Inside Strictly Come Dancing’s Joe Sugg and Dianne Buswell’s slick love pad

YouTube sensation Joe Sugg and his Strictly Come Dancing partner Dianne Buswell have shared loving photos from inside their home, and what a home it is.

The 27-year-old vlogger has given his fans an insight into the couple's London home through his ever-popular videos.

Joe bought the house in 2016 and excitedly shared the moment with his Instagram followers, saying, "I'll never forget this day" as he took a snap of his new house keys in the shiny new kitchen.

The bedroom, from which Joe films most of his videos, has two giant industrial-style lamps placed on the bedside tables next to the upholstered bed featuring plain white bedding.

The slick, contemporary kitchen is spacious and open plan, with grey glossy cabinets, white shiny work tops and matching white bar stools,complemented by the gorgeous wooden flooring
 

The kitchen is full of natural light as the floor to ceiling windows lead on to the wraparound garden and terrace.

Joe designed the living space for entertaining and that's exactly what he does. He is seen in one photo celebrating his 27th birthday in the kitchen with an AMAZING cake.

In the living room area, which leads from the kitchen, Joe has masculine-style furniture with a large grey corner sofa for lounging and a foosball table taking pride of place in the centre. A large grey clock is positioned next to the glass doors.

The grey sofa is complemented by red scatter cushions and surrounded by floor-length matching grey curtains.

One of the best features in the living room is Joe's home cinema with a white mounted projector on the ceiling, allowing the cute couple to enjoy movies and chill.

The striking staircase that leads from the kitchen through glass double doors is eye-catching to say the least as it shows off its under-stair lighting.

The neutral minimalist hallway also displays Joe's love of artwork exhibiting large comic-style prints on the walls.

Joe shared a photo from his bathroom which looks to consist of a free-standing white bath with a large indoor plant propped behind it.

Joe's home office which has three different computers on a corner desk including an iMac is where he films and edits his fantastic YouTube videos. Surrounding the screens is personal memorabilia showcasing his achievements.


 

Joe and Dianne have been together since last year when Joe was partnered with Dianne on Strictly Come Dancing .

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Me? I’m most unambitious: John Craven’s magical new memoirs

Me? I’m most unambitious: It doesn’t seem to have done John Craven’s career any harm though – and his magical new memoirs retell the best bits from cub reporter to Countryfile

  • John Craven who has been with Countryfile for 30 years has written his memoir
  • The broadcasting icon began his TV career when there was just two channels
  • He recalls moving from local newspapers to TV, before presenting Newsround
  • The 78-year-old says his wife Marilyn, has kept him grounded as his rock

Call him old-fashioned, but John Craven says he’s always been what he calls an ‘appointment-to-view’ person, someone who likes to note that a particular show is on at a particular time, requiring you to make the effort to sit down to watch. 

It’s why he likes presenting Countryfile. 

Enough people – in fact more than five million of us – still make an appointment to settle down in front of it on a Sunday night, often with the whole family, which pleases him.

What a surprise, then, to learn that at home, John – or Uncle John as a generation of us think of him, thanks to his work on John Craven’s Newsround, Multi-Coloured Swap Shop and Saturday Superstore – is slowly beginning to feel the lure of on-demand TV.

‘Just recently, Mrs C and I have started to move with the times and binge-watch box sets,’ he says. 

John Craven, 78, (pictured with his four-year-old dachshund Dora) who has been with Countryfile for 30 years, has detailed his life and time working in broadcasting in a memoir

‘Killing Eve is rather good.’ Next, he’ll be saying he has an iPad. 

‘No, I’m not terribly into technology. I don’t do Facebook or anything like that. I don’t tweet.’

I tell him that Kirstie Allsopp says if you’re on telly, you have to be on Twitter. 

‘No you don’t,’ he says. 

‘I suppose some people rely on how many people follow them to impress others. At my age I don’t need to. 

‘And also, I’m told very nasty things can be said on Twitter, and I don’t want to read that.’ 

Surely no one could say nasty things about John Craven? He shakes his head. ‘I don’t know, but I’m not going to risk it.’

Nor is he going to suddenly pop up in sequins on Strictly. Mrs C, his wife, Marilyn, who’s been part of every career decision John has ever made, wouldn’t sanction it. 

‘We’ve always worked as a team and I’ve been so grateful to her for her ideas and opinions.

‘We work out between us what’s going to happen. And we decided I wasn’t going to do things I might later regret, like Strictly or the jungle. 

John (pictured with Keith Chegwin, Maggie Philbin and Noel Edmonds on Multi-Coloured Swap Shop in 1979) recalls starting his television career when there was just two channels

‘I have no need. My career isn’t faltering.’

But you don’t need to have a faltering career now to go on Strictly. Certainly not. It’s just showbiz, surely? He looks baffled. 

‘I never think of myself as being showbiz.’ 

