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Saturday, June 30, 2012

Katie's $15million and a $35m mansion: What Holmes stands to gain from her ex-husband... and how she's 'seeking much more'

•Katie Holmes signed a prenuptial agreement which entitles her to $3million for every year of marriage
•Entitled to $35million California mansion
•Couple's estate is worth upwards of $275million

By Rachel Quigley

When they married to great fanfare and with much opulence in an Italian castle in November 2006, talk not only centered on bride Katie Holmes' wedding dress but also on her prenuptial agreement with the groom.

The details? For each year the couple stay married, the Dawson's Creek actress collects $3million - to a maximum of $33 million after 11 years - as well as their palatial home in California.

If their marriage had lasted more than 11 years, Holmes would have received half of Cruises’s reportedly $250 million fortune.

After filing for divorce less than six years later, according to the agreement, Katie should only be entitled to $15 million as well as the couple's $35 million Beverly Hills Mansion.

Split: After five years of marriage, Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes are set to engage in a messy divorce with speculation as to how much of the Cruise estate Katie is entitled to

Autos: The $1.5million Veyron - which the couple arrived to the Mission Impossible premiere in - features a 16 cylinder engine, The engine is fed by four turbochargers and displaces 7,993 cubic centimeters

But with an estate worth upwards of $275 million, Katie is expected to seek much more and there is already intense speculation as to how much she will collect when the papers are signed.

Sources reveal the 33-year-old is asking for a 'suitable amount' of child support, as well as a division of property, though no mention was made of the prenuptial agreement in divorce papers.

After Katie's lawyer announced her client was filing for divorce, representatives for Tom, 49, released a statement saying he was 'very sad' and 'did not see this coming'.

Since they did not stay married for 11 years, the prenuptial agreement explicitly states that California community property laws won't apply to the divorce - which normally sees a couple's assets split 50/50.

When the divorce is eventually finalized, each will keep their respective earnings from the projects they've worked on since November 2006. That's in addition to the $3 million per year Cruise will give to Holmes.

There were also rumors that a certain degree of 'nastiness' was involved, evidenced by Katie's intent to seek sole custody of Suri.

If she succeeds in this, the child support payments Tom will have to pay for his daughter could prove sizeable.

New York divorce attorney Vikki Ziegler told Hollywood Life that because of the prenup, Katie stands to lose millions and will need to use their six-year-old daughter as a pawn to get more money.

'Most of the estate is Tom's. She’ll have to go for a lot of child support,' she said. 'She’ll have to show that Suri has nannies, cars, activities, clothes, hair appointments. That a hefty amount each month is needed to maintain Suri’s lifestyle.'

Home number one: Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes paid about $35 million for this Beverly Hills mansion sprawled over 10,286 square feet which Katie is said to be entitled to in the prenuptial agreement

Their country house in Sussex, England: The home features six bedrooms, an indoor swimming pool, underground garage, a sports pavilion, a game room, greenhouse, high tech security system and a staff cottage is worth $4.75million

Part-time homes: A $7million villa in Italy's Lake Como, left, and a luxury Manhattan apartment add to the couple's multimillion dollar estate

Shortly after they married in 2006, the couple paid $30million for a lavish nine-bedroom home on a Telluride, Colorado, estate which they were later rumored to have added a $10 million bunker to.

They also own a lavish apartment in New York's Manhattan, where Katie is currently said to be holed up with the couple's daughter Suri, while Tom films his new movie Oblivion in Iceland.

A $5 million home in Sussex, England, which features six bedrooms, an indoor swimming pool, underground garage, sports pavilion, high tech security system and staff cottage as well as villa in Italy's Lake Como bought from friend George Clooney for almost $7 million adds to the couple's multimillion dollar estate.

The Mission Impossible actor likes to indulge in a number of expensive hobbies and has over the years collected three aircrafts, several cars and a 60-foot yacht.

After the couple married, the actor bought Katie a luxurious wedding gift in the form of a Gulfstream IV-SP, about which she famously said: 'It's like a bus, only quicker.'

