ZURIRED

Who is former Bachelorette Rachel Lindsay’s husband Bryan Abasolo?

FORMER Bachelorette Rachel Lindsay has been married to Bryan Abasolo for a little over a year.

The pair have ignited divorce rumors after admitting that they live in different states.

NINTCHDBPICT000627082949Getty Images – Getty Bryan Abasolo attends NYLON’s Rebel Fashion Party in New York City[/caption]

Who is Bryan Abasolo?

Bryan Abasolo is a chiropractor from Florida.

He is the founder and owner of the Miami Disc & Laser Therapy Center where “he helps people with debilitating neck and back pain regain control of their lives with non-surgical and drug-free treatments,” according to his LinkedIn.

NINTCHDBPICT000627082952Getty Images – GettyBryan visits the SiriusXM studios on September 30, 2019[/caption]

He was a contestant on the 13th season of The Bachelorette, Rachel Lindsay’s season.

The two became engaged when the season finished in 2017.

When did Rachel Lindsay and Bryan Abasolo get married?

Lindsay and Bryan tied the knot at Mexico‘s Royalton Suites Cancun last August.

The couple have a bicoastal relationship as the Bachelorette works on her career in Los Angeles while Bryan, 40, runs his chiropractor business in Miami.

NINTCHDBPICT000627082937Getty Images – GettyRachel and Bryan attend the Build Series to discuss ‘The Bachelorette’ at Build Studio[/caption]

“I didn’t move to LA because I just love the city,” Rachel, 35, told her husband on his Dr Abs Healthcast podcast in October.

“You’re focusing on your practice and building it to a place you want it to be.

NINTCHDBPICT000627082936Getty ImagesThe pair got engaged on season 13 of The Bachelorette[/caption]

“I am here in LA working for Extra and doing other things, and we’re doing this to eventually bring ourselves together.”

Bryan said he was happy for Rachel “to do [her] thing” in California while he ran his Florida business, noting: “You’re killing it right now, and I love it.”

Are the two divorcing?

Rumors have surfaced that the two may be divorcing due to their long-distance relationship.

NINTCHDBPICT000588947265InstagramBryan and Rachel got married in Mexico[/caption]

The newlyweds emphasized that they don’t plan on living apart forever, however, and that there are no plans for divorce in the future.

“We know where we’re going, we know where we’re headed, and we know what we’re trying to build as Abasolos,” said Rachel.

NINTCHDBPICT000616085549Getty Images – GettyBachelorette couple Rachel and Bryan were a fan favorite[/caption]

“I can see from the outside looking in how it’s like, ‘Wow, when Rachel was on the show she talked about not wanting to put her career over her husband.’

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“But the thing is, I’m not putting my career over my husband. I’m putting my family first. Part of that is putting us in a position to succeed and put our family in the best position.”

NINTCHDBPICT000627082940Getty Images Rachel and Bryan arrive at 102.7 KIIS FM’s Jingle Ball in 2017 [/caption]

The couple isolated together during the start of the coronavirus pandemic.

Rachel – the only black Bachelorette until this season’s Tayshia Adams – slammed the ABC franchise for casting its first black Bachelor, Matt James, as a “knee-jerk reaction.”

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Brooklyn Beckham’s heartache as travel ban means he has to spend first Christmas apart from fiancee Nicola

BROOKLYN Beckham is set to spend his first Christmas as a groom-to-be away from his fiancee Nicola Peltz.

The American actress, 25, has taken to her Instagram Stories to document a stunning bright white room leading onto a tropical oasis – that is a far cry from the UK’s grim winter.

⚠ Read our coronavirus live blog for the latest news & updates

NINTCHDBPICT000604441195Refer to CaptionBrooklyn Beckham is set to spend Christmas apart from Nicola Peltz for the first time since their engagement[/caption]

The snap showed Nicola‘s brother, Brad, standing in the middle of the room looking out onto the picturesque scene-scape, and she re-posted the image to her page.

On Brad’s Stories, meanwhile, he uploaded a picture from a Formula 1 race as well as one of a palm-tree lined beach, perhaps in Abu Dhabi, where the last F1 race took place.

Yet the UK’s current coronavirus situation – with a mutant strain of the virus sparking Tier 4 measures in London, Essex and parts of the south east – means David and Victoria Beckham‘s eldest will be unable to join them.

Brooklyn and his family will instead be forced to adhere to the stay-at-home rules issued by the UK Government – dashing any hopes of a festive reunion with his fiancee.

NINTCHDBPICT000627023445InstagramAmerican actress Nicola, 25, posted a shot of her brother in a room overlooking palm trees and a beach – a far cry to the UK[/caption] NINTCHDBPICT000623760281 1InstagramMeanwhile, Brooklyn has been impacted by the UK’s coronavirus restrictions and stay-at-home message[/caption]

Instead, the photographer has spent his time taking images of the family dogs, which fashion designer Victoria then posted to her page.

Brooklyn also revealed he missed Nicola’s hugs in a sweet picture post uploaded on December 10.

In July, Brooklyn confirmed his engagement to Nicola and vowed to be “the best husband and daddy.”

He had been dating the heiress and Transformers star, 25, for eight months prior to his sweet proposal.

NINTCHDBPICT000621233440 2The eldest of the Beckham brood will no doubt be hoping there’s a way he can reunite with his fiancee for the festive season NINTCHDBPICT000626318613InstagramBrooklyn looks set to spend Christmas with his family in the UK instead[/caption] NINTCHDBPICT000626246430 1InstagramHe was recently seen posing for the Beckham’s family Christmas card[/caption]

An insider told the Mirror that Brooklyn’s dad David, 45, and mum Victoria, 46, had promptly given their blessing to the marriage.

