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Son of Shinde faction MLA ‘kidnaps’ music company

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The Mumbai Police has registered an FIR against Shiv Sena (Shinde faction) MLA Prakash Surve’s son Raj Surve and others for allegedly kidnaping a businessman Rajkumar Singh for ransom from the Goregaon East area Wednesday. The abduction allegedly took place at gunpoint.

A CCTV camera footage of the incident surfaced online.
A CCTV camera footage of the incident surfaced online.

Reports claimed that about 10 to 15 people stormed into the Global Music Junction office in Goregaon in Mumbai, and abducted the music company CEO. A CCTV camera footage surfaced online in which 10 to 15 persons are purportedly seen abusing the staff and forcibly taking one person with them.

According to Rajkumar Singh’s statement, he was forcibly picked up from his office and was pressured at gunpoint to settle a business loan given to Manoj Mishra of Patna.

“Rajkumar was taken to MLA Prakash Surve’s office in Dahisar, where the MLA’s son Raj Surve and his men threatened him at gunpoint to settle the matter and not speak about the same to anyone,” news agency ANI reported citing the FIR.

On the complaint of Rajkumar Singh, the Vanrai police registered a case and booked 10 accused including Raj Surve, Manoj Mishra, and Vikky Shetty. No arrest has been made yet, said police officials.

Shiv Sena (UBT) MP Priyanka Chaturvedi took a dig at the Shinde camp over the incident. “The navratnas of the traitor gang,” she tweeted.

Singh was allegedly kidnapped in front of his staff at gunpoint from his office at Goregaon East by 10 people and was taken to Surve’s office at Dahisar. In the office, Surve made him sign a blank stamp paper. Later, Singh’s office staff and relatives alerted the police and he was rescued.

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Tributes paid to music great Robbie Robertson

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Tributes have been paid to the late musician Robbie Robertson, who has been hailed as a Canadian “icon” and a “great friend” following his death at the age of 80.

Robertson was The Band’s lead guitarist and songwriter behind such classics as The Weight and The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down.

He died surrounded by family in Los Angeles “after a long illness”, his publicist Ray Costa confirmed to the AP news agency.

Paying tribute on social media, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau wrote: “Guitarist. Songwriter. Storyteller. Robbie Robertson was a big part of Canada’s outsized contributions to the arts.

“I’m thinking of his family, friends, and fans who are mourning his loss. Thank you for the music and the memories, Robbie.”

Former US president Bill Clinton also paid tribute to Robertson.

“Robbie Robertson was a brilliant songwriter, guitarist, and composer whose gifts changed music forever,” he said.

“I’m grateful for all the good memories he gave me – going back to his time in the Hawks when I was a teenager- and for his kindness through the years. I’ll miss him.”

Saluting her fellow Canadian, singer-songwriter Joni Mitchell said on social media: “Rest in peace Robbie Robertson, legendary lead guitarist of The Band, fellow Canadian, and cherished collaborator of Joni’s. May his legacy and musical harmony resonate for generations to come.”

On X, formerly known as Twitter, Neil Diamond paid tribute to Robertson, who produced his album Beautiful Noise.

The American singer wrote: “The music world lost a great one with the passing of Robbie Robertson. Keep making that Beautiful Noise in the sky, Robbie. I’ll miss you.”

The Rolling Stones’ Ronnie Wood shared images from the Martin Scorsese-directed rock documentary The Last Waltz, which featured him and was about a concert billed as The Band’s “farewell” gig.

He wrote: “Such sad news about Robbie Robertson – he was a lovely man, a great friend and will be dearly missed xx R.”

The Canadian actor and musician Kiefer Sutherland wrote: “The loss of Robbie Robertson is heartbreaking. Canada has lost an icon, and music has lost a poet and a scholar.”

Fellow Canadian Bryan Adams wrote: “RIP Robbie Robertson. Thanks for the amazing music and the great hangs, especially photographing you in LA not so long ago.”

Echoing the lyrics of The Band’s song The Weight, Adams added: “We’ll keep Anna Lee company for you…”

Martin Scorsese remembered his longtime friend, who had collaborated with him on numerous films.

Hailing his friend as “a giant”, Scorsese called Robertson “a constant in my life and work”.

“Long before we ever met, his music played a central role in my life – me and millions and millions of other people all over this world.

Martin Scorsese hailed Robbie Robertson as “a constant in my life and work”

“The Band’s music, and Robbie’s own later solo music, seemed to come from the deepest place at the heart of this continent, its traditions and tragedies and joys,” Scorsese said in a statement.

“His effect on the art form was profound and lasting.”

