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Entertainment News

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  • Grammy-winning singer Kacey Musgraves and her musician-husband, Ruston Kelly, have filed for divorce. Representatives for both singers confirmed the news Friday to The Associated Press. In a joint statement, Musgraves and Kelly said “we’ve made this painful decision together.' “With heavy but hopeful hearts we wanted to put our own thoughts into the air about what’s happening. These kinds of announcements are always met with scrutiny and speculation and we want to stop that before it even starts. We believe that we were put into each other’s lives for a divine reason and have both changed each other infinitely for the better. The love we have for each other goes far beyond the relationship we’ve shared as husband and wife. It’s a soul connection that can never be erased,' the emailed statement read. “We’ve made this painful decision together — a healthy decision that comes after a very long period of trying the best we can. It simply just didn’t work. Though we are parting ways in marriage, we will remain true friends for the rest of our lives. We hold no blame, anger, or contempt for each other and we ask for privacy and positive wishes for us both as we learn how to navigate through this,' the statement continued. Musgraves and Kelly, both 31, were married in 2017. Musgraves has been a success since releasing her major-label debut album, “Same Trailer Different Park,” in 2013. It won her the best country album Grammy and one of its singles, “Merry Go ‘Round,” won best country song. At the 2019 Grammys, the superstar's critically acclaimed pop-leaning country album, “Golden Hour,” won all four awards it was nominated for, including the coveted top prize, album of the year. At the show, she thanked Kelly in her acceptance speech: “I really believe I wouldn’t have this album if I hadn’t met you and you didn’t open my heart like you did, so thank you so much.” Musgraves and Kelly have worked together musically. In 2018 they appeared on the song “To June This Morning” from the album “Johnny Cash: Forever Words,” a compilation project created from Cash’s unknown poetry, lyrics and letters set to music. Musgraves also sang background vocals on Kelly’s 2018 full-length debut album, “Dying Star.” Kelly will release a new album, “Shape & Destroy,” on Aug. 28, and it will include background vocals by Musgraves. Kelly’s father and sister are also featured on the album. Kelly has also written songs for other artists, including Tim McGraw, Hayes Carll, Lucie Silvas and Josh Abbott Band. Musgraves co-wrote Miranda Lambert’s 2013 country hit, “Mama’s Broken Heart,” earning herself a Grammy nomination as a songwriter.
  • Willie Nelson’s annual Fourth of July Picnic is going ahead this year, but to reduce concerns about the coronavirus the event will be virtual. Fans can tune in to the nearly 50-year-old music bash Saturday via luck.stream and williepicnic.com. Tickets for the picnic are on sale at williepicnic.com. Other performers expected to play include Sheryl Crow, Ziggy Marley, Steve Earle and Nelson’s fellow Texas-based singers Lyle Lovett, Robert Earl Keen and Kinky Friedman. Some of the artists will perform at Nelson’s Luck Ranch in Spicewood, northwest of Austin. Others will stream live from elsewhere. Nelson’s event started in 1972 and has been held most years since, moving around Texas and occasionally outside the Lone Star State. It typically draws thousands. The 87-year-old Nelson’s 70th album was released Friday. “First Rose of Spring” features two new tunes plus Nelson’s take on songs by Toby Keith and Chris Stapleton.
  • After decades in a French museum, the skulls of 24 Algerians decapitated for resisting French colonial forces were formally repatriated to Algeria on Friday in an elaborate ceremony led by the teary-eyed Algerian president. A 21-gun salute thundered from Algiers’ international airport as a military plane touched down, carrying the remains. Boats in the ports of Algiers sounded their horns to welcome the arrival. The return of the skulls was the result of years of efforts by Algerian historians, and comes amid a growing global reckoning with the legacy of colonialism. “The valiant resistance fighters who refused the colonization of their country by imperial France were displayed immorally for decades, like vulgar objects of antiquity, without respect for their dignity, their memory. That is the monstrous face of colonization,” Algerian army chief Said Chengiha said in a speech. “Algeria is living a special day today,” he said. The 24 fought French colonial forces who occupied Algeria in 1830 and took part in an 1849 revolt. After they were decapitated, their skulls were taken to France as trophies. In 2011, Algerian historian and researcher Ali Farid Belkadi discovered the skulls at the Museum of Man in Paris, across from the Eiffel Tower, and alerted Algerian authorities. The researcher lobbied for years for their return, and Algeria’s then-president, Abdelaziz Bouteflika, eventually launched the formal repatriation request. French President Emmanuel Macron agreed in 2018 but bureaucratic obstacles delayed the return until now. The remains will be on public display at the Palace of Culture in the capital Saturday, and then will be buried in a special funeral east of Algiers on Sunday — the 58th anniversary of Algeria’s independence from France after a long and bloody war. In tears, Algerian President Abdelmadjid Tebboune presided over Friday’s ceremony, alongside the heads of both houses of parliament and top military officials. Three MiG jets escorted the Algerian Ilyushin military plane carrying the remains. The skulls were placed in coffins wrapped in the Algerian flag, and carried by soldiers across the tarmac as a military band played. Historians welcomed the return of the remains, but say they are just part of Algeria’s history that is still in French hands. “We have recovered part of our memory,” historian Mohamed El Korso told The Associated Press. “But the fight must continue, until the recovery of all the remains of the resistance fighters, which number in the hundreds, and the archives of our revolution.”