Sharing a snap of Nicola revealing her engagement ring, Brooklyn then confirmed the news told fans on Instagram as he wrote: “Two weeks ago I asked my soulmate to marry me and she said yes xx.

“I am the luckiest man in the world.

“I promise to be the best husband and the best daddy one day. I love you baby xx.”

NINTCHDBPICT000598627775InstagramBrooklyn proposed to Nicola this summer[/caption] NINTCHDBPICT000594988192He confirmed his happy news with a sweet picture post and caption uploaded to his Instagram page NINTCHDBPICT000599633674InstagramThe cute couple had been dating for eight months before Brooklyn popped the question[/caption]

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His mum Victoria shared the same snap of the couple – taken by Brooklyn’s sister Harper – on Instagram as she announced her son is getting married.

“The MOST exciting news!!”, Victoria wrote.

“We could not be happier that @brooklynbeckham and @nicolaannepeltz are getting married!

“Wishing you so much love and a lifetime of happiness. We all love you both so much x.”

 

 

 

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Grace Millane killer Jesse Kempson filmed smuggling body out of hotel in suitcase after strangling her on Tinder date

CCTV captured the chilling moment Grace Millane’s killer smuggled her body out of a hotel in a suitcase after strangling her to death.

Jesse Kempson – who can finally be named after an order banning his identification was lifted – murdered the Brit backpacker on a Tinder date.

NINTCHDBPICT000626961491Jesse Kempson seen in a motel left after he had strangled Grace Millane NINTCHDBPICT000626961489The suitcase containing Grace’s body was later buried in a shallow grave

Footage shows the burly 28-year-old using a porter’s trolley to wheel two cases into a lift at the New Zealand motel which doubled as his home.

He was first seen wheeling the trolley into the elevator at CityLife in Auckland and going up to his £190 a week room.

Shortly afterwards, he returned with it laden with two suitcases, one of which he later admitted contained university graduate Grace’s naked body folded into a foetal position.

He is then seen emerging from the elevator and pushing the trolley across the floor of the lobby.

The suitcase containing Grace’s body was later buried in a shallow grave in woodland on the outskirts of the city.

Grace’s parents were seen wiping away tears in the public gallery when the clip was shown in court during his murder trial.

They also saw how cameras captured Kempson buying a suitcase and a shovel and transporting their daughter’s body in a red Toyota hatchback he rented the day she was killed.

NINTCHDBPICT000626967213 2AP:Associated PressKempson can finally be named after an order banning his identification was lifted[/caption] NINTCHDBPICT000454449282 3Grace was brutally killed just a day before her 22nd birthday suitcaseKempson seen carrying a suitcase through the motel where he lived

CCTV also captured the moment Kempson took Grace up to his room after a night out in the city.

It has now been revealed he raped another British tourist eight months before killing Grace.

Just as he did with her, he lured the victim, then 21, into a boozy Tinder date before taking her back to his motel room apartment.

He was caged for life with a non-parole period of 17 years for murdering Grace, from Essex, in Auckland in December, 2018.

Months earlier, Kempson had attacked the other Brit after a night out in Auckland.

Furious at her refusal to have sex after he had bought her drinks and dinner Kempson raped her while she lay on the bed.

She kept the attack secret until she recognised him from media coverage the day he was charged with Grace’s murder and went straight to police.

NINTCHDBPICT000626961490 1CCTV also captured the moment Kempson took Grace up to his room NINTCHDBPICT000626961488The pair met on a Tinder date and had visited bars in Auckland NINTCHDBPICT000571585658 2PA:Press Association/PA ImagesGrace was strangled while travelling around New Zealand[/caption]

Kempson also faced another trial for sexually assaulting his girlfriend the previous year in a sickening ordeal lasting months.

The shocking details could not be revealed until now as he was on trial for those crimes, with his identity kept secret over fears that linking him with Grace’s murder could prejudice jurors.

But both trials – which took place in October and November this year – have concluded with guilty verdicts.

As a result, Kempson has been sentenced to an additional 11 years to run concurrently with the 17-year minimum he received for Grace’s murder.

In a statement, Grace’s family said: “As a family we do not think about him or speak his name.”

Grace went missing on December 1, 2018 and failed to contact her family on her 22nd birthday the following day while in Auckland, as part of a planned year-long trip abroad.

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She was last seen alive entering a hotel with Kempson on the evening of December 1.

On December 9, her body was found in a wooded area about 30ft from the side of the road in the Waitakere Ranges near Auckland.

She died after meeting Kempson through the dating app Tinder, going out for drinks, and then returning to his hotel apartment.

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Who is Rachel Zoe and how many children does she have?

CELEBRITY stylist Rachel Zoe has been in the fashion industry for two decades and has worked with a handful of Hollywood A-listers.

Zoe is married to Rodger Berman, together they have two children.

NINTCHDBPICT000626964516InstagramRachel Zoe, her husband Rodger Berman and their two sons[/caption]

Who is Rachel Zoe?

Rachel Zoe Rosenzweig was born on September 1, 1968.

The 52-year-old is a fashion designer, businesswomen and writer.

Zoe was born in New York City but grew up in Millburn, New Jersey, with her parents and sister Pamela Rosenzweig. Zoe.

NINTCHDBPICT000626964604 1Getty Images – GettyFashion designer Rachel Zoe[/caption] NINTCHDBPICT000005218348Getty – ContributorRachel Zoe has her own clothing brand that is available in more than 275 department stores[/caption]

As a stylist, she has worked with a long list of celebrities including current clients:

From 2008 until 2013, Zoe starred in the Bravo reality television show The Rachel Zoe Project.