Boats: The couple and daughter Suri took many expensive vacations during their five-year marriage including time spent on their own 'Little Castle' 60ft power yacht

Splash the cash: Daughter Suri is believed to own a $3million designer wardrobe

Motorcycle: Tom Cruise and actress Katie Holmes arrive on a motorbike at a special fan screening of War of the Worlds at the Grauman's Chinese Theatre in Hollywood June 27, 2005

Cruise also owns a luxurious airplane Aviat – Pitts S-2B and a North American Aviation P-51 Mustang. The jet has painted on one of it's side 'Kiss Me, Kate'.

As well as aircrafts, Tom has a number of sports cars in his possession - a Porsce 911 and a 16-cylinder V8.

The couple lived in Beverly Hills so California law would have been applied to the separation of assets.

California is a community property state, so normally a couple's assets must be split evenly in divorce. Any money earned would be split 50/50 as would any debt either Tom or Katie incurred during their marriage.

However the prenuptial agreement changes all that.


Friday, June 29, 2012

In search of higher ground: Wildlife tries to keep dry as raging waters in India overwhelm 2,000 villages

By Leon Watson

Wild elephants and rhinos are among the animals searching for higher ground after raging torrents overwhelmed more than 2,000 villages in northeast India.

The floodwater fed by monsoon rains has swept away homes and leaving hundreds of thousands of people marooned today.

At least 27 people were killed, but the toll was expected to rise.

Wild animals reach highlands in Kaziranga wildlife sanctuary due to large floods, around 150 miles east of Gauhati, India

The Indian air force was delivering food packages to people huddled on patches of dry land along with cattle and wild elephants.

Rescuers were dropped by helicopter into affected areas to help the stranded, but pouring rain was complicating operations.

About one million people have had to evacuate their homes as the floods from the swollen Brahmaputra River – one of Asia's largest – swamped 2,084 villages across most of Assam state, officials said.

Assam's flooded capital of Gauhati was hit by mudslides that buried three people. Many of the city's two million residents were negotiating the submerged streets in rubber dinghies and small wooden boats. Most businesses were closed.

Officials have counted 27 people dead so far, but the toll is expected to be much higher as unconfirmed casualty reports mount. Many of the victims so far have drowned, including five people whose boat capsized amid choppy waves.

Telephone lines were knocked out and some train services were canceled after their tracks were swamped by mud.

Seeking higher ground: A rhinoceros stands in the flood water at Kaziranga wildlife sanctuary

Young Indian girls wade through flood waters at Burhaburhi village about 40 miles east of Guahati, India

Flooded: A group of wild animals reach the safety of high land in Kaziranga

As the floods soaked the Kaziranga game reserve east of Gauhati, motorists reported seeing a one-horned rhino fleeing along a busy highway.

'We never thought the situation would turn this grim when the monsoon-fed rivers swelled a week ago,' said Nilomoni Sen Deka, an Assam government minister.

Residents of Majuli – a 310 square mile island in the middle of the Brahmaputra River – watched helplessly as the swirling, gray waters swallowed 50 villages and swept away their homes.

More than 2,000 villages in northeast India, were inundated with water sweeping away homes and leaving hundreds of thousands of people marooned

A herd of wild elephants find a safe spot above the flood water

Telephone lines were knocked out and some train services were canceled after their tracks were swamped by mud

'We are left with only the clothes we are wearing,' said 60-year-old Puniram Hazarika, one of about 75,000 island residents now camping in makeshift shelters of bamboo sticks and plastic tarps on top of a mud embankment soaked by rain.

Ratna Payeng, who was sheltering with her three small children in the camps, said she was praying for the rains to stop.

'If they don't, our land will become unfit for cultivation and everything will be lost,' Payeng said.

Nearby, a herd of 70 endangered Asiatic elephants, which usually avoid humans, were grouped together, Majuli island wildlife official Atul Das said. 'The jumbos have not caused any harm, but we are keeping a close watch,' he said.

In neighboring Nepal, landslides also triggered by monsoon rains killed at least eight people last night and left two others missing.


