Thursday, 30 May 2013

April Jones trial: Mark Bridger guilty of murder

Hywel Griffith reports on how the case unfolded
The man found guilty of abducting and murdering five-year-old April Jones in a sexually motivated attack must spend the rest of his life behind bars.
Mark Bridger, 47, of Ceinws, Powys, had claimed he accidentally run April over near her Machynlleth home and could not recall where he had put her body.
But the jury at Mold Crown Court unanimously convicted him in a case lasting four-and-a-half weeks.
The judge branded him a "pathological liar" and "a paedophile".
April went missing on 1 October 2012 near her Machynlleth home sparking the biggest search in UK police history.
Her remains have never been found.
April Jones April Jones was abducted while playing near her home in Machynlleth
Having deliberated for just over four hours, the jury returned three guilty verdicts - abduction, murder and attempting to pervert the course of justice.
Ever since his arrest, Bridger - only the 37th person to be given a whole-life tariff - stuck steadfastly to his story about not remembering where he put April's remains.

Reporter Brendon Williams in court

Never before have I witnessed such a powerful silence when a jury delivers its verdict at the end of a highly emotionally-charged case.
The packed public gallery remained quiet as the jury of nine women and three men returned after four hours and six minutes of deliberations.
Bridger, dressed in a long-sleeved blue shirt and a tie, closed his eyes and put his head back as the forewoman prepared to read out the verdict.
His eyes remained closed as each of the three guilty verdicts were delivered.
The forewoman looked directly at him as she announced he was guilty first of abduction, then murder and finally intending to pervert the course of justice.
April's mother, Coral, looked tearful but both she and her husband Paul maintained a dignified silence, as they have done throughout every day of this four-and-half-week trial.
Before the verdict, the judge had warned the court that "absolute silence" was necessary.
He warned members of the public gallery that this was a "stressful" part of the trial, "particularly for April's parents".
After the jury delivered their unanimous verdict, April's parents, supported by close family members retired to a family waiting room.
April's father shook hands with some supporters as he left the public gallery.
After the court had been mostly cleared, prosecutors, investigating police officers and even court staff were visibly emotional.
But shortly after he was convicted it emerged that while on remand at HMP Manchester, he told a prison priest he disposed of April's body in a river - thought to be the Dyfi close to where Bridger was arrested.
This conversation was the subject of legal arguments during the trial.
The jury was absent during the discussion and the Crown Prosecution Service decided not to submit the evidence.
What was revealed during the trial was fragments of bone consistent with a juvenile human skull were found among ashes in the woodburner, along with April's blood near to a number of knives, including one which was badly burned.
Bridger's cottage had also been extensively cleaned.
A library of child sex abuse images were found on his computer, and evidence of search terms including "naked young five-year-old girls" as well as pictures of murder victims including the Soham victims Holly Wells and Jessica Chapman.
He also had Facebook pictures of local young girls including April and her sisters.
Sentencing Bridger, Mr Justice John Griffith Williams said: "For the last four weeks, the court has listened to compelling evidence of your guilt, evidence which has also demonstrated that you are a pathological and glib liar.
"There is no doubt in my mind that you are a paedophile who has for some time harboured sexual and morbid fantasies about young girls, storing on your laptop not only images of pre-pubescent and pubescent girls but foul pornography of the gross sexual abuse of young children.
"What prompted you on Monday, 1 October to live out one of those fantasies is a matter for speculation but it may have been the combination of the ending of one sexual relationship and your drinking.
Coral Jones: "April will be forever in our hearts"
"Whatever, you set out to find a little girl to abuse. I am not sure you targeted April specifically... but you were on the prowl for a young girl."
Referring to the grief of April's parents, he added: "Without the knowledge of what happened to April, her parents will probably never come to terms with their grievous loss, described so eloquently in the impact statement.
"It is to be hoped, for their sake and for the sakes of all those who mourn April, that the verdicts will bring some measure of closure."
A statement read earlier in court on behalf of April's mother said she would never forget that night they allowed their daughter out to play with her friend, something they had done hundreds of times before.
"Words alone cannot describe how we are feeling or how we manage to function on a daily basis and I would never want any other family to go through what we are and will go through for the rest of our lives," it read.
"April was born prematurely weighing only 4lbs 2oz and was in intensive care for two weeks. She has always been a little fighter and we later found out that she had a hole in her heart and a heart murmur."
Mark Bridger Bridger had spent 20 years telling people he had served in the military, but it was all lies
It went on: "As April's mother I will live with the guilt of letting her go out to play on the estate that night for the rest of my life.
"She fought to come into the world, she fought to stay in this world and he has taken her not only from us but from everyone who loved her.
"I will never see her smile again or hear her stomping around upstairs and on to the landing.
"We will never see her bring home her first boyfriend and Paul will never walk her down the aisle. How will we ever get over it?"
Recording of 999 emergency call to report April Jones missing
Outside the court, senior investigating officer Det Supt Andrew John said the strength of evidence against Bridger was overwhelming and he was responsible for the most horrific of crimes.
"Justice has been done and Mark Bridger, an evil and manipulative individual, will have his liberty taken off him," he said.
"He abducted and murdered April and has then gone to enormous lengths to destroy the evidence, conceal his involvement and avoid detection."
April's disappearance sparked the biggest missing person search in UK police history, focusing on around 650 areas near her home town and involving hundreds of experts as well as thousands of members of the public.
Dyfed-Powys Police received help from 45 other UK forces.
Insp Gareth Thomas who led the search told the jury he was "extremely confident" that if April's body was anywhere in the vicinity, it would have been found.
The seven-month search for her remains was finally called off last month

El Salvador court denies seriously ill woman abortion


Members of feminist organisations demonstrate in favour of Beatriz's right to an abortion outside a San Salvador court on 15 May 2013 Rights groups have argued that "Beatriz" should be entitled to an abortion, with this protester's slogan reading: "Take your rosaries out of our ovaries."
The Supreme Court of El Salvador has refused to allow a seriously ill pregnant woman to have an abortion, even though her foetus has almost no chance of survival.
Lawyers for the young woman - who suffers from lupus and kidney failure - had argued that continuing the pregnancy would place her life at risk.
The foetus itself is missing part or all of its brain.
All abortions are prohibited in El Salvador under any circumstances.
The constitution in the majority Roman Catholic country protects the right to life "from the moment of conception".
The 22-year-old woman - referred to as "Beatriz", not her real name - is said to be in fragile health, suffering from the chronic immune disorder lupus as well as kidney failure.
Tests suggest her 26-week-old foetus is developing without a complete brain, a condition called anencephaly. Almost all babies born with this condition die before or shortly after birth.
'Absolute bar'