This from a man who’s whizzed through London in a sports car with George Michael as part of a Newsround story, and whose first celebrity interviewee was Sir Michael Caine.

How to pinpoint what John Craven is, then? A BBC legend, certainly. 

A broadcasting icon. At 78, he’s just written his memoirs, which tell not just his life story but that of the British broadcasting industry. 

‘A lot of it sounds out of the ark,’ he admits of the book, Headlines And Hedgerows. 

‘When I started it was black-and-white television and there were only two channels, the BBC and ITV. 

‘There was no career path as such, either. You didn’t need a degree to get into the BBC. I wouldn’t have got in even ten years later. 

‘I was part of that group, with people like John Humphreys, who all started out in local newspapers. 

‘It was still difficult to get in, but once you did the world was your oyster.’

For the book he went rummaging through the archives to remind himself of what happened when, but this was quite a difficult task. 

No recordings exist of many early episodes of Newsround, which he presented from 1972 to 1989 in his trademark jumpers. Scandalous, really. 

‘They were just wiped,’ he says. 

The broadcasting icon  (pictured with Margaret Thatcher on Saturday Superstore in 1987) was given his big TV break as a presenter on BBC Newsround

Back in the day, when the BBC decided John should present the first news show aimed at children, protocol went out of the window, along with his suit and tie. 

He’s never needed them since, much to his delight. 

Hilariously, one of the last TV appearances he made in a suit was in 1971 when he reported from the very first Glastonbury Fayre, as it was known in those days. 

‘I was surrounded by hippies while wearing a business suit and talking about sex, drugs, rock’n’roll and mud.’

Still, he sometimes misses the jacket and tie. 

A cheeky chappie 

John (pictured on Newsround) recalls being fearful of what an interviewee would say on live broadcast

I worked on Newsround for 17 years, and in 1982 I was in Portsmouth as part of the live broadcast team for the return of the Falklands Task Force fleet. 

Amid the cheering crowds of relatives, I pointed the microphone at one small boy and asked if he was excited. 

He said, ‘My mum can’t wait to get my dad upstairs again.’

Wondering what on earth he was going to say next, and fearing the worst, I couldn’t stop him from adding, ‘Because he’s only half-finished painting the bathroom.’ 

‘I haven’t had to wear a suit for work since I was on regional TV, and sometimes I hanker to put one on. 

‘Everyone else spends the weekend being casual because they’ve been in a suit all week, but if I go out I want to put a suit on. 

‘I still have a few that fit!’

It’s the fact that his face has always fitted in the fast-moving TV world that is the true miracle. 

My favourite anecdote in the book involves him pitching up at a showbiz party and being greeted by Simon Cowell. 

‘John, you look great. What work have you had done?’ Cowell asked. 

Today, John raises an eyebrow, and not just to prove he still can. 

‘I had to say, “Nothing. No Botox.” I considered dyeing my hair once, but decided against it.’

Why is he still working? Because he can, and on his own terms. He picks and chooses his Countryfile assignments these days. 

‘I used to do 46 programmes a year and the travelling was just too much. 

‘Now I do maybe ten shows a year. 

‘They say, “John, do you fancy doing this one?” and I say, “Yes please. Oh, thanks.”’

He once considered a more showbizzy career. 

He wanted to be an actor and thought of applying to RADA, but opted for the more reliable weekly wage of a trainee reporter. 

Who knows what might have been had he gone down that route? 

John (pictured with the Countryfile team as they’re joined on the show by Prince Charles in 2013) says Jonathan Dimbleby who went to ITV instead of presenting Newsround, admits to wishing he’d been offered an opportunity on Countryfile

‘I was in an amateur drama group with Peter O’Toole and he did quite well,’ he says.

His early career sounds like a riot. He recalls trying to phone in his story after having been in the pub (‘I crumpled to the floor afterwards’), and sending the (very much alive) Dean of Ripon his own obituary. 

He even helped save a life – wading into the sea to pull out a woman who was walking in fully clothed. 

He was rewarded by being hit with her umbrella. It later transpired she had absconded from a local psychiatric unit.

He moved from local papers to local television, working first in Newcastle – where he met Marilyn – and then in Bristol. 

But his big break occurred when he auditioned to front a children’s current affairs programme called Search. 

Then along came a new show, a news bulletin aimed specifically at children. 

His name was not in the frame at first. 

‘They asked Jonathan Dimbleby to do it. But he’d just been offered This Week, ITV’s version of Panorama, and thought that was a better career move, so they got me. 

‘Funnily enough we had an email chat about it recently. He said, “The only programme that I wish I had been offered but never was is Countryfile.”’

John Craven’s Newsround (‘they wanted to make it accessible, so I was the only person who had their name in front of the news’) was revolutionary, but also ‘a huge gamble. 

John (pictured at Ascot in 2015) revealed he’s turned down many magazine offers for pieces on Life With the Cravens, as he doesn’t want to be part of the publicity circus

‘It could have been a disaster, and it would have been awful having my name attached to it’.