The show followed the life of Zoe while she expanded her business and attempted to balance her personal and professional life.

The show was cancelled in 2013.

In 2011, Zoe released her first clothing line, which included jewelry, winter apparel, footwear, handbags influenced by her vintage-inspired 60s and 70s style.

Her brand is available in 275 department stores including Bloomingdale’s, Nordstrom, and Neiman Marcus.

How many children does she have?

Zoe and her husband Rodger Berman have two sons together, Skyler, 9, and Kaius, 7.

NINTCHDBPICT000626964586 1InstagramZoe and her family[/caption]

Who is her husband Rodger Berman?

Rodger Berman is the president and CEO of the Rachel Zoe Digital Media, Inc Corporation.

He gained massive popularity alongside his wife when he appeared on Zoe’s reality shows The Rachel Zoe Project from 2008-2013, and Fashionably Late with Rachel Zoe in 2015.

What happened to her son Skyler?

On December 21, Zoe revealed that her son Skyler was hospitalized after falling 40-feet from a ski lift.

The fashion designer said that the incident has left her “scarred for life.”

The 52-year-old opened up about the scary situation in a series of Instagram Story posts.

Rachel first shared a picture of Skyler in a hospital bed, which she captioned, “So I don’t typically share like this but I’m posting this to remind everyone how fragile life is and how it can turn in a minute….

NINTCHDBPICT000626964585InstagramZoe’s sons Skyler, 9, (L) and Kaius, 7, (R)[/caption] NINTCHDBPICT000626964573InstagramZoe’s son Skyler was hospitalized after falling 40-feet from a ski lift[/caption]

“This is Sky yesterday in the ER and I will share what happened when I feel more ready. The outcome is Sky is doing great and the bravest boy I’ve ever known but @rbermanus and I are shattered and numb but woke up for a miracle that Sky is safe and OK.”

She posted another Instagram Story a few hours later, which read, “I have never felt more love from so many of you. Sky read every message and is so happy and grateful as am I. It meant everything to feel the love and healing coming this way… many of you are asking what happened and in short without too much detail that I will share when ready here it is…”

A third text post revealed: “Sky fell 40 feet from a ski lift yesterday which could have been easily prevented if the operator had stopped the lift when he saw Sky wasn’t on from the start and @rbermanus screaming to stop the lift…

“Needless to say by a miracle and the ski patrol heroes who quickly put a mat under where they thought he would fall ultimately his life or from what could have happened.”

She then updated her fans on how her son is doing, writing, “Sky is in great spirits but sore and banged up a bit but otherwise a brave champion.

“Mom and Dad scarred for life but Sky wanted to say this…”

9b486901 31a4 4abc b9da cb0804fa4dcbGetty Images – GettyZoe revealed the traffic accident in a series of Instagram stories on Monday[/caption]

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The next slide captured Skyler talking to the camera.

After he shared he’s “okay” and “just sore,” the nine-year-old got out of the hospital bed as he said, “To show you I’m okay I’m gonna stand up- see look, I can stand up. And I can walk and I’m totally fine.”

He added, “I’m kind of hurting, but I’m fine.”

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Who owns Hamleys toy store in London?

WORLD-FAMOUS toy store Hamleys on Regent Street receives millions of visitors each year being one of London’s biggest tourist attractions.

The Indian-owned toy retailer has been forced to close due to new Covid rules, piling pressure on the business.

NINTCHDBPICT000625882574EPAHamleys’ Regent Street store receives millions of visitors each year[/caption]

Who owns Hamleys?

Hamleys was founded by William Hamley in 1760 as he dreamed of turning his Noah’s Ark toy shop in Holborn into the best toy shop in the world.

By 1881, he moved to its current location on Regent Street – the store we all know and love today.

Ownership has passed through the hands of different family generations.

But since last year, Reliance Industries, an Indian retail company based in Mumbai, bought the iconic store.

Hamleys was acquired for £68 million in an all-cash deal from Chinese footwear group C.banner International.

The Chinese company had owned the business for more than three years.

NINTCHDBPICT000196250492Getty Images – GettyMukehs Ambani is India’s richest man with a net worth of $74.4 billion[/caption]

Who is the CEO of Hamleys?

Indian’s richest man Mukesh Ambani is the owner of Reliance Industries.

The 63-year-old is worth $74.4 billion (£55.6 billion) according to Forbes.

Darshan Mehta, CEO of Reliance’s upmarket fashion, told The Guardian last December that the company would do “whatever it takes to make the Regent Street branch the finest shop in the world”.

Hamleys’ chief executive David Smith stepped down from his position in August, after just seven months in the business.

NINTCHDBPICT000572358698Ian Whittaker – The SunHamleys has temporarily closed its Regent Street store due to new Covid rules[/caption]

The reasons behind Smith’s departure, who was hired by Reliance Industries in January, remain unclear.

David Smith previously held executive roles at Debenhams and The Body Shop.

Where is Hamleys?

Hamleys flagship store is located on London’s Regent Street.

At the seven-storey landmark, kids can explore and play with the best toys and games in the world.

In line with government guidance, Hamleys will be temporarily closing their Regent Street store until further notice.

NINTCHDBPICT000620922119 1AlamyKids can play with the best toys and games in the world at its London’s Regent Street branch[/caption]

Sales continue to suffer due to a lack of visitors travelling to London while regional stores have seen a surge in sales during the pandemic.

Hamleys has also seen its online sales go up as a result of Covid lockdowns.

There are fourteen Hamleys stores in Britain, including sites in Glasgow, Manchester, Cardiff and Essex.

You can find your nearest store through their online store locator.

The retailer now counts with 160 stores across 18 countries.