  • Bachata singer Prince Royce says he got a wake-up call with a COVID-19 diagnosis and now he wants to try and wake others too. Royce revealed that he is recovering from the virus in an interview with The Associated Press on Thursday. Royce, 31, said he decided to speak up out of a growing frustration with seeing people going out and gathering without masks — even while cases are spiking in several states. And like many, he is worried that more people will get infected over the Fourth of July weekend. “At first, I was very scared, like ‘Nobody can find out, I shouldn’t tell anybody.’ But I felt that I have a duty to tell my communities, you know. I live in Florida, I’m from New York, I have a place in California. And I’m seeing what’s happening across the country. I see what’s happening in the world,” said Royce via Zoom from his home in Miami. For him, it all started about two weeks ago on a Sunday, when he woke in the middle of the night not feeling well after spending the day at the pool making TikTok videos and battling a “really bad headache.” But he attributed it to a day in the sun and the cold AC, and went back to sleep. When he woke up in the morning, he was feeling worse and had a temperature of 101 degrees. He took some painkillers. On Monday, the fever was gone, but the headache persisted. “I said, ‘I’m gonna go get tested for COVID just to be responsible, but I don’t think I have it.’ And that’s how I found out,” said the multi-platinum Bachata singer. Royce said the diagnosis shocked him. “I thought I was washing my hands,'' he said. 'I thought I was wearing the mask, you know. And I think that for me it was just a wake-up call, like I’ve been seeing this on TV every day, I’m on WhatsApp groups with my family, I’ve been sending them stuff. I thought for sure like I wouldn’t have gotten it cause I’ve been ‘taking precautions.’” Royce doesn't know how he got COVID-19, but he admits that, after spending three months in quarantine, the reopening of bars and restaurants gave him a false sense of security. “I was home this whole time, and I went out to some restaurants because things opened, and I thought, ‘Well, Florida hasn’t been so bad, and New York is the one with the problem.’ I fell for that and I think many people can fall for that and will fall for that,” he said. “And that’s what made me think, I need to come out and tell my story. Because it’s upsetting me. It’s so frustrating to me to see people at supermarkets without a mask. It’s so frustrating to me to see that people are being irresponsible and not protecting others.' Neither his wife, Emeraude Toubia, nor the people he went out to dine with, have gotten sick. “I can’t imagine what would have happened if I would have given it to my parents or my wife had given it to her grandmother,' he said. 'And I’m lucky. I feel very fortunate that I hopefully didn’t give it to other people.” Although in general he is feeling well and staying positive, some days have been better than others. He says he felt light-headed after a recent workout. For most people, the coronavirus causes mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough, that clear up in two to three weeks. For some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness, including pneumonia, and death. Royce has scored 18 number one radio hits, 22 Latin Billboard Awards and 13 Latin Grammy nominations with hits like “Darte un Beso,” “El Amor Que Perdimos” and “Soy El Mismo.” His latest album, “Alter Ego,” debuted number one in February on Billboard's Top Latin Albums chart. He has over 12 million followers on Instagram and wants his fans to know that everyone is vulnerable. “Just because you’re young doesn’t mean that you’re not gonna get it,' Royce said. ”I’m hoping that my story can educate the youth, the people that are trying to go out this weekend because of the holiday, the people that are going out to bars because things are open.” He says: “Don’t be selfish and make the same mistakes that I probably did.” ___ Follow Sigal Ratner-Arias on Twitter at https://twitter.com/sigalratner.