He says the show was a hit because it was so short that ‘in those days, without remote controls, it wasn’t worth getting up to turn the channel over’. 

It meant pretty much every child in the land knew and trusted John Craven.

And when those child fans grew up to be BBC bosses themselves? ‘It served me well,’ he notes, recalling the day he went to see Danny Cohen, then controller of BBC1. 

Bradford’s fab four puppies 

One of the stories I wrote while working for a news agency in Bradford became national news the night the Beatles came to the city’s Gaumont Cinema in 1963. 

The place was jam-packed with teenage girls who never stopped screaming.

So many were hysterical, long before the Fab Four were due on stage, that the warm-up comedian gave up trying to tell jokes and just kept shouting out, ‘John! Paul! George! Ringo!’ I met the boys briefly before the show, and we got a picture. 

But the real news came the next morning when we learned that a litter of puppies had been abandoned. 

We picked out the four males, and named them… well, have a guess. 

Their photograph was carried in just about every national paper, and the whole litter was quickly adopted.

‘You think, “He’s a young thruster. Will he tell me I’ve been around too long?” Then we walked into his glass-panelled room and he said, “01 811 8055”, because he used to watch Swap Shop and try to get through on the phone lines.’

Alongside Newsround he paired up with the more madcap Noel Edmonds and Keith Chegwin on Swap Shop and Saturday Superstore, where he interviewed prime ministers and pop stars. 

And yet the idea of celebrity for himself, or his family, is out of the question. 

It’s striking how little of his family life is in his book. 

‘I turned down so many magazine offers for pieces on Life With the Cravens, because I just didn’t want to be part of the publicity circus,’ he admits.

He was married before Marilyn, but that just gets one line in his memoirs. 

When he met Marilyn, who was a production secretary on Look North, he was struck by the fact she was a ‘strong northern woman, and all I had been looking for’. 

He squirms a little when I ask about how they managed to keep a marriage going in the fickle TV world. 

‘It helped that she worked in TV. She knew how it was. 

‘We hadn’t been together that long when I was asked to move to Bristol and I wasn’t sure if she would say yes, but she did, and it was the best thing that ever happened to me. 

‘She keeps me grounded. She’s been my rock.

‘Without being too soppy, she was always there for me, which is the main thing in my business because it can be precarious. 

‘You’re very exposed, and it’s always good to be able to get that reassurance.’

John (pictured on the Lorraine show in 2016) who says he hasn’t made millions from his TV career, believes he won’t be able to demand a big pay rise now

John was always a conscientious sort, only ever missing one day of filming for Newsround when his eldest daughter was born. 

The second ‘had the consideration to arrive on a Saturday’. 

He has always been Mr BBC. Has he never been tempted to go after the big money on commercial stations? ‘No. I’ve always dreamt of being on a big-budget programme but it’s never happened. 

‘I’ve had a reasonable life out of it, able to pay the mortgage all these years and support my family, but I haven’t made millions.

‘Lots of people flit from channel to channel. I didn’t even flit from programme to programme. 

‘I only did about three, really. Most unambitious.’ 

Has he ever demanded a big pay rise? He laughs. ‘You accept them when they come along, but no, it’s my dream but it will never happen now. 

‘That idea someone will come along and say, “We’re going to pay you a vast amount to do this programme.” Ha. In your dreams, John.’

The biggest decision he and Marilyn made, he says, was for him to leave children’s TV. 

‘I knew I had to make that leap. I’d seen too many people get stuck.’

Hello Countryfile, which, astonishingly, he has been with for 30 years now. 

He puts his career longevity and his youthfulness down to the same thing – careful choices and being sensible. 

‘I don’t do anything. A lot of walking, but that’s it,’ he says of his fitness regime. 

‘Until four or five years ago I used to go to the gym quite regularly but I don’t feel the need for it now. 

‘As long as I can still put one foot in front of the other.’

His mother suffered from motor neurone disease. Does he worry about his own health? ‘I’m past that. You just hope tomorrow you’ll still be alive. 

‘My parents lived until their late seventies, but they seemed really old. 

‘Now I know so many people around my age who are so young, doing all kinds of things.

‘I wouldn’t dream of being thought of as a pensioner. I feel 20 years younger than I am.’

He’s fully aware of how unusual he is. ‘Lots of new presenters are here today, gone tomorrow, but I’m still around. 

Get carter half a lager 

John’s first celebrity interview for TV was with Michael Caine (pictured)

My first celebrity interview for TV was one of the biggest stars I’ve ever met – Michael Caine, who was in Newcastle filming the classic 1971 gangster movie Get Carter.

We talked in a tough drinking den where he was shooting, and when we’d finished I suggested having a beer. 

‘It’s a little early,’ Michael said, ‘so I’ll just have a half of lager.’ 

The barman shook his head. They didn’t serve lager.