A statement from Robertson’s family to his Twitter page read: “Robbie was surrounded by his family at the time of his death, including his wife, Janet, his ex-wife, Dominique, her partner Nicholas, and his children Alexandra, Sebastian, Delphine, and Delphine’s partner Kenny.

“In lieu of flowers, the family has asked that donations be made to the Six Nations of the Grand River to support the building of their new cultural centre.”

Source: Press Association, AFP



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Thieves foiled in attempt to steal nearly $7K

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POMPANO BEACH, FLA. (WSVN) – Quick-thinking staff at a Pompano Beach music store prevented a thief from making off with a violin priced at nearly $7,000 in a daring morning incident.

The thwarted theft occurred Wednesday at Fiddlershop, located at 2703 Gateway Drive.

The subject, seen on surveillance cameras dressed in all black, had previously targeted the store, according to store owner Pierre Holstein.

During Wednesday’s incident, the thief, accompanied by a second individual wearing a colorful bucket hat, entered the store.

“Well he rang the doorbell, he came in and asked to see some instruments and violins,” said Holstein, “and Charlie, who was helping him, asked him what kind of instrument he was looking for, and he was kind of stumbling and didn’t know what to say, and he said ‘My daughter.’”

Wednesday’s incident marks the second time the store has been targeted by the same individual.

The initial incident occurred in May, when the suspect stole a guitar worth nearly $1,000. During that incident, the thief struggled with an employee but managed to escape with only one of the stolen guitars.

Recognizing the suspect as he returned to the scene, store personnel confronted him, determined not to let him escape with the valuable Ming Jiang Zhu 925 violin.

“I said, ‘You look familiar,’ and he’s like, ‘What do you mean?’ And I said, ‘You mind taking off your hat?’ And he goes, ‘What a question to ask,’” said Holstein. “Eventually I said to him, ‘You’re not leaving here without that instrument. If you put it down, I’ll let you get out of here.’”

The vigilant staff successfully wrestled the violin away from the thief, while another employee stood nearby with a baseball bat in hand. The two subjects left the store empty-handed, departing with laughter, according to an employee.

In response to the incident, Fiddlershop has implemented stricter security measures, moving their instruments behind locked doors and switching to appointment-only visits.

“I guess they feel like they have nothing to lose. I guess they get away with stuff so much in their lives, and they don’t have anything to live for. I don’t know,” said Holstein.

The Fiddlershop employees suspect that this serial thief may have targeted other music stores in the area as well. Surveillance footage from a Fort Lauderdale music store captured a similar subject stealing guitars in July.

The Broward Sheriff’s Office is actively investigating Wednesday morning’s incident.

If you have any information on this theft or the subject’s whereabouts, call Broward County Crime Stoppers at 954-493-TIPS. Remember, you can always remain anonymous, and you may be eligible for a reward of up to $5,000.

Copyright 2023 Sunbeam Television Corp. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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Primary Wave Music, Luther Vandross Estate Team

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Luther Vandross’ soulful, luxurious tenor wrapped its way around a string of R&B and pop hits in the ‘80s, ‘90s and 2000s. So it’s only fitting that the Luther Vandross Estate and Primary Wave Music would collaborate with esteemed Irish luxury brand Waterford to launch an exclusive crystal collection.

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Paying homage to the eight-time Grammy winner’s 1981 platinum single “Never Too Much,” the limited-edition Luther 81 X collection will become available on Aug. 10.

Each piece in the Luther Vandross X Waterford collection of cocktail and barware features a karo cut design that underscores a key line in the song’s refrain: “A thousand kisses from you is never too much.” Each crystal piece is also emblazoned with a single hand-cut karo kiss on its base. 

Waterford x Luther Vandross

Waterford x Luther Vandross

Courtesy of Waterford

In an additional salute to the music and legacy of Vandross, who died in 2005, the House of Waterford has designed a unique crystal art piece commemorating the artist’s double-platinum debut album, also titled Never Too Much. The 12-inch wall-mounted crystal disc, set against a steel and brass backdrop, sports 81 polished precision-cut track grooves and a hand-etched center label featuring Vandross’ signature. It took more than 19 hours and four Master Craftsmen to forge the crystal album, using five specialized techniques: mouth blowing, cutting, sculpting, satin finishing and assembling. It will be available for purchase on the Waterford website for $15,000.

“Luther Vandross’ genuine affinity for crystal always mirrored the crystal-clear quality of his voice and spirit,” said Lisa Fruggiero, vp of brand partnerships at Primary Wave Music, in a release announcing the news. “Our collaboration with Waterford beautifully symbolizes this, adding a level of sincerity and elegance that embodies Luther’s legacy in a unique, tangible way.”