Under its Chinese owner, Hamleys opened a 115,000 sq ft store in Beijing in a ceremony overseen by the UK’s ambassador to China.

Mr Mehta has opened pop-up concession stores in Manchester, Liverpool and Newcastle, with plans to reach into western Europe, Australia, the US and Canada.

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The retailer has said it will consider store closures in the UK to bolster future profitability.

Hamleys has now launched its first eBay shop as part of the companies plan to boost online sales.

eBay customers can shop from a line of over 1,600 products, including its 10 top toys for this Christmas.

GOT a story? RING The Sun on 0207 782 4104 or WHATSAPP on 07423720250 or EMAIL exclusive@the-sun.co.uk

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Be the Light

Squandered! A whole year. A great idea, but poor follow-through. Eleven months ago, I invented a religion. Or resurrected a religion. Modified a religion. Whatever. I plotted a way for my non-Christian family to participate in the holiday season. Solstice Plus Four. A plan to take the winter solstice back from the Christians.

We made a rare church visit last Christmas Eve. We? Me, Susan, twelve-year-old Sophie and nine-year-old Eli. Many Christians are Christmas-only church-goers. Since Susan and I are no longer Christian, that category doesn’t fit us. But we both grew up in church-going families. The Christmas Eve service is a standard part of our experience. Sort of a nightcap to the holiday season. Plus we like the music, especially the candle-lit singing of Silent Night. Although for Eli, it might just be the allure of handling fire.

For the past three Christmas Eves, we’ve gone to the same church, and it has always seemed welcoming. It’s a nice blend of sophistication and fun. The kids’ pageant is a significant part of the service, but for some reason, it all still comes off as reasonably adult, just with a lot more mistakes.

The pastor and his wife have kids in the same schools as we do, so we know them a bit. Certainly well enough to say hi in the grocery store. The first year we went to this Christmas service, the pastor’s wife approached me a few days later and told me that she was happy to see us there. She invited us to come back, to join their church. I decided that nothing was to be gained by talking about our Christian beliefs, or lack thereof, so I just thanked her.

The second year, I felt the same welcoming vibe. Satisfaction at our joining their celebration. But last year, while walking out, I felt something different from the pastor. A sort of “Where is this going?” Were we planning to join the church, or just continue using them for Christmas Eve? This is a lot to pick up during a handshake, so it was probably all manufactured in my head. But the pastor didn’t seem as pleased to see us there. He simply acknowledged our presence and moved on to the next person – just like he did with everyone else. I wasn’t looking for more, but I’d become accustomed to getting more.

We live in what would be called a Christian community. I know one Muslim family, one Hindu family and two Jewish families. After that, everyone is Christian or nothing. I suppose we fall into the nothing category, but that isn’t accurate. Susan spends a lot of time immersed in Buddhism, but since there is no place to practice locally, she’s mostly on her own.

Me? I haven’t established a spiritual routine. It isn’t a lack of interest, just skepticism. At times this bums me out. I’d love to have Christian faith, or any faith – something greater than myself to be certain about. When I look around church on Christmas Eve, I’m envious. People are joyful. For them, the service isn’t just a pleasant way to cap-off holiday shopping. I see their excitement in celebrating the birth of a savior. To me it’s just a story. A metaphor. An ancient attempt to Christianize the solstice.

So participating in Christmas feels fraudulent. As if I’m one of those people who identifies as Christian, but doesn’t go to church. Christian because my parents were. Christian because I’m white and American. Christian because I grew up in the suburbs. If we call it Christmas, it should be about Christ. At least acknowledging the story and recognizing his impact on the world.

Like many Christian holidays, including Easter and several of the saint-days, the timing of Christmas is suspect – purposely aligned with pagan holidays that already existed. Seventeen hundred years ago, Emperor Constantine convened hundreds of Christian bishops in an attempt to solidify and unify worldwide Christian beliefs. In this convention, December 25 was ratified as the accepted date for Christmas. This date coincided with the end of one pagan winter festival and the beginning of another. This gave the Christmas feast some traction. Those existing festivals? Both celebrations of the winter solstice, celebrations of the sun.

As it should be. For six months, the days have been shrinking. Imperceptibly on a day to day basis, but obvious over the course of weeks. Making room for darkness, for night. Serving as a herald for the coming winter. Solstice celebrates a new year, rebirth, a fresh start. The return of the sun. Page one on a scientific calendar, the natural rhythm of our solar system. Solstice is a holiday that everyone can celebrate.

A few days after Christmas last year, I told my family that I wanted to start celebrating “Solstice Plus Four” or S+4 – which is celebrating the solstice, just four days late – on Christmas day. I’m pretty sure they thought I was joking, but the more I thought about it, the more resolute I became.

The problem with making up a religious celebration is that it won’t be taken seriously. Regardless of how earnest we are in S+4, our friends and family will believe we are poking fun at Christmas. It would probably make more sense to just celebrate the solstice, but the rest of the country’s holiday prep is still going strong at that point. Also, we never get started on shopping until December 15th. Moving the holiday up by four days would just create headaches. And really what I’m looking for is a meaningful holiday that happens at the same time everyone else is celebrating Christmas. By celebrating the solstice on Christmas day, we’ve come full circle – stolen back the day.

Because S+4 is a brand-new celebration, we are free to make up our own rites, our own traditions. Sort of like Seinfeld’s Festivus, only without the sarcasm. I’ve spent some time fleshing out the religious tenets of S+4: Live your life in a positive fashion. Be kind. Do no harm. Do good when you can, but don’t beat yourself up when you can’t. Don’t gossip, don’t cheat, don’t steal. The cashier gives you too much change, give it back – it isn’t yours. If you find something of value, find the owner. Many of my friends say that this is Christian behavior. That’s a trap. It’s ethical behavior, and it happens to be the behavior that Jesus preached. But it’s not Christian any more than Jesus was Christian. It’s universal, but it’s hard to attain, and harder to sustain.