‘Why not?’ asked the film star. 

‘Because,’ came the devastating reply, ‘we don’t get many women in here.’

‘I’ve always been aware it could end tomorrow, though. One of the first things a new person in charge of a show will do is to change the face of the main presenter to make an impact. 

‘Luckily, I’ve survived a lot of those people.’ Has he ever clashed with a producer? He stirs his coffee very deliberately.

‘I don’t think so, no. I’ve managed to do things my way most of the time. I think I’m quite easy-going. I’m not prima donna-ish.’

Hilariously, he recalls a news report in a tabloid newspaper when he was 46 which claimed he was about to be fired from Newsround for being too old. 

That turned out not to be true. Yet when others have been let go for that reason, he’s survived. 

We talk about the events of 2009 when Countryfile was overhauled and a whole swathe of presenters lost their jobs. 

In 2011, Miriam O’Reilly, then 53, took the BBC to an employment tribunal, claiming age and sex discrimination. Her age discrimination claim was upheld.

Today, he concedes that he did not understand why the changes to the programme were necessary. 

‘It had worked successfully for a long time,’ he says. He also calls the clear-out the ‘night of the long knives’, which hints at the brutality involved. 

That said, he clearly feels that everyone has moved on. ‘Certainly it upset the people who suffered, but a lot of them have recovered,’ he says. 

‘Charlotte Smith is back on the programme. Ben Fogle has done very well. People think it was just the women who were sacked, but Ben felt very bad. 

‘Michaela Strachan accepted it, and she’s done very well since.’

As the father of Countryfile, so to speak, did he feel a sense of responsibility? He shakes his head. 

‘I don’t see why I should. Obviously I was sympathetic to the people who lost their jobs. They were friends. But everyone moves on.’

John (pictured) says things have changed in the TV industry, he’s noticed an increase in older people on screen

Hold on, though. Miriam was right to make her stand, wasn’t she? The landscape at the BBC has changed, for others. 

‘Well things have changed. Whether it’s to do with that or not I don’t know, but there are a lot of older people on TV and when I watch someone like Gloria Hunniford on Rip Off Britain, it’s good to see.’

Gloria is just a few months older than John.  But would he have had his career had he been a woman? ‘How do I know that? I’ve no idea,’ he says.

The word retirement is still not in his vocabulary. He has said previously that he would have to be retired, rather than pulling the plug himself, and this is still the case. 

As we part, he offers advice on writing up this interview – the sort of advice he gave younger reporters when he was Mr Newsround. 

‘Keep it short, keep it simple, keep it safe,’ he says. It has served John Craven very well.  

Headlines And Hedgerows: A Memoir by John Craven is published on Thursday by Michael Joseph, priced £20. © John Craven. To order a copy for £16 (p&p free) call 0844 571 0640. Offer valid until 3 August 2019.

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Experts call for ban on sweetener used in Coca-Cola over safety fears

Experts call for fresh ban on ‘seriously flawed’ artificial sweetener used in thousands of products including Coca-Cola and Pepsi over safety fears

  • Academics at University of Sussex claim EU assessment giving green light to aspartame was defective
  • It is a calorie-free sugar alternative and is roughly 200 times sweeter
  • Professor Erik Millstone there are legitimate safety questions and evidence of neurological harm 

British experts have cast doubt on the safety of an artificial sweetener used in thousands of products including big brand diet soft drinks from Coca-Cola and Pepsi.

Academics at the University of Sussex claim that an EU food watchdog assessment giving a clean bill of health to aspartame, a calorie-free sugar alternative, was seriously flawed.

Professor Erik Millstone, who has been a long-time critic of the additive, argues that there are many scientific studies that raise legitimate safety questions together with circumstantial evidence of neurological harm.

British experts have cast doubt on the safety of an artificial sweetener used in thousands of products including big brand diet soft drinks from Coca-Cola and Pepsi (file photo)

As a result, he is calling for the suspension of authorisation to sell or use aspartame in the EU pending an independent investigation.

He argues that anything from 2-10 per cent of consumers suffer neurological effects, ranging from blurred vision to headaches and, in a small number of worst cases, seizures.

‘I have had about 250 people come to me saying they think aspartame caused a problem,’ he said. 

‘I would describe it as strong circumstantial evidence that they have had neurological symptoms and have eventually come to the conclusion aspartame was responsible.’

Prof Millstone has previously been criticised by the makers of aspartame, who have questioned his expertise, accused him of ignoring scientific evidence and suggested he is obsessed.

Aspartame is roughly 200 times sweeter than table sugar and has been used as a calorie-free alternative in more than 6,000 consumer foods and drinks, including Diet Coke, Coke Zero and Pepsi Max. 


Aspartame is roughly 200 times sweeter than table sugar and has been used as a calorie-free alternative in more than 6,000 consumer foods and drinks, including Diet Coke, Coke Zero and Pepsi Max

It is sold worldwide under the trade names NutraSweet, Candarel and Equal.

