martes, 31 de enero de 2012

Honours stripped: Who else has lost out? - BBC News

Former RBS boss Fred Goodwin has been stripped of his knighthood in what the Cabinet Office has called an "exceptional case".

He is thought to be the first person to suffer that indignity for a non-criminal offence, so who else has been cast out?

The former spy Anthony Blunt was stripped of his knighthood in 1979 for the treachery of supplying hundreds of secret documents to the Soviets while a wartime agent for MI5.

Blunt was part of the infamous Cambridge spy ring, with Kim Philby, Guy Burgess and Donald Maclean, but was also the Surveyor of the Queen's Pictures.

English jockey Lester Piggott was stripped of an OBE after he was jailed in 1987 for tax fraud.

He had held the award since 1975. He won over 5,300 races and was champion jockey 11 times before retiring at the end of the 1985 season to become a racehorse trainer.

Almost 12 months ago a former head teacher who was made a dame for services to education had her honour revoked, two years after being found guilty of misconduct.

Jean Else, 59, was given the title in 2001 after transforming Manchester's Whalley Range High School.

She was banned from running a school in 2009 by the General Teaching Council after a misconduct hearing.

Boxer's downfall

Former world boxing champion Naseem Hamed was stripped of his MBE after being jailed over a high-speed crash in his sports car, which left the person in the other car with fractures to every major bone in his body.

The crash happened in May 2005, and the honour was removed in 2007 - nine years after he received it.

Jack Lyons, one of the so-called Guinness Four who were convicted in 1990 of illegally boosting the price of shares four years earlier, was stripped of his knighthood.

Lyons escaped jail because of ill health but was fined £3m. On appeal, one count of conspiracy was quashed and his fine was cut to £2.5m.

The Queen also stripped Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe's honorary Knighthood in 2008.

Mr Mugabe was made a Knight Commander of the Order of the Bath in 1994.

But with mounting international condemnation over violence ahead of a presidential run-off election that year, Britain took action.

Joseph Jonas, the former Lord Mayor of Sheffield, was stripped of his knighthood in 1918 after being convicted of a misdemeanour, relating to contacts with a German a year before World War I.

And Irish-born colonial officer Roger Casement forfeited his honour when he was convicted of treason for aiding those involved in Ireland's 1916 Easter Rising and executed.

Steve Jones, Paula Abdul and Nicole Scherzinger not returning to "The X Factor" - CBS News

From left, host Steven Jones and TV personalities Nicole Scherzinger, L.A. Reid and Paula Abdul speak onstage at "The X Factor" panel during the FOX portion of the 2011 Summer TCA Tour on Aug. 5, 2011, in Beverly Hills, Calif.

(Credit: Getty Images)

(CBS) Updated 1:21 p.m. ET

The "X Factor" is getting a complete makeover.

Host Steve Jones and judges Paula Abdul and Nicole Scherzinger will not return to Simon Cowell's TV talent competition next season.

Pictures: "The X Factor" finale
Pictures: "The X Factor" red carpet

Jones confirmed the news on Twitter, writing, "I won't be hosting next seasons X Factor which is a shame but I can't complain as I've had a great time. Good luck to everyone on the show."

A Fox rep confirmed that Scherzinger also won't be back, according to the Hollywood Reporter.

An insider told E! the former Pussycat Doll wants to focus on her music career, adding, "She's spoken to Simon and he's given her his blessing."

Sources close to the show confirmed to Entertainment Weekly that Abdul also is parting ways with the Fox show.

"She found out today," a show source told E!. "At this point, the only ones staying are Simon and L.A. Reid."

"American Idol" executive producer Nigel Lythgoe chimed in on the reports, tweeting, "Shocked to see Simon has fired Paula Abdul, Nicole and Steve from the X-Factor."

Cowell debuted the American version of "The X Factor" last summer. So, why the sudden shakeup? There's no word for sure, but some reports speculate that ratings may play a role.

Cowell has previously said that his expectations for the show were too high. Prior to launching the series, Cowell had hoped to top "America Idol" viewership with 20 million weekly viewers, but "X Factor" ended with approximately 12.5 million viewers a week - behind both "Idol" and NBC's "The Voice."

Tell us: Who would you like to see as a replacement judge and host?

Two Brits imprisoned and deported for Twitter jokes - RT

If the decomposed corpse of Marilyn Monroe is robbed from the grave, the terrorists have won.

Authorities in America take threats seriously, and when it comes to Hollywood royalty nearly 50 years past their expiration date, the feds don't kid around. So when a would-be British tourist joked about digging up the body of famed Hollywood starlet Marilyn Monroe, US officials, to say the least, were not amused.

The attempts at humor were posted on the Twitter account of Leigh Van Bryan, 26, which somehow managed to make its way to the US Department of Homeland Security at the same time the British resident's plane arrived at Los Angeles International Airport. When Van Bryan and his 24-year-old traveling companion arrived at LAX last week, feds were waiting for them.

It turns out that they didn't think the whole grave robbing joke was that funny.

It was two tweets that had DHS riled up. The first was one in which Van Bryan joked that he was going to "destroy" America, which he explained to authorities was British slang for partying. The second message, perhaps a bit more straightforward, said that the two had plans to hang out on Hollywood Boulevard, an event that would be topped off by "diggin' Marilyn Monroe up!"

That tweet, says Van Bryan, was just a joke.

The humor was lost on Homeland Security, however, and when Van Bryan and his pal Emily Bunting tried to leave LAX, they were handcuffed. Even after telling authorities that the Marilyn tweet was only a joke — and that the "destroy" quip was simply lost in translation — they had their passports confiscated.

"They asked why we wanted to destroy America and we tried to explain it meant to get trashed and party," Bunting tells the Daily Mail.

"It's just so ridiculous it's almost funny but at the time it was really scary," Leigh Van Bryan adds. "The Homeland Security agents were treating me like some kind of terrorist."

After the questioning, both were handcuffed and transported to a Los Angeles jail, where they were kept in separate cells for 12 hours alongside detained alleged drug dealers. When they were freed, they were sent back to LAX and forced to fly home for their questionable tweets. Not before the feds searched their luggage for a shovel and spade though, says Bunting.

"I almost burst out laughing when they asked me if I was going to be Leigh's lookout while he dug up Marilyn Monroe," she adds.

Not only did Homeland Security not check their British slang, but they didn't do all their research either. Both detainees say that the Marilyn Monroe joke was a reference to the American cartoon Family Guy. And, for the record, they would have needed a crowbar as well — Marilyn is entombed in a stone crypt at a LA cemetery.

two bodies found in Canterbury pond - The Guardian

Police have arrested a man on suspicion of murder after the discovery of the bodies of a teenage boy and a man in a pond in Canterbury.

The 54-year-old suspect, who has not been named, is in custody, Kent police said.

The body of a 17-year-old, named by police as Hugo Wenn, who went missing last week, was discovered in Reed Pond, which is adjacent to a primary school near a residential area north-west of the city centre, at about midday on Monday. Emergency services searching the area discovered a second body, believed to be that of a man in his 20s, in the pond at about 9.40pm.

Wenn, a former student at Simon Langton grammar school for boys in Canterbury, was reported missing after failing to meet friends as planned on Friday evening at a pub in Canterbury. The teenager's friends had appealed on Twitter and Facebook for information about his whereabouts.

The headteacher of Wenn's former school, Michael Liddicoat, said there was "a sense of complete shock at this loss".

He said: "In many ways, Hugo was a gentle giant who was about 6ft 3in so you couldn't miss him around school. He was fantastic with the younger students and he will be missed."

The second body is believed to be that of a man in his 20s called Daniel Lloyd, the Press Association reported. Police are reportedly working on the belief that he and Wenn knew each other.

The causes of both deaths remain unknown pending postmortems.

A Kent police spokeswoman said: "Police search and forensic teams remain at the scene at this time, and officers from the Kent and Essex serious crime directorate major crime team have set up an incident room to investigate these deaths.

"The deaths are currently being treated as unexplained pending postmortems which are due to take place in the next 24 hours. A 54-year-old man from Canterbury has been arrested on suspicion of murder and is currently in police custody."

Chief inspector Steve Barlow, the district commander for Canterbury, said: "We are appealing for anyone who may have been in the immediate vicinity of Reed pond in Canterbury between 5pm on Friday January 27 and 11am on Monday January 30 to get in contact with us if they witnessed anything unusual or if they have any information which they think could help this investigation."

While Reed Pond is on Ministry of Defence land, behind Howe Barracks, the MoD said there was not believed to be any connection with the armed forces.

