Dan Carter named BBC Overseas Sports Personality of the Year

Dan Carter has been named by the BBC as Overseas Sports Personality of the Year, beating beat Novak Djokovic, Katie Ledecky, Usain Bolt, Jordan Spieth and Serena Williams by public vote.

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Carter’s profile will have been helped by having the Rugby World Cup in the UK this year.

It’s interesting to see Carter rated ahead of his All Black captain Richie McCaw, who had a higher public profile than Carter and arguably has been more influential in ll Black successes.

However it’s good to see Carter getting this recognition. The only other New Zealander to get this award was Jonah Lomu in 1995.

Sports Personality of the Year: Dan Carter wins 2015 Overseas award

The highest ever points scorer in Test rugby, he won the World Player of the Year award for a third time in 2015.

The Sports Personality of the Year ceremony will take place at The SSE Arena in Belfast on Sunday, 20 December, and will be live on BBC One between 18:50-21:00 GMT.

The awards will be hosted by Gary Lineker, Clare Balding and Gabby Logan in front of a 7,500-strong audience in Northern Ireland, the first time the event has been hosted in the country.

Fly-half Carter, who joined French side Racing 92 after the World Cup, missed the All Blacks’ win in the 2011 final through injury but fought back to regain the number 10 shirt for the 2015 edition.

He went into the tournament, which took place in England in September and October, acknowledged as one of the greats of the game but with some doubts over his form and whether his body could still withstand the rigours of international rugby.

However, the longer the World Cup went on the better he played and, after landing a vital drop-goal in the edgy win over South Africa in the last four, a sublime performance in the final against the Wallabies saw him win the man of the match award.

In total he kicked 19 points, made 11 tackles and was an unruffled decision-making presence as New Zealand became the first team to defend the World Cup.

Carter, who retired from international rugby after the World Cup final, won 112 caps for the All Blacks in a Test career that started with victory over Wales in 2003.

He was born and raised in the town of Leeston, 30 miles south west of Christchurch in New Zealand’s South Island.

The fly-half made his debut for the Christchurch-based Crusaders Super Rugby team in 2003 and, bar a brief injury-hit spell with Catalan side Perpignan, remained with them until his move to Parisians Racing 92, for whom he made his debut in the 33-3 European Champions Cup win over Northampton earlier this month.

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In New Zealand Carter is known as a first five eight rather than a fly-half.

Carter is far from being an out there attention seeking extrovert.

His quiet spoken humbleness who let’s his deeds do most of the talking  is a very good Kiwi attribute.

Carter has been one of the most influential and successful players ever in one of the most influential and successful international sports teams ever.

 

Corbyn opposes Syrian air strikes

This isn’t really a big surprise, but the BBC reports that Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn opposes proposals for UK airstrikes in Syria and prefers a “comprehensive negoriated political settlement”.

How that could be started let alone achieved is not explained.

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BBC: Jeremy Corbyn ‘cannot support air strikes’

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn has written to his MPs to say he cannot support the prime minister’s proposals for air strikes against IS targets in Syria.

But Mr Corbyn’s intervention puts him on a collision course with his shadow cabinet, half of whom are thought to support action.

Shadow Foreign Secretary Hillary Benn told BBC News he found the case for strikes “compelling”.

David Cameron is trying to convince MPs action would make Britain’s “safer”.

He will hold a Commons vote if he thinks he can win it, possibly as early as next week.

I’m not a fan of bombing and killing generally, but there seems little option but to fight ISIS in Syria and Iraq, to reduce their indiscriminate and barbaric killings.

If you thought things were too PC now…

…see what the BBC was like in the 1940s, according to ‘1948 Guidelines for Light Entertainment  Producers of matters of taste’, as posted on Slate.

Filmmaker Samantha Horley recently posted an image of this set of “Guidelines,” which she found among her father’s effects, on her Facebook page. Horley told me that her aunt worked at the BBC as a secretary in the 1960s and 1970s; she thinks the page originally came from her aunt’s papers.

The BBC’s press office told me, over email, that the page looks like it came from The BBC Variety Programmes Policy Guide For Writers and Producers, published in 1948.

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The BBC reprinted the entire document as a book in the late 1990s; it’s now out of print, but here is a version in PDF. The longer document includes provisions that are less overtly amusing than this section but are interesting nonetheless, offering guidelines on libel and slander, religious and political references, and jokes about physical and mental disability.