Latin America's abortion laws

  • Abortion is completely banned in seven countries in Latin America - El Salvador, the Dominican Republic, Nicaragua, Chile, Honduras, Haiti, Suriname
  • Only Cuba, Guyana, Puerto Rico and Uruguay allow abortions beyond cases of rape, incest or threats to a woman's health.
  • In 2012, Uruguay's congress voted narrowly to legalise abortions during the first 12 weeks of pregnancy
  • In Mexico, only Mexico City has legalised abortion, during the first 12 weeks
  • Brazil's senate is currently debating the legalisation of terminations during the first 12 weeks
  • The estimated annual number of abortions in Latin America increased slightly between 2003 and 2008, from 4.1 million to 4.4 million, but the rate per 1,000 women remained steady
  • 95 percent of abortions in Latin America from 1995-2008 were considered to be unsafe
  • Highly restrictive abortion laws are not associated with lower abortion rates, the WHO says. For example, the 2008 abortion rate was 32 abortions per 1,000 women of childbearing age in Latin America. In Western Europe, where abortion is generally permitted on broad grounds, the abortion rate was 12 per 1,000
Sources: World Health Organisation, Guttmacher Institute
A medical committee at her maternity hospital, the Ministry of Health and rights groups had all supported Beatriz's request to terminate her pregnancy, but judges at the Supreme Court voted four-to-one to reject the woman's appeal.
In their ruling, the judges said: "This court determines that the rights of the mother cannot take precedence over those of the unborn child or vice versa, and that there is an absolute bar to authorising an abortion as contrary to the constitutional protection accorded to human persons 'from the moment of conception'."
The judges said that Beatriz's health was "stable", although they recognised this could change, ordering doctors to continue to monitor her health and provide all necessary treatment.
Judge Rodolfo Gonzalez, one of the four judges to rule against allowing Beatriz to have an abortion, said the constitutional court could not be turned into a "tribunal to allow the interruption of pregnancies".
Judge Gonzalez said he had not been convinced Beatriz was at risk of dying if the pregnancy was allowed to continue.
He said the case, and the great number of groups and people who had wanted to offer their opinion on it, had shown there was a need to discuss abortion more widely in El Salvador.
'Irresponsible' Florentin Melendez was the only one of the five judges to rule in favour of Beatriz, but said this did not mean he backed abortions.
He said he believed the court should have ruled in her favour to "guarantee that the medical personnel would not omit [any treatments] and would act diligently at all times, without having to recur to legal authorisation to protect the life of the mother and the human being she is carrying in her womb".
There was no immediate response from Beatriz's lawyers to the ruling.
Campaigners for the legalisation of abortion in cases where the mother's or foetus's life are at risk have condemned the ruling.
Morena Herrera, director of a campaign group which has supported Beatriz's case, said it was "irresponsible".
She argued that the judges had failed to consider the delicate state of health of the foetus, which she said would have no chance of surviving after birth.
"The only life we can save here is that of Beatriz," she said.
Ms Herrera said the group would look into ways of moving Beatriz out of El Salvador so she could receive the treatment they said she needed.
Doctors who support a termination have argued that the risk to Beatriz's health will grow as her pregnancy advances, and that if she suffers a health crisis it will be more difficult to treat the further into her pregnancy she is.
Doctors who perform an abortion in El Salvador and the mothers who undergo it face arrest and criminal charges.
Are you in El Salvador? Are you affected by the issues in this story? Please send us your comments using the form below.

Militants threaten 'all West Africa'


Ghana's President John Dramani Mahama  
Ghana's leaders said Africa needed to act collectively to ensure peace
Ghana's President John Dramani Mahama has warned that Islamist militancy poses a threat that could destabilise the whole of West Africa.
Mr Mahama told the BBC that although Ghana had not been directly affected, no country was safe if insurgency was allowed to take hold elsewhere.
He said intervention led by France had helped guarantee stability in Mali, but the conflict there was not yet over.
He also backed the African Union's plan to create a rapid reaction force.
Mr Mahama said there had been a suggestion that it could be funded by a tax on air travel and hotels across the continent.
'Attractive foothold'

BBC Africa Debate

Malian Islamist militants pictured in August 2012
Tune in to the BBC World Service at 1900 GMT on Friday 31 May to listen to the BBC Africa Debate - Is Africa under threat from Islamist militants? - recorded in Dakar in Senegal.
Or take part in Twitter - using #bbcafricadebate - Facebook or Google+
In January, French forces spearheaded an operation to drive out al-Qaeda and other allied Islamist groups from northern Mali, where they had seized control in the chaos following a coup last year.
Ghana's leader said the incident showed how the whole Sahel region had "become an attractive foothold for insurgents".
"If we allow that foothold to consolidate, then it could affect the stability of our entire region," Mr Mahama told the BBC's Newsday programme.
Despite regaining territory from Islamist groups in Mali, he said the crisis was not over.
"There is the danger of asymmetric attacks like we saw in Niger the last few days, and so it is a matter that worries all of us in the sub-region," Mr Mahama said.
"And we need to act collectively as a sub-region and a continent and indeed globally to be able to ensure peace and stability."
Map showing Islamist groups in Africa

Microsoft 'U-turn' sees Start button back on Windows 8

Windows 8.1 screenshot Microsoft has released screenshots confirming the return of a Start button to Windows 8
Microsoft has confirmed a Start button is returning to the desktop mode's taskbar of its Windows 8 operating system.
The lack of the facility - which had been in every previous version since Windows 95 - has been one of the most controversial aspects of the software.
However, it will not offer all the functionality previously associated with the feature.
Instead it will bring users to the recently-introduced "Metro" interface.
"We've improved the way you navigate to Start with the mouse by changing the Start 'tip' to be the familiar Windows logo," the company said in a blog post.
"The new tip appears anytime you move the mouse to the bottom left corner of the screen, and is always visible on the taskbar when on the desktop."
On current versions of Windows 8, the start tip would only appear when users hovered their cursor over the lower-left corner of their screen.
In the 8.1 update, the area will be more visible.
A left-click on the tip will bring up a tile-based Start Screen - formerly known as the Metro interface - designed for touch-screen users.
A right-click will display a small menu of other options such as Event Viewer, Device Manager and Disk Management.
Another change will allow users to boot their computers directly into desktop mode, meaning they can avoid ever using the Start Screen if they wish.
Windows 7 Start button The Windows 7 Start button triggered a menu with apps and other links
Many users had complained that ditching the traditional Start Menu and introducing the Start Screen had made the system less straight-forward to use, meaning businesses which adopted it would need to retrain staff.
'New Coke' Microsoft had been stung by claims that the expected reintroduction of a Start button would mark a major U-turn.
An article in the Financial Times described the move as one of the "most prominent admissions of failure for a new mass-market consumer product since Coca-Cola's New Coke fiasco nearly 30 years ago" - making reference to the soft drinks company's decision to ditch a new recipe after overwhelming customer dissatisfaction.
Microsoft later issued a statement saying it was "unfortunate" the FT did not represent the "good response to date on Windows 8."
A preview download of Windows 8.1 will be released to the public in June, and a final version before the end of the year. Both will be free of charge to existing users.
'A fudge' Chris Green, principal technology analyst for the Davies Murphy Group, told the BBC he did not think the change would be enough to silence the critics.
"What they're proposing to do is a bit of a fudge.
"It's the bare minimum to say they've addressed people's complaints while not having to really backtrack on anything."
He said Microsoft faced a challenge in being able to innovative with Windows while also keeping its vast user base comfortable.
"When new operating systems come along, same with major applications, everything moves around. People hate it because they have to re-learn from scratch."
Other changes that will appear to users running the update include:
  • Added customisation options, with more choice over colours and backgrounds on the Start Screen.
  • An improved search function that covers web content as well as apps, files and settings on the PC.
  • A new version of the firm's web browser - Internet Explorer 11 - which Microsoft said would offer improved tools for developers.