Thursday, June 28, 2012

A foreign correspondent's heartfelt tribute to the rescue dog who has followed him around the world

By Toby Harnden

In his day, Finn, a hairy mongrel and former Belfast stray, was a daredevil. He would leap spread-eagled into huge waves at the seaside and launch himself off 10-feet-high banks during river walks.

Soon after I got him in early 1998, I thought our brief relationship was over when he leapt over a harbour wall at Howth. I ran over, my heart in my mouth, expecting the worst. There he was, perched on a rock having landed cleanly, looking just a little sheepish.

A favourite trick of ours was me throwing a tennis ball close to the top of some rapids. Finn would swim towards the ball, grasp it in his jaws and then be swept down the rapids, emerging sodden and triumphant on the other side.

Toby and Finn leave Washington DC for London in 2005. Finn used to travel quite happily in a crate in the cargo hold

Alas, such antics are long gone. Now, Finn, who used to be able to run like the wind, is so arthritic he has to be carried up and down stairs. Sometimes we find him splayed on the hardwood floor unable to get up.

Although he still enjoys his walks – two a day – he is so slow and deaf and blind that I often have to retrace my steps to find him and point him back in the right direction. He is given four pills twice a day and will occasionally yelp from the pain in his limbs. Massaging them seems to soothe him.

His teeth, for many years almost perfect, are now rotten and he can’t eat biscuits as he used to. His breath smells like a sewer.

Back in 2001, Finn was more than capable of getting a bit of speed up, even on dry land

I first met Finn when looking for a pet at the National Canine Defence League home outside Ballymena in Northern Ireland where I was working as a newspaper reporter.
Then, he was called Buddy and listed as a ‘terrier cross, reference number 34/98’.
All the other dogs were barking and flinging themselves at the sides of their cages. Finn was quiet, just looking up at me and wagging his tail.

His look seemed to say: ‘OK, it’s a deal - you and me going through life together.’ When I got him home, it was clear he’d never really been touched by people before.
But within days, he was curling up next to me. The kennel I had bought for him went unused – Finn made it clear he was sleeping on my bed.

He soon became minutely attuned to my moods. I remember returning to Belfast after more than a week away covering the Omagh bomb in 1998. After picking Finn up from friends, I sat down on the sofa in silence.

Finn in 2007: 'OK, it's a deal - you and me going through life together'

It was the first time I had been able to reflect properly on the horror of what had happened and the carnage that had killed 29 people. Tears welled up. Then I felt Finn’s head resting gently on my thigh; he had sensed my sadness and was looking up at me with those soulful, consoling brown eyes.

In the 14-plus years since then, Finn has lived the life of a foreign correspondent’s dog. I took him with me to Washington where, coming from the UK, he suffered no quarantine restrictions.

For him, the major ramification of September 11th was more vigilant security guards and, therefore, an end to visits to my office block in Washington. After the Iraq invasion, we both headed to Jerusalem. Perhaps the sounds of the bombs exploding reminded him of his birthplace.

Finn was always a survivor. When I had to leave him home alone all day in Washington, he would sit in the window looking sad. Eventually, a Belgian lady called Martine who lived a few doors away took pity on him and asked if she could walk him each lunchtime.

In Jerusalem, he learned to accept that not everyone loved dogs. We had a regular five-mile running route close to the old Green Line, Israel’s pre-1967 border, that could prove hazardous. On one run, he was attacked by a feral cat and then had to dodge stones thrown by Palestinian youths.

There were also problems with ultra-orthodox Jews, who tend to consider dogs unclean animals. One religious woman went into spasms of horror when Finn trotted past her as I walked him on the lead. His less-than-helpful contribution was to try to lick her leg.

During these years, Finn was the one constant in my life. When I was jailed for two weeks in Zimbabwe, accused of breaking immigration rules in the country where foreign journalists are banned, the way I’d get to sleep on a hard floor in a cell filled with more than 100 inmates was to close my eyes and imagine I was stroking Finn’s silky coat.

