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10 musical stars who fled their home country

To underline World Refugee Day on June 20, here are 10 famous musicians who fled their home country and whose life would have been very different if they had not been allowed to live somewhere else. 
Freddie Mercury


 The lead singer of Queen was born in 1946 in the Sultanate of Zanzibar (now part of Tanzania). While he spent most of his childhood in a boarding school in India, he joined his parents in Zanzibar in 1963. A year later, Mercury and his family fled the country that was undergoing the Zanzibar Revolution; they settled in England. 

 Gloria Estefan


Born in Cuba, the singer's family was forced to flee after the Cuban Revolution, settling in Miami. Most famous for her breakthrough hit, "Conga," Estefan has not only won three Grammy Awards throughout her career, but was also awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom for her contributions to American music in 2015. 

 Bob Marley


While political groups were warring in 1976, the legendary reggae singer was wounded by unknown gunmen. He survived the assassination attempt, but he left his home country afterwards to recover, living in self-imposed exiled.

 Arnold Schoenberg


The Jewish Austrian composer moved to the US in 1934 to flee Nazi Germany. His modernist and atonal music had been labeled as degenerate by Hitler's party. He is considered one of the most influential musicians of the 20th century. 



British rapper Mathangi "Maya" Arulpragasam, best known by her stage name M.I.A., was actually born in London in 1975; her family however moved back to Sri Lanka when she was six months old. Her father was a Tamil activist, making it dangerous for the family to stay in the country. M.I.A.'s mother therefore fled with her children.



The famous singer-songwriter was born in Beirut, Lebanon in 1983. Mika's family relocated to Paris in 1984 after attacks on the American Embassy during the Lebanese civil war.



His song "Wavin' Flag" was an anthem for the 2010 World Cup. The hip-hop artist known as K'Naan was born as Keinan Abdi Warsame in 1978 in Mogadishu, the capital of Somalia. Fleeing the country's civil war, his family left Somalia in 1991. 

Regina Spektor


Born in Moscow, Spektor was nine years old when her Jewish family left the USSR during the Perestroika, in 1989. They were admitted to the US as refugees with the assistance of the Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society. She pursued her classical music training there, later gaining popularity on the indie music scene with her anti-folk songs. 

 Wyclef Jean


The Grammy Award-winning rapper, most famous for his group the Fugees, is from Haiti and even tried to become president of his home country in 2010. As a non-resident of the country, he was however found to be ineligible for the position. He was a nine-year-old boy when his family left Haiti in 1979, during the Duvalier regime. 

 Rita Ora


The British pop singer and actress was born in Pristina, Yugoslavia (present-day Kosovo) to Albanian parents. As Albanians were persecuted amid the disintegration of the country, the family fled, relocating to London in 1991, when Rita was just a year old.



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Duchess of Cambridge gives birth to a prince

Duchess of Cambridge gives birth to a princeThe Duchess of Cambridge has given birth to a boy - her third child.The new prince arrived at 11.01am UK time, weighing 8lb 7oz, Kensington Palace announced.Kensington Palace announced that the Duchess was admitted to the Lindo Wing of St Mary's Hospital, in central London, on Monday morning.The baby will be fifth in line to the throne, the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh's sixth great-grandchild and a younger brother or sister for Prince George and Princess Charlotte. The baby's title will be HRH Prince of Cambridge.Predicted names include Arthur, Albert, Frederick, James and Philip.

Source : The Telegraph

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Royal wedding 2018: Royal Family thanks public

The Royal Family has thanked those who travelled to Windsor for the wedding of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle.

Thousands of people lined the streets to see the couple, while the ceremony at St George's Chapel was broadcast to TV audiences around the world.

More than 13 million people watched the TV coverage on the BBC - peaking at 13.1 million just after 13:00 BST.

The wedding celebrations ended with a black-tie dinner and fireworks display at Frogmore House, near Windsor Castle. Two hundred of Meghan and Harry's closest friends and family attended the event held by Prince Charles.

Source : BBC

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Blackbuck poaching case: Salman Khan convicted

A Jodhpur trial court today convicted actor Salman Khan, while acquitting other accused in the 1998 blackbuck poaching case.

Jodhpur District Presiding Officer Devkumar Khatri pronounced the judgment, while holding off on awarding the quantum of punishment for Salman right away. The sentencing, however, is expected to be announced shortly.

Co-accused Saif Ali Khan, Sonali Bendre, Neelam and Tabu were present in court during pronouncement of the verdict. There are two other accused in the case -- travel agent Dushyant Singh and Dinesh Gawre, Salman's assistant at the time. Gawre is still absconding.

The actors are accused of hunting down two blackbucks in Kankani village near Jodhpur on the intervening night of October 1 and 2, 1998. The actors were in the city for the shooting of the film 'Hum Saath Saath Hain'.

Salman is facing charges under Section 51 of the Wildlife (Protection) Act and the other actors have been charged under Section 51 read with Section 149 (unlawful assembly) of the Indian Penal Code. Maximum punishment under Section 51 is six years.