A research paper by Prof Millstone and Dr Elisabeth Dawson details what it says are serious flaws in the way the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) assessed research on aspartame in 2013 and declared it safe.

The academics argue that – since 1974 – scientists have warned of the risks of brain damage, liver and lung cancer, and brain lesions. 

They also point to an EU-funded project published in 2010, which found that pregnant women who consume a high number of fizzy drinks containing artificial sweeteners appeared to be at greater risk of having a premature baby.

The study, published in the Archives of Public Health, says an EFSA panel discounted the results of 73 studies that indicated aspartame could be harmful, but treated 84 per cent of studies providing no evidence of harm as useful and reliable.

Gavin Partington, director-general at the British Soft Drinks Association, said: ‘The author of this study is a committed critic of aspartame, despite the substantial body of scientific research that undermines his claims. 

According to all leading health authorities in the world, as well as Cancer Research UK and Diabetes UK, low- and no-calorie sweeteners are safe.

‘A study on behalf of the UK Food Standards Agency found no negative health links related to consumption of aspartame.’

The EFSA stood by its decision to authorise aspartame. It said: ‘EFSA’s opinion represents one of the most comprehensive risk assessments of aspartame undertaken. 

After a review of all available scientific data and consumption information, EFSA concluded that aspartame [is] safe for human consumption at current levels of exposure.’

The International Sweeteners Association, which speaks for manufacturers, said: ‘The EFSA scientific opinion on aspartame concluded that aspartame is not a safety concern.’

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‘I really didn’t want to finish 2nd again’: 3rd time’s the charm for Klughart

As Danny Klughart watched friend and co-leader Jehremy Ryde’s putt catch the edge of the cup and then lip out, he knew he was champion.

“I was really excited,” Klughart said. “I’ve finished second at the [Saskatchewan men’s amateur golf tournament] twice, so I really didn’t want to finish second again.”

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The Prince Albert native forced a playoff hole on Thursday, putting up a stellar 6-under 66, in the third — and what was scheduled to be final — round.

Klughart and Ryde began their playoff on the 18th tee box early Thursday evening, but following their drives they were forced to postpone the winner-take-all playoff to Friday morning, due to plough winds that littered the field branches with debris.

“I looked at my caddy and said, ‘we’ve got to get out of here, don’t go anywhere near the trees,’” Ryde said. “I had no intention of trying to hurry up to finish, [I] just [wanted] to get to safety.”

“I was like, ‘man, can we go in? This is insane,’” Klughart said. “Then Jehremy walked over and he [said] get away from the trees. [Then] a branch came down beside me and after that everyone was just sprinting for the clubhouse.”

“It was pretty scary.”

Conditions at the course were much better Friday morning following an extensive clean-up by the grounds crew at the Saskatoon Golf and Country Club.

With the tournament being extended by a day, the eventual champion needed a place to stay on Thursday night and found it from the very man he was competing against.

“Yeah, I stayed in Jehremy’s trophy room last night,” Klughart said. “It’s just his spare bedroom, [but] his trophies were out in full force.”

“Danny and [I] are great friends, we always have been,” Ryde said. “So I was glad to give him a spare room.”

When asked if any late-night “pranks” were pulled to potentially get Klughart off of his game, Ryde had this to say.

“I was trying to get my cat, maybe, to bug him a little bit, “Ryde said with a laugh.

“But no, it was all in fun.”

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Saskatoon community group concerned with at-risk youth

Don Meikle said he’s noticed a change with at-risk kids who use his youth centre in downtown Saskatoon.

The executive director of EGADZ said there is a lack of options to keep teens busy.

“We’re not doing a really good job of competing for that attention or we’re not competing for that acceptance. We don’t accept these kids as much as gang members accept (them). There are people that are recruiting these kids to get in trouble,” he said on Friday.

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These concerns are raised following 11 teens being arrested and charged after a Saskatoon Police Service (SPS) raid earlier this week.

The teens, some as young as 13 and 14, and three adults are facing more than 470 drug and weapons charges.

“These young kids on the street, there’s really not a lot of supports for them like after hours and late nights,” Meikle added.

Meikle said a unified effort from community organizations has to be made in order to help youth avoid being drawn into gangs.

“We can’t give up on these kids. We can’t just put them in jail because it’s not going to do anything. It makes it worse,” he said.

SPS is one organization that has seen its involvement in schools grow.

“We’re doing as much as we can to be involved at the elementary school level and to be involved not only with the students but their families because it extends to the home in many cases,” SPS public affairs director Alyson Edwards told Global News.

She added the students who participate in the programs tend to be fairly involved and police have seen a difference in their attitudes.

The teens facing the drug and weapons charges were back in court on Friday.

Five of them have been released on bail with several conditions including having no contact with gang members or their co-accused and not to wear any gang paraphernalia.

