Tag Archive: current-events


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President Barack Obama’s second inaugural ushered in some of music’s biggest names, and while cold temperatures typically turn these events into pea coat parades, this year featured both gorgeous formal and casual attire on stars like Beyonce, Jay-Z, Kelly Clarkson and Katy Perry.
Beyonce, Kelly Clarkson Add Soaring Voices to Obama’s Inauguration

The inauguration of the United States president is a celebrated event indeed, even if it’s effectively tjhe follow-up to what was a landmark occasion four years ago. But if there’s anyone who can bring the (white) house down, it’s one of America’s most beloved singing ladies, the first American Idol, a songwriting legend and a showstopping choir.

The Marines are backing away from an eye-opening claim that Beyonce “did not actually sing” the national anthem at President Barack Obama’s inauguration on Monday.

The jig is up. It took less than 24 hours for news to break that Beyoncé‘s striking live performance of “The Star-Spangled Banner” at the inaugural ceremonies for President Barack Obama on Monday might have merely a lip-synced run-through of a track she recorded earlier.

The news is a shocker, considering the R&B queen is no stranger to big stages and annihilating them in real time. It’s important to note that she did sing the National Anthem at the 2004 Superbowl live (at least, wethink she did).

It’s a big deal. In a musical feats of strength contest, the National Anthem is arguably one of the heaviest weights to lift. Artists ranging from the likes of Christina Aguilera to Steven Tyler to Roseanne Barr can vouch for that. It’s understandable that any artist who doesn’t think they could do it justice pre-record their performance. Read more here http://bit.ly/VYOGU0

10 Worst National Anthem Performances Ever

Still, it’s the anthem. A song about the strength of its country should always be sung live to prove that very point over and over again — especially on a stage that is reinstating the nation’s leader. Not to mention that the leader is a man she’s supported since he decided to make his first term run.

 

According to RollingStone.com, HBO has purchased the rights to Mike Lerner and Maxim Pozdorovkin’s new documentary about Russian feminist collective Pussy Riot.

Premiered over the weekend at Sundance Film FestivalPussy Riot – A Punk Prayerchronicles the arrest and trial of three members, Nadezhda Tolokonnikova, Maria Alekhina, and Yekaterina Samutsevich. The women were sentenced to two years in prison after being found guilty of “hooliganism motivated by religious hatred or hostility” stemming from a “punk prayer” protest at Moscow’s Christ the Saviour Cathedral. Read more here: http://bit.ly/WcCUVE

 

image from consequenceofsound.net

 

(Christopher Polk/Getty Images)

(Christopher Polk/Getty Images)

fun. recently took a break from skiing to chat with 96.5 TIC/Hartford about their upcoming performance at President Obama’s Inauguration and confessed that they still get starstruck. It happened recently, as the band had the chance to play with Counting Crows, and there’s more artists they’d love to collaborate with in the future.

Paul McCartney would be pretty cool,” Nate Ruess confessed.

Jack Antonoff added an explanation for what he feels makes a great artist team-up, saying, “Playing with someone is like [seeing] a free show with a band you love. It’s cool to do things that you would have paid money for.”

Read more fun. interview with 96.5 TIC/Hartford here fun. Reveal Nerves On Performing At President Obama’s Inaugural Ball « 96.5 TIC FM – Hartford’s Best Variety.

fun. will be star struck in a very different way soon, as they approach their big appearance at the White House for one of President Obama’s Inauguration events. They’ll get the chance to shake hands with the President but fans shouldn’t expect any Al Roker situations. The newscaster admitted publicly last week that he had an accidental bowel movement at the White House, which was news to the guys from fun.

The Inaugural events will kick off on Saturday (January 19) in Washington, D.C.

 

-Bill Sencio, 96.5 TIC/Hartford

 

Collapsed HMV refuses to accept gift vouchers as more than 4,000 workers face the axe and administrators warn of mass closures

  • Retailer has struggled in the face of growing demand for digital downloads
  • Company had a poor Christmas sales period despite 35% sales reduction
  • Almost 300 stores and 4,350 staff face uncertainty as negotiations unfold
  • Administrator announces gift cards will not be accepted in stores

Warning: This sign in a Liverpool branch of HMV tells customers they could lose out

Thousands of gift cards given as Christmas presents are worthless as HMV announced it would no longer accept vouchers after collapsing into administration.

