1 / 12
12. John Travolta and Olivia Newton-John, This Christmas - As if they deliberately intended to destroy any fond memory we had of Grease, Danny and Sandy made their long-awaited reunion on a wan album of overproduced holiday chestnuts, heralded by a cover designed to make grown men believe not in Santa but the bogeyman. Olivia looks fine, really, but after we've seen what most people would suspect is Travolta's real hairline in Savages, why he thinks he looks cool as a Christmas Chia Pet defies imagination. More hot chocolate, kids?

The Worst Album Covers Of 2012

Album

art is shrinking, from the LPs we once fondled to the tiny digital covers we

now squint to comprehend. But they'll never be too small to bring out the worst

in musicians and their art directors, as cover art always has. Nothing in 2012

could quite compare with the horror that was Lady Gaga's Born This Way album artwork in '11. But a lot of artists made their

best/worst attempts to uglify their covers, from Ke$ha to Carrie Underwood to

the Killers. Here are a dozen of the year's weirdest or most wretched album

sleeves.

  • Katie Price claims police 'pull me over just to be nosy' in furious rant against latest driving ban
    News
    Yahoo Celebrity UK

    Katie Price claims police 'pull me over just to be nosy' in furious rant against latest driving ban

    The reality TV star has had her driving licence taken away for two years.

  • This sham of a Queen’s speech could prove the end for Boris Johnson
    News
    The Guardian

    This sham of a Queen’s speech could prove the end for Boris Johnson

    Folderol, hokum and flapdoodle – the usual absurdities of the Queen’s speech rigmarole were reduced to their ultimate fatuity on Monday. As she named those 26 never-to-be-enacted bills engraved laboriously on goatskin vellum, they might as well have been scribbled in ballpoint pen, these electioneering geegaws and giveaways, embellished with thumbscrews on crime and migration. But nothing matters here except the evanescent promise of an EU withdrawal deal, always just beyond reach. “My government will …” she intoned as if sucking lemons, but she has no government capable of doing anything at all.What heavy lifting it would take to turn this country into Boris Johnson’s “greatest place on Earth”, in its present miserable state caused mainly by him. Leave aside Brexit devilment that hangs by a thread, look at the rest of his empty prospectus. If this was a hunting expedition designed to shoot Labour’s fox, it may have the opposite effect. The Institute for Fiscal Studies says his spending plans match those in Labour’s last manifestoBlack Rod summoned the Commons to hear the end of austerity, but that’s almost as much sham humbuggery as all the rest. There is indeed to be spending, enough to set both the last Tory chancellors gnashing their teeth at the loss of their ill-gotten austerity savings. But come an election, mere announcements of a bit of easing up won’t expunge the bitter era of cuts that will scar the public service landscape for years to come. Bungs may ease the worst, preventing deeper cuts, but Johnson’s “sacred” NHS, schools and police are as stretched and stricken as ever, the jam promised for next year only thinly spread. And there’s still the rawness of a million public sector jobs axed and 2,000 food banks serving those who lost working tax credits.But here’s the tripwire, Johnson’s catch-22. He will only win if he has pulled off Brexit – but his version, Britain out of both customs union and single market, will drastically shrink his own Treasury receipts. His Brexit will push the economy into near-recession just as the world teeters towards a Trump trade war slowdown. Already his Brexit referendum victory has made us £55bn poorer, Paul Johnson of the Institute for Fiscal Studies says, pointing to three years of lost productivity on top of this decade of stagnant living standards. Johnson’s Brexit will push his government back into austerity, so in his victory would be his own defeat.Strip away his florid bluster on the NHS and schools, and the reality for public services will be continued belt-tightening. Next year the NHS gets a slight breather: not the 40 new hospitals emblazoned across his favourable press, but just six, the repairs problem acute in mental and community health units. The 10,000 doctors and 40,000 nurses missing due to George Osborne’s early cuts in training places will not be found: expect decades of shortages, as the Nuffield Trust says twice as many training places are needed.The pain of the cuts was never fairly distributed, so watch these small easements go to better-off places. Take schools: the 5% increase next year is what Johnson calls a “levelling up”, taking from the schools with most to give to those with less funding. Sounds fair? Not when that means giving to well-heeled Tory shires while taking from deprived areas in greater need. Analysts find 83% of schools will still be worse off next year than in 2015, with £245 less for each primary pupil, and £304 for secondary pupils. No Tory Queen’s speech is complete unless it commands “Boris blitz on crooks” front pages the following day. True, Labour often did it, ratcheting up punishment for one day’s headlines, each cheap gesture doubling the number of prison cells with inmates deprived of any means to prevent reoffending.Priti Patel’s hostile-environment Home Office ends free movement and vows to round up every EU unfortunate who failed to apply for settled status, chasing away migrants that the economy desperately needs. It’s easy to predict her “control with compassion” watchword will cause more Windrush abominations, with lifelong inhabitants wrongly removed. Popular? No longer, as migration has dropped in public concerns.Little surprise that there is no plan for social care – now “on its knees”, warns the Nuffield Trust. But as Theresa May found, that’s far too hot to handle; like climate change, which gets no mention as to how Johnson would ever get on track to reach net-zero carbon emissions.Little in his menu is what it seems, none frames a vision or idea: just focus-grouped pleasers. For political skulduggery, a bill forcing voters to turn up with passport or driving licence will exclude the poor and the young, with 9 million not registered, since David Cameron stopped colleges automatically signing up their over-18s.Shoot Labour’s fox? More likely Johnson has shot himself in the foot. The Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS) says his spending plans match those in Labour’s last manifesto, which were roundly condemned by May as unaffordable. With one bound, he has freed Labour from accusations of financial incontinence. Jeremy Corbyn’s manifesto will offer far more, appealing to those the Tories forget, particularly women, with free childcare, social care and tuition fees.Though the IFS may accuse both parties of busting their budgets, as it always adds, that isn’t overspending if they raise taxes too. In this low-tax country that pays a lot less tax than it did, Labour will tax the rich and corporations, while Johnson gifts top earners a £9bn cut. “Tired of stasis, gridlock and waiting for change” was Johnson’s biting portrait of the country’s mood; but who should voters blame for that? His Brexit is the cause, and if he pushes it through it will be his downfall, too.• Polly Toynbee is a Guardian columnist