Marketing is the most important aspect of any religion. Constantine got it. The Vatican gets it. American preacher and televangelist Joel Olsteen gets it, too. So I came up with a logo: a rising sun graphic over the words “Be the Light.” It’s my reminder to live a positive life. But since then I haven’t done much with it. “S+4 – Be the Light” is the signature line on my personal email. But after a year, only one person has asked what it means.

Because S+4 works in concert with other religions, everyone can appreciate it. Sort of like yoga. Recently, Susan suggested that we make some window stickers to give out as S+4 gifts. If people use them, a handful of these stickers will be spotted around town on car windows. Maybe people will start asking what it means. Google it on the Web. Do some research.

This is how religions start – slow, mysterious. Tracing a fish in the dirt. Next thing you know, crusades, missionaries, holiday seasons that last eight to twelve weeks. It’s the natural course of things. It’s clear to me that the traditions cannot be forced. They need to develop holistically over time. But without a standardized way to celebrate, I can’t see S+4 catching on as an alternative to Christmas.

So our S+4 celebration? This is what I’ve got so far: Homemade pizza on S+4 Eve, which is really called S+3. And a family cooked meal on S+4 itself. Everyone participates in the preparation. Last year we made pierogi – a nod to Susan’s Ukrainian heritage. We all assembled them, and everyone had a great time. In addition to the meals, S+4 is time spent with family. Possibly a hike. Maybe a movie with an uplifting message. Pay It Forward would be perfect if it didn’t suck so much.

So, not much of a celebration yet. But I can’t wait any longer. Christmas is still days away, and I’m already sick of it. For all the bitching about the so-called “war on Christmas” – the backlash against politically correct statements like “Happy Holidays” and disdain at calling our annual greetings “Holiday Cards” – in my town, Christmas is alive and well. To be fair, the risk of offending anyone here with an off-hand “Merry Christmas” is slim.

My kids are especially assaulted by this. Our scout pack has an annual Christmas party, and our public schools have Christmas concerts. As the year winds down, the teachers start slacking off and showing movies. Which movies? Christmas movies, of course. Elf, The Grinch, and Polar Express.

Eli, now in fourth grade, told me that he has already seen A Christmas Carol and Scrooge. He saw them in school over the past two years. I have to wonder what my kids think about this. We’ve talked about the historical significance of Christmas, but we don’t really delve into the spiritual significance. I have no interest in banning Christmas from grade school, but I would like at least some recognition that there are other routes to achieve spirituality.

The most important feature of the last week of the year is that the days are lengthening. Each day offers more light, more time to engage in nature. It’s cold, for sure, but if properly dressed it’s refreshing, invigorating. A unique aspect of the season.

This year, I’ll make notes. Write down the activities that make the S+4 season special. What works, what doesn’t. When people wish me Merry Christmas, I’ll respond with “Be the Light.” I’ll watch the days shrink throughout December, a minute or two per day.

And a few days past solstice, I’ll notice that they are a bit longer. I’ll look past all of the crazy celebrating, look past the birth that happened a couple thousand years ago, and I’ll rejoice at the return of sunlight. The start of a new year.

Previously Published on jefftcann.com

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One Good Thing: Watching Gordon Ramsay’s Christmas special is one of my favorite holiday traditions

Claridge’s Unveils Alber Elbaz For Lanvin Christmas Tree 2011 Photo by Dave M. Benett/Getty Images

Watch Ramsay prepare Christmas favorites with a twist while his mom gives him a hard time

One Good Thing is Vox’s recommendations feature. In each edition, find one more thing from the world of culture that we highly recommend.

Christmas is a time to return to favorite movies and TV shows. Every year, I revisit It’s a Wonderful Life and A Charlie Brown Christmas. Plenty of other people have made traditions out of Die Hard or the Rankin/Bass Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer or Home Alone. Honestly, if you want to watch Hustlers every year because it has one memorable scene set at Christmas, I’m not going to tell you not to!

But in recent years, I’ve started a new tradition. I pull up YouTube, I curl up with my wife or some friends, and I watch Christmas With Gordon, a 2010 two-part special from the UK that was rebranded Gordon Ramsay’s Ultimate Christmas when it aired in the States. It has everything I want out of a Christmas special: family togetherness, great recipes, and occasional shots of a man sharpening knives and then using them to destroy Christmas ornaments.

Gordon Ramsay is one of my favorite TV chefs. He became famous for being incredibly angry all the time on his Fox reality show Hell’s Kitchen, but within the grammar of reality TV, his anger felt more performative than abusive. It was opt-in anger, where the targets were a part of the performance as well.

And after Hell’s Kitchen became a hit, Ramsay immediately pivoted to being vaguely cuddly. The shows Kitchen Nightmares and MasterChef made him seem like someone who was extremely passionate about food and who was caring and empathetic toward his fellow humans. He really wanted to help people be better chefs, or at least he was very good at playing someone who wanted that on TV. And MasterChef Junior turned out to be his masterstroke, at least from an American perspective. (His persona had long been friendlier in the UK.) “See?” the show seemed to argue. “He’s really good with kids!”