An army spokesman said: "This piece of land is owned by Defence Estates and, while occasionally used by the army, is open to the public. It is not thought that the deaths were in any way connected with HM armed forces.

"A number of soldiers were involved in helping with the ground search prior to the discovery of the bodies but the matter is now entirely in the hands of the police."

Homeless hard hit as death toll from severe cold spell in eastern Europe hits 58 - Washington Post

Ukraine has been among the hardest hit countries. As many as 30 people have died on its snow-covered streets, in hospitals and in their own homes in the past four days. Authorities said most of the victims were homeless, and that some victims had been drinking and unaware of the danger.

In one village in the Cherkasy region in central Ukraine, a 44-year-old alcoholic fell asleep on the porch of her house and froze to death, said Olena Didyuk, spokeswoman for the Emergency Situations Ministry.

Ukrainian authorities have set up hundreds of 'heating centers' across the country — large green or beige tents — in which the homeless can get warm and are offered sandwiches, boiled potatoes, pork fat (a traditional Ukrainian dish), hot tea and coffee.

Still, more than 540 people have been hospitalized with hypothermia and frostbite, Ukrainian health officials said. Ukraine's 1+1 channel broadcast footage of a man being treated for frostbite in his toes, which had turned completely black.

"I drank and fell asleep on the bench. I woke up in the middle of the night and couldn't feel my feet," the unidentified man said from a hospital bed.

Hospitals were instructed to refrain from discharging homeless patients even if treatment was finished to save them from the cold, said Svitlana Tikhonenko, spokeswoman for the Health Ministry.

Those measures helped save some lives, she said. Two years ago, 47 people perished over a similar time period during a cold wave.

"Unfortunately, people continue to die, but we are taking all the measures to prevent them," Tikhonenko said.

Some experts suggested that the high death toll from the cold is linked to authorities' unwillingness and incompetence in dealing with the homeless.

Pavlo Rozenko, an expert on social policy with the Kiev-based Razumkov Center, said that Ukrainian authorities suffer from the Soviet legacy of viewing the homeless as alcoholics, drug addicts and do-nothings who need to be punished and locked away from society instead of helped.

"The country doesn't know yet how to take care of its homeless," Rozenko said.

Kiev municipal head Oleksandr Popov ordered city schools and colleges closed starting Wednesday as temperatures are expected to drop to minus 28 C (minus 18 F). "They will be on a break at least until Monday," Popov said on his website.

In Poland, five people died of hypothermia in the last 24 hours, bringing the death toll from the cold to 15 in the last four days, the national police said.

Temperatures sank Tuesday to minus 27 C (minus 17 F) in the southeastern Polish city of Ustrzyki Gorne — and forecasts predicted minus 29 C (minus 20 F) in the region overnight.

In Romania, two people died in the past 24 hours due to the frigid weather, the health ministry said Tuesday, bringing the total to eight since the cold spell began last week. Temperatures plunged to minus 20 C (minus 4 F) overnight in Bucharest.

In Russia, one person died of the cold in Moscow, where temperatures fell to minus 21 C (minus 6 F), the city's health department said. The Russian Emergencies Ministry is not reporting deaths across the country yet.


Monika Scislowska from Warsaw, Poland, Alison Mutler in Bucharest, Romania, and Nataliya Vasilyeva from Moscow contributed to this report.

Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Rail crossing victims' families vow to continue fight despite forcing Network ... -

But despite the victory the families said it brought them no comfort and they continued their battle for answers and to prevent more deaths.

Reg Thompson, 54, Charlotte's father, said Network Rail had "behaved appallingly badly and without honour".

"Today does not give me any satisfaction or pleasure at all, but I do want people to know, people to realise, that Charlie and Liv would be alive today had Elsenham station had proper safety measures in place.

"I am old enough and tired enough to be not shocked by any kind of behaviour – the people who are responsible for what happened to Liv and Charlie probably still sleep at night – that's the way that the world is I am afraid.

"She is part of our lives all the time …. it does not get better. People say that time cures – time does not cure. You just get used to it."

He said that if Network Rail had behaved with any integrity, it would have reduced their pain.

"If they had acted with integrity and said 'we knew, we are sorry', it would not have brought the girls back but at least it would have been honourable and we could have got on with our lives.

"This is not about anything other than making the railways safer and making the truth come out."

Chris Bazlinton, 63, Olivia's father, said that they were "angry" that the company had withheld documents from them.

"We still have a lot of questions we want answered – 'who knew about this?' 'how high did the cover-up go? … and I do believe it was a cover-up," he said.

"They withheld documents from official enquiries, they withheld documents from the coroner and this is not ending today."

The two girls were killed on December 3, 2005, as they crossed a footpath leading to Elsenham station platform.

The crossing's lights were flashing and alarms were sounding as the London to Cambridge train passed over the crossing – a warning for foot passengers not to cross.

But after the train passed, the lights remained on and the alarms continued to sound as another train, travelling from Birmingham to Stansted Airport in Essex, was going to pass through the station.

The girls mistakenly opened the unlocked wicket gates and walked on to the crossing and were struck by the second train.

Sarah LeFerve, prosecuting, said when the girls' train had arrived at the station, they crossed the track, "believing themselves to be safe".

She said: "They stepped across the track and directly into the path of a train heading in the opposite direction and both were killed."

She asked for the case to be sentenced at crown court, saying fines, totalling £30,000, available to the magistrates were insufficient for the gravity of the offences.

After the hearing David Higgins, chief executive of Network Rail, said: "Last year I apologised in person to the families of Olivia and Charlotte.

"Today, Network Rail repeats that apology. In this tragic case, Network Rail accepts that it was responsible for failings, and therefore we have pleaded guilty.

"Nothing we can say or do will lessen the pain felt by Olivia and Charlotte's families but I have promised them that we are committed to making our railway as safe as possible."

Sentencing takes place at Chelmsford Crown Court on March 15.

The court hearing came just three days after the death of another teenager – 15-year-old Katie Littlewood, who was killed at Bishop's Stortford, Herts as she crossed tracks just a few miles away from where Olivia and Charlotte died.

Network Rail believe that Katie's death was a "tragic accident" as investigations afterward showed no faults with the safety measures.

Birmingham double murder accused found dead in prison cell - The Guardian

A man accused of murdering a police officer's parents in Birmingham has been found dead in his prison cell.

Rimvydas Liorancas, 37, a Lithuanian, was charged with the murders of 62-year-old Avtar Kolar and 58-year-old Carole Kolar at their home in Handsworth Wood last month, following a suspected burglary.

West Midlands police said the man was found dead in his cell at Woodhill prison, in Milton Keynes, on Saturday, but details of his death remained private until his family in Lithuania could be contacted.

The Prison Service indicated Liorancas had not been considered at risk of self-harm or suicide. A spokesman said: "HMP Woodhill prisoner Rimvydas Liorancas was found hanging in his cell at 8.52am on Saturday. Staff attempted resuscitation and paramedics attended but he was pronounced dead at 9.30am. As with all deaths in custody, the prisons and probation ombudsman will conduct an investigation."

The Kolars' bodies were found at their home on 11 January by their son, Jason, a serving officer with West Midlands police, who had become worried his parents were not answering telephone calls. Married for 40 years, the couple had four children and were devoted to their family.

At a press conference, their daughter Michelle Kirwan, 39, wept as she described her parents as "the sweetest, kindest people". The family said the killer had not taken "just two lives, but 16", referring to the couple's extended family. Kirwan said the family were close, spent holidays together and a light had been "switched out" in their lives and their hearts "broken forever" following the murders.

Liorancas, who was arrested by detectives at his home in Birmingham on 16 January, entered no plea in his first appearance at Birmingham crown court eight days later. An interpreter translated proceedings for the defendant and a trial date had been set for August.

Detectives do not believe the killings were linked to the son's occupation or to the theft of gold, as had previously been speculated. A lump hammer recovered from the scene of the murders was believed to have been used to kill them. Two other people arrested in the case were released without charge.

Police said the investigation into the murders would continue. "The family of Carole and Avtar were informed at the earliest possible stage of the news [of Liorancas's death] and we are continuing to support them," the force said.

The completed findings of their investigation into the deaths of the couple will be presented to the coroner at the inquest.

A spokesperson for the couple's family said: "We were made aware of the death of Liorancas by police on Saturday. We understand the investigation into our parents' death will continue and the findings will be presented to the coroner. We ask that we be left alone as we continue to grieve over the deaths of our Mum and Dad."

The Ministry of Justice and the Prison Service will open an investigation into what happened in the cell and whether Liorancas was properly supervised during his time on remand.

