Sunday 21st August 2016

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Telegraph Road

Dire Straits

A long time ago came a man on a track
Walking thirty miles with a pack on his back
And he put down his load where he thought it was the best
Made a home in the wilderness
He built a cabin and a winter store
And he ploughed up the ground by the cold lake shore
And the other travellers came riding down the track
And they never went further, no, they never went back
Then came the churches then came the schools
Then came the lawyers then came the rules
Then came the trains and the trucks with their loads
And the dirty old track was the telegraph road

Then came the mines – then came the ore
Then there was the hard times then there was a war
Telegraph sang a song about the world outside
Telegraph road got so deep and so wide
Like a rolling river. . .

And my radio says tonight it’s gonna freeze
People driving home from the factories
There’s six lanes of traffic
Three lanes moving slow. . .

I used to like to go to work but they shut it down
I got a right to go to work but there’s no work here to be found
Yes and they say we’re gonna have to pay what’s owed
We’re gonna have to reap from some seed that’s been sowed
And the birds up on the wires and the telegraph poles
They can always fly away from this rain and this cold
You can hear them singing out their telegraph code
All the way down the telegraph road

You know I’d sooner forget but I remember those nights
When life was just a bet on a race between the lights
You had your head on my shoulder you had your hand in my hair
Now you act a little colder like you don’t seem to care
But believe in me baby and I’ll take you away
From out of this darkness and into the day
From these rivers of headlights these rivers of rain
From the anger that lives on the streets with these names
‘cos I’ve run every red light on memory lane
I’ve seen desperation explode into flames
And I don’t want to see it again. . .

From all of these signs saying sorry but we’re closed
All the way down the telegraph road

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Great Britain have finished second in the medal table at the 2016 Olympics – above sporting powerhouse China.

One of the event’s dominant nations, China have won more than 200 golds since returning to the Games in 1984.Britain ended the Rio Games with 27 golds from 15 sports, one ahead of China.Super-heavyweight boxer Joe Joyce won GB’s final medal, a silver, as they finished with a total of 67 from 19 sports, beating the 65 at London 2012.

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Great Britain 27 Gold 23 Silver 17 Bronze  67 Total

Since the modern Olympic era began in 1896, no country has increased its medal tally at the summer Games immediately following one it hosted. GB have also smashed their pre-Games target of at least 48 medals, which was set by UK Sport.

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That means Rio 2016 is the nation’s most successful ‘away’ Games in history.

China, with a population of 1.357bn to Britain’s 64.1m, have amassed more medals (70) than Team GB in Brazil, achieving notable success in table tennis, diving and weightlifting.However, GB are ahead on golds, which is what the rankings are based on.

Asked if the achievements in Rio were better than London 2012, Liz Nicholl, chief executive of UK Sport, told BBC Sport: “Absolutely.

“It is more of a thrill because although we knew we had medal potential, we were not as sure about the environment in which we were competing.

“Those of us involved know that there is still a huge amount that can be improved. As we look beyond Rio and on to Tokyo, it is looking really exciting.”

UK Sport performance director Simon Timpson insisted the success was “not happening by chance”, adding: “This is success by design.”No nation has ever increased its medal haul in the Games following its host event but Great Britain has done just that

Even seven days ago, it seemed like ridiculous optimism to suggest that the magical number 65 – the British Olympic medal haul from London 2012 – might be matched in Rio.

The Team GB director of performance Simon Timson looked us in the eye, from his seat in the little office they’ve set up a stone’s throw from the Olympic Park, and told us not to get carried away. Bettering the 48 in Beijing eight years ago – our previous best haul from an overseas Olympics – dared to be contemplated. “We’re somewhat ahead,” Timson said, with typical British reserve. But mid 50s? Maybe 60 medals? “No, we can’t take anything for granted.”

Timson’s circumspection was prudent but it looks conservative now. Britain have now bettered its record haul from London – an extraordinary achievement considering the huge benefits that home advantage always infers. An even more extraordinary achievement if that tally brings ascendency over China, whose 1.3bn population generates an obvious competitive advantage. We have never before eclipsed China at an Olympic Games. As CNN put it this week: “The Brits are killing it in Rio.”