But if you want to see Ramsay’s appeal distilled into roughly 90 minutes of television, Christmas With Gordon is the program to watch. The recipes are genuinely tasty. (I’ve cooked several over the years.) At least one is truly baffling — it’s a stuffing that seems to be mostly made out of pork. And Ramsay seems at once incredibly warm around his family and slightly awkward, like he’s not sure how to get them involved. Near the end of the special’s first part, Gordon’s mother arrives to help him prepare dessert, as if the producers want you to know that even Gordon Ramsay has a mom who gives him a hard time about his cooking.

Also, as I hinted above, there are several moments when he glares menacingly at the camera and sharpens knives, before destroying a Christmas ornament in each one of them, as if to remind you that, yes, he still gets angry — but only at inanimate objects.

British television has a long tradition of Christmas specials, in which the cast of a popular show gathers for a one-off episode set around the holidays. Sometimes, the show has been over for some time; in the case of the original The Office, a two-part Christmas special functioned as the series finale and wrapped up the show’s stories over a year after the season two finale. But more often, these specials are just a way to check in between seasons with your favorite series, at a time of year when checking in with old friends is tradition. (Downton Abbey made a habit of airing a yearly Christmas special, for instance.)

It’s wild to me that the concept of a TV show’s cast reuniting for a Christmas special hasn’t caught on in America. Christmas is a time when watching television as a family is a given for many people, and who wouldn’t want a quick check-in with the gang from Cheers or something? Sure, the canceled time-travel drama Timeless used the format to wrap up its story a couple of years ago, and a few shows have produced Christmas specials as lead-ins to new seasons — Netflix’s Sense8 aired one in 2016, ahead of its second season, and HBO’s Euphoria just aired one as a prelude to the second season it will launch in 2021.

But I think we need more specials popping up around the holidays, as a general rule. Doctor Who produces a new episode almost every year as a Christmas one-off, no matter where it is in its production cycle. We should have something like that, too! Or at the very least, all our TV chefs should be forced to cook Christmas favorites while pretending to be happy about it!

Until then, however, we can just keep watching Christmas With Gordon to see what happens when a notoriously grouchy chef puts on a smile for the holidays. I know that most of Ramsay’s TV persona is an act. I also think it’s amusing to see just how unnaturally his forehead wrinkles when he lets in the Christmas spirit, if only for a few seconds.

Also his gravy recipe rules. You should really try it.

Christmas With Gordon is available on YouTube — both in bits and pieces on Ramsay’s YouTube channel and in whole (and in dubiously legal fashion) elsewhere.

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David Beckham poses up a storm as he models for London themed hotel he helped design in Macao, China

DAVID Beckham can be seen posing up a storm as he models for the London-themed hotel that he helped to design in Macao, China.

The 45-year-old star grins alongside several famous British symbols – including a London bus and a red postbox.

NINTCHDBPICT000627011049www.londonermacao.comDavid has brought a taste of London to China with his new hotel [/caption]

In a promotional video, the father-of-four walks through the streets of London tagging things that he wants to take with him to Macao, which is close to Hong Kong.

Amid the busy streets, stylish David walks past a red bus – and the vehicle’s final destination gives a sweet but subtle nod to his wife Victoria.

News of Becks’ involvement with the hotel was first announced last November, and it is finally open for business – with the Louis Suite costing around £230 a night while the Windsor offering goes up to £615.

The retired football star worked with Sands China to promote The Londoner as their brand ambassador.

NINTCHDBPICT000627010862www.londonermacao.comThe former footballer poses up a storm in the promotion[/caption] NINTCHDBPICT000627010886www.londonermacao.comThe bus has a rather fitting final destination[/caption] NINTCHDBPICT000627010881www.londonermacao.comBecks tags everything that he wants to take with him to Macao[/caption]

The hotel is inspired by the UK capital city, with the exterior representing Westminster and the Houses of Parliament – and a large replica of Big Ben outside.

Guests will be greeted by a large glass atrium when they go in, along with gold and marble decor throughout.

David also designed two floors of luxury concept suites with David Collins design studio in London.

He previously told Travel + Leisure: “We’re going to have everything from our iconic black cabs outside to mini-recreations of some of London’s most famous streets inside, like Bond Street and Saville Row.”

NINTCHDBPICT000627010975www.londonermacao.comThe star was hugely involved in the hotel’s design [/caption] NINTCHDBPICT000627010885www.londonermacao.comHe even features as a virtual guide in one of the hotel’s upcoming attractions[/caption] NINTCHDBPICT000627010838www.londonermacao.comThe hotel opened this year [/caption]

In terms of dining, David opted for British gastro-pub will be run by his pal Gordon Ramsay at the hotel, with traditional pies and Sunday roasts.

Portuguese and Chinese restaurants and bars will also be opening as Macau was a former Portuguese colony.

A large shopping centre called Shoppes at The Londoner features over 150 fashion and lifestyle boutiques and stores, from high street to haute couture.

NINTCHDBPICT000627010833www.londonermacao.comBecks does his best modelling as he advertises the hotel [/caption] NINTCHDBPICT000627010815www.londonermacao.comA stay at The Londoner is supposed to be a fun-filled experience [/caption]

Live events and screenings will be showcased at the entertainment venue on-site, with the capacity for 6,000 people.

A series of London-based attractions will also launch in 2021, including a red phone booth where guests can “talk to Londi the Corgi”, giant tea cups, and a “fun-filled meet and greet adventure with David Beckham inside an iconic British black cab”.

The latter sees the star virtually guide guests around his favourite spots in London.

NINTCHDBPICT000627045264.Suites cost from around £300 a night – going up to more than £600[/caption] NINTCHDBPICT000539822592Even the exterior is inspired by England’s capital NINTCHDBPICT000627043089.It has a lavish design throughout[/caption]

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According to the website: “The Londoner Macao is a celebration of timeless British design.

