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Nobel Literature Prize judges defend controversial award for Peter Handke

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Peter Handke spoke at the funeral of former Serb leader Slobodan Milosevic

Nobel Prize for Literature panel members have defended their decision to give this year’s award to controversial Austrian author Peter Handke.

The choice has been criticised because of Handke’s vocal support for the Serbs during the 1990s Yugoslav war.

Nobel committee member Henrik Petersen said Handke was “radically unpolitical” in his writing and that his support for the Serbs had been misunderstood.

Fellow committee member Rebecka Kärde said he “absolutely deserves” to win.

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While Handke’s books, plays, poems and films have been widely praised over the past five decades, the announcement on 10 October was followed by howls of condemnation from his critics.

In an article in Swedish newspaper Dagens Nyheter, two Academy members, Mats Malm and Erik M Runesson, accepted that Handke had “definitely made provocative, inappropriate and unclear statements on political issues”.

But they wrote: “The Swedish Academy has obviously not intended to reward a war criminal and denier of war crimes or genocide. But that’s the impression you get in the media right now.”

The organisation “has found nothing in what he has written that involves attacks on civil society or respect for the equal value of all people”, they added. “What we wonder is what sources the critics used and why Handke’s own statements are ignored.”

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The Nobel Literature Prize winner receives a medal, a diploma and £740,000 in prize money

In a 1996 book, Handke cast doubt on the Serbian massacre at Srebenica and accused the Bosnian Muslims of staging attacks. In a TV interview in 1999, he compared Serbia’s fate to that of Jews during the Holocaust – although he later apologised for that “slip of the tongue”. In 2006, he spoke at the funeral of Serb leader Slobodan Milosevic, who was accused of genocide and other war crimes.

‘An obvious choice’

However, the Academy quoted a 2006 article in which Handke said the Srebrenica massacre was the worst crime against humanity in Europe since Word War Two.

The choice was also defended by Henrik Petersen and Rebecka Kärde, who sat on the Nobel Committee for Literature, which recommends the winners to the Swedish Academy.

Petersen predicted that in the future, Handke would be considered “among the most obvious choices” for the prize. Writing in the newspaper Svenska Dagbladet, he described Handke as an advocate for peace and said he was “anti-nationalistic”.

Kärde said she didn’t want to “apologise for the hair-raising things that Handke has undoubtedly said and done”.

Handke’s anger

She explained: “The Nobel Committee must read the texts on Yugoslavia among another 70 works written over a period of 50 years. Which we did.” They concluded that the author of books including Repetition, My Year in the No-Man’s-Bay and Die Obstdiebin “absolutely deserves a Nobel Prize”.

She added: “When we give the award to Handke, we argue that the task of literature is other than to confirm and reproduce what society’s central view believes is morally right.”

Handke himself reacted angrily to the response to his win, telling journalists: “No-one who comes to me says that he has read any of my works, that he knows what I have written. It’s just questions like how does the world react, reactions to reactions.”

He said he would never speak to the media again, according to Austrian broadcaster ORF.

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Sausage roll enthusiast LadBaby takes aim at second Christmas number one

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The star recorded his new single with his wife, Roxanne, at Abbey Road studios

YouTube star LadBaby, who scored last year’s Christmas number one with an ode to sausage rolls, is mounting a second assault on the charts.

The “dad blogger” has rewritten Joan Jett’s I Love Rock & Roll for this year’s attempt; once again extolling the virtues of pork-stuffed pastry.

I Love Sausage Rolls was recorded at Abbey Road, but LadBaby maintains he’s “no more professional” than before.

“Brace yourself, my singing voice is back,” he told the BBC.

The single won’t be released until Friday, 13 December – but it’s crammed full of meaty puns, leading to the inevitable chorus: “I love sausage rolls / So put another one in the oven, baby“.

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Ladbaby, whose real name is Mark Hoyle, said the parody was written in “about five hours” after he and his wife Roxanne chose it from a playlist of the UK’s favourite karaoke songs.