  • Man walked 350 miles to have sex with teenage girl, says FBI
    News
    The Independent

    Man walked 350 miles to have sex with teenage girl, says FBI

    A 32-year-old man has been accused of embarking on a 350-mile walk in order to have sex with a teenage girl, only to discover he was the target of a police sting.Authorities have said Tommy Lee Jenkins, of Whitestown, Indiana, believed he was speaking via instant messages with a 14-year-old girl called Kylee, and hatched a plan to meet her.

  • Coronation Street’s Daniel Osborne to betray dying wife Sinead
    News
    PA Media: Entertainment

    Coronation Street’s Daniel Osborne to betray dying wife Sinead

    The character, played by Rob Mallard, will kiss Bethany Platt in scenes aired next Monday.

  • Find out how Kim Kardashian West achieved her 'INSANE' Met Gala look
    Entertainment news

    Find out how Kim Kardashian West achieved her 'INSANE' Met Gala look

    She argued with husband Kanye West because he thought she looked too sexy

  • Gazza trial: 'If the kiss was sexual harassment, I have been sexually harassed for 20-years'
    News
    The Telegraph

    Gazza trial: 'If the kiss was sexual harassment, I have been sexually harassed for 20-years'

    Former England footballer, Paul Gascoigne, told a police officer who arrested him for alleged sexual assault: "I know what it's about, I kissed a fat lass," a court has heard.

  • Trump news – live: 'Just a matter of time' before president removed as explosive impeachment testimony sees Ukraine scandal deepen
    News
    The Independent

    Trump news – live: 'Just a matter of time' before president removed as explosive impeachment testimony sees Ukraine scandal deepen

    Donald Trump’s ex-national security adviser John Bolton urged former Russia adviser Fiona Hill to warn the White House about a campaign to pressure Ukraine orchestrated by the president’s personal attorney Rudy Giuliani, describing the latter as a “hand grenade who’s going to blow everybody up”.“I am not part of whatever drug deal Rudy and [acting chief of staff Mick] Mulvaney are cooking up,” Mr Bolton told Ms Hill, according to reports of her 10-hour closed-door testimony before a panel of congressional investigators on Monday, which moved ex-aide Anthony Scaramucci to declare it “just a matter of time” before the president is removed from office.