The historic music shop has become the latest high street victim of the financial crisis and double-dip recession, and its 4,000 employees are facing the axe if a ‘white knight’ rescuer cannot be found for the chain.

City firm Deloitte was brought in to take charge last night after crisis talks failed to find another solution – putting HMV on course to be the second household name to go under this year.

Today it was revealed that the chain will no longer accept gift cards and vouchers as Deloitte takes charge of the 238 stores.

Threatened: HMV could be forced to close its shops and lay off 4,000 staff after going into administrationThreatened: HMV could be forced to close its shops and lay off 4,000 staff after going into administration

Sale: Customers will be hoping for bargains from the administration of HMVSale: Customers will be hoping for bargains from the administration of HMV
Many Twitter users reacted with fury to the announcement that the shops will no longer accept its own gift cards as payment, just weeks after hundreds of them were bought as Christmas presents.

‘It’s a p*** take that HMV won’t accept vouchers,’ @Meygziie wrote, while @KevinAshford7 said, ‘That’s my £20 Christmas gift voucher going in the bin.’ @NiceEtoile added: ‘How is this legal?’

BBC journalist Hugh Pym was one of the customers affected by the controversial decision. He took to Twitter to write: ‘Oh dear. Administrators say HMV won’t accept gift vouchers – inc my teenagers’ Christmas pressie.’

The cards are currently worthless, but if HMV finds a buyer it is possible that the new owner will honour them, meaning that it may be worth people’s while to hold on to the cards.

The writing had been on the wall since the run-up to Christmas, when dire sales figures forced the firm to admit it might breach the terms of its bank loans.

Disappointment: Journalist Hugh Pym was among the customers who had bought HMV gift cardsDisappointment: Journalist Hugh Pym was among the customers who had bought HMV gift cards

HMV
Warning: This sign in a Liverpool branch of HMV tells customers they could lose out

HMV’s banks – state-backed Royal Bank of Scotland and Lloyds – said they were unwilling to go on lending it money.

The move to go into administration follows the closure of camera chain Jessops with the loss of 1,300 jobs at the weekend.

It is still possible that a ‘white knight’ buyer could ride to the company’s rescue at the last minute, buying part or all of its 230-strong network of stores. If not it will mean the end of a name that has graced the high street since 1921.

There was no sign of a saviour for HMV today, after US-based investment firm Apollo Management walked away from takeover talks.

Web users paid tribute to the legendary chain as they shared memories of shopping at HMV – but some took a more cynical tone. Rapper Professor Green tweeted: ‘HMV bankrupt. We may as well just give up on any medium that involves hard copy and get on with it. #sadtimes’

Struggling: The venerable chain has been hit hard by the rise of digital music and online retailers

Struggling: The venerable chain has been hit hard by the rise of digital music and online retailers

Change: Shoppers have spurned physical copies of music, film and books in favour of downloads

Change: Shoppers have spurned physical copies of music, film and books in favour of downloads

Jeremy Vine
Nipper

Jokes: Twitter users, including the BBC’s Jeremy Vine, posted witty pictures about HMV’s demise

CARNAGE ON THE HIGH STREET

HMV’s announcement that it is to go into administration makes it the latest in a long line of high-profile high street firms to fail – the most visible legacy of the financial crisis and subsequent double-dip recession.

December 2008: MFI, the furniture retailer, was one of the first major firms to go out of business at the start of the downturn, as retail sales began to fall following a sharp rise in unemployment

Woolworths

January 2009: Woolworths, right, shuttered its 800 stores, bringing home to many the scale of the UK’s economic collapse as the country entered recession for the first time

February 2009: Zavvi, HMV’s chief rival, stopped trading around Christmas – and refused to honour its gift cards, leading to widespread customer anger

Borders

December 2009: Borders, right, was another entertainment behemoth to go under as sale of CDs and DVDs were squeezed by digital downloads and online retailers

October 2012: JJB Sports closed all but 20 of its stores, which were taken over and re-branded by Sports Direct – leading to the death of the JJB brand and 550 employees losing their jobs

Comet

December 2012: Comet, right, shut down just before Christmas, leaving nearly 7,000 staff out of work and forcing the taxpayer to pick up a £50million tab related to its bankruptcy, which was blamed on soaring energy prices and a reduction in the number of home buyers

January 2013: Jessops was closed by administrator PwC earlier this month after years of struggling with online competition as customers turned away from traditional photography

NEXT? Past Times, Blacks and Hawkin’s Bazaar are among the many other firms which have entered administration but been able to survive in some form. However, as the economic recovery remains fragile these companies could tip back into serious trouble.