Denmark's 'naked lady' TV show causes furore

Thomas Blachman and a guest from his Blachman Show Thomas Blachman (left) says his show is a tribute to women
A year ago I visited the headquarters of the Danish public broadcaster DR to film a piece about the international success of their dramas Borgen and the Killing.
The two protagonists in those series were strong, feisty females who took no nonsense from anyone.
So it seems a little surreal to be back in Denmark now to talk to the same broadcasting company about their new show, called Blachman, in which a woman - aged 28-85 - is required to stand naked in front of fully-clothed men and to remain silent as those men talk about her body.
"It's not reality TV!" protests the show's inventor and host, Thomas Blachman. "And it's poetry, not porn."
Yet it makes uncomfortable viewing. Blachman, shirt carefully unbuttoned, sits with a fashion designer friend of his and stares at a woman's pubic hair.
"I'm not really keen on shaving and waxing," he comments, before remarking to his co-host that the woman has nice feet.
The woman, paid around 250 euros (£214) for her appearance, just stands there and takes it.
"Oh come on!" says Blachman, when I say I find this deeply unnerving.
"Women talk all the time - this show is about letting men say what they think about women's bodies."
'Sexist rubbish' Blachman believes that in modern Denmark, where there are strict equal opportunities laws, men have become emasculated by powerful women and silenced under a cloak of political correctness.
"Women's bodies thirst for men's words!" he insists. "We have had so much bad reaction from aggressive feminists and I didn't see it coming... Sure I wanted to provoke a little bit, but it's not sexist."
Scene from DR2's Blachman show
When I meet Nina - an attractive, bubbly primary school teacher who was one of Blachman's naked studies - she tells me she felt empowered by her appearance on the show.
Although she admits she would have liked to have been able to speak, particularly when Blachman and his guest were discussing her Caesarean scar.
Following the broadcast, Nina has not only had scores of fan mail letters, she has also had five marriage proposals.
But feminists - like Danish comedian Sanne Sondergaard - are outraged.
"In Denmark, sexism is not an issue," she says. "And then this show came along. It's sexist rubbish.
"I'm sorry but even if he says nice things, a man is not entitled to comment on my body, just because I'm a woman!"
'Creating debate' DR2 has had more complaints about the Blachman show than any other. It has also had a huge number of viewings, particularly on its "watch again" internet site.
Sofia Fromberg, the commissioning editor of the programme, insists she is not chasing ratings with breasts and bottoms.
Nina, who has appeared on the show Nina says she has had five marriage proposals since appearing on the show
"Blachman certainly did not have the highest ratings of any of our shows. DR2's objective is to create debate about important issues in society. And it has created a lot of debate!" she says.
Thomas Blachman has been accused in the Danish media of being little more than a "sleazy middle aged man in a strip club". But, for much of the programme he seems ill at ease and a little awkward. His focus tends to be tamely set below the knees rather than on the more predictable breasts and bottoms.
"Nice ankles - I'm an ankles kind of a guy" he says. Before making a single remark about the nude female in front of him, one of his co-hosts takes a good five minutes to explain that he had been happily married for 50 years until his wife died last year - at such times, the silent naked woman in front of them almost seems forgotten and irrelevant.
I Want Your Baby! But there is no hiding the fact that the more outrageous the show, the more it pulls in viewers.
Last week during a segment on breastfeeding, the host of the Dutch Saturday night show, Langs de Leeuw, suggested he would like to try breast milk.
An audience member offered him some milk she had expressed but host Paul de Leeuw told her he would rather take it from its source and suckled both her breasts on live TV.
A huge social media row followed quickly, although the network did point out that the act had not been sexual.
A few years ago I made a film on another controversial Dutch programme called I Want Your Baby!
A single woman who wanted a child, was allowed to select the father of her baby from a group of eligible men, voting off the weakest links each week. That show caused uproar in the Netherlands and prompted questions in parliament - it never got beyond the pilot.
Sanne Sondergaard Feminist Sanne Sondergaard says she is outraged by the Danish show
Last month, reality TV in France was plunged into some deep soul-searching over its future after a contestant died on the tough desert island challenge Koh Lanta and the doctor - who was unable to save him - killed himself.
Poor ratings caused Italy's state broadcaster RAI to scrap all its TV reality shows back in 2007. RAI said it would put the money it saved into Italian-made films and more intellectual programmes.
Now its new female director has called time on sexily dressed showgirls and game-show assistants on screen, claiming she wants to project a more sophisticated image of women on the network - one where women are more than cosmetically perfect airheads.
For any viewer missing the hitherto ubiquitous bimbo though, she does remain intact on scores of programmes broadcast on the private channels owned by the former Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi.
Back in Denmark, Blachman points out that he never judged or criticised the naked woman's body.
"It's a show, which actually is a tribute to women," he says.
Unfortunately for him, his "tribute" has not been re-commissioned.

10 reasons why so many people are moving to Texas

Icons of Texas
Half of the 10 fastest-growing cities in the US are in Texas, according to new figures. Why?
Every way you look at it, there are a lot of people moving to Texas.
Five of the 10 fastest-growing cities in the country between 2011 and 2012 were in Texas, according to new figures from the US Census Bureau. New York is way out in front in terms of added population, but Houston is second with San Antonio and Austin fourth and fifth.
Graph showing fastest growing cities
In terms of percentage growth, it's even more Texas, Texas, Texas. Among the five cities that grew most, as a proportion of their size, between 2011 and 2012, three are Texan. San Marcos is out in front with the highest rate of growth among all US cities and towns - 4.9%.
Some of this Texan population boom is due to a natural increase - more births than deaths - but the numbers moving into the state from elsewhere in the US and from abroad far outstrip every other American state. Why?
1. Jobs "I don't think people go for the weather or topography," says Joel Kotkin, professor of urban development at Chapman University in Orange, California. "The main reason people go is for employment. It's pretty simple.