Police documents link the group to the Hustle Crew Street Gang.

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A Plate Adjustment Helped D.J. LeMahieu With Yankees, and Skeptical Fans

Whenever infielder D.J. LeMahieu has one of the performances the Yankees have come to rely on this season — a multi-hit game with several runs driven in — the tweet officially announcing his signing on Jan. 14 resurfaces as a playful reminder of how much has changed.

“Today, the Yankees announced that they have signed INF DJ LeMahieu to a 2-year contract through the 2020 season,” the first part of the Yankees’ tweet read.

The replies weren’t pretty. “Just gonna leave this here …” read one response, followed by a screenshot of LeMahieu’s statistics from last season that showed his struggles away from the hitter-friendly Coors Field in Denver. Another response read simply, “Lol.”

“That’s a weird way to spell Manny Machado,” Anthony Sessa, a 28-year-old Yankees fan, tweeted.

For many, including LeMahieu himself, his Yankees arrival didn’t quite make sense. They had plenty of infielders, including the All-Star Gleyber Torres at second base, the position where LeMahieu had won several awards for his defense.

“I definitely got a lot of texts, ‘Surprising sign,’” LeMahieu recalled recently. His friends and former teammates didn’t understand why he went to the Yankees.

LeMahieu has not only fit, he has emerged as the catalyst for the team with the best record in baseball entering Friday. His hitting prowess earned him the nickname The Machine, coined by catcher Gary Sanchez, and his defensive versatility rescued the Yankees through all of their injuries.

“He’s been one of the most valuable players in the league,” Yankees Manager Aaron Boone said earlier this month. “He’s been everything we could’ve hoped when we signed him.”

Entering a game Friday against his former team, the Colorado Rockies, LeMahieu led the American League with a .329 average. He has produced key hits in critical moments. When he started at second base for the A.L. during the All-Star Game earlier this month, it proved he wasn’t just a product of Coors Field.

“That guy rakes,” Yankees center fielder Aaron Hicks said. “He’s a true hitter.”

The Yankees lured LeMahieu, the 2016 National League batting champion for hitting .348, to New York with a two-year, $24 million deal. That looks like a bargain now, yet seemed puzzling when the deal was made in the winter.

At the time, the Yankees already had Miguel Andujar penciled in at third base, Luke Voit or Greg Bird at first base, Troy Tulowitzki as a placeholder at shortstop until Didi Gregorius’s return from elbow surgery in the summer, and Torres at second base. But the Yankees, who only briefly considered Machado, knew that depth was vital — and they were later proven right with substantial injuries to Andujar, Bird, Tulowitzki and others.

LeMahieu, though, was a three-time Gold Glove winner at second base, so why would he give up excellence at one position for a multi-positional role?

“Winning a Gold Glove is cool,” said LeMahieu, who had occasionally played first and third base earlier in his career. “But I think showing up to the yard and knowing we’re going to win every day is a pretty good feeling, too.”

LeMahieu, 31, pointed to a deeper reason for his willingness to sacrifice the security of second base: the Los Angeles Dodgers. All those years of facing the Dodgers, who have won the N.L. West six straight seasons and appeared in the past two World Series, showed LeMahieu the value of versatility. The Dodgers’ rosters of late have featured Swiss-Army-knife-like players who can handle multiple positions and pose a daunting challenge to any team’s matchups.

“They weren’t made to just get to the playoffs, but win the playoffs,” LeMahieu said. “You bring in a new pitcher and they have a whole new lineup. It’s annoying to play against. But I saw how it worked there and I saw it as a similar situation here.”

Even though LeMahieu had the chance to play second base more often elsewhere, such as the Tampa Bay Rays, the Yankees appeared to have the best offer, according to Yankees General Manager Brian Cashman, and LeMahieu said he wanted to play for a team devoted to winning. No playing time was promised, LeMahieu said, but he trusted the Yankees.

“There are so many good players here and I just felt like I was going to fit somewhere or another,” he said. “I just didn’t know how.”

The Yankees bet that LeMahieu’s athleticism and drive would allow him to adapt to other positions without issue, and his high-contact approach was attractive for a home run-bopping team.

LeMahieu has displayed a little more edge than expected, from his emotion on the field to his comments off it. Earlier this season, Boone said opponents shouldn’t be fooled by LeMahieu’s quiet intensity. “He’s out there to rip your heart out.”

Before he could prove his worth in New York, LeMahieu needed to tweak his hitting. He was coming off a 2018 season in which he made three trips to the injured list and hit .276 in 128 games, his lowest totals in at least four years. And the difference between his hitting at thin-air Coors Field and on the road was more pronounced than in the past.

An underlying attribute bugged LeMahieu. Because he hit the ball hard yet at a low angle, LeMahieu said the Rockies suggested last season that he adjust his hitting angle to produce more home runs. He toyed with that and hit a career best 15 home runs, but felt inconsistent all season.