Labour business spokesman Chuka Umunna said: ‘For the sake of HMV’s employees, we hope a way can be found to keep the business going – the demise of this institution would be a body blow to British retail.’

Administrators could opt to keep stores open during the process in order to raise funds by shifting as much stock as possible. HMV failed to keep pace with the digital revolution, as shoppers turned to online retailers such as Amazon.

Internet firms were able to undercut the company thanks to lower overheads.

It has also been under attack from supermarkets such as Tesco and Sainsbury, which are able to offer discount DVDs and CDs thanks to their size.

The beginning of this year has seen HMV offer massive discounts in the hope of filling its stores and boosting revenues.

But despite the efforts, dismal Christmas sales were the final straw for the firm’s banks. HMV is understood to have asked them for a £300million lifeline, but was turned down on the evidence of its recent performance.

The decision by RBS and Lloyds to pull the plug on HMV is likely to cause a backlash, given that they were both bailed out by British taxpayers during the financial crisis.

The appeal for help from the two lenders came just days after the company asked suppliers to give it £300million to pay off its debt and revamp its business model.

That request was also turned down.

If HMV’s stores do close down, they will push up the sky-high vacancy rate on British high streets. More than one in nine stores is currently standing empty, according to the British Retail Consortium, as consumer confidence continues to flounder in the wake of the struggling economic recovery.

Neil Saunders, managing director of retail consultancy Conlumino, said the collapse of HMV was inevitable.

‘While many failures of recent times have been, at least in part, driven by the economy, HMV’s demise is a structural failure,’ he said.

‘In the digital era where 73.4 per cent of music and film are downloaded or bought online, HMV’s business model has simply become increasingly irrelevant and unsustainable.’

Are you an HMV employee affected by the news? Please call 0203 615 3594 or email hugo.gye@dailymail.co.uk

Flagship: HMV's store on Oxford St pictured in 1939, offering 'home entertainment and electric housekeeping'Flagship: HMV’s store on Oxford St pictured in 1939, offering ‘home entertainment and electric housekeeping’
Nipper the Dog
HMV delivery van

Iconic: Nipper the dog, left, and the HMV delivery van, right, are among the famous symbols of the store

HMV ON THE BRINK OF EXTINCTION AFTER 90 YEARS ON THE HIGH STREET

His Master's Voice painting

HMV stands for His Master’s Voice, the name of an 1898 painting of a dog called Nipper listening to a cylinder phonograph (right).

Rights to the image were bought the following year by the Gramophone Company, who asked the artist to repaint the work with a wind-up gramophone.

The Gramophone Company opened the first HMV store on Oxford Street, central London, on 20 July 1921.

It later merged with the Columbia Gramophone Company in 1931, to become EMI. They opened HMV stores across the UK and by 1977 had 39 stores stretching from Glasgow to Brighton.

The Oxford Street store played an important part in helping the Beatles land their record deal – setting them on the path to becoming the biggest band in history.

In February 1962, the band had just been rejected by Decca Records, who famously said that ‘guitar groups are on the way out’.

Undeterred, manager Brian Epstein paid a visit to HMV to transfer the band’s demo tape to disc – and the engineer who helped him was so impressed he called a music publisher down to hear the record.

The publisher got in touch with George Martin, who was quick to sign up the band and later produced their legendary albums.

HMV Media Group broke away from EMI in 1998. Today the group runs 239 stores in the UK and Ireland. It owned bookshop chain Waterstones until last year.

The company has 4,350 employees in the UK.

Nipper, the subject of the HMV logo, is buried in Kingston upon Thames in a small park surrounded by magnolia trees. A small road nearby was renamed Nipper Alley in his memory in 2010.

 

–written by rob davies and hugo gye for dailymail.co.uk all image courtesy of dailymail.co.uk

 

NRA goes on offensive as Americans mourn school shooting

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(Reuters) – The powerful U.S. gun rights lobby went on the offensive on Friday arguing that schools should have armed guards, on a day that Americans remembered the victims of the Newtown, Connecticut school massacre with a moment of silence.

“The only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun,” said Wayne LaPierre, chief executive of the National Rifle Association, noting that banks and airports are patrolled by armed guards, while schools typically are not.

His remarks – in which he charged that the news media and violent video games shared blame for the second-deadliest school shooting in U.S. history – were twice interrupted by protesters who unfurled signs and shouted “stop the killing.”