Most new arrivals 2011-12

  • Texas: 210,590
  • N Carolina: 60,106
  • Virginia: 40,844
"The unconventional oil and gas boom has helped turn Texas into an economic juggernaut, particularly world energy capital Houston, but growth has also been strong in tech, manufacturing and business services."
Critics have questioned whether the "Texas miracle" is a myth, based on cheap labour and poor regulation.
But Kotkin says Texas has plenty of high-wage, blue-collar jobs and jobs for university graduates, although people looking for very high-wage jobs would probably head to Seattle, San Francisco and New York.
Four of the top 10 metropolitan areas for job growth in 2013 are in Texas, according to Kotkin's website, New Geography.
Texas also has a huge military presence, which grew as defence spending increased in the decade after 9/11. Many retired Texans first came to the state as service personnel.
2. It's cheaper Once employed, it's hugely important that your pay cheque goes as far as possible, says Kotkin.

Fastest growing cities in US (%)

  • 1: San Marcos, Texas (4.91)
  • 2: South Jordan, Utah (4.87)
  • 3: Midland, Texas (4.87)
  • 4: Cedar Park, Texas 4.67)
  • 5: Clarktown, Tenn (4.43)
  • 6: Alpharetta, Georgia (4.37)
  • 7: Georgetown, Texas (4.21)
  • 8: Irvine, California (4,21)
  • 9: Buckeye, Arizona (4.14)
  • 10: Conroe, Texas (4.01)
US Census Bureau, 2011-12
"New York, LA and the [San Francisco] Bay Area are too expensive for most people to live, but Houston has the highest 'effective' pay cheque in the country."
Kotkin came to this conclusion after looking at the average incomes in the country's 51 largest metro areas, and adjusting them for the cost of living. His results put three Texan areas in the top 10.
Houston is top because of the region's relatively low cost of living, including consumer prices, utilities and transport costs and, most importantly, housing prices, he says.
"The ratio of the median home price to median annual household income in Houston is only 2.9. In San Francisco, it's 6.7.
"In New York, San Francisco and LA, if you're blue-collar you will be renting forever and struggling to make ends meet. But people in Texas have a better shot at getting some of the things associated with middle-class life."

Texans who've left their mark on the world

Composite image showing, from left: Roy Orbison, Joan Crawford, Jayne Mansfield and George W Bush
  • Roy Orbison (pictured, first) was born in the small town of Vernon, in 1936, months before fellow rock 'n' roll great Buddy Holly, from nearby Lubbock
  • Joan Crawford(second), born Lucille Fay LeSueur to a poor San Antonio family, was famous for accepting an Oscar while ill in bed
  • As JR Ewing, Fort Worth's Larry Hagman became the face of long-running soap Dallas and just about the most famous man in Texas
  • Also robbers Bonnie and Clyde, singer Janis Joplin, country star Willie Nelson, cyclist Lance Armstrong, actress Jayne Mansfield(third)
  • Texas has produced two presidents: Lyndon Johnson and Dwight Eisenhower. Connecticut-born George W Bush (fourth) grew up there
3. Homes
Land is cheaper than elsewhere and the process of land acquisition very efficient, says Dr Ali Anari, research economist at the Real Estate Center at Texas A&M University.
"From the time of getting a building permit right through to the construction of homes, Texas is much quicker than other states.
"There is an abundant supply of land and fewer regulations and more friendly government, generally a much better business attitude here than other states."
This flexibility, plus strict lending rules, helped to shield the state from the recent housing market crash.
4. Low tax

'I moved because I had to'

Ryan and Jeff
Jeff Paradise, 32, works for an insurance company and relocated to Dallas in 2011, but he often returns to see his partner, Ryan (above left), in his native New York.
"I've been to quite a lot of cities in the US and Dallas is probably my least favourite. The one reason I'm here is for a financial purpose. I have a really good job but I work about 70-80 hours a week so if I had more free time, I would do more. It's a new American city, all sprawled out, because it came of age in the 60s and 70s when it was all about cars and highways. But it's definitely changed the last 5-10 years and they are trying to improve the public transport. I get the train and it's clean, on time and cheaper than New York."
Texas is one of only seven states where residents pay no personal state income tax, says Kay Bell, contributing tax editor at Bankrate and Texan native.
The state has a disproportionate take from property taxes, which has become a big complaint among homeowners, she adds. But overall, only five states had a lower individual tax burden than Texas, according to Tax Foundation research.
There are also tax incentives for businesses and this week legislators cut more than $1bn off proposed business taxes.
5. Pick your own big city
Texas has six of the country's 20 biggest cities, says Erica Grieder, author of Big, Hot, Cheap and Right: What America Can Learn from the Strange Genius of Texas.
Contrast this to, for example, Illinois, where if you want to live in a big city you can live in Chicago or you have to move out of state, she says.
But if you're in Texas you can be in Houston, San Antonio, Dallas, Austin, Fort Worth, or El Paso.
6. Austin in particular

Why I live in Austin

James McMurty
"Houston is a city, San Antonio is a city but Austin doesn't feel like that to me," says Texan-born folk singer James McMurty.
"I like it because it's equidistant to each coast so I can get in my van and drive to the west coast and drive around there for three weeks and then come home and do the same on the east coast and still have a life.
"It's far enough south that it doesn't get too cold and you don't get many twisters. And it's a blue dot [Democrat] in a red sea."
Restaurant manager Christopher Hislop, 33, moved in 2007 from Los Angeles to Austin, where he met his wife and they now have a nine-month-old boy.
"I came to Austin for a wedding and thought it was a really cool city and the people were nice - it was everything that LA wasn't but still had that hip vibe without pretension. The nightlife is great and there's an emphasis on getting out and about - they maintain trailways and nature.
"It's not Texas at all and that's what I liked about it. I don't know Texas very well, I grew up in Chicago, but Austin is not Texas because you think of 10-gallon hats and guys on horseback. It's a cliché but Austin isn't like that, it's hip and in the now. The rest of Texas is very conservative."
People like to perpetuate a myth that Austin is still the Austin it once was, says Joshua Long, author of Weird City: Sense of Place and Creative Resistance in Austin, Texas. So as it's become a big city, a movement has developed to "keep it cool, keep it weird and keep it environmentally friendly".
7. Family-friendly
Because of its good-value housing, Texas has been particularly popular with families, and some of its cities now have an above-average number of children. San Antonio is home to the largest community of gay parents.
In Texas, you can have a reasonable mortgage and pretty good schools, says Grieder. And restaurants are invariably family-friendly.
"You hear about the high drop-out rate but Texas education scores pretty well at national tests for 4th and 8th graders in math, reading and science. The aggregate is about average.
"The perception is that Texas has poor schools but it's not correct. Across the country in general, we don't have schools as good as we would like them to be."
In eighth-grade maths, for instance, Texas scored higher than the national average and outscored the three other big states of California, New York and Florida. On Sunday, an education budget was approved that restored cuts made in 2011.
8. Fewer rules