Luther Vandross

Courtesy Photo

David Gottlieb, manager of the Luther Vandross Estate, stated, “This unique collection honors Luther Vandross’ timeless legacy, beautifully capturing the spirit of his music in each crystal piece. It’s more than just barware — it’s a testament to Luther’s profound influence on music and his ever-present essence in our lives.”

With support from Waterford, Primary Wave Music and The Luther Vandross Estate, the Luther Vandross Foundation honored the singer’s dedication to helping students and historically Black colleges and universities (HBCUs). Held at Philadelphia’s historic Belmont Mansion earlier this year, the event showcased a custom-cut crystal decanter that prefaced  the Luther 81 X line’s upcoming August launch.

Waterford x Luther Vandross

Waterford x Luther Vandross

Courtesy of Waterford

“Music is an emotional thread that will be integral to our new brand narrative at Waterford,” said Waterford creative director Alice Bastin. “Luther’s music has inspired and bonded generations and his legacy lives on through the important work the Luther Vandross Foundation does. It’s incredibly important to me that Waterford supports the work of the Luther Vandross Foundation and promotes cultural conversations around diversity and inclusivity. It’s an honor for Waterford to be able to contribute to the important work of the Luther Vandross Foundation and to give talented students attending HBCUs the financial aid to further their passions in education.”

The Luther Vandross X Waterford collection will be available on waterford.com. It will also be available exclusively at Bloomingdale’s in the U.S., David Jones in Australia, House of Waterford in Ireland, and Harrods in the U.K. For more information, visit https://www.waterford.com/en-us/collections/collaborations/luther-vandross.

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What the papers say: Wednesday’s front pages

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The front pages are dominated by photo’s from the funeral of Sinéad O’Connor which took place yesterday.

The Irish Times leads with a photo from the funeral in Bray, as thousands of fans gathered to pay their respects.

The Irish Examiner leads with an ariel photo from Sinéad O’Connor’s funeral procession. The paper also leads an apology from the PSNI after officers data was leaked.

The Echo leads with the number of children waiting for vital therapies in Cork has grown by over 4,000.

The Irish Daily Mail leads with victims of an alleged abuser who used to teach at Terenure College say they have been denied justice following his death.

The Irish Daily Mirrorand the Irish Daily Star lead with photos from Sinéad O’Connor’s funeral, with both papers leading with the headlines ‘daughter of Ireland’.

British papers

A new deal with Turkey, remembering the late Queen and hackers breaking into Britain’s voting register made Britain’s front pages on Wednesday.

The Daily Express says the Government has struck a new deal with Turkey in an effort to stop people smugglers.

The Daily Mirror pays tribute to Sinead O’Connor alongside a story on the Prince and Princess of Wales, who will pay tribute to the late Queen in September.

Metro and the Daily Mail feature a story on hackers breaking into Britain’s voting register and accessing the details of more than 40 million people.

The Daily Telegraph reports the number of civil servants earning more than £100,000 has nearly doubled.

Britain has imposed its toughest sanctions on Vladimir Putin’s allies, The Independent says.

The Times and i lead with a new weight-loss jab could help reduce heart problems.

Meanwhile, the Financial Times reports Google and Universal are in talks over licensing music made by AI.

The public could receive hundreds of millions in compensation in the first class action claim against water companies, according to The Guardian.

And the Daily Star says AI is taking the jobs of psychics and tarot readers.



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Why the Allegations of Disability Discrimination

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  • Last week, Lizzo was sued by her former dancers, who are accusing the singer of weight-shaming and sexual harassment.
  • They are also accusing her of disability employment discrimination.
  • In 2017, Lizzo invited a man onstage though he trampled me while I was seated in a wheelchair.

Last week, as I scrolled through my Twitter feed, I came across the news that Lizzo had been sued by her former dancers, who accused her of fostering a hostile work environment. Most of the news stories focused on the dancers’ claims that they were weight shamed and sexually harassed.

What seems to have gotten lost in the salacious reporting about strip clubs, bananas, and religious extremism is that one of the former dancers is accusing Lizzo of disability employment discrimination.

I can only imagine the barriers disabled dancers like Arianna Davis face in the entertainment industry. Davis has an eye condition and says in the lawsuit she recorded performance notes to refer back to due to her disability. The lawsuit alleges that Lizzo was furious that someone had recorded the meeting. When Davis said she explained her condition to Lizzo, she said Lizzo responded, “There’s nothing you can say to make me believe you.” Davis said she was fired, prompting her to file a lawsuit.