From: The BBC’s Hilarious 1948 Style Guidelines “On Matters of Taste”

Changing flags of the Commonwealth

In Lochore: Give flag vote a chance the NZ Herald has an interesting picture of how flags have changed in the British Commonwealth as countries have become more independent.

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Only four out of twenty countries have retained their old flags.

New Zealand’s flag change process is getting interest back in the ‘old country’, the BBC report on How should New Zealand choose a new flag?

It’s a vexillologist’s dream. New Zealand has kicked off a public consultation amid a debate on changing its flag. But where should the nation draw its inspiration from?

When it comes to flag changes countries have often turned to symbols from nature and indigenous heritage, but politics is always and inevitably part of the formula.

PM John Key first mooted the change last year and called for dropping the Union Jack as it represents the country’s colonial era “whose time has passed”. He also complained that New Zealand’s flag looks too much like Australia’s.

Key has complained. Like in Flag needs to ‘scream NZ’: John Key.

“It’s just sheer confusion with Australia. Even at APEC [in China last month] they tried to take me to [Australian Prime Minister Tony] Abbott’s seat.”

We don’t want to follow the Aussies, we should lead them in flag distinction.

Russian provocation or UK over-reaction?

Some breaking news from the BBC is potentially a bit disturbing – Russian military jets ‘disrupted UK aviation’

Russian military planes flying near UK airspace caused “disruption to civil aviation” on Wednesday, the UK Foreign Office said.

It said the Russian aircraft did not enter UK airspace, but the manoeuvres were “part of increasing pattern of out-of-area operations” by Russia.

The planes were “escorted” by RAF jets “throughout the time they were in the UK area of interest”, officials added.

Russia’s ambassador has been summoned to “account for the incident”.

Diplomatic type language is used but for this to be reported and for the ambassador to be summoned it must be causing someone some concern.

More detail and comment from Reuters – Britain says fighter jets scrambled to intercept Russian bombers

British Typhoon fighter jets were scrambled to intercept two Russian Bear long-range bombers which had flown close to UK airspace, Britain’s Ministry of Defence (MoD) said on Thursday.

The Russian planes were detected flying over the Channel, south of England, on Wednesday and typhoons were launched from Royal Air Force (RAF) bases at Lossiemouth in Scotland and Coningsby in eastern England, the MoD said.

“The Russian planes were escorted by the RAF until they were out of the UK area of interest. At no time did the Russian military aircraft cross into UK sovereign airspace,” the Ministry of Defence said in a statement.

Last year, NATO conducted more than 100 intercepts of Russian aircraft, about three times as many as in 2013, amid sharply increased tensions between the West and Moscow over theUkraine crisis.

Elizabeth Quintana, a senior research fellow at defence think-tank the Royal United Services Institute said Wednesday’s incident was unusual however, and could be linked to Britain beginning an inquiry into the death nine years ago in London of Kremlin critic and ex-KGB spy Alexander Litvinenko.

“Normally Russian Bears come past Norway and down the North Sea. It could have been used to probe the RAF speed of reaction south,” she told the Daily Mail newspaper.

“Flying any military aircraft in or close to the sovereign airspace of another country signals displeasure or at worst aggression.”

And another side to the story: Russia Says Air Force Flight Near UK Complies With International Law

MOSCOW, January 29 (Sputnik) — Two Russian Air Force strategic bombers spotted near British airspace were conducting a planned 19-hour flight over the North Atlantic and did not breach international regulations or any nation’s borders, a Russian Air Force spokesman said Thursday.

“Two [Tupolev] Tu-95MS [Bear] strategic bombers… successfully completed the planned air patrols. The flight route passed through neutral waters near the Barents and Norwegian Seas, [as well as] the Atlantic Ocean. The flight duration was over 19 hours,” Col. Igor Klimov told RIA Novosti.

According to Klimov, Russian strategic bombers were planned to be escorted by RAF Typhoon aircraft, Norwegian F-16s and French Mirage fighters at different stages on their route.

The spokesman reiterated that the flight had been performed with strict adherence to international regulations on the use of airspace over neutral waters without violating states’ sovereign borders.

Complying with international law doesn’t mean it wasn’t deliberately provocative.

Or is the UK making more of this than it warrants?