Detective Chief Superintendent Steve Jupp, of West Midlands police, speaking after Liorancas had been charged with the double murders, said postmortem examinations had revealed the couple died as a result of blunt force trauma to the head.

He said: "The devastating impact of such tragic and senseless death has been far-reaching. The family have been overwhelmed by messages of support from friends, from the local community and much further afield. The investigation into Carole and Avtar's death has been complex and very fast-moving.

A number of items stolen from the property had been recovered, he added.

Divers abandon search on Italy cruise ship wreck - AFP

ROME — Italian divers on Tuesday gave up their search on the wreck of the Costa Concordia, in which 32 people are feared to have died, as workers prepared to start pumping out fuel to avoid an oil spill.

"We have definitively stopped the underwater search inside the ship," said Luca Cari, fire brigade spokesman on the island of Giglio, explaining that conditions inside the giant half-submerged liner were becoming too risky.

"The conditions are no longer acceptable," he told AFP.

The civil protection agency, which has been overseeing rescue efforts following the January 13 disaster, said in a statement it had contacted the families of the missing and foreign embassies involved to explain its decision.

It added that rescuers would continue to inspect the above-water part of the liner and use specialist equipment to check for corpses on the sea bed in an 18-square-kilometre (seven-square-mile) area around the wreck.

The 114,500-tonne Costa Concordia with more than 4,200 people aboard ran aground on rocks off Giglio and lurched on to its side as passengers were settling down to dinner shortly after the start of a Mediterranean cruise.

Seventeen bodies have been recovered from the sea and the wreck and 15 people remain missing.

The search has had to be suspended several times due to choppy seas and small movements of the wreck, which sparked fears that the massive ship could slip off the rocky shelf it is resting on and sink entirely.

Divers have described tricky conditions inside the ship, with corridors cluttered with furniture and turbid waters. Dives have been limited to a maximum of 50 minutes, making it difficult to penetrate far into the vessel.

A spokeswoman for the civil protection agency said the last unidentified body was "very probably" that of a German woman born in 1945 but added that the formal identification had not yet been made.

Meanwhile Pier Luigi Foschi, the chief executive of operator Costa Crociere, part of US-based giant Carnival Corp, told a Senate committee hearing that fuel pumping from the ship would start within the next 24 hours.

"We believe that the wreck can no longer be put in use," he said of the ship, which cost 450 million euros (590 million dollars) to build and was launched in 2006.

Environmentalists fear that the 2,380 tons of heavy fuel oil in the Costa Concordia's tanks could begin leaking out into the area's pristine waters.

"The first operation will be to empty the ship, the second to clean up the wreck and the third to move the ship, which will be a truly enormous operation that has never been done before," Foschi told senators.

Island residents concerned about the impact on tourism have called for the ship to be removed quickly and have launched a protest after the civil protection agency said it would take up to a year.

The head of the consumer association group Codacons, which is taking part in a class action lawsuit against Carnival Corp and Costa Crociere, said it had requested that the wreck be removed within 30 days.

The head of Costa Crociere's crisis unit, Roberto Ferrarini, who was alerted by the captain on the night of the disaster, also spoke to investigators on Tuesday, the first executive to be heard by prosecutors.

Captain Francesco Schettino and first officer Ciro Ambrosio are accused of manslaughter and abandoning ship.

A medical officer on the ship, Gianluca Cosentino, said in an interview published on Tuesday that Schettino seemed "shaken and no longer lucid" on the night of the disaster and was not coordinating rescue operations as he claimed.

"I was very surprised to see Schettino in civilian clothes in the harbour at around half past midnight," Cosentino told Il Mattino daily.

Cameron Draws Criticism From Labour for Watering Down EU Veto - BusinessWeek

January 31, 2012, 1:26 PM EST

By Robert Hutton and Gonzalo Vina

Jan. 31 (Bloomberg) -- David Cameron drew criticism from Labour Party leader Ed Miliband for softening his opposition to a pact to enshrine fiscal discipline in the euro area after he found himself isolated in the European Union last month.

The prime minister said following an EU summit in Brussels last night that Britain he will allow European institutions including the European Court of Justice to be used to enforce new fiscal rules in the euro region, a reversal from the line he took in December.

Amid jeers from Miliband and his opposition lawmakers in the House of Commons in London today, Cameron said Britain's interests remain untouched because the agreement signed by 25 of the 27 members of the EU isn't a treaty. As such, the new agreement affects only the 17-nation euro area and doesn't encroach on how the rest of the EU is run, Cameron said.

"The phantom veto of December is now exposed," Miliband told lawmakers. "He has secured absolutely no protections at all. He says it's not really a treaty. It talks like a European treaty, it walks like a European treaty, it is a European country."

Miliband said Cameron had walked out of the December meeting without gaining anything for the U.K. and that he was now forced to make concessions.

"It doesn't have the force of EU law for us," Cameron told the Commons. That's the fundamental protection I secured with our veto in December. That protection remains."

Legal Action

Seeking to keep rank-and-file euro-skeptic members of his own Conservative Party on side, Cameron said he will take steps to protect Britain's interests and pursue legal action if needed.

The premier won praise from his own lawmakers in the chamber, after initially drawing Tory anger following the summit last night.

The leader of the Conservatives in the European Parliament, Martin Callanan, accused Cameron of giving way to his Liberal Democrat deputy, Nick Clegg. "I blame a combination of appeasing Nick Clegg, who is desperate to sign anything the EU puts in front of him, and the practical reality that this pact is actually quite hard to prevent," Callanan said in an e- mailed statement.

Tory lawmaker Bernard Jenkin said the euro region was embarking on fiscal union "in the full expectation that the EU institutions will do their bidding," nullifying the U.K. veto.

'Fundamental Change'

"This is a fundamental change in the nature of the EU, where a veto counts for nothing and highlights how the terms of U.K. membership of the EU are becoming ever more unacceptable," Jenkin said in an e-mail.

EU leaders yesterday completed the fiscal-discipline treaty, which speeds sanctions on high-deficit states and requires European governments to anchor balanced-budget rules in national law. Eight countries outside the euro backed the pact, leaving Britain and the Czech Republic to boycott it.

Cameron broke ranks with French President Nicolas Sarkozy and German Chancellor Angela Merkel last month after he failed to secure guarantees of a British veto right over future financial regulations. Cameron called them a threat to London's standing as Europe's leading financial center.

Cameron said at the time that any changes made under the alternative fiscal pact could not use EU institutions because they could only carry out policies applying to all 27 members.

Europe has been a lethal issue for Conservative prime ministers since at least 1990, when it led to Margaret Thatcher's downfall over her refusal to agree to a timetable for joining the single currency. Her successor, John Major, found his leadership undermined by euro-skeptics on his own side.

--Editors: Eddie Buckle, Andrew Atkinson

To contact the reporters on this story: Robert Hutton in London at; Gonzalo Vina in London at

To contact the editor responsible for this story: James Hertling at

Invaders: How Burmese Pythons Are Devouring the Everglades - TIME (blog)

Burmese pythons are eating machines. An adult snake can grow to nearly 20 ft., and it can eat everything raccoons to bobcats to deer to alligators, killing its prey by constriction and then swallowing them whole. On the jungle food chain, Burmese pythons rest near the top.

Burmese pythons are also—as the name might suggest—not local to the U.S. But they are a popular pet, imported to this country from their native habitat in India and Southeast Asia. And sometimes those pets escape from their owners or are simply let go—especially in Florida, a nexus of the imported wildlife trade and one of the few parts of the U.S. with a climate and landscape to which the pythons can easily adapt. That's how hundreds or even thousands of Burmese pythons have managed to establish themselves in the Florida Everglades—the vast protected wetlands in the southern Florida—where they've become a persistent challenge for local officials tasked with protecting endangered wildlife.

Now a new study published in this week's Proceedings for the National Academy of Sciences suggests just how big a threat the invasive Burmese pythons have become. Researchers led by Michael Dorcas of Davidson College in North Carolina looked at the distribution of mammals in the Everglades nearly 20 years ago—before Burmese pythons established themselves in the area—and then more recently. They found a drastic reduction in the number of small mammals that are typically part of a python's diet, and they also discovered that the remaining mammals tend to be most abundant in areas that are either clear of pythons or where the snakes have only recently been spotted. The evidence is strong enough to suggest that invasive Burmese pythons are causing significant wildlife loss in the Everglades—and that the problem could worsen as the snakes continues to grow.

MORE: Lake Invaders

Dorcas told the BBC that the Burmese pythons are rearranging the food chain in the Everglades:

Any snake population – you are only seeing a small fraction of the numbers that are actually out there. They are a new top predator in Everglades National Park – one that shouldn't be there.