Under the ADA and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act, a disabled employee recording performance notes due to their disability may be classified as a reasonable accommodation an employer can make since it doesn’t cause the employer an “undue burden” since it’s cost-free.

Ironically, this news story broke a little over a week after the anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act, a law barring employment discrimination against disabled people.

I’m a disabled Black woman and have long admired Lizzo’s music and what she represents as an artist. 

Nonetheless, the allegations against her did not surprise me.

lizzo

Lizzo headlined the 2023 Governors Ball music festival.

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I was trampled at a Lizzo concert

In 2017, before Lizzo became the megastar she is today, I attended her concert at the iconic 9:30 Club in Washington, D.C. I had become an instant fan after hearing her song “Good as Hell,” and loved her body-positive messaging. Along with my friends, I rolled my motorized wheelchair to the front of the standing-room-only venue near the edge of the stage.

During her live performances, Lizzo has been known to invite audience members onstage to sing, dance, and twerk with her. At this particular show, one of her fans caught the singer’s attention by sticking their large, platform heel in the air. The fan then proceeded to step on my legs while I was seated in my wheelchair in order to hoist themselves onto the stage. Lizzo’s dancers noticed what was happening and pulled them off of me.

They still led the fan to the stage, and Lizzo handed them the mic.

My friends and I were shaken. When I aired my frustrations to the venue, their response felt dismissive. They said that I should have called ahead to let them know a wheelchair user was attending the show.

I decided to take to Twitter to share my story. I wrote about how it feels to be disabled at a concert. In public spaces, you’re often treated like you’re invisible and seen as less than human.

To my surprise, other attendees tweeted about how they watched me get trampled at the concert. #DisabilityTwitter organized to ask Lizzo and her team for answers. She acknowledged the incident in tweets saying she heard someone “felt mistreated” at one of her shows and DMed me claiming she didn’t see the incident. She also noted that her dancers did pull the fan off of me. Lizzo told me she opposed ableism and wanted to meet me in person the next time she was in D.C. But, when that time came, I reached out to her, yet she never followed through.

(Editor’s Note: A representative for Lizzo did not respond to Insider’s request for comment on this story. In an Instagram post last week, Lizzo called the dancers’ allegations in the lawsuit “outrageous” and “false.”)

Nevertheless, this experience didn’t stop me from defending Lizzo as an artist from unwarranted attacks online. She has been body shamed and faced racist attacks from a society that resists accepting women who look like her as pop stars and symbols of beauty. As a Black woman, I am protective of women who look like me who are victims of public misogynoir.

But what happens when you’re Black and disabled?

Employment discrimination is a systemic problem

There is often an unspoken expectation that you must choose racial solidarity over your disability identity. This pressure has often forced me to face some difficult internal conflicts. 

This current lawsuit isn’t the first time Lizzo has been accused of ableism. Last year, Lizzo and Beyoncé were criticized for using an ableist slur in their songs. They promptly responded with remorse and changed the lyrics. Because of their swift action, I spoke in their defense.

The white disabled community often leads public dialogue on ableist slurs, often to the exclusion of Black disabled voices. Their biases tend to target Black women musicians, but white artists who use ableist slurs in their music rarely face the same scrutiny. 

This lawsuit, however, feels different. 

If the allegations detailed in this lawsuit are found to be true, I cannot be silent. These dancers’ stories are my story. I, along with millions of other disabled people, have also been on the receiving end of employment discrimination.

Our disabled community faces some of the highest unemployment rates while representing the largest minority group in America. A disabled person is three times less likely to be employed than a non-disabled person, and one in three disabled workers have experienced employment discrimination.

In my experiences in the workforce, I’ve been told I don’t belong and that no one will ever hire me. I was once even asked if my disability was cognitive, despite having a successful career writing for major media outlets.

I’ve seen my disabled colleagues fired because their accommodations are unfairly seen as a burden. My overqualified and educated disabled friends spend years unemployed or underpaid as it’s still legal to pay disabled people below minimum wage in America.

An opportunity to listen and learn

Throughout my two decades living with chronic illness, music has become a tool to tell my story of finding positivity in my Black disabled body. I even incorporated Beyoncé’s song lyrics while writing a disability hiring guide.

Recently, I tried to attend Beyoncé’s Renaissance tour, but discovered that my local venue chose not to sell accessible tickets in advance, rather asking fans who may have mobility issues to buy regular tickets and relocate to an ADA area once they reached the venue. As I shared my story online, I found that many people from the disabled BeyHive faced similar problems with accessibility. We started the #BeyIncluded hashtag to change how we hold facilities accountable for not being inclusive.