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Netta from Israel wins Eurovision song contest 2018

Israel's Netta has won the Eurovision Song Contest for her quirky dance song Toy - complete with its trademark chicken dance.

She had been an early favourite, but the vote went down to the wire with Cyprus finishing in second place. Netta thanked juries and the public for "choosing different" as she lifted the glass microphone trophy.

Netta - full name Netta Barzilai - picked up a total of 529 points to take the title.

This years final was held in Lisbon, Portugal, with the 2019 contest now set to take place in Israel. The last time Israel won Eurovision was 20 years ago when Dana International was victorious with Diva.

Source : BBC

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Deepika Padukone: India 'long way' from ending mental illness stigma

Bollywood superstar Deepika Padukone called for bolder efforts by Indians to end the stigma surrounding mental illness. According to WHO, India has the highest number of suicides in South Asia after Sri Lanka.

"We have a long way to go," said Padukone, who went public about her struggle with depression in 2015 and won praise for her campaign to spark public discourse on mental health in a country that has traditionally considered such illnesses taboo.

The 32-year-old, who starred in xXx: Return of Xander Cage, founded the Live Laugh Love Foundation to create awareness about mental health.

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Deepika speaking at the event

 The charity last Friday launched the results of a survey it conducted in eight Indian cities, including New Delhi and Mumbai, which showed nearly half of Indians held prejudices against people with mental illnesses.

Three out of five of the 3,556 people interviewed for the study referred to the mentally ill using terms such as "retard", "crazy" or "stupid".

While a little more than half expressed some fear towards mentally unhealthy people - with many preferring they be ostracised - more than three-quarters showed sympathy.

Fifty-one per cent said they would seek professional help if they suffered from a mental illness, signalling a shift in the fear and shame usually attached with it in India.

"What gives us immense satisfaction is... knowing that the stigma built around mental illness over the years is now slowly reducing," Padukone said in New Delhi.

"We have come a long way in the last three years, there is increased... awareness, but I still think we have a long way to go."

More than 50 million Indians suffered from depression and more than 30 million from anxiety disorders in 2015, a World Health Organisation study released last year said.

In December, Indian President Ram Nath Kovind warned that the country of 1.3 billion people faces "a possible mental health epidemic" while releasing a report that found 10 per cent of Indians suffered from at least one mental illness.


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Birth anniversary of Rabindranath Tagore celebrated in Sri Lanka

Nobel Laureate Gurudev Rabindranath Tagore has a special place in the heart of Sri Lankans, and his legacy continues to have a lasting influence on local art and culture. In this context, special events were organized in Colombo to commemorate the 157th Birth Anniversary of Gurudev.

The Centre for Contemporary Indian Studies of University of Colombo organised an event at the Main Library of the University. H.E. Taranjit Singh Sandhu, High Commissioner of India graced the occasion as the Chief Guest and garlanded the bust of Gurudev Rabindranath Tagore.

Senior Professor Lakshman Dissanayake, Vice Chancellor of the University of Colombo, Prof. Nayani Melegoda, Dean of the Faculty of Graduate  Studies, academicians, students of the University of Colombo and Sri Lankan admirers of Gurudev Tagore, attended the event. This bronze bust of Tagore is sculpted by Janak Jhankar Narzary of Kala Bhavana, Visva-Bharati, and was gifted by Government of India to the University in 2012.
Separately, the Indian Cultural Centre, Colombo organized a special Bharatnatyam performance by Himanshu Srivastava, an eminent dancer from Benaras. The performance was based on Tagore’s compositions, and was deeply appreciated. Numerous other events in Sri Lanka were also held on the occasion.

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Masks and puppets tell Sri Lanka's ancient tales

Masks and puppets tell Sri Lanka's ancient tales

Rajpal Abeynayake

 Puppets from the Ehelepola Kumaraya play, the story of a nobleman's son resisting a Sinhalese king influenced by the colonizing British (Photo by Rajpal Abeynayake)

In Ambalangoda, a vibrant Sri Lankan coastal town of fishermen, sunshine and traditional mask makers, two unique and ancient art forms are battling for survival. One, known as rukada, uses almost life-size puppets to thrill and amuse audiences.

Its not-so-distant cousin is the art of masked drama called kolam, which translates best as "farce." In kolam, costumed men wearing masks act out ancient stories, often to raucous effect. What unites these two art forms are the traditional masks made in Ambalangoda and other maritime towns of Sri Lanka's south, such as Balapitiya.

Both traditions deal with material from Buddhist lore -- the Jathaka tales, which are a retelling of stories from the Buddha's previous incarnations. Comedy and farcical plotlines are a large part of both types of performance.

But the masks themselves, which form the basis of the colorful puppet faces too, originate from a much darker place in the people's psyche.

Masks from Ambalangoda and other maritime towns were first used thousands of years ago in exorcism rituals, in what was called "devil dancing" or thovil. This tradition of ritual therapeutic theater dates back over 2,500 years to pre-Buddhist times.