  • British historian and TV presenter David Starkey relinquished his honorary fellowship at a University of Cambridge college Friday after he drew outrage for his comments about Black people and whether slavery should be considered genocide. Starkey said in an interview for a YouTube show posted online Tuesday: “Slavery was not genocide, otherwise there wouldn’t be so many damn Blacks in Africa or in Britain, would there?” “An awful lot of them survived and again, there’s no point in arguing against globalization or Western civilization. They are all products of it, we are all products of it,” he added. The head of Fitzwilliam College at Cambridge contacted the historian following his remarks on the YouTube channel Reasoned UK. Starkey resigned from his position with immediate effect Friday. Fitzwilliam College issued a statement saying that although Starkey did not hold a teaching position, honorary fellows have the same responsibility as all college members to uphold its values. “Fitzwilliam prides itself in leading the way in Cambridge in opening access to higher education for under-represented groups,' the statement read. 'Our student and academic bodies are diverse and welcoming to all. We do not tolerate racism.” Others associated with the historian swiftly distanced themselves from him. His publisher, Harper Collins, said it would not publish future books by Starkey and that people in the company “unreservedly condemn” the “abhorrent” remarks he made in the interview. Canterbury Christ Church University also terminated Starkey’s role as visiting professor, saying his comments were “completely unacceptable”. In the interview, Starkey also said that an “honest teaching” of the British Empire would characterize the territories Britain claimed as colonies and protectorates as “the first key stage of our globalization. It is probably the most important moment in human history and it is still with us.” Starkey, a well-known television personality in Britain, has published more than 20 books, including many on the Tudors.

News

  • A recently released study by the Henry Ford Health System in Michigan suggests that the controversial drug hydroxychloroquine helps lower the death rate in hospitalized coronavirus patients. An analysis of 2,541 patients hospitalized with coronavirus between March 10 and May 2, 2020, found that 13% of those treated with hydroxychloroquine died as compared to 26% who died that did not receive the drug, according to The Detroit News. The mortality rate for hospitalized patients ranges from 10% to 30% globally, while the overall in-hospital mortality for the study was 18.1%. The study, which was conducted at six hospitals within The Henry Ford Health System in Southeast Michigan, was published Thursday in the International Journal of Infectious Diseases. “The findings have been highly analyzed and peer-reviewed,” said Dr. Marcus Zervos, division head of Infectious Disease for Henry Ford Health System, who co-authored the study with Henry Ford epidemiologist Dr. Samia Arshad. “We attribute our findings that differ from other studies to early treatment, and part of a combination of interventions that were done in supportive care of patients, including careful cardiac monitoring. Our dosing also differed from other studies not showing a benefit of the drug. And other studies are either not peer reviewed, have limited numbers of patients, different patient populations or other differences from our patients. Last month, the Food and Drug Administration said the drugs hydroxychloroquine and chloroquine are unlikely to be effective in treating the coronavirus. Citing reports of heart complications, the FDA said the drugs’ unproven benefits “do not outweigh the known and potential risks.” In a separate announcement, the FDA also warned doctors against prescribing the drugs in combination with remdesivir, the lone drug currently shown to help patients with COVID-19. The FDA said the anti-malaria drugs can reduce the effectiveness of remdesivir, which FDA cleared for emergency use in May. Hydroxychloroquine and chloroquine are frequently prescribed for lupus and rheumatoid arthritis, and can cause heart rhythm problems, severely low blood pressure and muscle or nerve damage. The agency reported in June that it had received nearly 390 reports of complications with the drugs, including more than 100 involving serious heart problems. Read more about the study here and here. https://www.henryford.com/news/2020/07/hydro-treatment-study https://www.ijidonline.com/article/S1201-9712(20)30534-8/fulltext The Associated Press contributed to this story.
  • There are new rules in place for the holiday weekend if you plan to rent an Airbnb. The company says guests under 25 years old with fewer than three positive reviews will not be able to book an entire home close to where they live Airbnb didn’t reveal how it defines what is “close.” Airbnb said it wants to weed out any potential problems, specifically unauthorized house parties and feels this is the best way to do so. The company says it’s a nationwide policy, but it is most relevant for a handful of cities. The company says its technologies would block that guest from booking. “No one policy is going to stop all unauthorized parties. We’re also conscious that just because you’re 25 or older doesn’t mean that every single person in that group is booking for the right reasons too,” spokesperson Ben Breit told WSB-TV. Guests under 25 with at least three positive Airbnb reviews and no negative reviews won’t be subject to the restrictions. Airbnb began stepping up efforts to ban “party houses” last November after five people were shot and killed during an unauthorized party at an Airbnb rental in Orinda, California. At the time, Airbnb set up a rapid response team to deal with complaints from neighbors and started screening “high risk” bookings, such as reservations at a large home for one night. In a message to hosts, the company said reducing unauthorized parties is even more of a priority right now as states try to avoid coronavirus outbreaks. “With public health mandates in place throughout the country, we’re taking actions to support safe and responsible travel in the United States,” the company said. The Associated Press contributed to this story.