Music moves my soul and has given me confidence. Yet people like me can barely gain access to concert venues without being excluded due to accessibility or being physically harmed.

If I feel unwelcome at a concert, I cannot imagine how it must feel to work within the entertainment industry as a disabled woman.

I also hold a lot of sympathy for Lizzo. As a fat, Black woman, she will always be held to a higher standard than other women in music. This lawsuit against her is no excuse to express sexist, racist, or sizeist rhetoric. It is possible to critique someone’s actions without further perpetuating the same discrimination she is being accused of. 

While this lawsuit is still ongoing, I will reserve my judgment. But I hope this larger conversation becomes an opportunity for people to learn what ableism is and advocate for the disabled community in the entertainment industry and beyond.



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5 women leading the charge in SA music

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As South African music continues to make waves, South African women are playing a central role in taking local music to new heights.

In celebration of Women’s Day, we look at five women making their mark on the industry.

Uncle Waffles

There’s no other place to start besides for the global amapiano sensation Uncle Waffles.

In the two years since she first exploded onto the scene as an internet sensation, the 23-year-old has established herself as a force to be reckoned with.

While she’s dabbled in radio presenting, creative direction, brand influencing other avenues, Waffles‘ impact has been most felt on the music front through her huge platinum selling hit singles like ‘Tanzania’ and ‘Yahyippiyah’.

Uncle Waffles. Picture: Instagram

Now, Waffles is set to take things to another level with the release of yet another project, ‘An Asylum of Solace’ on August 11. One thing’s for sure, we’ll be listening.

Msaki

As far as pure vocalists go, there aren’t many who can stand toe to toe with Msaki.

Since she first became a household name through her Sun-El Musician collaboration ‘Ubomi Abamanga’ in 2020, the sweet-voiced singer has continued to give us hit after hit over the years.

Msaki performing at the Prince KayBee listening session at the Universal Studios in Rosebank North of Johannesburg. Picture: Simphiwe Mbokazi/African News Agency(ANA).

Recently, the famously reclusive singer followed up hit collaborations like ‘Fetch Your Life’ and ‘Khusela’ with a mesmeric vocal performance on Karyendasoul’s latest hit single, ‘Jacaranda’.

At this point, if any dance DJ is looking for a hit single, they know exactly where to go.

Cici

Cici has long been respected as one of the most talented vocalists we have.

While she’s flown under the radar commercially over the past few years, she recently returned to the main stage in epic style with the inescapable amapiano hit single, ‘Hamba Juba’.

As the single, which she recorded alongside Lady Amar, JL SA, and Murumba Pitch, has exploded into one of the biggest songs of the year so far, Cici has found herself back on the road performing across the country week in week out.

Cici and Lady Amar. Picture: Instagram

To her credit, she’s fully capitalised on this newfound hype with great social media content and a new single alongside DJ Zinhle titled ‘Thula’. It’s looking like one of her best years yet.

DBN Gogo

If anyone thought DBN Gogo was just the flavour of the season when she first blew up with ‘’huza Gogo’ and ‘Possible’ back in 2021, they were dead wrong.

The amapiano DJ has shown that she has staying power as she’s remained a central figure in the genre’s continued success over the past few years.

Apple Music recently described her as a game changer who’s contributed massively in the genre’s meteoric rise across the world.

DBN Gogo. Picture: Instagram

“I am honoured and blessed to be representing South Africa and the unique sound of amapiano,” she told to the streaming platform”.

“I want people to dance and enjoy the music, and I’m thankful for the opportunity to push amapiano to the world.”

Ami Faku

Ami Faku is one of those rare artists that are known only for the music.

No scandals, no marketing gimmicks, no shenanigans. Just music.

Since she first gained national recognition in 2017 as a contestant on The Voice SA, the 30-year-old has firmly established herself as a musical force.

After releasing her debut album ‘Imali’ back in 2019, Faku has gone on a scorching run that saw her earn several South African Music Awards (SAMAs) for that very album, as well as several gold and platinum plaques.

Ami Faku. Picture: Instagram

She’s also consistently collaborated with the likes of Kabza De Small and DJ Maphorisa to deliver hit after hit as we await her eagerly anticipated sophomore album.

In yet another global power move Faku was recently featured on reggae legend Bob Marley’s latest posthumous album, ‘Africa Unite’.