And why some might not move to Texas

University of Texas Longhrons in action
  • The weather - summer is hot. Very hot
  • Congestion problems growing in big cities
  • Not well known for fun nightlife, outside Austin
  • If you hate American football (above, University of Texas Longhorns), you might be outnumbered
"Texas is liberal in the classic sense, it's laissez-faire, so there's a lack of regulations," says Grieder, and this can apply to the obvious (business regulations) or the less obvious (city rules).
"The classic social contract is - we're not going to do a ton to help you but we're not going to get in your way. That's not 100% true of the state but there's that strand in the state."
Mortgage lending is an obvious exception. But there has been strong opposition to banning texting while driving and a proposed tax on soda.
And Governor Rick Perry is poised to sign off the strongest email privacy laws in the US, which would require state law enforcement agencies to get a warrant before accessing emails.
9. Texans are normal people The state likes to proclaim itself as an unpretentious, down-to-earth place where people are easy to get along with.
As John Steinbeck wrote: "Texas has a tight cohesiveness perhaps stronger than any other section of America."
And for people with conservative values, it could be a natural home, although demographic shifts have prompted speculation it will be a Democratic state in the future.
People dream about moving to California, but they don't dream about moving to Texas, says Grieder, yet many of those reluctant to move there end up liking it.
She adds: "[They] realise that Texans aren't all Bible thumping, gun-toting people. The job is the trigger to come but you find it's pretty nice to live here."
10. And they're not going anywhere All this doesn't just bring in new arrivals - native Texans aren't leaving the state either. It is the "stickiest" state in the country, according to the latest figures from the Pew Research Center, which suggest that more than three-quarters of adults born in Texas still live there. Alaska is the least sticky.

French Open 2013 day fiveLive

Rain delays play for the fourth time on day five of the French Open with Maria Sharapova's match among those interrupted.