There is categorically no doubt that National Lottery money, funnelled into a ruthlessly efficient sports funding programme, has delivered this success. “We don’t come first, second or third by chance,” Adrian Christy, chief executive of Badminton England told The Independent on Friday night. At the time he was watching another medal ceremony which underlined British ascendancy over the Chinese in the table – Chris Langbridge and Marcus Ellis’ triumph over Biao Chai and Hong Wei in the badminton men’s doubles. “There is much evidence to show that success has flowed from the National Lottery starting to invest,” Christy said. “Every penny we get from them we put back in, to get more people playing and more people getting better.”

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Though some may sneer at the clinical idea of buying success, the £275m doled out across all Olympic sports during the four-year cycle leading up to Rio is not a gratuitously vast sum. It hardly equates to a sheikh throwing cash at a football club, though it does buy the coaches, sports science, warm weather training and multitude of benefits which mean Britain can compete.

It’s more complicated than investing money, too, because those who have flourished in Rio do include sports whose funding was cut after failure in London.

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The Jungle Book

Mowgli is a “man cub” raised by the Indian wolf Raksha and her pack, led by Akela, in a jungle of India, ever since he was brought to them as a baby by the black panther Bagheera. Bagheera trains Mowgli to learn the ways of the wolves, but the boy faces certain challenges and falls behind his wolf siblings, and Akela disapproves of him using human tricks like building tools instead of learning the ways of the pack.

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One day, during the dry season, the jungle animals gather to drink the water that remains as part of a truce during a drought that enables the jungle’s wildlife to drink without fear of being eaten by their predators. The truce is disrupted, however, when a scarred Bengal tiger, Shere Khan, arrives, detecting Mowgli’s scent in the crowd. Resentful against man for scarring him, he issues a warning that he will kill Mowgli at the end of the drought. As the wolves debate whether they should keep Mowgli or not, Mowgli decides to leave the jungle for the safety of his pack. Bagheera agrees with the decision and volunteers to guide him to the nearby man village.

En route, Shere Khan ambushes them and injures Bagheera, but Mowgli manages to escape. Later, Mowgli meets an enormous python named Kaa, who hypnotizes him. While under Kaa’s influence, Mowgli sees a vision of his father being mauled while protecting him from Shere Khan. The vision also warns of the destructive power of the “red flower” (fire). Kaa attempts to devour Mowgli, but he is rescued by a sloth bear named Baloo. Baloo and Mowgli bond while retrieving some difficult-to-access honey for Baloo, and Mowgli agrees to stay with Baloo until the winter season arrives. Shere Khan meanwhile, upon learning that Mowgli has left the jungle, kills Akela and threatens the pack to lure Mowgli out.

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Bagheera eventually finds Mowgli and Baloo and is angered that Mowgli has not joined the humans as agreed, but Baloo calms him down and persuades both of them to sleep on it. During the night, Mowgli finds a herd of elephants gathered around a ditch, and uses his vines to save a baby elephant from the ditch. Although Baloo and Bagheera are both impressed, Baloo realizes that he cannot guarantee Mowgli’s safety after learning that he is being hunted by Shere Khan. Baloo agrees to push Mowgli away to get him to continue onward to the man village.

Mowgli is kidnapped by the Bandar-log (monkeys) who present him to their leader, a giant ape named King Louie. Assuming that all humans can make fire, King Louie offers Mowgli protection from Shere Khan in exchange for it. Baloo distracts Louie while Bagheera tries to sneak him out but their plan is discovered. As Louie chases Mowgli through his temple, he informs Mowgli of Akela’s death. Louie’s rampage eventually causes his temple to collapse on top of him. Furious that Baloo and Baghee.

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Mowgli steals a lit torch at the village to use as a weapon and heads back to the jungle, accidentally starting a wildfire in the process. He confronts Shere Khan, who argues that Mowgli has made himself the enemy of the jungle by causing the wildfire. Mowgli throws the torch into the water, giving Shere Khan the advantage. Baloo, Bagheera, and the wolf pack intervene and hold Shere Khan off, giving Mowgli enough time to set a trap. He lures Shere Khan up a dead tree and onto a branch, which breaks under the tiger’s weight, and Shere Khan falls into the inferno. Mowgli then directs the elephants to divert the river and put out the fire.

In the aftermath, Raksha becomes the new leader of the wolf pack. Mowgli decides to utilize his equipment and tricks for his own use, having found his true home and calling with his wolf family, Baloo, and Bagheera.

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