We have documented pythons eating alligators, we have also documented alligators eating pythons. It depends on who is biggest during the encounter.

While the snakes have been spotted in the Everglades for at least the last 20 years, they were only recognized as fully established in 2000. Wildlife officials have tried to remove the snakes—400 were taken out in 2009—but the damage may already be done. The PNAS researchers looked at data from detailed nighttime road surveys of the Everglades between 2003 and 2011, and compared that data to similar roadkill surveys taken between 1993 and 1999 and road surveys done in 1996 and 1997. They found:

  • A 99.3% decrease in the frequency of raccoon observations.
  • A 98.9% decrease in the frequency of opossum observations.
  • A 87.5% decrease in the frequency of bobcat observations.
  • A total failure to detect any rabbits.

MORE: The Benefits of Stopping Invasive Species Before They Invade

Since all of those animals can serve as a python's dinner—and given the fact that the mammals were more common in areas where the pythons hadn't been seen—it's reasonable to infer that the Burmese pythons are treating the Everglades as an all you can eat buffet. Here's U.S. Geological Survey Director Marcia McNutt:

Pythons are wreaking havoc on one of America's most beautiful, treasured and naturally bountiful ecosystems. Right now, the only hope to halt further python invasion into new areas is swift, decisive and deliberate human action.

The trouble is that it's much easier to prevent invasive species from establishing themselves in new territory than it is to root them out once they've gotten comfortable. The Obama Administration recently banned the import and interstate commerce of Burmese pythons and a few other foreign snakes, but under pressure from the pet industry, other snakes including the boa constrictor are still allowed to be imported into the U.S.

The wildlife trade is big business, and importers will resist any new rules. Reptiles alone are worth more than $2 billion, and according to American Pet Products Manufacturers Association, some 11 million reptiles were kept as pets as recently as 2005. Andrew Wyatt, the head of the trade group Reptile Keepers, told the Washington Post that the study's authors had jumped to conclusions, and that other work has shown that mercury pollution in the water may be playing a major role in the deaths of small mammals.

Perhaps—though the study is backed up by years of data and is published in one of the most reputable peer-reviewed journals in the world. In any case, invasive species pose a major threat to the U.S.—as I learned when I visited the Illinois to see invasive Asian carp—costing the country some $120 billion a year. And those pythons may not be standing still—the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service reports that they're adapting to colder climates and may be expanding their range. Watch out—after all, humans are small mammals too.

MORE: Mississippi Floods Could Spread Invasive Carp

Bryan Walsh is a senior writer at TIME. Find him on Twitter at @bryanrwalsh. You can also continue the discussion on TIME's Facebook page and on Twitter at @TIME

Transfer deadline day: live -

18.48 Lots of chat surrounding the future of Leeds's Robert Snodgrass. The latest rumour is that Blackburn have made a bid for the winger.

18.34 From Chris Daniels, a Wigan fan from Warrington.

E-mailPlease get Spurs to buy Rodallega from Pie-land. We need a striker pronto as he's been awful this season. We'd have anyone, just anyone. We'd consider Adrian Chiles or even Christine Bleakley as a direct replacement.

Meanwhile, from Dee-Wayne Jaftha, a Chelsea fan:

E-mailI'm a fan of Chelsea FC and I think it's time Ferreira and Malouda moved on. I have been following a German player who would be a great player under AVB, Lewis Holtby! C'mon AVB, start spending and stop teasing...

18.31 It's a DONE DEAL. Blackburn have signed Bradley Orr from QPR. That's two points for Mark Dezelsky, and another point for Ross Gylby. James Tavernier's loan move from Newcastle also earns Carl Smith his first point.


QPR - Ross Gylby 10
Chelsea - Dan Jackson 7
Sunderland - Itwassoeasy 7
Blackburn - Mark Dezelsky 4
Arsenal - Jack Organ 2
Bolton - Eric David 2
Manchester City - Len Hoare 1
Manchester United - Dee-Wayne Jaftha 1
Newcastle - Carl Smith 1
Norwich - Alex Johnston 1
Tottenham - Phil Lewis 1
West Brom - Chris Gannon 1
Wolves - Oliver King 1

Aston Villa - John J Nicholson
Everton - Peter Hughes
Fulham - Adam Parsons
Liverpool - Nik Teovosky
Swansea - Brendan Collins
Stoke - Twinmaker
Wigan - Sam Wingrove

18.24 King's College School in Wimbledon have finally unleashed their big dog. Here's head boy Kira Mirshahi.

E-mailAs Head Boy of King's College School, Wimbledon, I have been reliably informed that one Mario Gotze is having a medical in our school gymnasium... for Chelsea FC. Our current Head of Physical Education is right now examining the German dynamo. I am tasked with the job of touring Mr Gotze around our school campus. Breaking news Mr Liew. Breaking news. My contacts in the Physical Education department have informed me that there is a direct swap of Jose Bosingwa plus £10million for Borussia Dortmund's Mario Götze from Chelsea to Borussia Dortmund. Interestingly, Jose Bosingwa has yet to leave for the chilly Dortmund whereas the German dynamo is right here in King's College School, Wimbledon having a medical. As per your namedrop of 'Calum McQuater' from my school on your esteemed blog, I humbly request a further namedrop: 'Kiya Mirshahi - Headboy of King's College School' accompanied with the plausible (and true) news of Mario Götze's medical at King's College School. You have my word, Mr Liew, that my minions will back off from their barrage of emails I am sure you are currently under. Please grant us this request and we will leave your deadline day in peace. Please. You will make a stressed 17 year old very happy.

No, I didn't read all of that, either. Emails from 17-year-old boys have a very 'Dear Diary' quality to them, don't you find?

18.21 Several of you have pointed out that it is indeed Martin Jol, not Mark Hughes, who is the Fulham manager. Mental aberration. I apologise for that. It's slightly embarrassing when you get a simple detail wrong, but about forty times more embarrassing when you do it trying to make a joke. Meanwhile, Manchester United fan Robin Hall on who should be in the club's out-tray:

E-mailMan United to sell Anderson. Why? Because he is absolutely useless, did he not used to be a member of S Club 7?

I don't think he did, no.

18.18 We're hearing Adrian Mariappa has turned down the chance to speak to Wigan.

Sean Dyche: Adrian, it's Wigan on the phone for you.
Mariappa: I'm not speaking to them.
Dyche: Well, what if you just listen?
Mariappa: I'm not listening to them either.
Dyche: I'll just put it on speakerphone.

Anyway, that'll put Newcastle back on alert for sure.

18.05 Here's your Bundesliga transfer window round-up from Alex BZ in Berlin.

E-mail The transfer window in Germany ended almost a hour ago, with very few incoming deals made, and almost no money spent. Although we tend to have the majority of our inter-Bundesliga deals sorted in summer windows, when Vedran Corluka on loan is in the top three deals of the day, you really realise it's not worth getting excited about - we rely on the Premier League in January!

The only possible excitement will stem from outgoing deals. Tottenham have made enquiries about a number of Bundesliga players, most notably Marko Marin, of Werder Bremen, and Mohammed Abdellaoue, of Hannover. I cant really see that Tottenham need a player such as Marin currently, since he is a lightweight version of Rafael Van Der Vaart. He has definite talent though. Abdellaoue, however, is an interesting prospect as a striker who can play both 9 and 10 - he is a natural finisher, strong both in the air and on the floor, and has got 10 goals in 16 games for unfashionable Hannover this season. They value him highly though, so it will take at least €13-15m for a deal to be possible for the Norwegian.

The possible draw (or wage budget) of QPR or Fulham for Michael Ballack has seemingly not been enough - his agent released a statement a couple of hours ago that he will stay at Leverkusen until the summer. The Cottagers will complete the signing of Pavel Pogrebnyak though, subject to a work permit, which should be a formality.

Stunning. Alex BZ, you are summarily assigned to take over this blog for the next six hours.

18.00 Keisuke Honda is wanted by Lazio, who have made an offer to CSKA Moscow for the playmakery-free-kick person. CSKA Moscow have said no. Lazio now want Nilmar from Villarreal. I'm aware that's something of a non-sequitur.

17.57 Alistair Mavor wants to be left alone for the rest of the day.

E-mail The girlfriend just called and I stupidly told her I was busy watching SSN.

She asked: "Why you busy? Have you got time to talk?" (Meaning, we need to talk.)

I said: "No, not really cos I'm watching SSN and its transfer deadline day."

Her reply: "Oh, what's that?"

My reply: "It's like the January sales, you know, shopping but for football."

"Oh right, thats sounds interesting" she replies.