  • Child, 12, dies after being electrocuted on railway tracks in Merseyside
    News
    Yahoo News UK

    Child, 12, dies after being electrocuted on railway tracks in Merseyside

    Two children were reportedly seen walking on the railway lines prior to the incident on Monday night.

  • Lily Allen confirms she's dating 'Stranger Things' star David Harbour
    News
    Yahoo Celebrity UK

    Lily Allen confirms she's dating 'Stranger Things' star David Harbour

    The 'No Fear' singer posted a picture of the 'Stranger Things' hunk on social media captioned "mine".

  • News
    Sky News

    Kanye West told Kim Kardashian her Met Gala dress was 'too sexy'

    Kanye West criticised wife Kim Kardashian for her show-stopping wet-look dress for this year's Met Gala, telling her just before the ceremony that the outfit was was "too sexy" and he didn't like her "showing off her body". Kardashian, who spent a whopping eight months working on the Thierry Mugler look - and took 20 minutes to corset up and squeeze into the dress - was not happy, to say the least.

  • British couple detained in US for ‘accidentally’ crossing border into Canada after taking wrong turn
    News
    The Independent

    British couple detained in US for ‘accidentally’ crossing border into Canada after taking wrong turn

    A British family has been detained in the US for accidentally crossing the border from Canada after taking a wrong turn.David Connors, 30, and wife Eileen, 24, claim they were locked up with their three-month-old son after swerving to avoid an animal in Vancouver and detouring onto an unmarked road.

  • Nicola Sturgeon’s independence plan has a fundamental weakness
    News
    The Guardian