Get involved

Live Reporting

  1. 1743: 
    The rain is fair pelting down now in Paris. It is looking like this weather break might be a lengthy one. Time to stretch our legs while the players rest up their's. After getting it so nearly right last time I'm picking 1835 BST in the restart sweepstakes.
    It could be before that though so keep them peeled. I'll be right back with you as soon as a court coverer twitches an index finger.
  2. 1739: 
    LATEST SCORES
    Play suspended all around the grounds which at least gives us a chance to catch up with what is happening away from the showpiece arenas.
    Maria Sharapova is 4-1 up in the first on Eugenie Bouchard on Philippe Chatrier
    Rafael Nadal and Martin Klizan are waiting to hit the first ball of their match on Suzanne Lenglen.
    On Court One, France's Benoit Paire is 7-6 (7-2) 5-2 up on Lucasz Kubot.
    On Court Two, Alize Cornet is 6-1 3-3 up on Silvia Soler-Espinosa
    On Court Seven, ninth seed Stanislas Wawrinka is 6-2 4-5 up on Horacio Zeballos, with the second set on serve.
  3. 1732: 
    The Suzanne Lenglen crowd have hardly had a glimpse of Rafael Nadal's salmon-coloured shorts before they are disappearing back inside at top speed. Those volatile French skies are spitting once again and ball boys and girls are scattered as the burly court coverers come on to prevent the clay getting wet.
  4.   
    Piers Newbery, BBC Sport at Roland Garros
    "Sharapova and Bouchard make for an interesting match-up on Chatrier, as the young Canadian is considered such a star in the making that she did a promotional campaign with Sharapova for their clothing manufacturer on the eve of the French Open. Bouchard is also best mates with Laura Robson, and the pair were responsible for a gangnam style video last year. Remeber gangnam style? It was the one before the harlem shake, I think."
  5. 1725: 
    Rafael Nadal has prowled out onto Philippe Chatrier. The Spaniard, who is hunting an eighth French Open title from nine campaigns, lost the first set in his first-round win over Daniel Brands.
    He will be hoping for a tidier afternoon's work against Martin Kliznan today, especially with it darkening up top once again.
  6. 1720: 
    Second seed Maria Sharapova is up and running against Eugenie Bouchard with the pair sharing the first two games.
    Bouchard, ranked 77th in the world, has been in some nifty-looking form ahead of the French Open, reaching the last four in Strasbourg and the quarter-finals in Charleston.
    Bouchard is also best mates and hitting partners with Laura Robson.
    Laura Robson and Eugenie Bouchard
  7. 1715: 
    GAME, SET AND MATCH
    Victoria Azarenka scrawls her mark on the lens of an obliging camaraman as she leaves the scene of her 6-4 6-3 win over Annika Beck.
    She will play either Alize Cornet or Silvia Soler-Espinosa in the next round. Cornet won the first set of their meeting out on Court Two, but trails 3-1 in the second.
  8.  
    GET INVOLVED
    Claironimo: I saw Pella play on Tuesday. He looked like he was going to play 5-a-side down the local sport centre. And today also.
  9. 1705: 
    Novak Djokovic's 6-2 6-0 6-2 win over Guido Pella weighed in at a featherweight one hour 26 minutes by the way. The Serb clocked up some solid service numbers as well, landing with 72% of his first serves, even if he only managed the solitary ace.
  10. 1702: 
    While we await the arrival of Maria Sharapova and her opponent Eugenie Bouchard on Philippe Chatrier, Victoria Azarenka is slowly crushing Annika Beck out on Suzanne Lenglen. Azarenka is 6-4 4-2 up on the German who has hit a couple of pearlers, but lacks the consistency and quality to stay the pace.
  11. 1655: 
    Neat, tidy and as functional as his haircut, that will more than do for Novak Djokovic. The Serb will have his feet up while his opponent in the main draw, including Rafael Nadal who he is seeded to meet in the semi-finals, take their luck in tonight's gathering Parisian gloom.
  12.  
    GAME, SET AND MATCH - Djokovic 6-2 6-0 6-2 Pella
    Novak Djokovic puts Guido Pella up on the hook as he romps to 40-0 against the Argentine's serve. It looks like Pella may be able to wiggle off as he worms his way to 30-40 with Djokovic's attention wavering a fraction, but a double fault cedes the match and sends Djokovic though to a reunion with Grigor Dimitrov, the man who beat him in Madrid earlier this year.
  13.  
    Djokovic 6-2 6-0 5-2 Pella*
    Novak Djokovic breezes through another service game as he holds to love. Pella must serve to stay in the match next.
  14. 1644: 
    Li Na has been speaking to the media following her surprise loss to Bethanie Mattek-Sands: "This is very tough conditions, coming back to the court three times. But for both players it's the same, so I should find out what happened and talk to myself or also talk to team to see what happened."
  15.  
    *Djokovic 6-2 6-0 4-2 Pella
    Perhaps wisely, Novak Djokovic is concentrating on sharpening up that backhand drop-shot that has been getting away from him rather than his evening meal. He still has not quite got it right, chopping a little clumsily into the net to allow Pella another notch on his bedpost.
  16.  
    Djokovic 6-2 6-0 4-1 Pella*
    Novak Djokovic cruising. He can probably weigh up his dinner options while he plays this one out.
  17.  
    Djokovic 6-2 6-0 3-1 Pella*
    It was just a whisper coming off the racquet as Djokovic patted away a forehand volley into the open court for a break to love, but that might be the sound of Guido Pella's challenge shattering.
    The Serb in complete control. He has dealt with the rain break far better than Pella.
  18.  
    Djokovic 6-2 6-0 2-1 Pella*
    The Djokovic service train rumbles on through. Pella looks on like a passenger trying in vain to flag down the Kyoto to Tokoyo express for an unscheduled stop.
  19.  
    *Djokovic 6-2 6-0 1-1 Pella
    Pella gets a game as reward for his plucky ball-striking. The French Open crowd love lumping their lot in with the underdog and cheer enthusiastically, but Djokovic is not going to allow them to gain many more decibels I fear.
  20.  
    Djokovic 6-2 6-0 1-0 Pella*
    Guido Pella is not going to die wondering. The Argentine flays away on his groundstrokes, flattening everything in his hitting zone to bring up a break point from deuce. Djokovic has the guile and cunning to go with the power though and he slickly negotiates his way out of trouble to make it 11 games in a row.
  21.   
    BBC Radio 5 live sports extraBBC coverage
    Bethanie Mattek Sands may have been too busy dumping former champions out of the main draw to do the 5 live commentary honours today, but Russell Fuller and Jill Craybas are on the microphones in a cramped Parisian commentary box. Join them for all the details on Novak Djokovic and Guido Pella right now.
  22.  
    GET INVOLVED
    Paul Spence: Is this where we claim Bethanie Mattek-Sands as a Brit as she commentates on 5 live?
    Certainly can Paul. Sign her up.
  23.   
    Piers Newbery, BBC Sport at Roland Garros
    ""Novak, will you marry me?" shouts a spectator, optimistically. Djokovic walks back to the baseline grinning sheepishly towards his watching girlfriend in the stands, who laughs. No need to issue a hands-off warning yet. Her man is playing some great stuff, taking the set by chasing down a short ball and angling a backhand winner with the kind of athleticism that sets him apart. Meanwhile, beaten former champion Li Na is heading straight to the interview room. She could be in the UK by this evening."
  24.  
    GAME AND SECOND SET- *Djokovic 6-2 6-0 Pella
    Guido Pella claws his way back from an ugly-looking 0-40 scoreline, cracking away winners with all guns blazing to stoutly defend three break points. How long can this purple patch last? Not long enough to avoid the bagel. His second-set goose is cooked as Djokovic teases him with a flimsy little cross-court pick up that dies just out of the Argentine's reach and inside the sidelines.
  25.  
    Djokovic 6-2 5-0 Pella*
    Someone has put a rocket under Novak Djokovic. He whisks his way through another service game and he doesn't look like he has much time to give Pella any ego-massaging game to put a shine on the scoreboard.
  26.  
    DJOKOVIC-PELLA RESUMES- *Djokovic 6-2 4-0 Pella
    Novak Djokovic and Guido Pella have stuck an upward-facing palm out of the door, realised it is not raining and got the show back on the road.