Wow, you're like a character from a television beer advert. I've always wanted to meet one of you.

17.54 Simon Loome is an Ipswich fan.

E-mail Ipswich are hopefully selling/giving away/begging to be relieved of their whole defence; they only get in the way of the TV cameras showing other teams scoring against us anyway.

I've got a real soft spot for Ipswich that remained undimmed even through the Roy Keane years. Partly it's the fact that it's a well-run club that's patient with its managers, even when they are, unfortunately, Roy Keane. Partly it's the fact that it's a nice ground, close to the train station, that serves sensational jacket potatoes with home-made chilli con carne in the press room. I suppose it's a form of glory-hunting.

17.51 Back to the continent, and Lucho Gonzalez is about to complete a move from Marseille to Porto for about £1.6 million, having been signed in 2009 for £15 million. Marseille manager Didier Deschamps has said the move was in order to cut the wage bill, but that they could not afford to lose any more players. This is what he said earlier today:

Quote We could sell 10 players, then what would we do? Set up a pizzeria?

17.47 James Tavernier has followed Alan Smith by going from Newcastle to MK Dons on loan for the rest of the season. He's probably not on £60,000 wages, though.

17.45 Calum McQuater from King's College School, you naughty little scamp. This is probably the worst transfer hoax ever.

E-mailInterestingly, my reliable Russian contact has informed me that Anzhi Makhachkala have launched a two-pronged attack to bring Emile Heskey and Ade Akinbiyi to Russia.

The really tragic thing is that you probably Googled the correct spelling of Makhachkala.

17.44 What else? Stuttgart striker Pavel Pogrebnyak has completed a medical at Fulham and is now waiting on a work permit. Pogrebnyak has had warm words to say about his current team.

Quote After I was not in the squad against Monchengladbach, I immediately expressed a desire to leave the club. The Stuttgart bosses have behaved like pigs, and I did not want to stay with this club for one second longer.

Um, OK…

Everyone said that I was one of the most active players. And in the last game I was not even on the substitutes' bench. I'm sure they just wanted to provoke me and force my departure. I then phoned my manager and said: "We must part now."

Well, good luck with him, Martin Jol.

17.42 Sorry for the delay, folks, a few technical issues. In fact, not even a few. Just one humongous technical issue. But we return with some BREAKING NEWS!

Ravel Morrison, we're hearing, has completed his medical at West Ham and is at Upton Park to sign on the dotted line. East London, prepare to lock up your daughters.

17.16 Harry Redknapp, meanwhile, has hot-footed it from Southwark Crown Court and climbed into a waiting taxi. He's on his way to Tottenham v Wigan tonight. "White Hart Lane, please," you imagine him telling the driver. "And have you got a fax machine in here? And does this window open?"

17.14 Fleetwood Town news. No, come back! This is sort of intriguing. According to Sky, both Leicester and Southampton have had £1 million bids rejected for striker Jamie Vardy. I was in Fleetwood a few weeks back, and the reverential hush in which they spoke of Hardy was really quite something. Still, a non-league club turning down £1 million for a striker? Either Fleetwood are loaded (they are) or they must really, really rate Vardy (they do).

17.11 David Pizarro has landed in Manchester ahead of completing a loan move to Manchester City.

17.08 Andrew Barton has thoughts on this evening's burning question.

E-mailAs a Villa fan, I think I probably speak for most fellow fans in saying that waving goodbye to Heskey would be lovely. As much fun as it is poking fun out of him, he's getting in the way of less poke-worthy centre-forwards.

Meanwhile, someone called Patrick, presumably a Fulham fan, has sent a one-word email:


17.01 Meanwhile Mike Norrish, the big dog of, has dug up a picture of Sky's Jim White presenting something called Late Edition back in the 1990s. Hold on to your hats!

16.58 Peter Barnes has sent an email with a photo attached.

E-mailFrankly this transfer window is about as inspiring as the view from Canadian office window.

That's a little bit lovely.

16.57 Foreign bits and bobbins!
Brazilian midfielder Thiago Motta has moved from Inter Milan to Paris St Germain for about £10 million. Vincenzo Iaquinta has gone from Juventus to Cesena on loan for the rest of the season. Meanwhile, remember a young, quick, sort-of-quite-good player called Alexander Hleb? These days he's not so young, not so quick and really not very good at all. He's been linked with a move to Olympiakos. Hleb still plays - although the term 'plays' is used somewhat misleadingly - for Barcelona, and his last spell on loan at Wolfsburg was blighted by injury.

16.53 It's all go at Crawley, who lost star striker Matt Tubbs to Bournemouth yesterday. You wouldn't exactly expect them to sit on their hands, and they've gone and signed Blackpool striker Billy Clarke. But, not all good news for everybody's least favourite League Two moneybags. It appears Peterborough have bid around £1.9 million for other star striker Tyrone Barnett and midfielder Kyle McFadzean. Could be an intriguing evening at the Broadfields. Don't rule out Steve Evans headbutting the fax machine, or similar.

16.49 Rangers have confirmed that they have had a bid for Norwich striker Grant Holt turned down. Leicester bid about £2 million for him back in the summer, and Holt's stock has risen modestly since then, so Rangers would probably need, on the basis of some completely arbitrary maths, to double that if they want to get him.

16.45 What does the transfer window look like? You'll notice that's not the burning question any more, I've replaced it, but here's Dave Windridge's mental scrawl:

E-mailThe Arched window… the king of the Playschool windows.

This is becoming the most surreal conversation thread we've ever had. We're learning a good deal about you people today.

16.44 Aha! A decent 'Spotted' rumour. It's been a while since we had one of those from somebody over the age of 14... Over to you, Andy Holgate!

E-mailJust seen Adam Johnson leave the Lowry Hotel in Manchester to head towards Liverpool. Rumour has it he will be at Goodison Park later with the rest of the team as they take on Everton tonight. How do Everton plan on paying for Johnson? He's worth at least £10m and Everton have about £4.53 and a few mints to spend on players.

16.40 Phil Brown in the SSN tepid-seat isn't happy. "Why would they arrange Premier League fixtures on transfer deadline day? It almost looks like a Premier League conspiracy." Yes, because the Premier League fixture list is far less important than watching young men in hoodies arriving at training grounds in their cars.

16.37 Liam Ridgewell on his move to West Brom:

QuoteIt's a good club, good set of players and a good manager. I'm not going to comment on Birmingham's future. I'm just glad to be at West Brom. Hopefully get the team going, move up the league, and, um, hopefully get going.

Still, he's not being paid to talk, which is probably just as well.

16.34 Alex Johnston has a transfer request.

E-mailCould you please change the picture of Pizzaro? Whenever I visit it I think Norwich have signed Romario.

16.32 Rangers are hoping to sign Cameroonian forward Matthew Mbuta. Mbuta has arrived at Murray Park in his Cameroon training kit to face what must surely be his first Sky Sports News car-window interview. The exchange goes thus:

Q: What sort of player are you?
A: A forward.
Q: What do you know about Rangers and what are you expecting?
A: I know it's one of the best teams in Scotland.
Q: What's the manager said to you?
A: As for now, nothing has been said yet.

Not exactly the UK Citizenship Test, is it? More like the Bridge of Death in Monty Python and the Holy Grail.

16.23 Wigan have been given permission by Watford to speak to Adrian Mariappa, with the proviso that they make sure he's home by 10pm, without any love bites.

E-mail16.18 "Ridgewell could at least have had a wash," writes Chris Gannon. "He looks like he's let a 5-year-old draw all over him."

16.15 £40,600,000 spent so far today, according to Sky's big screen display, which has been displaying the total at regular intervals, like on Comic Relief. Of course, that's just transfer fees. That doesn't include wages, signing-on fees, agent fees, medical fees, relocation fees, Nando's fees, and the like.

16.11 Thanks to Thom. Outstanding display. Hello, everyone. Much happening?

16.08 That's it. I am out of here. Thanks for your company. I'm putting you in the capable typing hands of Jonathan Liew. Be careful with your fingers when the transfer window SLAMS shut in less than seven hours time.


Liam Ridgewell has joined West Brom on a two-year deal from Birmingham.

Is this a Cheesy Signing Picture?

I'm not so sure. Bit tasteful, isn't it?

I'm going to allow it. Seven sweepstake points for Chris Gannon!

16.04 Oh dear, the last three emails I've received have all been making that Harry Redknapp / Zaha / Saha joke. I regret publishing it earlier. I fear it had probably jumped the shark already at 13.23.