  • Jillian Wuestenberg, 32, and Eric Wuestenberg, 42, were charged Thursday with felonious assault after pulling a gun out on a Black mother and her children when a confrontation escalated outside a Chipotle in Michigan. Each of them had a loaded firearm and concealed pistol licenses. Deputies seized the two handguns, Sheriff Mike Bouchard said. On Thursday, the couple was arraigned and were given a $50,000 personal bond.  “As part of the bond conditions, they must turn over all firearms, not engage in any assaultive behavior, and may not leave the state,” sheriff’s officials told The Detroit News. The Detroit News first reported on the three-minute video posted online that shows part of the interaction. Takelia Hill, who is Black, told the newspaper that it happened after the white woman bumped into Hill’s teenage daughter as they were entering the fast food restaurant. The video footage [WARNING: Contains graphic language] starts after that, in the parking lot. A woman since identified as Jillian Wuestenberg is heard arguing with Hill and her daughters. Wuestenberg climbs into the vehicle, rolls down the window and says, “White people aren’t racist,” and, “I care about you,” before the vehicle she was in starts to back away. Her husband, who had led his wife to the vehicle, turns to the camera and asks, “Who ... do you think you guys are?,” using an expletive. Then, as someone is standing behind the vehicle, Jillian Wuestenberg jumps out and points a handgun in the direction of a person who’s recording. She screams at people to get away from her and her vehicle. A woman shouts, “She’s got a gun on me!” and urges someone in the parking lot to call the police. Wuestenberg then lowers the gun, climbs into the passenger seat and the vehicle drives off. Cooper, the prosecutor, told The Associated Press that her office viewed the available video and looked at the facts before filing charges. “It is an unfortunate set of circumstances that tempers run high over, basically, not much of an incident,” she said of the initial alleged spark that caused the confrontation. Bouchard said people are “picking sides” and that threatening calls were made to the sheriff’s office dispatch center after the videos were posted online. “We don’t see sides. We see facts,” he said. “There’s a lot of tension in our society, a lot of tension among folks and people with each other. I would just say this, we are asking and expect our police — and rightfully so — to deescalate every situation they possibly can, and we should be doing that. But I would say that needs to happen with us individually in our own lives and situations, that we interact with each other and deescalate those moments.” The Associated Press contributed to this story.
  • The United States Geological Survey reported that a 4.9 magnitude earthquake struck this morning near Puerto Rico around 9:55 a.m. EDT. The quake was felt across the U.S. territory and is the latest in a series of tremors that began in late December and have damaged or destroyed hundreds of homes. Ángel Vázquez, who oversees the emergency management agency in Ponce, said a house collapsed in the town of Lajas. The house was empty and slated for demolition, according to Kiara Hernández, spokeswoman for Puerto Rico’s Department of Public Security. Víctor Huérfano, director of Puerto Rico’s Seismic Network, told The Associated Press that the tremor is an aftershock related to the 6.4-magnitude quake that struck in early January, killing at least one person and causing millions of dollars in damage. The Associated Press contributed to this story.
  • With The Atlanta Journal-Constitution Peachtree Road Race postponed this year, the Atlanta Police Department warned people against running or walking the course on the Fourth of July. APD noted in a tweet Friday that the course will not be closed to car traffic on Independence Day. With hashtags including #MyPersonalPeachtree and #APDCares, the police department said in the tweet that people should avoid running or walking the course on Saturday for safety reasons. >>Read MORE on AJC.com. [Summary]
  • The Washington Redskins issued a statement that they will “undergo a thorough review of the team’s name.” “This process allows the team to take into account not only the proud tradition and history of the franchise but also input from our alumni, the organization, sponsors, the National Football League and the local community it is proud to represent on and off the field,” Majority owner Daniel Snyder said in the the statement. Snyder had previously shown no indication he would change the name since buying the team in 1999, but was quoted in the release. NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell said that he supports “this step.” The title sponsor of the Washington Redskins’ stadium, FedEx asked the NFL team to change its name in a statement Thursday. The company paid the team $205 million in 1999 for the naming rights to FedEx Field in Landover, Maryland. Amid the national debate over race, pressure has been mounting on the organization to abandon the name called a “dictionary-defined racial slur” by experts and advocates. Investors this week wrote to FedEx, PepsiCo and other sponsors asking them to request a change. FedEx is believed to be the first to take action. Nike appeared to remove all Redskins gear from its online store Thursday evening according to The Associated Press. The other 31 NFL teams were listed and a search for “Redskins” came up with no results. The team last week removed the name of racist founder George Preston Marshall from its Ring of Fame at FedEx Field, and a monument to him was removed from the site of the old RFK Stadium. Washington, D.C., mayor Muriel Bowser also said the name was an “obstacle” to the team returning to the District. The team’s lease at FedEx Field expires in 2027, and it is still talking to Washington, Virginia and Maryland about building a new stadium. The Associated Press contributed to this story.