Knowing he was there back home was something that helped sustain and soothe me when I was away. I used to have frequent nightmares about Iraq – of being kidnapped by men with long beards and threatened with beheading.

Once, one ended with me looking down from the clouds at Finn running happily through lush green Irish fields. It seemed that I was dead. When I woke, I was at first disturbed. But there was a serenity about the image that was comforting. From then on, the nightmares receded.

Right from the outset, Finn was happy each day just to do what I was doing. Until recently, he never had much of a routine. When I went away, he always embraced being looked after by others - staying with families, couples, single friends with cats, even an old lady in her 80s with a fondness for her drinks trolley who looked after two dozen dogs at a time.

There has always been a Finn fan club of people willing to take him in. In 14 years, he’s never had to go to a boarding kennels.

Each time I left him somewhere, by the time I was walking out of the door, he was already sitting happily at the feet of the latest surrogate owner. He’d fended for himself as a stray; he always knew how to get by. Air travel, in a crate in the hold, was never a problem for him.

In 2007, I was a family dog: Toby with his wife Cheryl, daughter Tessa and Finn, whose life changed when wife and children came along

As a bachelor’s dog, Finn was a fine wing man. A female guest in the house always brought the best out in him. After Finn had wagged his tail, rolled on his back and nuzzled against her, she would invariably exclaim: ‘I think he really likes me!’

Finn’s life, along with mine, changed in 2006 when I got married. We moved back to Washington and he began sleeping on the floor, not the bed. He immediately accepted Cheryl as a co-owner.

A year after we were married, I was away when Cheryl suffered an early miscarriage. Finn knew something was very wrong and throughout that awful night he never left her side.

Happily, in 2007 Finn witnessed a small bundle being brought back from the hospital - our baby daughter Tessa. I’ll never forget his ears pricking up when he first heard her cry.

From day one, Finn would sleep beside Tessa’s crib. When she began to walk, she and Finn would play games in which they would wrestle a toy duck off each other. Sometimes we would catch Tessa chewing one of Finn’s old bones. Perhaps it helped her build up antibodies.

When Miles came along three years ago, Finn decided his new sleeping spot was right outside their bedrooms – or inside one of them if a door was left open. He had become a faithful guardian to our children. Sometimes, they would pull his tail, grab clumps of his hair or try to ride him like a horse. But Finn never snapped or bit.

Finn can’t play much with the children any more. They hug him and lie beside him to talk to or kiss him. They realise he is too old to do much. He chased his last squirrel quite some time ago. When he’s gone, the kids say, we’ll get a new puppy, or perhaps a hamster.

Throughout his life, whenever I’ve been home Finn has almost always been in the same room as me during the daytime. That’s still the case. If he wants to come up or go down stairs, he barks so I can carry him. He’s never minded being picked up and at about 35lbs I can lift him with one arm.

He won’t eat his pills if they’re put in his food but he’ll let me put my hand in his mouth and place them in his throat.

Finn’s decline has been slow and steady. He knows his limitations and seems to sense he is in his final days. Occasionally, however, he still wags his tail.

Every few days or so he’ll briefly break into a trot and try to chase a stick. He stills rubs his face on the sofa and snorts – an expression of happiness. We recently took him for a beach holiday in North Carolina, where he happily padded around in the surf.

Tessa hugs Finn during a family holiday in North Carolina, where the dog played happily on the beach last month

Finn follows Miles along the beach in North Carolina

Up until recently, Finn has seemed like the dog he once was, just older. But there are some signs of dementia now. The other day, he was stuck in a corner of our bedroom, whimpering and apparently unsure where he was.

The most difficult decision will be when to accept Finn is at the end of the line.

When that happens, a vet who has been kind to him will come to our house to give him that final, lethal injection. I don’t want his last minutes alive to be spent slipping and scrambling on a metal table while smelling the disinfectant of the animal hospital.

I have a hunch that a lot of people put their pets down prematurely. We don’t want to do that. On the other hand, it would be wrong to keep him alive if he’s just miserable.

Finn’s always been intuitive rather than intelligent (he never worked out that the way to get a big stick through an opening was to turn his head so it was diagonal). I have a feeling he will somehow let me know when he feels it’s time to go.

