a pub in Glasgow.

30 November – Pat Storey becomes the first female bishop in Ireland or Britain; she is consecrated in Dublin as the Church of Ireland Bishop of Meath and Kildare.

December

3 December – The Smithwick Tribunal inquiry into the 1989 Jonesborough ambush found that members of the Irish police had colluded with the IRA in the shooting of two RUC officers as they crossed the Irish border into Northern Ireland.

5 December – death of Nelson Mandela, 1st president of the post-Apartheid South Africa (b. 1918).

10 December – beginning of long drawn-out funeral proceedings for Nelson Mandela (which go on for about a week — elections in South Africa soon and the ANC leadership shamelessly work Mandela’s corpse for all they can get out of it). Below, President Obama speaking at one of the ceremonies; the guy in the background is supposed to be doing signage for the deaf, a guy provided by the South Africian government, but it turns out he doesn’t know dick about signing for the deaf; he’s a complete fraud (and, apparently, a criminal with serious mental health issues, but he is well-connected and, it seems, that’s what counts in the ANC’s South Africa; the future for which, it is increasingly clear, does not look good at all — much as we might wish otherwise).

mandela-intepreter14 December – death of Peter O’Toole, British/Irish actor (b. 1932): film credits include Lawrence of Arabia (1962), Beckett (1964), and The Lion in Winter (1968), and in the theatre in 1989 he won an Olivier Award for his performance in Keith Waterhouse’s Jeffrey Bernard is Unwell.

20 December – sisters Elisabetta and Francesca Grillo, who worked as personal assistants to food writer Nigella Lawson and her art-collector husband Charles Saatchi for several years, are found not guilty on charges of stealing from the couple (looks like the sisters were just pieces of meat thrown to the dogs in what is a vicious domestic between two powerful people: “Like flies on wanton boys, we are to the gods”).

Charles Saatchi and Nigella Lawson: another ugly marriage bust-up with widespread collateral damage matching the Chris Huhne and Vicky Pryce one at the start of the year

Nigella bites: Charles Saatchi and Nigella Lawson, another ugly marriage bust-up with widespread collateral damage (see also the Chris Huhne and Vicky Pryce mess at the start of the year)

Alan Turing

Alan Turing

23 December – Former British Labour Party MP (and minister) Denis MacShane is sentenced to six months in jail for expenses fraud after he admitted to submitting 19 false receipts totaling £12,900.

23 December – World War II computer pioneer and codebreaker Alan Turing, who was chemically castrated in 1952 following his conviction for gross indecency (ie, homosexuality), which led to his committing suicide, is given a posthumous pardon.

23 December – The remaining Pussy Riot girls (the two real hardcore members), Maria Alyokhina and Nadezhda Tolokonnikova, are released from imprisonment in Russia (released a few months before they would have got out anyway), part of a PR drive before the Winter Olympic Games in Sochi in February 2014. They are as defiant as the day they were imprisoned, indeed more so: they condemn their own release as a PR stunt! (they’ve got revolutionary stones, no doubt about that)

Twos pussy25 December (Christmas Day, a Wednesday)

31 December (New Year’s Eve, a Tuesday)

Note: it is reported that 9,000 people died in violence in Iraq in 2013 (what’s happening in that hell-hole does not make the news editor’s cut very much any more in the west — except as it impacts on the situation in Syria — or unless there is something really gross or gigantic — but there are ten, twenty, thirty, fifty corpses every day — it’s all-out anarchy down there)

IRAQ-WAR-GAMES

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