    Nicola Sturgeon’s independence plan has a fundamental weakness

    Nicola Sturgeon visits the SNP store at the SNP conference. Photograph: Andrew MacColl/REX/ShutterstockSometimes “don’t know” is the most intelligent answer to a question: 45% of Scots think Scotland would be better off economically as an independent country within the EU than as part of a post-Brexit UK; 35% disagree; and 20% don’t know, because how could you? There is so much chaos contained in that sequence of events: under what terms would the UK leave? Under what terms would Scotland and the UK separate? How would Scotland rejoin? And how long would all this take?The only thing you could say for certain is that nobody will be as well off, individually or collectively, as they would have been had the Conservative party washed its laundry in private. Perhaps that goes without saying, but it still seems important that history doesn’t record this destructive phase as culpritless, like a typhoon.Nevertheless, there are some things Scottish people could be reasonably sure of: in 2016, it was considered very unlikely that they could rejoin the EU without England; some nation with its own independence issues – Spain the most obvious – would surely veto that. That is no longer the case. The Spanish foreign minister, Josep Borrell, said explicitly at the end of last year that Scotland would be accepted.As important is the Brexiters’ mood music: three years ago it was assumed that their intense nationalism and nostalgia made them the natural defenders of the United Kingdom. The opposite was true: they had no respect for the Good Friday agreement; most leavers were prepared to see the breakup of the UK. Worse still, these radical stances tumbled out without the ghost of a plan, giving the unavoidable impression that no ardent Brexiter had even considered the voters of Northern Ireland or Scotland or Wales.It is completely understandable that in Scotland support for independence reached an all-time high of 50% last week. It is, likewise, reasonable for the first minister, Nicola Sturgeon, to push hard for a second referendum in 2020, the roadmap for which has been widely discussed at the Scottish National party’s conference in Aberdeen.But it is easy to forget, since its result was the status quo, how bitter the 2014 referendum was: there was a strong sense among many expat Scottish people living in England – who didn’t have voting rights – that independence was a narrow, nationalistic project, dressed up as a grand social one. This debate has been made irrelevant by the crisis in English politics. There is nothing narrow or nationalistic about wanting to separate from a government that actively seeks its own economic destruction.It is perfectly reasonable to look back at the joint pledge to give Scotland more powers – made by David Cameron, Ed Miliband and Nick Clegg just before the referendum – and say “this hasn’t been met” (only 9% of Scots think it has). Perhaps the insufficiencies of the Scotland Act in March 2016 were due to a lack of enthusiasm in Westminster for deeper devolution. Now, however, the one thing every party leader can agree on is the absolute constipation of the British state. Who, given the chance, would not try to escape? On pessimistic days, I’d vote for an independent London that could rejoin the EU.But Sturgeon’s immediate tactical hurdle segues into a fundamental contradiction. Her plan is to force a general election via a motion of no confidence in Boris Johnson. She then plans to use her leverage with whoever emerges as the largest party to bring about a second independence referendum next year.Realistically, the SNP stands no chance of exerting that pressure on a minority Conservative government, which would be implacably opposed, and wouldn’t be relying on a prop-up from the SNP in the first place. So she’s throwing that gauntlet down for the Labour party, which has often let slip the softer stance on an indy ref of “not now, but maybe at some time in the future”. Sturgeon’s argument relies heavily on the very area where it is weakest: the Scottish people must have a vote because 50% of them want seismic constitutional change. But 50% don’t. Further, she relies on the inevitability of Brexit to give momentum to the case for independence, yet a Labour government would have a people’s vote as its first order of business. The result, if it went remain, would suck the air out of Sturgeon’s enterprise.Most importantly, the case for Yes in 2014 was a radical, progressive one: the SNP flipped from Tartan Tories to leftwing crusaders; grassroots groups such as Common Weal made a powerful case for social renewal based on equality, pluralism and justice, if only Scotland could throw off the yoke of the self-interested, austerity-obsessed government in Westminster.Were the campaign replayed, this time against a British prime minister holding the same progressive values, they’d be fighting in the cracks: not whether to nationalise, but what to nationalise first; not whether to go carbon-neutral, but wind or solar; not whether to have a humane benefits system, but whose sense of humanity was the keenest. It would be an ugly and pointless scene, in which narrow nationalism might well emerge as the most solid ground, and lofty talk of “sovereignty” the best call to arms. And we’ve all seen where that ends.• Zoe Williams is a Guardian columnist

  • US diplomat's wife 'spoke to Harry Dunn after crash before comforting her children'
    News
    Sky News

    US diplomat's wife 'spoke to Harry Dunn after crash before comforting her children'

    The US diplomat's wife who was involved in a crash that killed Harry Dunn told him she would get help after the collision - before waving down another car to assist so she could comfort her children, Sky News has learnt. A source close to Anne Sacoolas told Sky News she takes responsibility for the crash and wants to meet 19-year-old Harry's parents to apologise. It came as Harry's family called for the Foreign Office to release all documents relating to its advice to Northamptonshire Police about the diplomatic immunity granted to Mrs Sacoolas, who was allowed to return to the US after the crash.

  • Doc Martin almost couldn't include power tool surgery story
    News
    Digital Spy

    Doc Martin almost couldn't include power tool surgery story

    "They said, 'If this has not happened, you can't do it'."

  • Gordon Ramsay reveals daughter Tilly dating Gino D'Acampo's son
    News
    Yahoo Celebrity UK

    Gordon Ramsay reveals daughter Tilly dating Gino D'Acampo's son

    The teenage children of the two celebrity chefs have grown close.

  • Number 10 declines to acknowledge midnight deadline over Brexit deal legal text
    News
    PA Media: UK News

    Number 10 declines to acknowledge midnight deadline over Brexit deal legal text

    Negotiators have stepped up efforts to work out a way to break the Brexit deadlock.

  • Zoë Kravitz lands role of Catwoman in The Batman opposite Robert Pattinson
    News
    Evening Standard

    Zoë Kravitz lands role of Catwoman in The Batman opposite Robert Pattinson

    Zoë Kravitz has landed the role of Catwoman in The Batman, a fresh take on the DC superhero film.The actress is set to star opposite British actor Robert Pattinson, who will play the Dark Knight in director Matt Reeves' new flick.