Perhaps strangely, I don’t feel sad that Finn will soon have to leave us, though I dread the moment the decision will have to be made. He’s been a wonderful companion and had quite a life. That will be something I will always celebrate.


Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Surely it can't be that bad in Number 10: Larry the cat lies down in front of Downing Street traffic


It is often said that pets bear a striking resemblance to their masters.

And, just like David Cameron, it seems that Larry the Downing Street cat is partial to a little ‘chillax’ here and there.

The five-year-old tabby, a rescue cat from Battersea Dogs and Cats Home, was spotted taking time off from his mousing duties yesterday to enjoy the morning sun outside No 10.

Cat nap: Larry the Downing Street Cat takes a nap in the road outside No10 this morning

Unfortunately his favoured spot – the middle of the road – proved something of a headache for ministers arriving for a Cabinet meeting.

In a rude awakening, Larry found himself hoisted up by a police protection officer and dumped unceremoniously by No 11, where the Camerons live.

The slightly disgruntled feline then sauntered off in search of a safer spot to resume his slumber.

The basking pet is treated to an affectionate tummy stroke by a passing officer

Larry was given the title of Chief Mouser to the Cabinet and chosen by Downing Street staff to tackle a growing rat problem last year.

But since his arrival he appears to lack the killer instinct and instead of boasting an impressive kill ratio Larry has become better known for his sleeping.

Which draws some unfortunate comparisons with the more famous inhabitant of number 10, David Cameron, who has attracted criticism for his own fondness for 'chillaxing'
following claims in a biography that he spends weekends at Chequers singing karaoke, playing tennis against a machine dubbed ‘The Clegger’ and downing several glasses of wine with lunch.

Precarious: Worried about Larry's welfare, the armed officer tries to move him to a safer spot

The officer finally prizes Larry from the asphalt and plops him down outside the door to Number 10


Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Emotional scenes as war hero Ben Parkinson carries the Olympic torch in home town after learning to walk again on artificial limbs

•Paratrooper Ben Parkinson lost both legs and suffered brain injuries after driving over a mine in Afghanistan
•He had major surgery on shattered spine and had prosthetic legs fitted
•Spent three months unconscious in military hospital
•But he refused to use his crutches to carry the torch
•Thousands cheer him on in the most inspiring moment of the relay so far
•Fellow paratroopers travel from Colchester to show their support
•After completing the challenge, he said: 'It was nothing - just another walk.'

By Emma Clark

The most seriously wounded soldier to survive the war in Afghanistan was cheered on by an emotional crowd when he carried the Olympic Torch through his home town of Doncaster without the aid of crutches today.

Courageous Paratrooper Lance Bombardier Ben Parkinson, 27, held his head high as he managed a challenging 300m of the relay from Doncaster’s Cenotaph on his prosthetic legs.

L/Bdr Parkinson, who lost both legs and suffered appalling brain and back injuries when his Land Rover hit a mine in 2006, was applauded by thousands of supporters along the route.

Thousands of people lined the streets of Doncaster to show their support to the most wounded soldier to return from Afghanistan on day 39 of the torch relay

Determination: Brave paratrooper Lance Bombardier Ben Parkinson, 27, completed his part in the relay without his crutches, with the aid of an assistant

Fifty of his fellow paratroopers from the 7th Parachute Royal Horse Artillery unit marched behind him after travelling from Colchester, Essex, to show their admiration for his incredible achievement.

His mother Diane Dernie watched with tears in her eyes alongside the former soldier's stepfather Andy.

Starting just after 11am, the determined young man made steady progress along the route, stopping only once to re-light the flame.

'It's the proudest moment of my life,' said his mother, kissing him at the handover point. 'We knew Ben would complete the route. He's so determined.