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AP News Summary at 12:40 a.m. EDT

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Trump lawyers urge judge to narrow proposed rules on evidence sharing in election subversion case

Donald Trump’s legal team has told a judge overseeing the election conspiracy case against him that the prosecutors’ proposed protective order aimed at preventing the public disclosure of evidence is too broad and would restrict his First Amendment rights. Lawyers for the early 2024 Republican presidential primary front-runner said Monday that the judge should impose a more limited protective order that would prevent the defense team from publicly disclosing only materials deemed “sensitive,” such as grand jury documents. Prosecutors quickly countered with their own filing accusing Trump of objecting to their proposal because he wants to use the government’s evidence to “try the case in the media rather than in the courtroom.”

2 dead, thousands of flight cancellations, 1.1 million lose power in eastern US storms

WASHINGTON (AP) — At least two people have died, thousands of U.S. flights have been canceled and more than 1 million have lost power as destructively strong storms move through the eastern U.S. Residents were warned to stay indoors Monday and prepare for the worst. The threat of severe thunderstorms and tornados stretched from Alabama to New York. Officials say a 15-year-old boy was killed by a falling tree in South Carolina and a 28-year-old man was killed by lightning in Alabama. Homes and businesses in nearly a dozen states lost power as trees and power lines fell onto roads and homes. FlightAware says more than 2,600 U.S. flights have been canceled and nearly 7,900 delayed.

Even frozen Antarctica is being walloped by climate extremes, scientists find

A new study concludes that Antarctica is already being and will continue to be affected by more frequent and severe extreme weather events, a known byproduct of human-caused climate change. Many of those changes are drastic, unprecedented and irreversible. Ice shelves are collapsing, the ocean is heating up, and species important to the region are suffering from habitat changes. Experts call for continued investment to study and protect a region that serves as a damper on some of climate change’s worst impacts.

Proposed constitutional change before Ohio voters could determine abortion rights in the state

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — Ohio’s voters will decide Tuesday whether to make their state constitution harder to amend, as a highly charged special election that has direct bearing on a November ballot question over abortion rights comes to a close. If Issue 1 passes, the threshold for voters being able to change the state constitution would rise from a simple majority to 60%. That would make it difficult, if not impossible, for the fall proposal to succeed, based on polling figures. Voters in several states, even deeply conservative ones, have affirmed abortion rights since the U.S. Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade last year, though usually with less than 60% of the vote.

Brazil has 1.7 million Indigenous people, near double the count from prior census, government says

BELEM, Brazil (AP) — The diminutive woman with a white feather headdress was standing on the stage of the majestic colonial theater in Brazil’s Amazon and addressing the crowd. Minister of Indigenous People Sonia Guajajara declared the day “the milestone of Indigenous participation,” then cited the national statistics institute’s freshly released census data that revealed the full scope of the nation’s Indigenous population: 1,693,535 people. While just 0.8% of Brazil’s population, the figure marks an 89% jump from the prior census, in 2010. “This a historic moment with that picture that the statistics agency has done,” she said on the eve of the two-day Amazon Summit in this city.

K-pop star Suga becomes 3rd BTS member to begin military service in South Korea

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Suga, the K-pop superstar rapper/singer/songwriter, has become the third member of BTS to begin South Korea’s compulsory military service. BTS’s label, Big Hit Music, says in a statement that Suga “has initiated the military enlistment process by applying for the termination of his enlistment postponement.” In South Korea, all able-bodied men are required by law to perform 18 to 21 months of military service under a conscription system meant to deter aggression from rival North Korea. In December 2022, BTS’s eldest member, Jin, enlisted at age 30 after revoking his request to delay his conscription. J-Hope followed suit last April.

Georgia kids would need parental permission to join social media if Senate Republicans get their way

ATLANTA (AP) — Children in Georgia would need their parents’ permission to create social media accounts if some top Republicans in the state get their way next year. Lt. Gov. Burt Jones and Sen. Jason Anavitarte say the want to pass such a law in 2024. Several states passed similar measures this year, and some members of Congress are also proposing such actions. The move comes after the U.S. surgeon general warned in May that social media hasn’t been proven safe for young people. Anavitarte says he’ll also try to strengthen Georgia law against cyberbullying by requiring schools to warn that some kinds could be a crime.

Ex-Minneapolis officer unrepentant as he gets nearly 5 years in George Floyd killing

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — Tou Thao, the last former Minneapolis police officer convicted in state court for his role in the killing of George Floyd, didn’t show any repentance or admit any wrongdoing as he was sentenced to nearly five years. Thao testified previously that he merely served as a “human traffic cone” when holding back bystanders as former Officer Derek Chauvin, who is white, knelt on Floyd’s neck for 9 1/2 minutes as the Black man pleaded for his life in 2020. A bystander video captured Floyd’s fading cries of “I can’t breathe.” Judge Peter Cahill found Thao guilty in May of aiding and abetting second-degree manslaughter. Monday’s sentence will run concurrently with a 3 1/2-year sentence on a federal civil rights conviction.