  • Strictly Come Dancing song and dances revealed: Here's what the celebrities will perform in week five
    News
    Evening Standard

    Strictly Come Dancing song and dances revealed: Here's what the celebrities will perform in week five

    A salsa to Who Let The Dogs Out and a Viennese waltz to Whitney Houston are just some of the routines in store for Saturday’s episode of Strictly Come Dancing.The remaining 12 celebrities and their professional partners will vye to impress judges Motsi Mabuse, Craig Revel Horwood and Shirley Ballas, as well as guest judge Alfonso Ribeiro.

  • Three-year-old boy shot in head as weekend violence claims 28 victims in Chicago
    News
    The Independent

    Three-year-old boy shot in head as weekend violence claims 28 victims in Chicago

    A three-year-old boy in Chicago was shot in the head while sitting in a car with his mother and two other children, police have said.Three people approached the vehicle before midnight on Sunday and opened fire, striking the toddler, who was in critical condition at Chicago’s Comer Children’s Hospital on Monday, according to the Chicago Tribune.

  • Young boy leaves adorable thank you note to police after Manchester stabbings
    News
    Yahoo News UK

    Young boy leaves adorable thank you note to police after Manchester stabbings

    The handwritten note was left on the windscreen of a police patrol car in the city centre on Saturday.

  • South Korea unveils fighter jet mock-up amid programme challenges
    News
    Reuters

    South Korea unveils fighter jet mock-up amid programme challenges

    South Korea has displayed the first full-size mock-up of the KF-X fighter jet it is developing with Indonesia, after officials said the programme passed key design reviews in September. The next-generation aircraft being developed by Korea Aerospace Industries (KAI) is designed to be a cheaper, less-stealthy alternative to the U.S.-built F-35, and the plan is to eventually replace most of South Korea's older fighter jets and produce more for export. The mock-up was displayed on Monday at the Seoul International Aerospace and Defense Exhibition (ADEX).

  • Putin arrives in Saudi Arabia as Middle East kingmaker: 'Something is afoot'
    News
    The Independent

    Putin arrives in Saudi Arabia as Middle East kingmaker: 'Something is afoot'

    The hosts spared little effort in preparing a welcome fit for another century.Vladimir Putin — in Saudi Arabia for only the second time in his presidency — was greeted in Riyadh by an honour guard of Arabian horses and royal soldiers. He was transported to the present, by electric buggy, for a grand reception inside King Salman’s palace. Monday’s state visit on the one hand underlined the maturing relations between two enfants terribles of international politics.

  • Police raid Bulgarian FA after chief quits over racist abuse of England stars
    News
    Sky News

    Police raid Bulgarian FA after chief quits over racist abuse of England stars

    Police have raided the headquarters of the Bulgarian Football Union following the resignation of its president over racist abuse aimed at England players. Special forces arrived at the base in Sofia just hours after Borislav Mihaylov quit his post, having been told to leave by the prime minister. Bulgaria has come in for heavy criticism for the conduct of home fans during the Euro 2020 qualifier on Monday night, which was played in a partially closed stadium as punishment for "racist behaviour" by fans during a previous match against Kosovo in June.

  • Duchess of Cambridge wears traditional style outfit as Duke says Pakistan can rely on the UK 'as a key partner and friend'
    News
    The Telegraph

    Duchess of Cambridge wears traditional style outfit as Duke says Pakistan can rely on the UK 'as a key partner and friend'

    The Duchess of Cambridge arrived in Pakistan with a nod to both her hosts and the memory of her mother-in-law, wearing a traditional shalwar-kameez style outfit from one of Princess Diana's favourite couture houses.

  • Corbyn: Queen's Speech was just a ramble of nonsense
    ITN

    Corbyn: Queen's Speech was just a ramble of nonsense

    Jeremy Corbyn heavily criticised the Queen’s Speech during a Labour Party rally in Westminster. The Labour leader labelled it a "farce" that was "bereft of any hope, any content, any belief”, adding that it was “just a ramble of nonsense and a parody of ideas".