Speaking in Washington, LaPierre urged lawmakers to station armed police officers in all schools by the time students return from the Christmas break in January. LaPierre did not take questions from reporters.

Earlier on Friday, church bells rang out in tree-lined suburban Newtown and up and down the East Coast at 9:30 a.m. EST in memory of the victims of the attack on December 14 in which 28 people, including the gunman, were killed.

LaPierre’s comments came at the end of a week when President Barack Obama commissioned a new White House task force to find a way to quell violence, a challenge in a nation with a strong culture of individual gun ownership.

“We have to have a comprehensive way in which to respond to the mass murder of our children that we saw in Connecticut,” Vice President Joe Biden, who heads the task force, said on Thursday.

The U.S. Constitution guarantees the right to bear arms and hundreds of millions of weapons are in private hands.

About 11,100 Americans died in gun-related killings in 2011, not including suicides, according to preliminary data from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Some U.S. lawmakers called for swift passage of an assault weapons ban.

Some Newtown residents have already launched an effort aimed at tightening rules on gun ownership.

“What I feel is a sense of guilt because I’ve been a strong advocate of gun control for years,” said John Dewees, 61, who was in downtown Newtown, where a makeshift memorial rose several feet around two Christmas trees with teddy bears and flower bouquets. “I wish I’d been more vocal. You wonder, had we all been, could we have averted this?”

SHATTERED ILLUSION OF SAFETY

The attack, which killed 20 first graders ages 6 and 7, shattered the illusion of safety in this close-knit town of 27,000 people where many residents knew someone affected by the attacks.

“There’s just so many connections,” said Jay Petrusaitis, whose son was in the same high school class as the gunman.

Churches as far south as Florida and at the National Cathedral in Washington, D.C., rang their bells.

Connecticut Governor Dannel Malloy had called for residents of his state to observe the moment of silence to mark a week since a 20-year-old gunman killed his mother and then stormed Sandy Hook Elementary School. He killed a total of 28 people that day, including six school teachers and staff in a rampage that ended when he turned his gun on himself.

Governors in Maine, Illinois, Michigan and several other states also called for moments of silence.

The gunman, Adam Lanza, used a military-style assault rifle and police said he carried hundreds of bullets in high-capacity magazines, as well as two handguns. The weapons were legally purchased and registered to his mother, Nancy, his first victim.

(Writing by Scott Malone; Editing by Will Dunham and Vicki Allen)

The runners-up: Malala Yousafzai, Tim Cook, Mohamed Morsi and Fabiola Gianotti.

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Barack Obama is Time magazine’s Person of the Year for 2012.

The president, featured in profile on the cover of the silver-bordered issue, was chosen a second time around (he previously received the title in ’08) for “finding and forging a new majority, for turning weakness into opportunity and for seeking, amid great adversity, to create a more perfect union,” says Time editorRick Stengel.

“Obama is the first Democratic President since FDR to win more than 50 percent of the vote in consecutive elections and the first President since 1940 to win re-election with an unemployment rate north of 7.5 percent,” Stengel noted in a statement. “He has stitched together a winning coalition and perhaps a governing one as well. His presidency spells the end of the Reagan realignment that had defined American politics for 30 years. We are in the midst of historic cultural and demographic changes, and Obama is both the symbol and in some ways the architect of this new America.”

EXCLUSIVE: 4 Hollywood Donors on Obama Shortlist for Ambassador Jobs

This year’s Person of the Year runners-up are: Pakistani activist Malala Yousafzai (No. 2); Apple CEO Tim Cook (No. 3); Egypt president Mohamed Morsi (No. 4); and Italian particle physicist Fabiola Gianotti at No. 5. They’re each featured on four additional covers inside the magazine.

Obama, meanwhile, has given an interview to Time, which also published new White House photos including one of the president working on his Dec. 16 Newtown speech while attending daughterSasha‘s ballet rehearsal.

“2012 may have been more satisfying a win than 2008…. I think it was easy to think that maybe 2008 was the anomaly, and I think 2012 was an indication that, no, this is not an anomaly,” Obama said. “We’ve gone through a very difficult time. The American people have rightly been frustrated at the pace of change, and the economy is still struggling, and this President we elected is imperfect, and yet, despite all that, this is who we want to be. That’s a good thing.”

 

(image from time magazine. article by hollywoodreporter.com)

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