Niger coup leaders refuse to let senior US diplomat meet with nation’s president

NIAMEY, Niger (AP) — A senior U.S. diplomat says coup leaders in Niger refused to allow her to meet with the country’s democratically elected president, whom she described as under “virtual house arrest.” Acting Deputy Secretary of State Victoria Nuland also described the mutinous military officers as unreceptive to U.S. pressure to return the country to civilian rule. She spoke to reporters after a two-hour meeting in Niger’s capital, Niamey, with some leaders of the junta that has overtaken a vital counterterrorism partner of the United States. Leaders of West Africa’s regional bloc say they will meet later this week to discuss next steps.

2 Russian missile strikes hit a city in eastern Ukraine, killing at least 5 people, officials say

KYIV, Ukraine (AP) — Ukrainian officials say that two Russian missiles have hit the center of Pokrovsk, a city in the eastern Donetsk region, killing at least five people and wounding two dozens more. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy in an online statement accused Russia of trying to leave “only broken and scorched stones” in eastern Ukraine. His remarks accompanied footage of a damaged, five-story residential building. The deadly attack came just a day after officials from around 40 countries gathered in Saudi Arabia to find a peaceful settlement for the war in Ukraine. Russia denounced the talks as not having “the slightest added value” because Moscow — unlike Kyiv — wasn’t invited.

 

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Ciara Talks About Her New Song With Chris Brown,

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Ciara talks about her new song with Chris Brown and what her fans can expect from new music, reflects on the success of her debut album Goodies 20 years later, what it’s like to work with K-pop artists, how she deals with online drama, and more in her interview with Billboard News.

Tetris Kelly:
And do we got any other collabs on it?

Ciara:
We do.

Tetris Kelly:
Any tease?

Ciara:
Just know there’s more Atlanta in this thing. … There’s some more Atlanta, some more ATL.

Tetris Kelly:
Ooh, ATL! We’re doing it! We’re doing it! I hope it’s Luda.

Ciara:
What’s up, guys! It’s Ciara here, and right now, you’re watching Billboard News.

Tetris Kelly:
Hey, this is Tetris with Billboard News, and Georgia is in the building, Ciara! What’s up? How are you doing?

Ciara:
Amazing, happy to be here.

Tetris Kelly:
Thank you for coming. We got to talk about this — it kind of blew my mind. Next year is going to be 20 years since your debut album Goodies came out? How are you feeling? Like, what’s your evolution? And how do you feel 20 years later?

Ciara:
Oh my gosh, I feel blessed. I feel like I’m just getting started at the same time. To know that it was 20 years ago that I was this little really, really ambitious, dreaming big. I envisioned that I’d be sitting somewhere like this 20 years later.

Tetris Kelly:
And talking about dreaming big: I mean, you started so strong. Did you know at that moment … I remember obviously being in Atlanta at the time and just like, “Goodies” and “1, 2 Step” being such massive songs that you can play at weddings and whatever, everybody’s gonna know the words. Did you feel that at the moment?

Watch our full interview with Ciara above!

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Andy Coco Is Here, There and Everywhere in the St.

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click to enlarge Musician Andy Coco is a familiar sight around St. Louis.

KATIE CLANCY

Musician Andy Coco is a familiar sight around St. Louis.

If you are reading this article, you have probably been moved by Andy Coco, a renaissance man of St. Louis media and music. 

First, if you are a fan of live music, it is likely Coco’s groovy, contrapuntal bass lines have caused your caboose to undulate at any number of live shows over the last couple of decades in funk-soul outfits including Gumbohead, Hip Grease, Dogtown Allstars and the Service. 

Coco has also no doubt affected you with his work on KDHX, if not directly as the DJ of The Rhythm Section, on every Friday at noon, playing organic, funky groove music for the last 21 years, then by his (recently ended) two-decade tenure as the radio station’s director of production and technology, which involved training the other DJs and making the tech work behind the scenes. 

You’ve likely also attended events like Schlafly’s Art Outside Festival or the Full Moon Festival, produced by Dogtown Records and Entertainment, the company Coco founded and has run since 2014, a label for which Coco also produces, engineers and mixes recordings, many out of his home studio in, yes, Dogtown. 

Or perhaps you have even heard Coco’s silky baritone on audiobooks such as Eric Von Schrader’s recent A Universe Less Traveled speculative fiction series. Or, hell, there’s a reasonable chance Coco was in your wedding band. 

