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Uganda’s Solomon Serwanjja wins BBC World News Komla Dumor award

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Solomon Serwanjja

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Solomon Serwanjja wants to carry on Komla Dumor’s legacy of changing the narrative about Africa

Ugandan investigative reporter and news anchor Solomon Serwanjja has won the 2019 BBC World News Komla Dumor Award.

Serwanjja is a presenter at Uganda’s NBS TV, where he hosts one of the channel’s prime-time shows.

He has also produced award-winning reports, including one for BBC’s Africa Eye programme about the illegal sale of prescription drugs.

The award was created to honour Komla Dumor, a presenter for BBC World News, who died suddenly aged 41 in 2014.

  • Komla Dumor: Face of Africa

Serwanjja is the fifth winner of the award, following in the footsteps of Waihiga Mwaura, Amina Yuguda, Didi Akinyelure and fellow Ugandan Nancy Kacungira.

As part of the prize, he will spend three months at the BBC in London and travel back to the continent to report on a story there.

He is a well-known journalist and his passion for investigative journalism highlighted his desire to make positive change in his native Uganda.

“Komla brought so much to the African narrative – his perspective was a breath of fresh air, as he believed Africa was rising and that the world needed to see the continent from a different angle,” said Serwanjja.

“His reports always struck a chord with me, and I feel the same passion for our continent that he demonstrated. I want to continue his legacy by telling stories that cast a spotlight not only on the critical challenges we face in Africa, but also the progress and successes that have been made.”

Serwanjja impressed judges with not only with his eloquence and passion for telling African stories, but also with his commitment and bravery in uncovering what’s in the public interest.

Jamie Angus, director of BBC World Service Group, said: “To recognise and empower some of Africa’s leading talent in journalism, in honour of Komla, is really important to us.

“Komla’s reporting made a huge impact with audiences all over the world, and we’re excited to have Solomon at the BBC, to harness Komla’s commitment to telling African stories.”



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Kodak Black: Rapper sentenced to nearly four years in prison

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US rapper Kodak Black has been sentenced to 46 months in prison after pleading guilty to weapons charges.

The 22-year-old, who had a US number one album last December, admitted falsifying information on background forms to buy four guns.

He was arrested before his set at Miami’s Rolling Loud festival in May.

One of the guns he bought was used in an attempted shooting in March. Prosecutors said “a rival rap artist was the intended target”.

However, he has not been charged in relation to that shooting.

Real name Bill K Kapri, the hip-hop star faced a maximum of 10 years in prison, and prosecutors had pushed for a sentence of eight years. The court heard he was alleged to have beaten up a prison guard while awaiting sentencing.

US District Judge Federico Moreno acknowledged that Black had made anonymous donations to charity in the past.

Black’s lawyer Bradford Cohen told BBC News: “After the court was apprised of all the facts and circumstances of this case and the good charitable work that Bill has done over the years, the court rejected the government’s request of 96 months and sentenced Bill to 46 months.”

The MC has had a number of legal charges and spells in prison in recent years, and is known for his violent lyrics.

His debut studio album Painting Pictures went to number three in the US in 2017.

The follow-up went to number two, and a third album, Dying to Live, reached number one last December. Two hit singles – Zeze and Tunnel Vision – have reached the Billboard top 10.

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Niall Tóibín, actor and comedian, dies aged 89

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Niall Toibin as Fr MacAnally

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Niall Tóibín played Fr MacAnally in Ballykissangel, which ran from 1996 until 2001, starring opposite Stephen Tompkinson and Dervla Kirwan

Niall Tóibín, the Irish actor and comedian, has died in Dublin after a long illness. He was 89.

Tóibín appeared in numerous films and television series, including Ryan’s Daughter, Veronica Guerin, The Irish RM and Ballykissangel.

His career began in radio drama in the 1950s, and he played Brendan Behan in the original Abbey Theatre production of Borstal Boy on Broadway.

The actor died in Dublin earlier on Wednesday, RTE reported.

He is survived by his children Sean, Muireann, Aisling, Sighle and Fiana.

His wife Judy died in 2002.

The Irish president, Michael D Higgins, paid tribute to Mr Tóibín’s “comic genius”.

“His contribution to Irish theatre was a unique one, in both Irish and English.

“The depth of interpretation that he brought to a wide variety of characters showed a very deep intellectual understanding and, above all, sensitivity to the nuance of Irish life.”



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Rylan raises £845,000 with 24-hour Children In Need karaoke feat

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Media captionRylan’s karaoke challenge: The best bits

Rylan Clark-Neal has raised more than £845,000 for Children In Need by singing non-stop karaoke for 24 hours.

The presenter sang 231 songs, assisted by more than 90 celebrity guests, including Rick Astley, Nicole Scherzinger and Craig David.

He ate spoonfuls of honey every hour to keep his vocal cords coated – along with the occasional Pudsey donut.

“I am in such a state this morning,” Clark-Neal told Radio 2’s Zoe Ball as he approached the end of the challenge.

“It doesn’t feel real. None of it feels real.”

The crooning marathon was broadcast live on BBC Radio 2 and the BBC red button. In the last half hour of his challenge alone, the star raised more than £200,000 – with the tally reaching £845,239 by the time he finally finished.

“That’s unbelievable, thank you so much,” said the star.

Donations continued to flood in after Rylan took a well-deserved rest. The grand total will be revealed during Friday night’s Children In Need broadcast on BBC One.

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Rylan was joined by Denise Van Outen and Kimberley Walsh during his 24-hour challenge

Along the way, Rylan duetted with Dermot O’Leary on You Don’t Bring Me Flowers, rapped with Trevor Nelson and DJ Spoony on a version of Rapper’s Delight, and danced with Strictly contestants Saffron Barker and AJ Pritchard.

Rylan said he was inspired to keep singing by the memories of a recent visit to a Children In Need-funded youth club.

The star met the disadvantaged children helped by the Southend Association of Voluntary Services (Turning Tides) project in Essex – playing Hungry Hippos and taking part in arts and crafts lessons.

“It was amazing and, do you know what, I didn’t actually think about this when I signed up to do this,” said the Strictly: It Takes Two presenter.

“I didn’t really think that I would need that, but actually visiting the project and meeting all the kids and volunteers and speaking to them and understanding how much this money impacts their lives, when I am sort of dying at four o’clock in the morning trying to garble together a song I know what I’m doing it for now.”

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Media captionRylan Clark-Neal is reliving his X Factor days as he takes on a singing marathon.

His final song, shortly after 9:15 on Wednesday morning, was Tina Turner’s The Best – for which he was joined by M People star Heather Small.

As it ended, the 31-year-old sank to the floor in relief and Zoe Ball played him the bells of St Margaret’s Church in his hometown of Stanford-le-Hope, Essex, which were ringing in his honour.

Rylan’s charity feat came eight months after Tess Daly and Claudia Winkleman danced non-stop for 25 hours on Radio 2 in aid of Comic Relief.

In 2017, Sara Cox also boogied for 24 hours in an 80’s Danceathon, while Dermot O’Leary kicked off the challenges in 2015 with another 24 hours of dance – live on the plaza outside BBC New Broadcasting House.

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