16.00 I think we can all sympathise with the tone of desperation that Bolton correspondant Eric David demonstrates here:

15.55 Come on, one more Cheesy Signing Picture. You can do it, football. The good news, Deadline Day Sweepstake fans, is that Jonathan is going to keep the competition going! Here are the current standings:

Loads of points

QPR - Ross Gylby 9

Chelsea - Dan Jackson 7
Sunderland - Itwassoeasy 7

Some points

Arsenal - Jack Organ 2
Blackburn - Mark Dezelsky 2
Bolton - Eric David 2

Manchester City - Len Hoare 1
Manchester United - Dee-Wayne Jaftha 1
Norwich - Alex Johnston 1
Tottenham - Phil Lewis 1
West Brom - Chris Gannon 1
Wolves - Oliver King 1

Nil points

Aston Villa - John J Nicholson
Everton - Peter Hughes
Fulham - Adam Parsons
Liverpool - Nik Teovosky
Newcastle - Carl Smith
Swansea - Brendan Collins
Stoke - Twinmaker
Wigan - Sam Wingrove

15.52 Jonathan Liew has arrived. He will soon be taking over. This is for the best. I've been watching Sky Sports News for so long that this is how he looks to me:

He's saying Adam Johnson to Everton. Woof. I would like that, Everton would suddenly look Quite Good.

15.48 SSN presenter says this: "Now let's drag ourselves away from deadline day for a minute and concentrate on the cricket." Errrm... No?

15.43 The final part of the long, drawn-out Djibril Cisse to QPR saga. I feel like it's all I've written about in the last hour.

Some words from the big man, and the news that he is available to play for Rangers against Aston Villa tomorrow, subject to international clearance:

QuoteI have unfinished business here in England.The English league is the best in the world. It is the league that suits me the most. I'm really happy to be here and I can't wait to repay the Club's confidence in me, to get back to where I want to be as a player. I will always give one hundred per-cent and I can't wait to start playing games.

15.40 Here's Dan Jackson on Chelsea:

E-mailThis deadline day for me is very much like our season – starting off strong, standard mid season wobble! Hoping for a strong finish! Come on boys, lets get a couple more in, cheeky bid for Modric? Spurs clearly have lost it signing Saha!

15.35 Some Twitter talk on "betting suspended" on Louis Saha joining Tottenham. That doesn't really tell us anything, though, does it? Just means it looks very likely as it stands. Who knows what might happen in the coming hours? Harry Redknapp might realise it's no longer 2006, for instance. Jermain Defoe to Liverpool too, apparently. First I've heard of that. Am just dipping my fingers into the salt bowl on my desk and taking a small amount of it with that news.

15.32 You wait for hours for a Cheesy Signing Picture of Djibril Cisse and then two come along etc. etc. etc. etc. here. he. is. with. the. home. shirt. and. with. significantly, more. pixels. this. time:

Not sure about that angle. This does not mean five more sweepstake points for Ross Gylby.

15.29 IT'S THERE! We have a Cheesy Signing Picture of Djibril Cisse!

It's not the best quality, but let's not worry too much about that. That gives it an illicit, breaking newsy feel, don't you think?

Here he is:

Thank you to emailer Humphrey Price. Seven gigantic points for Ross Gylby, putting him in the sweepstakes lead.

15.26 Here's Nikica Jelavic arriving in a CAR at Everton:

15.23 Jonathan Tasker isn't sad about the possible departure of Louis Saha from Everton:

E-mailI am laughing hysterically that anyone of a sane mind and constitution is prepared to take Louis Saha off us. Am guessing they won't bother with a medical - Saha and medical is an oxymoron. See you Louis and please don't come back ever. Meanwhile it would be nice if Everton announced the Jelly deal.

15.21 I can almost smell that Djibril Cisse Cheesy Signing Picture:

Here he is at Loftus Road, wearing a quite spectacular jacket:

(thanks to Clive Whittingham for the heads-up)

15.17 Apologies for the recent lack of updates. The computer system: she had a panic.

She's recovered now. THIS IS THE NEWS:

Verdan Corluka has joined Leverkusen on loan from Spurs
Ryo Miyachi has also made a loan move, from Arsenal to Bolton
Sortirios Kyrgiakos is having a medical at Sunderland
Liam Ridgewell is very close to becoming a West Brom player

14.56 Djibril Cisse, who I'm still infuriatingly yet to see gingerly holding up a QPR shirt, has said a public goodbye to Lazio. It's not particularly encouraging news for QPR fans:

QuoteI'm sorry if I've been a disappointment to some people, but I want to say that I've always given 100 per cent

14.54 Kristopher Lomax says the following:

E-mailSaha would be as much use to Tottenham as Peter Crouch would to the New England Patriots.

Now I don't know a lot about American Gridironball Kris, but I think Crouch would make a pretty good tight quarterreceiver, no? On the special de-fence teams? With a touchdown field goal punt? No? I'll stop now.

14.50 Arsenal correspondant Jack Organ is trying to wheeler deal (?) his club into some action:

I'll warn you now Jack: it's not very nice. I will give you a bonus point for a good tweet, though. Well done.


Saha to Spurs could pave the way for Steven Pienaar's return to Goodison Park.


Darren Bent is joining Arsenal.


Peter Odemwingie is not for sale, and West Brom have not had any enquiries for their Nigerian striker.

14.44 Gino Tabacchi is displeased:

E-mailIf the Saha to Spurs rumour is true, I think I'm going to be sick. Not exactly showing ambition to Modric now is it?

Well it depends what sort of ambition you're talking about Gino. The ambition to implode and come sixth: GREAT! The ambition to play in the competition with the song that goes "theChampionnnnns!": NOT SO GREAT!

14.40 Steve Kean sounds pretty confident that Chris Samba is going nowehere today. Oddly, I believe him.

14.37 Here is the selection of sweet treats I have bought myself to help me power through to handover o'clock. I think I might have lost it a bit:

Nickica Jellyvic, eh? EH? Yes, I've definitely lost it a bit.

(Yes, we have Telegraph-branded jelly here. What of it?)

14.34 So once Jelavic has had the curtain dramatically pulled off his head and been formally unveilled at Everton can Louis Saha join Tottenham? I think it's one of those domino deals. I've got the frustrating feeling that it's going to start kicking off when I hand over this liveblog in an hour and a half. Saha to Spurs is bonkers, isn't it. Everton supporters: am I wrong in saying he's been useless and lazy this season?

14.29 West Ham as well. What are they up to? Ravel Morrison and Nicky Maynard are probably enjoying a lovely pint of jellied eels with a pie and mash round the old joanna by now. Why haven't we seen a picture of them larking about with a man dressed as a hammer? This is not good enough.

14.22 Getting a bit annoyed with Everton, QPR and Blackburn now. Everyone seems to be in agreement that they've all-but signed Jelanic, Cisse and Orr respectively, but where are the official announcements? Where are the empty "This club has got a great history" words? Where are my beloved Cheesy Signing Pictures? Come ON!.

14.18 Wow, some earth-shatteringly shocking giant news in my inbox from Joe Rankin:

E-mailI've just been in one of Manchester's two restaurants, and saw Carlos. He said he's back at City, for good this time, and he said all is well. I took this actual, real picture on my phone.

Why aren't SSN reporting this?! I scooped you, Rupert. I scooped you good.

14.14 Arsenal have signed a player! Great news! How will he slot in to Arsene Wenger's Emirates revolution? It says here he's a left back and he's played for England and he's... oh.

14.06 QPR take the prize for the first loitering fans of the day. Three young chaps are doing some bad dancing behind Sky's warm coat merchant. There's another man close by who looks old enough to know better.

14.02 Jeremy Wilson sounds a note of caution for any Arsenal fans that are getting excited about Andrei Arshavin leaving today:

Anzhi have been in touch with Arsenal over Andrei Arshavin but talks at very early stage. Deal does not have to be done today as Russian transfer window is open later.

13.58 Matt Ryce has sent me a picture to explain what the transfer window looks like in his mind's eye:

A picture tells a thousand words. Or in this case: four.

13.56 If you're the sort of person that gets excited about Sunderland signing players on loan you're having an absolutely brilliant day. Here's our own Luke Edwards:

Sunderland are trying to persuade Wolfsburg to let them have former Liverpool defender Sotirios Kyrgiakos on loan until the end of the season

13.52 Wigan chairman Dave Whelan sounds like he quite fancies selling Hugo Rodallega to Spurs. He's been speaking to ESPNsoccernet:

Quote We are used to Tottenham making a last minute bid on transfer deadline day, and by last minute, I mean the very last minute. I have seen Spurs linked with Rodallega for some time, but we have not received a bid, not even an inquiry as far as I know. That doesn't mean they won't make a bid, but if they do they always leave it late, very late. It might make sense to cash in now. But if he stays with us to the end of the season he can help us stay up, which would be worth far more than a transfer fee.