You know the guy. Wavy black hair, often pulled back in a ponytail. Soul patch. Glasses. Huge hands. Almost always flashing an infectiously toothy smile while playing the bass. If you’re into music and you live in St. Louis, you can’t avoid him — nor would you want to. 

The 53-year-old Coco is a blisteringly intelligent guy, given to spontaneous philosophical or scientific discourses that, as I sit in his living room, took firm grips on the sofa just to keep up with. Take his thoughts on the idea of perfect pitch: “The whole muscular reality is that you have a relative knowledge of your resonant chambers. I’m talking to you right now at probably about an F-sharp just below C, which is based on how I resonate, how this room resonates. It’s physics. It’s all these resonating chambers and diaphragms that are perceiving vibration.”

Such science-nerd pontification about music comes naturally to Coco. He was raised by a chemist father and a church-organ-playing mother, a genetic and environmental cocktail that led to Coco splitting his time between using his mathematical mind to run sound for high school theater productions and using his innate musical ability to rock out in high school cover bands. After a high school English teacher encouraged him to learn Beatles songs on an acoustic guitar, Coco later switched to bass to fill an opening in a local rock band and has been a bass-slinger ever since. Coco would later take his skills to Miami University in Ohio, where he explored chemistry, sound engineering, theatrical arts, rocking out in frat-party bands and dealing pot. 

It’s easy to see Coco in all of these roles, as he still exudes a cool hippie-rocker’s vibe, a stoner’s grin, a fierce alacrity for figuring out how things work and a music nerd’s enthusiasm for deep dives into fandom. At one point, he sidetracks rhapsodically to the new deluxe editions of the Doors’ L.A. Woman and Morrison Hotel albums currently resting on his turntable sets. “It’s after they got off tour and brought their equipment into their rehearsal space,” he explains. “And they are just fucking around, and it’s just so badass.”

In this way, Coco is deeply moved by music and loves to be a part of the process of moving others. It is another subject that sends him in philosophical, even metaphysical, directions. “The best gigs you ever play are when there is a union of physicality going on, when everyone is vibrating together,” he says. “That’s as close to a real spiritual truth as I have.” 

Again, Coco’s scientific mind blends deeper physical laws with a type of spirituality connecting a visceral reaction to music to organic forces that control nature. “If I’m going to worship something, it’s Mother Earth,” he says. “That means more to me in terms of giving life, giving birth, having genetic code to offer, having structure to offer, having reasons that things happen, consequence, gravity.”

Coco has lots of stories to tell. After college, he worked for Club Med in Mexico and France wearing a variety of hats — DJ, sound engineer for shows, singer of songs on stage, even amateur trapeze artist. Later, he gravitated to St. Louis, where his father had by then relocated for a job with Purina. After a stint with a local ad agency, which Coco admits was not an ideal ethical fit for him, he took the job at KDHX, a subject that causes him to turn more sullen.

“I resigned in protest a year and a half ago. It still breaks my heart,” Coco says, of what he sees as the current leadership failures that have squandered the opportunities he helped build at KDHX, including the station’s move to its current Grand Center home. “We were supposed to be like Austin City Limits or World Cafe. We were supposed to be partnering with PBS.

“KDHX was on that path,” he says. “It’s so, so sad. I’m so angry and traumatized by what could be, and what died.”

Since leaving KDHX, Coco has expanded his work as a producer, extending Dogtown Records’ reach, working regularly in New Orleans as a sound engineer, and he’s busier than ever as one of St. Louis’s most respected musicians, gigging regularly with Sean Canan’s Voodoo Players, performing in bands like the Rolling Stones tribute Street Fighting Band and rediscovering his own solo-guitar voice as Andy Coco & Co.

His latest project is Andy Coco’s NOLA Funk and R&B Revue, built specifically for a residency at Broadway Oyster Bar, currently held the first Thursday of each month. “Oyster Bar needs a band that you’d expect at the Oyster Bar,” he says of the Revue, which is made up of a rotating group of area heavyweights including keyboardist Nathan Hershey, guitarist Dave Black, saxophonist Charlie Cerpa and drummer Mike Murano. 

Throughout, Coco wears his inspirations on his sleeves. Or just under them. On his upper right arm, he has a tattoo of his mother’s signature, a tribute to his first musical influence. On his left arm is a tattoo of a bass clef symbol, a reminder to remain intentional with his relationship to music making. 

“I just love it,” he says of generating those musical vibrations. “It makes me feel present. The more I can do it the better,” a sentiment spoken like the musical maven of intellectual and spiritual richness that Andy Coco is, a mind and body continually on the move. 

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