“The experience begins with the exterior facade, modelled on the iconic Palace of Westminster and Houses of Parliament, complete with the 96-metre Elizabeth Tower and spectacular clock face.

“Crystal Palace is a light-filled, palatial atrium, modelled on Claridge’s of London and the Palace Hotel, exemplifying the greatest in Victorian design and construction in glass and iron.”

A French inspired hotel in Macau called The Parisian located opposite The Londoner opened in 2016.

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Take note of the only two players priced under £3.0m among the top ten defenders

If this season has taught us anything it’s that any title challenge not stemming from Anfield is effectively a trapdoor.

Everton burst out the blocks, got everyone excited, then faded to the point they lost to a team managed by a Steve Bruce while James Rodriguez (£3.6m) was nursing sore testicles.

Spurs lured people in before going three games without a win, slipping down to sixth in the process.

Man United are suddenly in the hunt despite the long line of pundits who have slated Ole Gunnar Solksjaer’s managerial credentials in the last year (and will be lining back up when they stop winning games again).

Chelsea are there or thereabouts… aren’t they?


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We’re just shy of Christmas and it already feels as if we’ve accepted and rejected several title charges.

The lesson seems to be: don’t get too carried away with the teams lingering in the top four.

With that being said, what do you reckon about Leicester? Title challengers?

rodgNo team has won more league games this season

The Foxes are the only Premier League team yet to draw a game in 2020/21, winning nine and losing five.

In customarily strange fashion for 2020, second-placed Leicester have lost the same number of league games as Newcastle.

But the league table makes for pretty reading for Brendan Rodgers, who has done a fantastic job in spite of several injuries to key players.

Wesley Fofana (£2.8m) has been one of their most impressive players this campaign.

The 20-year-old centre-back was under pressure to perform from the get-go in English football with Caglar Soyuncu (£3.0m) suffering injury troubles.

It’s easy to forget the Frenchman is yet to make his 50th professional appearance, such has been his effectiveness in the so-called ‘best league in the world’.

fofA future world-beater

He’s still raw in some ways but that’s to be expected of a developing player — most signs suggest Leicester’s recruitment team have found another gem.

Fofana ticked over to 63 Dream Team points in Game Week 13, taking him into the top ten defenders.

The only other defender priced below £3.0m in the top ten is Fofana’s team-mates James Justin (£2.9m).

Playing as both a right-back and left-back as required, the 22-year-old has compensated for the absences of Ricardo Pereira (£3.8m) and early-season favourite Timothy Castagne (£3.0m).

Justin has 67 well-earned points to his name at this stage, a tally only bettered by seven defenders.

justUnderrated?

While the temptation is to focus purely on Jamie Vardy (£6.0m) when considering reliable sources of points from the King Power, the stats suggest Leicester defenders are offering almost unmatched value for money.

James Maddison (£3.6m) and Harvey Barnes (£2.6m) are among the best midfielders in 2020/21 as well.

Leicester: more than just Vardy.


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Brit pilot who crushed his ‘smiling’ baby’s brain in drunken hotel rampage is jailed for 20 years

AN EVIL British pilot who smashed his “smiling” baby’s brains in a drunken hotel rampage has been caged for 20 years.

Airbus captain Mohamed Barakat, 42, “crushed the brains” and fractured the skull of one-year-old Sophia by bashing her head against a wall, a court ruled in Kazakhstan.

NINTCHDBPICT000626907780East2west NewsMohamed Barakat pleaded not guilty to his daughter’s murder[/caption] NINTCHDBPICT000625974932 1East2west NewsSophia was only one-year-old when she tragically died[/caption] NINTCHDBPICT000625241059East2west NewsMadina Abdullayeva was staying at the InterContinental Hotel in Almaty with her husband Mohamed Barakat[/caption]

Today the monster dad was sentenced to 20 years in prison after being found guilty of murdering his baby while he was intoxicated by booze and drugs at a luxury hotel in Kazakhstan.

He had earlier beat his Kazakh wife Madina Abdullayeva, 23, during a row, the court heard during the trial.

A judge today rejected the London-born pilot’s claim that the child was fatally injured in an “accident” resulting from an “epileptic fit”.

Her fatal wounds were caused by “repeated impact with hard objects and surfaces, and could not be obtained from a fall”, said Judge Bakhytkhan Bakirbayev.

There was “no evidence” Barakat had previously suffered from epilepsy, he added.

Barakat looked stunned at the verdict held via Zoom at Almaty city court.

His wife was in tears, covering her face with her left palm, as she listened to the verdict.

She had earlier changed her testimony to call on the judge to find her British husband not guilty, telling the trial she wanted to have more children with him.

Barakat – a pilot employed by a subsidiary of Hong Kong Airlines – will serve his entire jail sentence in Kazakhstan jail, said the court authorities.

On his release he will be banned from entering the country for five years.

His guilt was proved “by the testimony of a witness – a maid who heard the sounds of banging on the wall, after which the crying of the child fell silent,” said a court statement issued by press secretary Abay Zharylkasyn.

Madina had earlier fled the hotel room after Barakat beat her, according to witnesses.

The maid went back inside and picked up the baby who was lying on the floor.

She then “carried the child unconscious in her arms”.

NINTCHDBPICT000625972360East2west NewsCCTV footage shows distraught mother Madina carrying her lifeless child through the hotel lobby[/caption] NINTCHDBPICT000626907790Inform KZThe detention facility where Mohamed Barakat was being held[/caption]

Shocking CCTV evidence showed how his wife carried the baby to the lobby of the five star InterContinental Hotel in Almaty in the early morning of 24 October last year.

Ten witnesses told how she claimed her husband had killed the child, said the judge.