“We basically went down the Top 50 karaoke songs in the UK – because we wanted a song, like last year, where everyone knows the words and you can sing along to it and the kids can join in and have fun.”

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Proceeds from the single will support food banks, which see a surge in demand over Christmas

Last year, the YouTube star captured the public’s imagination with the comedy hit We Built This City On Sausage Rolls. The song went straight to number one, beating the likes of Ava Max and Ariana Grande, as well as seasonal favourites by Mariah Carey and The Pogues.

All of the proceeds went to The Trussell Trust, a foodbank charity, funding about 70,000 emergency food packages over the festive period.

Hoyle said he had intended to end the story there, until he saw the charity’s work first-hand.

“We basically spent a few days meeting the volunteers and understanding how the food banks work,” he said, “and while we were there, the doorbell rang once every two or three minutes with more people coming in.

“Once we saw how far the money goes, we thought, ‘Do you know what? If we can get anywhere near raising that sort of money again, then why not?'”

According to The Trussell Trust’s own research, more than 823,000 parcels were provided by food banks in the UK between April and September this year – an increase of 23% increase from the same period as last year.

“They said the Christmas period is the worst – that’s when they have the most people in,” Hoyle added. “So for us, it was a no-brainer to try to help those guys again.”

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LadBaby

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The single’s artwork parodies The Beatles’ classic Abbey Road album sleeve, starring Mark, Roxanne and their two sons

If I Love Sausage Rolls gets to number one, LadBaby will be only the third act in UK chart history to have consecutive Christmas chart-toppers.

“There’s a chance we can be in there with the Beatles and the Spice Girls,” says Hoyle. “There’s never been a novelty act with back-to-back Christmas number ones, so we could make some history.”

However, the record faces stiff competition this year, with the likes of Lewis Capaldi and Taylor Swift taking a swing at the festive chart.

Australian artist Tones & I could also cling on to the top spot – she’s currently enjoying a 10th week at number one with the quirky pop single Dance Monkey; while fans of Wham! are trying to propel Last Christmas to number one (for the first time) in honour of the song’s 35th anniversary.

LadBaby isn’t even the only charity single in the running: Broadchurch actor Shaun Dooley has teamed up with the Grimethorpe Colliery Band to cover Taylor Swift’s Never Grow Up in aid of Children In Need; while six-year-old Lyra Cole has recorded a version of When A Child is Born for Brain Tumour Research, which helped her through emergency surgery as a baby.

“It feels like there’s more competition this year,” agrees Hoyle, “so the chances of doing it again seem very slim.”

But if they reach their goal, he promises to go one better next year.

“We were joking the other day, ‘How do you get bigger than Abbey Road?'” he says. “And I think we’d have to fly to LA and do an album with Dr Dre.”

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Jacqueline Jossa wins I’m A Celebrity… Get Me Out of Here!

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Former EastEnders star Jacqueline Jossa has won I’m A Celebrity… Get Me Out of Here! after spending three weeks in the Australian jungle.

The actress was named queen of the jungle, following in the footsteps of previous winners like Harry Redknapp, Stacey Solomon and Kerry Katona.

Co-presenters Ant McPartlin and Declan Donnelly revealed the winner at the end of the final of the ITV reality show.

Actor Andy Whyment was the runner-up, with radio DJ Roman Kemp in third.

Jossa played Lauren Branning in BBC soap EastEnders between 2010 and 2018.

After she was named queen of the jungle, she said: “I have no words.”

This year’s series – the 19th – was the first not to have live insects eaten as part of the show’s “bushtucker trials”.

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Coronation Street actor Andy Whyment took part in a “bushtucker bonanza” before he came second

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Radio host Roman Kemp came third

Any insects consumed on the show were already dead – though live creepy-crawlies were still dumped on its celebrity contestants.

But the show was not without controversy, with former sports stars James Haskell and Ian Wright being accused of bullying their fellow campmates.

Viewers also contacted media watchdog Ofcom to complain that some of the show’s challenges were too hard and thus unfair.