    No hanging around for a warm-up and Djokovic immediately breaks Pella's serve to move 4-0 as they throw themselves into the fray.
  27. 1611: 
    SHOCK RESULTS!
    A pair of seeds have fallen on fallow French Open ground.
    Sixth seed and former champion Li Na has been downed 5-7 6-3 6-2 by the American Bethanie Mattek-Sands while 16th seed Dominika Cibulkova is out after a 6-2 2-6 6-4 defeat by Marina Erakovic, Elena Baltacha's conqueror.
  28. 1606: 
    LATEST SCORES
    Time for a quick spin around the grounds then.
    Unfortunately British interest in the French Open is wilting quicker than a Parisian's barbeque plans. Colin Fleming and Jonathan Marray, seeded 10th, have lost 7-6 (7-4) 6-7 (3-7) 7-5 to Andre Sa and Feliciano Lopez in the doubles.
    American youngster Sloane Stephens has beaten compatriot Vania King in straight sets while Victoria Azarenka is well on her way to the first set with a 5-1 lead over Annika Beck on Suzanne Lenglen.
    Lukas Rosol may not get another crack at Rafael Nadal after his Wimbledon heroics last year. The Czech is two sets to love down to Fabio Fognini on Court Three.
  29.   
    Piers Newbery, BBC Sport at Roland Garros
    "Djokovic has his tracksuit top on and his racquet bag zipped up long before the umpire succumbs to the inevitable, and it's bad news as the umbrellas win out once again. The obligatory boos ring out as the players troop off in the rain. Djokovic's form has been patchy, relatively speaking, in the last few weeks but he made it very clear last week that the French Open is his "major target" for 2013. Getting the job done today and having 24 hours' rest before facing Grigor Dimitrov, his conqueror in Madrid earlier this month, will be a key part of the plan."
  30. 1557: 
    DJOKOVIC-PELLA SUSPENDED
    Philippe Chatrier has one heck of a micro-climate. Play continues pretty much everywhere else but Novak Djokovic and Guido Pella are marching back to the sanctuary of the corridors if not the locker room itself as the rain starts to splutter down a bit more heavily.
  31. 1554: 
    There is an upset brewing. American Bethanie Mattek-Sands has former champion Li Na by the windpipe, leading 5-0 in the decider and serving for the match. Li dodges one bullet as she breaks back for 5-1 but she has a long old climb to go if she is going to get out of this sticky situation.
  32.  
    Djokovic 6-2 3-0 Pella*
    Another Novak Djokovic service game whizzes pass without Guido Pella laying glove leather on it. Meanwhile over on Court One though...
  33.  
    *Djokovic 6-2 2-0 Pella
    Guido Pella has an almighty tussle to keep hold of his serve with Djokovic batting him around between deuce and advantage. The Argentine's nerve comes a little unstuck mentally and the disintegration transmits itself into his strings as he cuffs a forehand long to surrender a break of serve.
    Pella complains that the gentle drizzle has made conditions unplayable. Umbrellas are popping up in the stands.
  34.  
    Djokovic 6-2 1-0 Pella*
    Novak Djokovic might have one eye on the skies. It is churning up there with the threat of a downpour hanging over this match like a grand piano on a cotton thread. He dusts off another service game with little fuss and will want to get back indoors before the elements intervene.
  35. 1541: 
    Bad news for out on Court 14. Heather Watson has come a cropper in the doubles as she and Irina Buryachok lose 6-3 4-6 7-5 to Oksana Kalashnikova and Alicja Rosolska.
  36.  
    GAME AND FIRST SET- *Djokovic 6-2 Pella
    Djokovic gets a huge slice of luck as his backhand return grinds up against the net cord before slipping over to Guido Pella's side of the court to bring up deuce. Pella has a glimpse of the sunny uplands of 5-3 as he brings up advantage, but Djokovic slams the door with his swishing forehand putting too much sauce on the ball for the Argentine to deal with.
    Pella attempts an audacious escape with an on-the-run down-the-line winner from set point down. The net claims it and Djokovic has the first set.
  37.  
    GET INVOLVED
    Stephanie Siu: Nice play from Nole here. Really needs to make his potential path to a SF as seemless as possible to have a chance against Rafa.
    Kayley Jay: Guido. You're supposed to be having a tennis match, not a slanging match...and not with the umpire! Not how to make round 3.
  38.  
    Djokovic 5-2 Pella*
    Novak Djokovic has the choke out and the engine firing now. He wraps up a service game quicksmart to put himself within spitting distance of the first set.
    He will play Grigor Dimitrov in the next round should he get there. The Bulgarian has completed his win over Lucas Pouille. Djokovic suffered a surprise loss to Dimitrov in Madrid earlier this year that he will want to pay back.
  39. 1530: 
    GET INVOLVED
    Don't just leave it to Piers and the 5 live sports extra team. Your thoughts on today's action are more than welcome on #bbctennis on Twitter or 81111 from UK mobiles.
  40.  
    *Djokovic 4-2 Pella
    Guido Pella chased and scurried but his creaking serve has finally given way as Djokovic takes his fourth break point of the match with a regulation overhead smash. Pella is now chasing the scoreline as well as the ball in this set.
  41.   
    Piers Newbery, BBC Sport at Roland Garros
    "It's desperately tense on Chatrier, a mighty battle of wills and strength of character. Some have gone for the waterproofs at the first chill wind and darkening of the skies, others have remained resolute and exposed to the elements. A lone union flag umbrella is opened and then quickly closed - made of stern stuff. Novak Djokovic is keeping warm by practising his backhand drop shot, which needs work."
  42. 1526:  
    BBC Radio 5 live sports extra
    BBC Radio 5 live sports extra have dried themselves off and cranked into action in Paris. You can catch all today's action with them right now.
  43.  
    Djokovic 3-2 Pella*
    Novak Djokovic's serve just keeps on trucking. 40-0 in a twinkle. The Serb scuffs a drop-shot into the net off the backhand wing, he is still trying to find his range on that, but he sweeps up the next point to head back to his stool.
  44.  
    *Djokovic 2-2 Pella
    Pella is dragged downmarket into a straight forehand slug-out by Djokovic at 30-30 and is overpowered to bring up a break-point. The Argentine left-hander wisely decides that discretion is the better part of valour and mixes it up to prevent Djokovic building up a head of steam on the next rally. From deuce, Palla keeps probing away intelligently and a frustrated Djokovic tries to out-fox him with a backhand drop shot that floats into the net.
  45.  
    Djokovic 2-1 Pella*
    Novak Djokovic makes his way through a second service game without too much hassle from Guido Pella. Safe and steady rather than spectacular so far from Djokovic, but that may well be enough against Pella.
  46.  
    *Djokovic 1-1 Pella
    The good thing about playing on clay is that you can turn marginal line calls into show and tell. Guido Pella saves a first break point by breaking off from a rally to ring the mark left by a Djokovic groundstroke beyond the baseline with his racquet. Djokovic clumps a forehand return into the net to send a second break point slithering down the swanny and he pays for his profligacy as Pella pings a couple of forehands to opposing corners of the court to stretch his opponent all out of shape and seal the game.
  47.  
    Djokovic 1-0 Pella*
    Guido Pella smuggles two points his way off the Djokovic serve, but there is not anything else in the opening game for him.
  48. 1505: 
    Guido Pella has a bit of a barney with the umpire about where he can leave his towel before he sets off to the baseline to receive serve. After all that rain, we are about to get going...
  49. 1504: 
    World number one Novak Djokovic won in straight sets in his first-round match, but it was far from a stroll in the park against David Goffin. The Belgian took Djokovic deep in each of the three sets, before folding out 7-6 (7-5) 6-4 7-5.
  50. 1459: 
    Novak Djokovic, decked out in a deep blue shirt with white shorts and socks for those that keep track of these things, is knocking up. The crowd staved of tennis, but stuffed full of lunch are quickly filling up the seats on Philippe Chatrier.
    Up above, the skies are an evenly fought battle between blue patches and grey cumulus.
  51. 1456: 