The baby was “motionless” and “blue” in colour.

Madina had shouted: “He killed my child, he hit her,” according to one hotel staff member.

The wife several times collapsed in the lobby as staff called medics who found the baby to be dead.

A receptionist had recalled how baby Sophia was “always smiling” after the family checked into the plush hotel.

Barakat received a maximum sentence under the criminal code.

This was because of the “aggravating circumstance” of committing the murder “in a state of alcoholic and drug intoxication”, said the court statement.

The trial heard evidence that the Airbus captain – flying cargo planes at the time of the killing – had a secret stash of cannabis in his hotel room, and had previously taken cocaine.

He was given 15 days to appeal the conviction and sentence.

NINTCHDBPICT000626907798East2west NewsGiving evidence to an Almaty court, Madina defended the pilot and accused Kazakh police of seeking to stitch up her spouse[/caption] NINTCHDBPICT000626907797East2west NewsMohamed Barakat, right, with his father in law Abdushukur[/caption]

The pilot was also ordered to pay his wife £135 compensation, a sum that is likely to have been significantly higher if she had filed a civil suit against him.

Barakat had earlier told the court: “Just because you have the power to put me in prison, that doesn’t mean you have the power to make me guilty.

“It means you will put an innocent man in prison.

“I would never hurt my own daughter.”

Barakat also said: “I was the first person who saw Sophia coming into this world.

“I was going to teach her how to fly.”

His legal team claimed dozens of procedural errors in the criminal investigation and the court case meant that Barakat did not receive a fair trial.

His lawyers made repeated attempts without success to seek a fresh investigation and replace the judge.

Reversing her previous testimony, Madina said: “I have no claims against my spouse Mohamed Barakat.

“He could not hurt our child and moreover he was not capable of committing the crime.

“I ask you to accept this statement as a basis for cancelling all the previous accusatory testimony made by me against my husband.

“Mohamed is the most loving and caring husband and friend.

“I love him with all my heart.”

She also pleaded: “You would probably think what kind of woman am I who protects her spouse who allegedly killed the child.

“However, this was not an intentional crime, he is not simply capable of causing harm, especially to Sophia.”

NINTCHDBPICT000626907794East2west NewsMadina Abdullayeva had defended her husband[/caption] NINTCHDBPICT000626907800East2west NewsMadina, left, with her father Abdushukur[/caption]

She also claimed that what happened at the hotel “could only be death by negligence during an epileptic seizure.

“Mohamed would not hesitate to give his life for Sophia.

“She was everything for him. It was an accident.”

In a startling new development, Barakat – who had pleaded not guilty – told the court in Almaty he had a long history of suffering from epilepsy.

He maintained that Sophia died in an “accident” in the hotel room when he suffered a “seizure”.

The murderer’s sister, Sara, said by video link from Britain that the pilot “must have suffered a seizure”.

She said: “We have no doubts in our minds or in our hearts that he is innocent.”

Barakat previously worked as a pilot for low cost Malaysian airline AirAsia.

Shocking CCTV footage captured the moment the child’s distraught mother carried her motionless baby into the hotel lobby, desperate for help.

The confronting video shows one-year-old Sophia Barakat being clutched by her mother.

Little Sophia – who was “always smiling” according to a witness who saw her before the tragedy – appeared “blue” and  was ”not breathing”.

Madina is seen pleading with the staff at the InterContinental Hotel in Almaty, Kazakhstan, before momentarily placing her little girl on the reception counter.

The distraught mother sinks to the floor and has to be helped up by a hotel security man, who had just called an ambulance. 

Madina carries Sophia to a sofa in the hotel lobby, but collapses again on the floor.

The video finishes with a medic rushing to the child, who was soon afterwards pronounced dead. 

Hotel staff said the Kazakh wife initially blamed her husband for Sophia’s death, shouting: “He killed my child, he hit her.”

Barakat claimed his epilepsy was known to doctors in Hong Kong and Malaysia involved in his medical checks as a pilot – despite the condition often being a reason for not granting a flying permit.

Barakat told judge Bakhytkhan Bakirbayev he had been prone to epileptic attacks since 1996-97, when he had been involved in a car accident in London.

I had a seizure. I don’t remember anything about what happened to Sophia.

Mohamed Barakat

Questioned on Sophia’s “injuries from multiple impacts”, the pilot told the judge: “I had a seizure. I don’t remember anything about what happened to Sophia.”

“You are asking me to give you information while I was in a seizure but I cannot give you any.”

The insisted there was “absolutely no possibility that I ever hurt a single hair on her head,” adding that conscious or unconscious, he would “never, ever hurt my own daughter.”

Barakat also denied being in a drunken rage following a night out or taking “illegal substances” after evidence had suggested he could have been on drugs during several days in Almaty between flights.

Evidence from his wife also suggested he had a stash of cannabis in his hotel room before the tragedy, although police found no evidence of this.

Barakat went on to allege that a senior police investigator attempted to bribe him, demanding $60,000 to switch the charge against him from murder to causing the child’s accidental death on on October 24, 2019. 

The same detective had concluded the death was an “accident”, yet also reportedly demanded $1,000 in cash from Madina so she could speak to her husband in police detention, Barakat claimed.

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He described the detective’s actions as “an absolute disgrace”.

Madina had rescinded her earlier statement and strongly denied blaming Barakat for killing their daughter. 

She said: “I don’t believe my husband killed our daughter as there are no reasons and motives for this.”

NINTCHDBPICT000625975310East2west NewsHotel security footage caught the tragedy on camera[/caption] NINTCHDBPICT000625975321 1East2west NewsMadina now strongly denies blaming her husband for killing their daughter[/caption]

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