Optimistic: Despite having lost his legs, L/Bdr Parkinson completed his part of the relay without crutches, after training for weeks with physiotherapist Robert Shepherd, right before the walk

Proud paratroopers from Ben's regiment, the 7th Parachute Royal Horse Artillery unit, supported him all the way

Inspirational: L/Bdr Parkinson was backed by his mother Diane Dernie and stepfather Andy, left, and by message of support from the people of Doncaster, which lined his route. Right, a sign outside a pub

'He said he could do it, so we knew he would do it. He has taken every one of his challenges and beaten them.'

L/Bdr Parkinson has come a long way since suffering close to 40 injuries in the explosion in Helmand Province and spending three months unconscious in military hospital.

He had to learn to walk on prosthetic legs and undergo major surgery to fix his shattered spine and teach himself to talk once more.

His mother added: ‘The whole purpose of this was to show everyone what he can do.
‘It's been such a spur for him, he's had to work so hard. He's had this practice torch made and he's been pounding the streets.

‘He's doing brilliantly. Even a few months ago we didn't know if he'd be able to do it without crutches but he's cracked it and he's been doing about 500m up and down the area.

'This town has been such a wonderful place for Ben. Whatever he does, Doncaster's behind him.

‘It's so important to Ben because this is his chance to prove what he can do, to thank everybody in Doncaster because he's had such fantastic support locally.’

Speaking after he handed over the flame, which he carried in a white sling around his neck, the exhausted but grinning 27-year-old said: 'It was nothing - just another walk.

‘I am very proud. All these people helped me along.'

Major Dave Walker from the regiment said: 'I think anyone here would have crawled over broken glass, quite frankly, to come and show Ben our support.

'Everyone in the regiment is tremendously proud of the progress that he's made against incredible adversity.

'We're immensely proud of the physical and mental courage he shows in overcoming major injuries. It's nothing short of awe-inspiring.

Triumph: Exhausted but delighted L/Bdr Parkinson hands the flame over to Diane Swanson for the next leg of the relay

'We're here to support Ben. The regiment is a wider family than just its serving members. We are here to show Ben that he is still part of that family.'

Sergeant Adam Colin, who served with L/Bdr Parkinson for many years, including in Afghanistan, added: 'We're just here to show our support to Ben - cheer him on and show how fantastically well he's done and is doing.

'We're very, very proud of him so we're here to give our big support to him and just let him know we'll always be there for him.'

Lord Coe returned to his beloved Sheffield to proudly lift the Olympics flame

People of all ages turned out in the beaming sunshine to cheer L/Bdr Parkinson on, with schoolchildren chanting 'Come on, Ben', while others waved flags, whistled and cheered as he passed by.

L/Bdr Parkinson celebrated afterwards with family and close friends at his home in Doncaster.

A sign at displayed outside a pub along the route read: 'Thank you Ben, you make us proud'.

His physio Robert 'Shep' Shepherd said they had practised the walk about six times in preparation, and admitted it was a mammoth task.

He said: 'He has just completed an incredible feat.

'For Ben, this isn't the same as walking the distance as someone else. It's the equivalent to walking with three times the amount of his weight on his back.

'We started training about seven weeks ago, and Ben does physio about 15 hours a week.

'I'm so proud of him.'

Last night Olympic gold medallist Lord Coe returned to his home city of Sheffield to carry the Olympic flame.

Once again in his career he felt the joy of the crowds as the 1,500m double gold medallist and chairman of the London 2012 organising committee completed his turn at a 300m leg through the city centre.

He spoke affectionately about his Sheffield, which he said was 'very close to his heart', as people gathered to take photos of him after he was dropped off by the relay bus.

Thousands of excited wellwishers gathered to greet and cheer on Lord Coe, who led the bid to host the Games this summer

Lord Coe said: ‘I'm just very, very flattered, very honoured. There's nowhere else I'd rather be in the world than here with this torch today in Sheffield.

‘Just having sat on the coach with 20 extraordinary people all telling their own personal stories of why they got nominated and some of the things they've done and been through - it's just extraordinary.'

With just 31 days to go until the start of the Games, the chairman was delighted to take time out of his schedule to take part in the relay.

He continued: ‘To me personally this is a massive day because it's the city I was brought up in.

‘Everything that really mattered in my athletics career took place in this city.

