9. The aptly named Ryder Hesjedal became Canada's first grand tour winner as he snatched victory from Joaquim Rodríguez on a dramatic final stage of the Giro d'Italia. Rodríguez, the Katusha rider who wore the race leader's maglia rosa for 10 days, took the considerable consolation of winning the points classification by a point from Mark Cavendish.
8. Chelsea won the Champions League Final over Bayern Munich on penalties. It was an exciting game and now they've got a pretty stunning double (having won the FA Cup as well) and I don't begrudge it all - even though they beat Liverpool in the final. Florent Malouda finally let get of the trophy to allow Chelsea to parade it down the Kings Road.
7. It's tough being Queen. To celebrate 60 years of the job, poor old Elizabeth had to go to Burnley. She took a barge trip down the canal with Prince Philip and Prince Charles, visited the Weavers area (rejuvenated through the work of Prince Charles' charity) and was 'entertained' at Turf Moor. Obviously she didn't have to watch an actual game (that would be stretching the definition of entertainment a bit too much), but she did have lunch there - Hollands pies perhaps? Apparently Prince Charles is already a Burnley fan, so Him Outdoors now reckons that the mighty clarets are by Royal Appointment.
6. State of Origin is a rugby league thing between New South Wales (the Blues) and Queensland (the Maroons). It is a hotly contested title, fought (oops, I mean played) over three games - best of three wins. In the first game, we had it all: biffo; dubious tries; captains whinging that referees don't listen to them (so that's not just a Kiwi thing then...); sinbins and hanbags. Oh, an in case you care, Queensland beat New South Wales 18-10.
5. Aftershocks are still shaking Northern Italy after the 6.0 earthquake that hit last Sunday leaving seven people dead, dozens injured, and thousands homeless. Hundreds of buildings have been destroyed across the historic and prosperous Emilia Romagna region, and the parmesan production (which contributes two billion Euros annually to Italy’s economy) has been badly damaged – Italian government has declared a state of emergency.
4. 108 people have been killed in the most recent massacre in Syria. In the town of Houla according to a United Nations statement the offensive "involved a series of government artillery and tank shellings on a residential neighbourhood" and the Security Council has condemned the action "in the strongest possible terms". Syrian foreign ministry spokesman Jihad al-Makdissi insisted that it was not the government and is blaming terrorists for the attack. The rebel Free Syrian Army (FSA) warned that unless the international community took concrete action it would no longer be bound by Annan's UN-backed peace plan and his April 12 ceasefire which has been violated daily. Adviors to the UN warn that civil war is imminent.
3. Schapelle Corby has had her prison sentence for drug smuggling reduced by another five years, so she is due for release in September 2017. At 34 years old, she has already served eight years of the term and appealed for clemency due to suffering from mental depression in prison. Indonesian law imposes harsh penalties on drug traffickers (she is convicted of trying to smuggle 4.1kg of marijuana into Bali in a bodyboard bag) and it can carry the death penalty. Apparently some people in Indonesia are outraged that she has been given clemency because she is a Westerner. Tensions abound when politicians and lawmakers draw comparisons between terrorism and drug smuggling.
2. Robin Gibb died aged 62. One of the members of the Bee Gees he was a voice of a decade and, with his brothers in the band, received a CBE in 2004 for contribution to music. It may not be my music, but Saturday Night Fever is certainly memorable. As are the hairdos and outfits.
1. Sweden won the Eurovision Song Contest with a song that sounded like Kate Bush trying to escape from an asylum. The wind machine was so overworked that it produced snow, and the angry little moth was happy, apparently. The song is called Euphoria. The entry from the UK sung by Englebert Humperdinck came second last with a total of twelve points, barely above Euro whipping boys Norway (of nul points fame). I liked the Russian Baboushki who came second and were clearly the audience favourite. This is a big deal in Austrailia, apparently. People have parties and play elaborate drinking games - I will blog about this further.