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A puppet from ancient folk tale, dramatized.

 The puppeteers from Ambalangoda also draw on the nadagam, the South Indian dance drama tradition imported from Tamil Nadu in southern India by colonizing Catholics.

Supun Gamini, a computer science and management graduate, is a fourth-generation puppeteer who has launched a determined effort to keep Ambalangoda's rukada art alive.

His greatest challenge, he said, is to work around some aspects of tradition that he feels deter people, especially the young, who prefer today's internet-generated popular culture instead.

Some of the traditions associated with masks and puppetry are dying out, but that may not be an entirely bad thing, according to Gamini. Ignoring some aspects of the ritual may be the way to let the puppet art and masked dances live on.

"For example, each time they cut down a kaduru tree for crafting masks or puppets in the days of my forefathers, they enacted elaborate rituals before the tree was felled," said Gamini. These rites were meant to propitiate the divine beings.

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Supun Gamini, a puppeteer, with a puppet styled after the thovil mask tradition.

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Bollywood actress Sonam Kapoor ties the knot

Actress Sonam Kapoor tied the knot with Delhi businessman Anand Ahuja today. 

Kapoor was a traditional bride in a blood-red Anuradha Vakil lehenga. She completed her bridal look with a jadau choker paired with a longer neck piece, maang tika, and traditional red chooda with kaleere. 

Ahuja opted for a gold sherwani paired with a ruby mala.

Brothers Harshvardhan and Arjun Kapoor walked her down the aisle under a red chaaddar. 

The wedding was conducted at Sonam's aunt's residence in Bandra. Sonam is also the daughter of veteran film actor Anil Kapoor. 

Source : The Economic Times

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Indian singer Daler Mehndi convicted for smuggling migrants

Indian pop star, Daler Mehndi, has been sentenced to two years in prison for smuggling migrants abroad.

Mehndi and six others were accused in 2003 of cheating people of large sums of money by falsely promising to take them to Western countries.

The singer was convicted on Friday in the northern state of Punjab. But he was released on bail soon after.

Mehndi is one of the most popular Punjabi singers of the 1990s and early 2000s, and also has a following abroad.

In 1998 and 1999, he had allegedly taken at least 10 migrants, disguised as dancers in his ensemble, to the United States and returned without them.

After police in Punjab registered a case against him, about 35 people reportedly accused him of fraud. They said he had taken money from them for taking them abroad but had failed to do so.

Mehndi said he will appeal the conviction in a higher court.

He sang in several Bollywood films but he is best known for his music videos in bhangra pop, a bouncy electronic genre inspired by the traditional dance tunes of Punjab.

Mehndi's debut album sold over 20 million copies. He has given stage performances in about 18 countries including the UK, US and Singapore.


Source : BBC

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Bill Cosby found guilty of sexual assault in retrial 

US comedian Bill Cosby has been found guilty of three counts of sexual assault, each of which carries a potential 10 years in prison.

The actor, 80, has been on trial for drugging and assaulting ex-basketball player Andrea Constand in 2004.

Cosby, the first major black actor on primetime TV, will remain out of jail until he is sentenced, the judge ruled.

"I feel like my faith in humanity is restored," Cosby accuser Lili Bernard said outside the courthouse.

It was the second time the actor had stood trial for the allegations, after an earlier jury failed to reach a verdict in June 2017.

At the start of the retrial in Pennsylvania it was revealed that Cosby had paid Ms Constand almost $3.4m (£2.4m) in a civil settlement in 2006.

Cosby is best known for starring in the 1980s TV series The Cosby Show.

Around 60 women over five decades have publicly accused the Emmy award-winning actor of being a sexual predator. But statute of limitation laws mean that only one charge has been brought to trial.

Source : BBC

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Irrfan Khan: Bollywood actor has rare tumour

Bollywood actor Irrfan Khan has revealed on Twitter that he has been diagnosed with a neuroendocrine tumour.

The rare illness affects the cells that release hormones into the bloodstream. Mr Khan did not give any further details of his condition.

He had tweeted on 6 March that he was suffering from a "rare disease" but did not say what it was.

Khan, 51, has acted in more than 100 films including Bollywood hits Piku, Maqbool, Haasil and Paan Singh Tomar. His English language films include Life Of Pi, Jurassic World, Slumdog Millionaire and The Amazing Spider-Man.

Khan is India's best-known international actor and has also featured in a wide range of well-received roles in Bollywood and independent Hindi films. In 2013, he won India's National Film Award for his leading role in Paan Singh Tomar, a biopic about a top athlete who becomes a bandit.

He has also won the Viewers' Choice Award at the Cannes Film Festival for his portrayal of a lonely accountant who mistakenly receives a lunchbox intended for a colleague in the 2013 film The Lunchbox.

It was also the only Indian film to be selected for competition at the London Film Festival that year.

Source : BBC

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