Connect with us


Sir Elton John calls Vladimir Putin’s gay rights claims ‘hypocrisy’



Sir Elton John and his husband, David FurnishImage copyright
Getty Images

Image caption

Sir Elton said reference to his husband, David Furnish, were cut from the movie Rocketman in Russia

Sir Elton John has written an open letter to Vladimir Putin accusing him of “hypocrisy” over his claims Russia has “no problems” with gay people.

The singer said he was “deeply upset” by the Russian president’s comments in an interview in the Financial Times.

Sir Elton said his film Rocketman was edited in Russia to remove references to his husband David Furnish and their family. Russia has denied censorship.

He previously criticised Mr Putin for a “ridiculous” attitude to gay rights.

In the interview, published on Friday, Mr Putin attacked liberalism and, speaking of the LGBT community, said: “God forbid, let them live as they wish.”

But he added: “Some things do appear excessive to us… They claim now that children can play five or six gender roles.

“Let everyone be happy, we have no problem with that. But this must not be allowed to overshadow the culture, traditions and traditional family values of millions of people making up the core population.”


In posts on social media, Sir Elton said: “I strongly disagree with your view that pursuing policies that embrace multicultural and sexual diversity are obsolete in our societies.”

He accused Mr Putin of “duplicity” over his comments.

Sir Elton said Russian distributors “chose to heavily censor” Rocketman “by removing all references to my finding true happiness through my 25-year relationship with David and the raising of my two beautiful sons”.

“This feels like hypocrisy to me,” Sir Elton said. “I am proud to live in a part of the world where our governments have evolved to recognise the universal human right to love whoever we want.”

The right to marry has brought him and his husband “tremendous comfort and happiness”, he said.

Russia’s culture ministry has previously denied censoring the biopic Rocketman – which was released earlier this year – but said movies were expected to comply with laws on “paedophilia, ethnic and religious hatred and pornography”.

The country introduced a law banning “gay propaganda” in 2013, prompting criticism from the European Court of Human Rights that it was discriminatory and encouraged homophobia.

Sir Elton told the BBC in 2015 he wanted to meet Mr Putin to discuss LGBT rights, criticising what he called the president’s “ridiculous” attitude.

In the interview with the Financial Times, Mr Putin said that liberalism was “obsolete” because it had come into conflict with the interests of the majority of the population and with traditional values.

He added: “I am not trying to insult anyone, because we have been condemned for our alleged homophobia as it is. But we have no problems with LGBT persons.”

It comes as celebrations have been happening and are planned across the world as part of LGBT Pride month in June.

Source link


Lewis Capaldi’s teacher proud of ‘cheeky chappy’ Brits winner




Singer Lewis Capaldi’s former music teacher has spoken of her pride at his Brit award triumph.

Kirsty Moore, who teaches music and drama at St Kentigern’s Academy in Blackburn, East Lothian, said he was “really laid back” and quite a “cheeky chappy” in the classroom.

She added that his talent came to the fore at the school’s annual talent contest.

“This massive voice came out of this little boy and it was amazing at the time and I thought he’s going places.”

Source link

Continue Reading


Heather Couper: Broadcaster and astronomer dies at 70




Heather CouperImage copyright
Hencoup Enterprises/PA Media

Image caption

Dr Couper was the first female president of the British Astronomical Association

Broadcaster and astronomer Heather Couper has died at the age of 70.

Dr Couper appeared on the BBC’s Blue Peter and The Sky At Night programmes, as well as presenting and producing acclaimed science documentaries.

She also hosted radio series including the BBC World Service’s long-running Seeing Stars and BBC Radio 4’s Cosmic Quest and Starwatch.

Her best friend and business partner, Nigel Henbest, said she had died on Wednesday after a short illness.

She had been a “charismatic… and passionate communicator of science”, he said.

“She got people really excited about the Universe and about space – that was her love, her passion in life.”

Image copyright
Getty Images

Image caption

She was a regular on TV and radio from the 1980s

Born in 1949, she fell in love with astronomy as a child and recalled a day, in 1968, when she had realised astronomy was not just “for shambolic old men in tweed jackets any more”.

She went home and wrote in her diary: “I want to help knowledge. I want to make known and publicise science.”

So she left her management trainee job at Top Shop to become a research assistant at the Institute of Astronomy in Cambridge.

Her big break came when she was asked to appear as a guest on Sir Patrick Moore’s The Sky At Night.

Sir Patrick later recalled: “Of course, she wrote to me when she was a little girl and said, ‘Is there any future for me in astronomy?’ And I said, ‘Of course there is.’ And I tried to give her a hand.”

Astronaut application

She also presented the 1981 ITV children’s series Heavens Above and, in 1984, became the first female president of the British Astronomical Association.

Four years later, she co-founded a film and TV production company, then, in 1993, took up the chair of astronomy at Gresham College, a post previously held by Sir Isaac Newton and Sir Christopher Wren.

She and Dr Henbest co-wrote dozens of books as well as monthly astronomy columns for the Independent, the last of which was published on 6 February.

The pair even applied to be the first British astronauts, Dr Couper told the Guardian in 1993, but were quickly rejected.

“They wanted someone technologically on the ball, someone who would know what buttons to press in an emergency,” she said.

“If something blew up, I would think, ‘Oh Christ! What wire goes where?'”

Source link

Continue Reading


Pop Smoke: Rapper shot dead in apparent robbery




Pop SmokeImage copyright
Getty Images

The US rapper Pop Smoke has been killed, after an apparent armed robbery.

Los Angeles Police told Radio 1 Newsbeat a man was shot at his home and later pronounced dead, although didn’t confirm his identity.

But his label Republic Records says it’s “devastated by the unexpected and tragic loss of Pop Smoke”.

Police responded to reports of a robbery – and man was then taken to hospital and later pronounced dead.

Officers confirmed that an unknown number of suspects entered a property in West Hollywood.

They got a call about a robbery at 04:55 PST and were at the scene six minutes later.

Image copyright
Getty Images

Image caption

Pop Smoke at the Rolling Loud Festival, Los Angeles, in December 2019

Police say no suspects have been identified and no arrests have been made.

They also denied reports that a man was held at the scene but say one suspect is thought to have had a handgun.

Pop Smoke was signed to Republic Records which has said in a statement “our prayers and thoughts go out to his family, friends and fans, as we mourn this loss together.”

When reports first appeared in the US tributes began flooding in for Pop Smoke, real name Bashar Barakah Jackson – including from friends.

Pop Smoke had a breakout hit with Welcome to the Party in 2019 – which led to him being singled out as an artist to watch this year by BBC Radio 1Xtra, on the station’s Hot For 2020 list.

The station said he “possessed the air and cadence of a rapper who has been in the game for a decade or two longer than his actual age”.

The track ended up being remixed by both Nicki Minaj and Skepta.

Just last week Pop Smoke was a guest on DJ Target’s show on 1Xtra.

He was in the middle of several US tour dates and was due to come to the UK in April – with shows scheduled in London, Manchester and Birmingham.

50 Cent was one of many rappers, DJs and producers that paid tribute on social media, as did rapper Quavo, who Pop Smoke had collaborated with.

Last year he spoke about wanting to make music that inspires children who are growing up in poverty.

He told The Face: “I make music for that kid in the hood that’s gotta share a bedroom with like four kids – the young kids growing up in poverty.

“I make music for kids like that who know they just gotta keep going, that there’s a better way. That’s who I really make it for.”

Follow Newsbeat on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter and YouTube.

Listen to Newsbeat live at 12:45 and 17:45 weekdays – or listen back here.

Source link

Continue Reading