‘My coaches, my local athletics club, my inspiration to even join the athletics club was from two competitors in this city - John and Sheila Sherwood, who won medals in the 1968 Olympic Games.

‘This is a city which is very close to my heart.’

As he waited for his turn to carry the torch, one well-wisher said, ‘Thanks for doing all this for us’.

Earlier in the day, Lord Coe accompanied the flame when it visited patients at Sheffield Children's Hospital in a lantern, joined by Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg.

He also made a surprise visit to his former secondary school Tapton Secondary School in Ranmoor, where he joined in with celebrations for sports day.

Lord Coe said 'everything that mattered' in his sporting career happened in Sheffield, pictured

A jubilant Sebastian Coe, pictured in the centre, wins the mens 1500 metres final at the 1980 Olympic Games in Moscow for Great Britain

He took along his old PE teacher, John O'Keeffe, 73, who helped him get where he is today.

Headteacher David Bowes described the visit as a ‘great honour’.

Sebastian Coe won four Olympic medals, including the 1500m gold medal at the Olympic Games in 1980 and 1984. He also set eight outdoor and three indoor world records in middle distance track events.

Lord Sebastian Coe and Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg joined the Olympic Flame when it stopped off at Sheffield Children's Hospital

Thousands of people greeted the flame on its way into the city at a community event in Hillsborough Park, while thousands more gathered for a celebration event in the city centre.

Yesterday the torch started day 38 of its journey round the UK in Leeds, where it was carried by Steven Tomlinson, the 14-year-old son of late inspirational fundraiser Jane Tomlinson.

His mother, who died from cancer in 2007 at the age of 43, inspired thousands of people as she defied experts and spent seven years raising more than £1.8 million in a series of endurance challenges.

Leeds City Council estimated 200,000 people came out to see the torch in its three days in the city, which had 'seen nothing like it'.


Dogs destined for the table: Horrific images show animals being killed, cooked and served up as a meal in Chinese tradition

By Rob Cooper

..These disturbing images show dogs being cooked and served up as a meal in a grim Chinese tradition.

The animals are chopped up and cooked in front of diners - despite a growing anti-cruelty campaign.

A group of Chinese activists in Yulin City, Guangxi province, descended on the dog meat market campaigning against eating the animals.


Takeaway: A cage full of dogs is lifted like just another type of cargo

Grim: The dogs arrive alive in cages ready to be killed, cut up and cooked at the meat market in Yulin City, Guangxi province, China

Artist Pian Shan Kong knelt down in front of the dead animals confessing for people's sins as he apologised to the dead animals during the demonstration.

China is yet to make animal cruelty illegal and end the grim tradition despite campaigning by animal rights activists.

Pet lovers' associations have sprung up in Chinese cities over recent years.

While many Chinese enjoy rich dog meat, especially during cold winters, some object to the practice in some regions of beating dogs to death to release the blood into the meat.

A real dogs dinner: A disturbing picture of a dog dish being prepared in China

Dog dinner: Diners tuck into a meal which includes dog in Yulin, Guangxi province, China. The tradition dates back thousands of years

When food is scarce, dogs are eaten as an emergency food source around China in a practice which is seen as socially acceptable.

As the country becomes more affluent, a growing number of families are buying dogs as pets fuelling the growing campaign against animal cruelty.

In April, more than 500 dogs set to be slaughtered were saved when the truck they were being carried in to the slaughterhouse was intercepted by activists.

Many of the 505 creatures had barely survived their terrible ordeal, having endured cramped conditions and a lack of water during their near 1,000 mile journey by road.

But rescue came too late for 11 dogs which had succumbed to dehydration and exposure.

Grim: The dead animals lie scattered about ready to be cooked up and eaten in a Chinese restaurant

Dog dining: People tuck into dog meals in a restaurant in China in a grim tradition

Dog meat: The animals being prepared for a meal and a living dog, right

Chinese meal: Diners tuck into dishes in a restaurant which include dog

Video: CCN report into Chinese dog markets. WARNING: Contains graphic images


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