“What they were saying is true,” LeMahieu said. “But the best thing for me was that I came back this off-season and I said, ‘The hitter I was last year wasn’t me.’”

So he rededicated himself to being, above all, a tough at-bat for opponents, and using all fields. He is so dedicated to that ethos that he said it bothered him two seasons ago when opponents shifted their defense often against him. Last year, he pulled the ball to left field more than ever.

LeMahieu was reassured during his first conversation with the Yankees hitting coaches, Marcus Thames and P.J. Pilittere. They told him to be the best version of himself, hitting the ball to center and right fields, not necessarily over the fence. “That was the best thing I could’ve heard coming here,” LeMahieu said.

Thames said the Yankees didn’t want to change LeMahieu’s proven right-handed swing. All they did, Thames said, after examining past seasons was suggest that LeMahieu be more aggressive early in the count with runners on base. The result: entering Friday’s game, LeMahieu was second in the major leagues with a .439 average with runners in scoring position.

“He took it and ran with it,” Thames said. “He’s doing a heck of a job.”

What makes LeMahieu one of the best at making contact in an era full of players using home run-focused, strikeout-prone uppercut hacks is his flat swing that sweeps through the strike zone. Any photo of LeMahieu mid-swing shows him dropping his right knee low to the ground.

“His barrel gets in the back of the zone early and it says in there,” Thames said. “I’m a big fan of guys using their lower half and he really uses it to the extreme.”

LeMahieu shrugged off questions about his swing, saying it had evolved over the years and that he didn’t think much about its mechanics. He said he didn’t know why he was hitting for more power this season — his launch angle (6.2 percent), slugging percentage (.508) and home runs (13 home runs through 87 games) are on pace to be career highs — beyond hitting the ball hard.

“I just feel like I’m in a good place right now and my swing is repeatable,” he said.

LeMahieu said his experience with the Yankees has been everything he hoped for, despite the initial skepticism.

“It wasn’t an obvious fit,” he said. “It just wasn’t. But it worked out and it’s working and hopefully it works out in the playoffs.”

And for those fans who have been teased since January for their disbelief, LeMahieu has indeed turned out better than everyone hoped.

“This is better than the best case scenario,” Sessa said in a telephone interview. “I’m never happier to have been wrong.”

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Pompeo rejects North Korean charges on military drills

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has rejected charges from North Korea’s Foreign Ministry that U.S. plans for military exercises with South Korea are in breach of agreements between North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and President Donald Trump.

North Korea’s Foreign Ministry spokesman said on Tuesday Trump had reaffirmed in a meeting with Kim last month that joint exercises would be halted and the U.S. decision to forge ahead with them was “clearly a breach” of the two leaders’ agreements at a summit in Singapore last year.

The spokesman said this was putting a resumption of nuclear talks with the United States at risk and the ministry said Washington’s pattern of “unilaterally reneging on its commitments” was leading Pyongyang to reconsider its commitment to discontinue tests of nuclear weapons and intercontinental ballistic missiles.

Pompeo was asked about the North Korean statements in an interview conducted on Wednesday with the EWTN Catholic television network, a transcript of which the State Department released on Friday.

“I saw those comments,” Pompeo said. “I think we’re doing exactly what President Trump promised Chairman Kim we would do with respect to those exercises. I think we’re going to – we’ll get that right. I’m confident that these conversations are going to continue.”

Asked if the talks with North Korea, stalled since a failed February summit between Trump and Kim in Hanoi, would restart soon, Pompeo said: “I hope so.”

“Chairman Kim made a commitment that they would,” Pompeo added. “He said that in several weeks he would put his working-level team back together; we’re ready to go.”

Trump had appeared to revitalize efforts to persuade North Korea to give up its nuclear weapons when he met Kim on the border between the Koreas last month and said they had agreed to resume working-level talks stalled since the Hanoi summit collapsed.

Pompeo said at the time the talks would likely happen “sometime in July, … probably in the next two or three weeks,” but dates have yet to be announced and the North Korean statements have raised doubts about when – and whether – they will go ahead.

While the United States and South Korea have halted major joint exercises, long seen by North Korea as a rehearsal for war, since a pledge by Trump in Singapore. But smaller ones have continued and Washington still enforces punishing international sanctions on Pyongyang.

The Pentagon said this week it was preparing to conduct a “routine” joint training program, but suggested the drills had been scaled back to facilitate diplomacy.

Admiral Philip Davidson, head of the U.S. Indo-Pacific Command, told the Aspen Security Forum on Thursday that his orders were to proceed with the exercises next month.

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Kellogg’s shrinks cornflake packs by 70g while keeping price same

Cereal giant Kellogg’s shrinks cornflake packs by 70g while keeping the price the same and claims the change is to ‘reduce broken flakes’

  • Kellog’s old 790g pack cost £2.69 and company claims size reduced because boxes were being overfilled
  • New 720g pack introduced to stop issues such as ‘broken flakes and dust’
  • Last year box of Kellog’s Coco Pops dropped 10 per cent from 800g to 720g
  • Small Coco Pops bag fropped from 550g to 510g because of recipe change reducing sugar  

First it was bread, then biscuits. Now our cereals are falling victim to ‘shrinkflation’.