    Just a quick reminder of where we stand after that extended break for the weather. Up next on Philippe Chatrier is Novak Djokovic against Guido Pella, on Suzanne Lenglen Grigor Dimitrov will see off France's Lucas Pouille if he converts a 4-1 lead in the third set while on the outside courts Heather Watson and Colin Fleming and Jonathan Marray are keeping the British flag flying in doubles action.
  52. 1448: 
    My weather eye is clearly in. Almost bang on schedule, the covers are peeled back, the sun peeks round a cloud and we are back in the tennis, rather than meteology, business at Roland Garros.
  53. 1416: 
    No play until at least 1430 BST was the latest from the referees' office at Roland Garros, but that deadline is going to float by without a ball being struck. It is still hammering it down in Paris.
    We are going to take a short break and come back to you when we have action rather than locker-room tittle-tattle to report on. Best guess would be around 1445 BST. If we get lucky.
    Hopefully I'll see you soon.
  54. 1405: 
    Maybe Ernests Gulbis was so damning about the men's top four because he had just been enjoying the company of Gael Monfils.
    The Frenchman doesn't worry about what other people say. Fresh back from injury and competing on a wildcard, he has been one of the stars of the tournament so far.
    During a changeover in his four-set win over Gulbis yesterday he whipped out his mobile phone to film a Mexican wave making its way around the stands.
    That came after Sergiy Stakhovsky of Ukraine used his phone to take a picture of a contentious line call in his French Open first round defeat to Richard Gasquet.
    Roger Federer has warned that, like school kids in an exam, the players may be banned from bringing their phones courtside because of the possibility they could be used to facilitate some sneaky backdoor coaching.
    A guy at my school hid his phone in his pants for an exam. I guess that would hinder your service action on court though.
  55. 1355: 
    "To be honest, over the years I have found it difficult to open up and be a bundle of laughs in press conferences or interviews," Andy Murray said of the accusation.
    "I always try to give honest answers, but they are fairly boring so I don't have to deal with the aftermath of any scandals."
    Federer added: "Our interviews are not always the most exciting. But that's not just our fault, that's the machine.
    "After each match, we have to give press conferences.
    "But also you cannot say anything you do not like about something to someone without being totally criticised by many people. Therefore, everyone is very careful."
  56. 1352: 
    Andy Murray and Roger Federer have not taken Ernests Gulbis claims that they are "boring" lying down.
    In fact they have challenged the Latvian to a break-dance battle followed by five minutes of stand-up each during the rain delay.
    No, sorry, crossed wires. They have actually kind of agreed.
  57. 1347: 
    Play has been suspended on all courts. The players are back in their locker-room holding pattern. This could be an afternoon of action serialised into more episodes than M*A*S*H.
  58.   
    Piers Newbery, BBC Sport at Roland Garros
    "Novak Djokovic has been amusing himself in the locker room this morning by posing in a Serbia water polo cap, as you do, possibly in an attempt to prove he is not "boring". Shoot-from-the-hip Ernests Gulbis has been having his say in l'Equipe today: "I respect Roger [Federer], Rafa [Nadal], Novak [Djokovic] and [Andy] Murray but, for me, all four of them are boring players. Their interviews are boring."
  59. 1339: 
    GET INVOLVED
    As a starter, why not send your thoughts on what to buy the couple who were brought together by their love of Roger Federer as a wedding gift.
    Matching pristine white monogrammed pocket handkerchiefs perhaps...
  60. 1338: 
    GET INVOLVED
    Whatever the weather, the Parisian crowd aren't ones to sit back and just spectate. Even Rafael Nadal has felt the rough side of their collective tongue.
    After not getting his fair share of support in defeat to Robin Soderling in 2009, Nadal's uncle Toni agreed that "there is only one set of supporters that is worse than the French and that is the Parisians."
    Fighting talk.
    If you can get in touch with your inner Parisian and fire some feisty thoughts on today's action to #bbctennis on Twitter or 81111 from UK mobiles that would be perfect.
  61. 1336: 
    There are no Britons left in the singles draw, but in typically stiff upper lip style they are amongst those out there braving the elements.
    Fresh from singles defeat to Stefanie Voegele, Heather Watson has teamed up with Ukraine's Irina Buryachok to take on Oksana Kalashnikova and Alicja Rosolska. Watson and Buryachok are one set all, and level at 4-4 in the third.
    Wimbledon champion Jonathan Marray and Colin Fleming came out on the rough side of a first set tie-break and are deep into the second at 7-6 (7-4) 6-6 down to Feliciano Lopez and Andre Sa on Court 10. Fleming and Marray are seeded 10th.
  62. 1333: 
    Just as I type, the bomb doors open on a brooding black cloud over Philippe Chatrier. The green tarpaulin has been hurriedly pulled across. The good news is that play is continuing on some of the outside courts.
  63. 1331: 
    MORE RAIN FORECAST
    The bad news is that there is a stubborn blue stain smeared across the weather radar. Today's action maybe more stop, start and dither than Rafael Nadal's service action.
  64. 1329: 
    BBC coverage
    BBC Radio 5 live sports extra have dried themselves off and cranked into action in Paris. You can catch all today's action there while the team hop around the grounds and dodge the showers. Of which there might well be a few.
  65. 1328: 
    GAME, SET AND MATCH
    Post-match pecks exchanged at the net as Sam Stosur completes a 6-4 6-3 win over Kristina Mladenovic.
    The Australian 2010 finalist plays Jelena Jankovic next after the Serb slipped in a 6-3 6-0 win over Garbine Muguruza before the rain started to fall this morning.
  66. 1323: 
    One off the undercard to keep your eye on is Benoit Paire's match against big-hitting Pole Lukasz Kubot on next on Court One.
    Paire, seeded 24th, beat Marcos Baghdatis 3-6 7-6 (7-1) 6-4 6-4 in an entertaining first-round match which he sealed with a baseline drop-shot.
    Ooh, and indeed, la la.
  67. 1321: 
    TODAY'S HIGHLIGHTS
    With Kristina Mladenovic just a game away from defeat now, those two are about to go toe-to-toe on the showpiece Philippe Chatrier court.
    But there are plenty of other big guns parking up on the red clay later today.
    Selected highlights include:
    Third seed and 2009 finalist Victoria Azarenka is second on Suzanne Lenglen against Annika Beck.
    Seven-time champion Rafael Nadal's match against Slovakia's Martin Klizan follows on the same court.
    Women's second seed Maria Sharapova and Eugenie Bouchard of Canada will have next use of Philippe Chatrier once Djokovic and Pella are finished.
  68. 1319: 
    In all probability, no.
    Pella is ranked a full 100 places below Djokovic and recorded his first-ever win in a Grand Slam main draw as he overhauled Ivan Dodig 4-6 6-4 6-3 2-6 12-10 on Tuesday.
    But it wouldn't be a surprise if we expected it would it?
    Guido Pella
  69. 1317: 
    What to make of Novak Djokovic's start to the year?
    The Serbian world number one has come flying out of the traps in the past couple of seasons. He won his first 41 matches of 2011 and reached the final of five of his first eight events in 2012.
    This year has been a bit more patchy with the highs of winning the Australian Open and beating Rafael Nadal in Monte Carlo mixed in with surprising defeats to Tommy Haas and Grigor Dimitrov.
    Could Argentina's Guido Pella spring an upset in the second round of the French Open today?
  70. 1312: 
    On the showpiece Philippe Chatrier stage, French world number 46 Kristina Mladenovic is knocking up with Australian Sam Stosur in front of small handful of spectators. There may not be much left to run in this one. Stosur has a 6-4 4-1 lead.
    Once they are done, the men's world number one steps up...
  71. 1308: 
    The rain in Spain stays mainly on the plain. Which is great for those in Iberia, but it seems in France it prefers to hang out in urban areas.
    The fifth day of action has been held up by the wet stuff in Paris, it has been a soggy edition of the tournament so far, but the good news is that the covers are off on Philippe Chatrier and Suzanne Lenglen.
    A resumption of play is just minutes away. Hopefully anyway..
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