There was contention before the series even aired, with former Commons Speaker John Bercow demanding a newspaper apologise for claiming he had asked for £1m to appear.

DJ Tony Blackburn was the first celebrity to be crowned King of the Jungle when the show first aired in 2002.

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Juice Wrld: US rapper dies aged 21 ‘after seizure at airport’

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Juice Wrld, real name Jarad Anthony Higgins, was considered to be a rising star of rap musicImage copyright
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Juice Wrld, real name Jarad Anthony Higgins, was considered to be a rising star of rap music

Juice Wrld, a US rapper who shot to fame on music streaming platforms, has died at the age of 21.

Celebrity news website TMZ said he died after suffering a seizure at Chicago’s Midway airport on Sunday morning.

The Cook County Medical Examiner’s Office said the cause was unknown.

Juice Wrld, real name Jarad Anthony Higgins, was best-known for his viral 2018 hit Lucid Dreams. Mental health, mortality and drug use were common themes in his music.

Chicago police told the BBC a 21-year-old man suffered a medical emergency at around 02:00 local time (08:00 GMT) and was taken to hospital, where he was pronounced dead.

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Anthony Guglielmi, a police spokesman, told the Chicago Sun Times there were “no signs of foul play” and it was unclear whether drugs played a role in his death.

Who was Juice Wrld?

Born in Chicago, Illinois, in 1998, Juice Wrld started rapping in high school, using online music streaming platform SoundCloud to upload and promote his music.

He went on to release his debut full-length EP, 999, on the platform in 2017, garnering him attention from fellow Chicago-based artists such as G Herbo and Lil Bibby.

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Juice Wrld shot to fame in 2018, when hit single Lucid Dreams reached number two in the charts

The rapper rose to fame in 2018, when hit singles All Girls Are the Same and Lucid Dreams, which peaked at number two on the Billboard Hot 100 chart, drew the attention of music fans and record labels.

More plaudits followed the release first studio album, Goodbye & Good Riddance, in 2018, cementing his himself as one of the rising stars of US rap.

In early 2018, he was signed by Interscope Records, landing a record deal reported to be worth more than $3m (£2.2m). He topped the Billboard chart this year with his second album Death Race for Love.

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Juice Wrld celebrated his 21st birthday last week

In one of his songs, Juice Wrld rapped about the short lives of artists, saying “all the legends seem to die out”.

The song, titled Legends, was dedicated to two late rappers, 20-year-old XXXTentacion and 21-year-old Lil Peep, who died in 2018 and 2017, respectively.

In the song Juice Wrld rapped: “What’s the 27 Club? We ain’t making it past 21. I been going through paranoia.”

Juice Wrld had celebrated his 21st birthday last week. In a tweet, he said it was “one of his best” birthdays yet.

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Media captionGrime artist Ransom FA spoke to the BBC about the challenges of breaking into the music industry

His music has been described as emo rap, a genre that draws influences from hip hop and alternative rock.

In a four-star review of his second album, music publication NME said the rapper “makes songs that stick, his vocal dissonance capturing what it feels like to be young and in pain, and feeling a sense of indifference towards authority figures”.

In a 2018 interview with the New York Times, Juice Wrld opened up about his use of cannabis and Xanax, an anti-anxiety medication.

“I smoke weed, and every now and then I slip up and do something that’s poor judgment,” he told the paper.

Who has paid tribute?

In a tweet, British singer-songwriter Ellie Goulding, who collaborated with Juice Wrld on her 2019 single Hate Me, described the rapper as “such a sweet soul” who had “so much further to go”.

Chicago-based artist Chance the Rapper paid a heartfelt tribute on Instagram, writing: “Millions of people, not just in Chicago but around the world are hurting because of this and don’t know what to make of it.”

“Wow, I cannot believe this. Rip my brother juice world,” tweeted fellow rapper Lil Yachty.

US rapper Lil Nas X, also writing on Twitter, said it is “so sad how often this is happening lately to young talented rising artists”.

Hip hop artist HaHa Davis wrote on Twitter: “Heartbroken @JuiceWorlddd I love you bro.”





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