On Andy Johnson, Whelan said:

Quote I've no idea why Johnson said no. I think he didn't fancy coming north. It would have been a good deal for us, but that's football.

Ahhh, so that's what football is! Players not wanting to come to Wigan. That. Is. Football.


Wayne Bridge has signed Sunderland on loan until the end of a season. Here's what Martin O'Neill has to say:

Quote I'm hoping that with Wayne's undoubted experience and ability he can be a big help to the team until the end of the season. I'm very pleased to have him here and with the number of injuries we've sustained recently I'm sure he'll be a great help to us.


wait for it....

wait for it.....

Olé! The full seven sweepstake points for a person whose Twitter handle is Itwassoeasy!

13.46 We've been so starved of Cheesy Signing Pictures so far today that I've done the unthinkable. I've resorted to thinking about Scottish football. Here's Dundee United's new recruit Milos Lacny squatting and looking all moody from a MySpace-style camera angle:

Nice haircut. Nice jacket. Nice face.

13.40 I've made the naive mistake of encouraging mischevious schoolchildren and am now paying the price by being bombarded with increasingly wacky transfer rumours from teengers that should probably be learning which verbs take etre instead of emailing me at Kings College Wimbledon. You can recreate the effect by typing the following and replacing the XXXs with a past-it footballer and the name of a large European city: "Interestingly my contact has just seen XXXX in XXXX". Think of 10, email them to yourself, bob's your uncle: you're Thom Gibbs. I wouldn't normally be so vain as to refer to myself in the first person, but please keep in mind that I've now been watching Sky Sports News for almost six hours straight.

13.36 Sometimes in this line of work you get an email that you can't not reproduce. This has just happened. Over to Houssam Asilla:

E-mailThe window: It's like 20 dogs of all kinds running into a mountain of bones of all kinds. You can get as weird a catch as a chihuahua with an elephant's rib...


13.33 It was all "oooh, Owen Hargreaves, oooh, crossing the divide" in August. Today we have the exact opposite of that move, in that it's a player moving the other way and one whose knees aren't made of an especially brittle sort of clay:

Manchester United are on the brink of snaring former Switzerland Under-17 skipper Frederic Veseli from Manchester City. The 19-year-old is still to make his debut for City and it appears United have stepped in to sign the defender.

13.29 We've hit deadlock in the Transfer Deadline Day Sweepstakes. A couple of quick Cheesy Signing Pictures and that could all change Here are the current scores:

Seven points
Chelsea - Dan Jackson 7

Two points
Blackburn - Mark Dezelsky 2
QPR - Ross Gylby 2

One point
Manchester United - Dee-Wayne Jaftha 1
West Brom - Chris Gannon 1
Wolves - Oliver King 1
Norwich - Alex Johnston 1

Nothing. Nothing at all
Arsenal - Jack Organ
Aston Villa - John J Nicholson
Bolton - Eric David
Everton - Peter Hughes
Fulham - Adam Parsons
Liverpool - Nik Teovosky
Manchester City - Len Hoare
Newcastle - Carl Smith
Stoke - Twinmaker
Sunderland - Itwassoeasy
Swansea - Brendan Collins
Tottenham - Phil Lewis
Wigan - Sam Wingrove

If you've got any valid queries with my scoring you can email me to take up your issue at

(If I've actually missed anything blatant my real addess is at the top)

13.27 Look at this, it's a liveblog actually proving its worth as real-time medium for news delivery! Northern expert Luke Edwards has a Mariappa update:

Newcastle have been outbid for Marriapa by Wigan. Looks like he will be going to the DW Stadium as Magpies aren't going to get into bidding war.

13.25 A bullish Alan Pardew, fighting back the tears, says this on Mariappa:

Quote We've made our final bid. If he doesn't come today he probably won't come at all. In summer we'll probably look elsewhere, to be honest.

Wow Alan, you sure know how to make a potential central defensive recruit feel loved.


13.19 Newcastle, have HAD ENOUGH, and issued their ABSOLUTE LAST OFFER for Watford's Adrian Mariappa according to Alan Pardew. If it's not taken he's going to storm back home to his flat, accessed by a secret door in the rear of the Angel of the North, and spend tonight softly weeping while stroking a sticker of Mariappa from this year's Football League Superstars collection. It's unclear whether Pardew's talking about one of the bids he's already had rejected, or he's just made a bid which will be his final bid. More on this thrilling semantic point as we get it.

13.15 Let's taken a second to salute the true hero of Transfer Deadline Day:

Yes folks it's the humble fax machine. God bless you, plastic-y pre-internet behemoth of last-minute deals.

13.11 It would seem that the hardworking bored pupils of King's College Wimbledon are on their lunchbreak as their incorrect transfer rumours have returned with a vengeance. Here are three of their best offerings:

E-mailRoy Keane and Teddy Sheringham seen at Carrington discussing personal terms over potential move back to Old Trafford, will be taking up a player-coaching role with Paul Scholes

Pep Guardiola in talks with Titus Bramble over possible move to Barca as cover for an ageing Carlos Puyol

Interestingly a contact at Heathrow has seen Heskey on a direct plane to Milan

I especially like the use of "interestingly" and "a contact" in the last one. Keep it up until at least Double Chemistry after lunch.

13.07 Did you know there are a bunch of actual football matches tonight? Wolves v Liverpool. Man Utd v Stoke. Spurs v Wigan etc. Has Transfer Deadline Day lost its magic now that Premier League games are taking place on the same day? What has the world come to when the greatest Transfer Deadline Day in the world is taking place as some cheap sideshow to a set of Premier League fixtures? I think the day lost its importance when Manchester United were allowed to take place in a meaingless Fifa-sanctioned World Transfer Deadline Day competition in Brazil in 2000.

13.04 Bit concerned about Mr Big Coat outside Loftus Road. Sky cut to him. He is silent briefly. Then looks up and says:

E-mailAh. Helicopter. We always look for helicopters on transfer deadline day. No, no. It's flown past. Carlos Tevez won't be coming, then.

Did he inhale a lungfull of mind-altering milky smoke?

13.02 SSN seem pretty sure that AC Milan are definitely definitely definitely RIGHT BACK IN THE HUNT for Carlos Tevez. Their man loitering outside the training ground says "There is rumbling, there is movement," which sounds less like a description of a possible transfer than a possible bowel movement. If the tiresome Tevez business is indeed finished today the scene in the Telegraph Sport office will be a lot like this:

12.56 It's well-known man with three names Mark Charles-Isaac:

E-mailWhat does the Transfer Window look like? A large pizza- baked to perfection, then dipped in a bucket of water, left on a customer's plate, and then thrown out in disgust. It's garbage, this transfer window nonsense, is it not?

Careful Mark, you're talking about mine and dozens of Sky Sports' employees' livelihoods there.

12.52 Middlesbrough have turned down a £6million bid from Bolton for defender Rhys Williams. What's the matter, Bolton? Sold your best central defender and realised his American replacement isn't up to much, have you, Bolton? Oh I'm really sorry BOLTON.

12.50 If I don't see another Cheesy Signing Picture soon I'm going to be very disappointed indeed. I'm also in the market for a Surreal Loan Abroad (cf. Joe Cole), a Confirmed Panic Buy (cf. QPR's proposed business today) and a Drunken Oligarch Splurge (cf. Torres, Robinho, Shevchenko).

12.46 Good news for West Brom supporters from our sweepstakes correspondent Chris Gannon:

E-mailAs the man in the know, I can confirm Odemwingie is going nowhere. He's locked in Woy's cellar and will be released at midnight.

12.43 QPR (I'm not biased, they're just doing 80 per cent more than any other club today) have quietly let go one-time capital-letter LEGEND Martin Rowlands. He's left the club by mutual consent after a sorry time since the arrival of Neil Warnock almost two years ago. Goodbye Martin. You were a top, top player. Top top top top top top. Literally. Top.

12.40 Harry Redknapp has cleverly negotiated with the nice men and women of Southwark County Court and secured the services of their office's fax machine this afternoon. He made need it, Spurs are reportedly interested in a loan move for Louis Saha. Once again this is firmly from the transfer drawer marked "WHAAAAA?" Saha has been awful, awful, for Everton this season.