Kellogg’s Corn Flakes are the latest product to get smaller as the price stays the same.

Family packs have shrunk, but the recommended price remains £2.69 – hiking the cost per kilogram from £3.41 to £3.74.


Family packs of Kellogs Corn Flakes have shrunk, but the recommended price remains £2.69 – hiking the cost per kilogram from £3.41 to £3.74. The size has reduced from 790g to 720g. Company claims change made to reduce ‘broken flakes and dust’

Kellogg’s said: ‘We reduced the weight to reduce broken flakes and dust which is caused by overfilling. 

‘Kellogg’s Corn Flakes has decreased from 790g to 720g because these boxes were being overfilled, causing quality issues.’

Last year a large box of Kellogg’s Coco Pops dropped 10 per cent from 800g to 720g and a small one from 550g to 510g – which Kellogg’s say was the result of a recipe change reducing sugar by 40 per cent.

Adam French of consumer watchdog Which? said manufacturers ‘must be upfront rather than using poor-sounding excuses’.

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Planks of wood fly off lorry and smash into car’s windscreen in China

Driver has a lucky escape after planks of wood fly off a lorry and smash into his windscreen on Chinese highway

  • The car and lorry were on Quanzhou–Nanning Expressway in southern China
  • Motorist was fast approaching truck stacked with planks in adjacent lane
  • About seven planks suddenly flew off and left gaping hole in car’s windscreen
  • No one was injured during the incident in Sanming city, Fujian province 

A driver had a narrow escape when several planks of wood flew off a lorry and smashed into his windscreen.

Dashcam video shows the truck – filled with stacks of the planks – travelling down the right-hand lane of the Quanzhou–Nanning Expressway in southern China. 

Meanwhile, a car is seen fast approaching along the left lane, during the incident in Sanming city, Fujian province, on June 29 just after midday. 

The truck stacked high with planks of wood hurtles along the Quanzhou–Nanning Expressway in southern China – when some of them start to become loose

The driver of the car fast approaching in the left lane can only watch as several planks fly towards his vehicle

At least one plank makes contact with his windshield during the incident on June 29 in Sanming city, Fujian province

The car driver gasps as the glass shatters – forcing him to head towards the hard shoulder. Meanwhile, the lorry driver carries on – seemingly unaware of what’s happened

Suddenly, about seven planks come loose and fly towards the other vehicle on the quiet road.

At least one of the pieces of wood smashes into the windscreen, instantly shattering it, and leaving a gaping hole.  

As the car driver cries in shock and moves over to the hard shoulder, the lorry continues on its way – the driver seemingly oblivious to the carnage in his wake. 

Fortunately, no one was injured. The case is under further investigation. 

The car driver – who was uninjured – shows the damage to his vehicle on the quiet road

 

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‘Lion King’ sidewalk ads in Halifax draw uproar from city, pedestrians

There’s been a lot of talk about the release of Disney Motion Pictures’ remake of The Lion King.

But in Halifax, painted promotions popping up on sidewalks and bike paths are causing quite the uproar with pedestrians, while the city is calling it graffiti and asking people to report it.

“This would definitely be considered graffiti or in the graffiti category,” said Bryn Langille, a spokesperson with the Halifax Regional Municipality. “The municipality definitely doesn’t give permission for people to do this. Our bylaw S-300 respecting streets and sidewalks actually prevents this very thing from happening.”

It’s not clear who is behind the act of tagging and promoting the movie.

Some say they don’t mind the promotions.

“I think it’s great. It’s a classic movie making a comeback and I think a lot of people are really excited for it,” said Ryan Gillis. “I don’t think a little bit of stencil on one small section of the city is really that big of a burden.”

Others weren’t impressed by the sidewalk advertisements at all.

“I don’t really like it. I think they should ask before they put advertisements all across the city,” said Victor Buckwold. “It’s not art, it’s not a gift to us. It’s their advertisement and I’m not sure it was the right move by them.”

Global News reached out to Walt Disney Studios to ask about the street ads but didn’t immediately hear back.

As for the city, they say it’s hard to try and pinpoint who is behind the graffiti.

“It is very difficult to try and track who is responsible for this, especially given the fact that it’s a film that’s being promoted widely across the municipality, across the country, and across the world even,” said Langille.

The city has power washed some of the advertisements and asks anyone who comes across the sidewalk stencils to report it to 311.

This is not the first time Halifax has removed sidewalk advertising downtown. In 2016, an optical business was told to remove chalk drawings from in front of its store.

Similar street graffiti promoting The Lion King was also reported in Ottawa this week.

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