12.37 Here's your friend and mine Ross Gylby on his mind's eye transfer window:

E-mailI see myself in an auction but not any auction. I surrounded by metal gates, posts and bars. To my right is a man in a flat cap and wellies, he has an elongated face and a vacant expression. To my left, in the same ensemble, is a man clutching a P60 looking forlorn with droopy cheeks and his son by his side. In walks a man holding a rope and on the other end of said rope is a cow with the face of Carlos Tevez printed on its side! Eureka!! A cattle auction! The man holding the rope lifts his head... ROBERTO MANCINI!!! Silence... Then the auctioneer calls NEEEXT!!!

12.35 Difficult-to-folllow tale coming out of West Brom. Zamora is leaving Fulham, apparently. Fulham fancied Lucas Barrios to replace him, but that's fallen through, so are now talking about Peter Odemwingie. Have they not seen him play this season?

12.33 SSN are saying that Anzhi Makhachkala are in preliminary talks to sign Arsenal's Andrei Arshavin.

12.30 Here's our man Jeremy Wilson on the fineprint on a potential contract for Bobby Zamora at QPR:

Zamora played under Mark Hughes at Fulham last season and wants regular football ahead of Euro 2012 but must weigh up the risk of joining a club currently just two points above the relegation zone. There is expected to be a release clause in any contract with QPR relating to relegation.

I'm hoping his contract also includes a clause that states he has to run around enough to at least give the slight impression that he's mildly bothered about football. His Fulham deal clearly lacked such a stipulation.

12.25 Don't worry everyone, I was just getting some lunch. Unexpected cash machine queue was my undoing. What have I missed? Oh wait, that's my job. Hang on... BREAKING NEWS! WHOOSH! The SSN man outside Rangers' training ground says they might be making a bid for Norwich's Grant Holt, who is apparently their top target to replace Jelavic.


Phil Brown has replaced Alan Curbishley in the out-of-work manager's chair in the SSN studio.

12.10 Here is I F Wilson on his imagined transfer window:

E-mailIt's the middle of the ocean and I am on a big big big boat I don't own. It's some Russian dude's. Never met him, haven't eaten for days and there are sharks everywhere. One piece of bait leftm, I've used all the others up, no luck yet. The fish are there somewhere but which fish will take the bait? If I get this wrong I'm dead. Some of the fish are nasty blighters but if I get the right one I'm ok. But which one? If I get this wrong i'm dead, one chance, one chance. Right, bait's ready, start fishing, sweating, caught one, yes......... cook it............... yes.............I'm ok..................................It's a Carroll fish ..........I'm dead.

12.08 Everton have oficially confirmed that they've agreed an officially confirmed fee with Rangers for Nikica Jelavic, Everton have confirmed. Officially. We sort of knew this already, but still: it's been oficially confirmed.

12.06 A sweepstake bonus point for this from Norwich correspondent Alex Johnston:

12.00 Carlos Tevezzzzzzzzzzzzzzz news: AC Milan are back in for the stiker, apparently. Please let it be over soon. QPR's Matt Connolly has also joined Reading on loan. Do loan moves count in the Transfer Deadline Day Sweepstakes? I think: yes.

11.54 Hats off to Paddy Power (other bookmakers are available) who have opened a market on the first cliché that SSN presenter Jim White will utter today:

Excellent. Clearly it's a PR stunt that's looking for coverage in places like this, and clearly I am giving them exactly what they want.

But, you know, sometimes there are good PR stunts.

Spotter's badge to Nick Soper.

11.49 Good news for QPR (or bad news if you're a fan of financial stability) via Jason Burt:

It's understood that a bid of £4.5m has now been accepted by Fulham for Bobby Zamora who appears to be on his way to Queens Park Rangers for a medical and to agree personal terms. It's not thought either of these issues will be a problem for QPR, despite claims that Zamora is asking for astronomical wages. Sources close to the deal are confident it will now happen before the deadline. QPR are also close to completing the £4m signing of Djibril Cisse from Lazio. Looks like Mark Hughes has acquired himself a whole new strikeforce in one day to stave off the threat of relegation.

11.47 Here's Chelsea new boy and extremely young-looking man Kevin de Bruyne:

Quote Three years ago I was playing with the young guys in Genk, but now I am making a transfer to Chelsea. It's almost impossible - a real dream come true. To come to a team like Chelsea is a dream but now it's a reality and I have to work hard to achieve the level that's necessary. It's a few steps (up). Chelsea is one of the biggest clubs in the world and if you see the level they have compared to Genk then it is a real difference but it's something I want to achieve and I will work very hard to get there.

I signed now and now I will go back for six months on loan to play some games and gain more experience. Next season it would be normal to be loaned out, but I will start the preparations here at Cobham, and if it goes really well maybe I will stay but probably it will be a team a little level less than Chelsea but bigger than Genk. I am patient. It will be very hard to play in the beginning but if you can train with these guys you will get to a better level than in the Belgian league for sure.

11.44 ...and what the hell, another bonus point for QPR correspondent Ross Gylby for making me giggle with this email:

E-mailI hope the smell of burning milk doesn't put Cisse off! I have alot riding on that cheesy signing photo.

11.42 The first bonus point of the Transfer Deadline Day Sweepstake goes to West Brom correspondent Chris Gannon for this scorching red-hot untrue rumour:

11.39 I'd now like to issue a personal appeal to the students of King's College Wimbledon to stop emailing me dubious transfer rumours and get back to concentrating on your school work. If you don't put in the hard hours now you'll never get the qualifications you need to anchor Sky Sports News and get really excited about Hugo Rodallega probably not leaving Wigan.

11.37 More from London from our man Jason Burt:

West Ham United are shaping up to be one of the busiest clubs on transfer deadline day with talks now taking place to sign striker Nicky Maynard who is available for transfer from Bristol City.

City want the £2m plus they paid for the striker whose wage demands may also be an issue should a deal be agreed between the clubs. City are determined to cash in on the 25-year-old before his contract expires at the end of the season.

Maynard has already turned down the chance to sign for Wigan Athletic. West Ham might move for Maynard having, it appears, finally missed out on striker Eder from Portuguese club Academica who did not board a flight, as he was expected to, to London last night.

11.34 All places are now takebn in the sweepstakes. About 100 people suddenly really wanted Fulham. Baffling. That's more than their normal travelleing support. There list of teams and participants below has now been updated.

11.30 Sweepstaker and Arsenal correspondent Jack Organ:

TwitterWoohoo I have the easiest job! Arsenal never do anything in January! Here's hoping we steal Ba.

Is he very young and unkown, Jack? No he's not, Jack. Good luck with that, Jack.

11.28 Dramatic scenes at Loftus Road! SSN's man outside is reporting that it's raining ash, and Djibril Cisse is close to... Hang on. Raining ash?! Yes, apparently. There's a big fire at the Unigate dairy just down the road. There are road closures, and the partial cessation of business in a gigantic shopping centre. A man dramatically runs past the reporter. Erm... is Sky's man in danger? Never mind, he's back to telling us that QPR are in the hunt for more, more, MORE before the window closes. I get the impression he's going to keep his spot outside the ticket office until the bitter end. He'd go down with his ship. That's how much he loves Transfer Deadline Day.

11.24 Would you like to hear a song about Transfer Deadline Day from the website Fitba Thatba? Of course you would:

11.21 Spurs correspondent Phil Lewis:

E-mailPavlyuchenko having medical at Anzhi, 'I always wanted to play alongside Eto'o' #THFC. Not confirmed, but doing the rounds on Twitter.

11.18 DONE!
Blackburn have signed winger Marcus Olsson on a free transfer from Halmstad on a two-and-a-half-year deal.

11.15 Alan Curblishley has been in the SSN studio for as long as I've been watching this morning. He's only being called upon once an hour. He seems tired, and sad. The manager's natural habitat is glued to the phone and/or leaning out of a car window on a day like this.

11.10 Jason Burt has boiling hot striker-based news from West London:

Queens Park Rangers have made a deadline day bid to sign Fulham striker Bobby Zamora. The England international has been keen to quit Craven Cottage since falling out with manager Martin Jol and wants to link up with former Fulham manager Mark Hughes who is now in charge of QPR.

It had been thought that Fulham would not sell to QPR – partly because of the acrimony between them and Hughes after he left last summer – but Jol is close to lining up a replacement for Zamora with Russian international Pavel Pogrebnyak from Stuttgart for £3m although that deal might go down to the wire over work permit issues.

Fulham may also offload Andrew Johnson – who is out of contract this summer – today if another replacement is signed. He is understood to have already turned down a move to Wigan Athletic with QPR failing earlier in this window with a £2m bid for Johnson. No fee has yet been agreed for Zamora but QPR are close to signing Djibril Cisse off £4m to create a new strikeforce.

As a QPR supporter, I'm going to go ahead and say that I'm actively sceptical about Zamora. He's looked so unintereted when I've seen hi