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The Duchess of Sussex, Meghan Markle, delivered a poignant keynote address at the SXSW festival in Austin, Texas, where she candidly criticized the toxicity prevalent on social media platforms. Revealing her own experiences of being targeted with bullying and abuse, particularly during her pregnancies with Archie and Lilibet, Meghan highlighted the disturbing lack of humanity in certain online spaces. Despite the challenges she faced, Meghan emphasized the importance of maintaining one’s wellbeing and advocated for a shift towards more positive and empathetic interactions online.

Meghan’s appearance at SXSW underscored her commitment to addressing pressing societal issues, particularly those concerning women’s empowerment and representation. As she shared her insights on diverse representation in media and the portrayal of motherhood, Meghan reiterated the urgency of fostering a more inclusive and compassionate digital landscape. Through her advocacy and speaking engagements, Meghan continues to amplify marginalized voices and advocate for meaningful change on both local and global platforms.

Despite the ongoing scrutiny and criticism that Meghan and Prince Harry face, particularly from tabloid media, their dedication to philanthropy and social activism remains unwavering. Since relocating to California and establishing the Archewell Foundation, the couple has utilized their platform to champion causes close to their hearts, from mental health awareness to environmental conservation. While navigating the complexities of public life, Meghan and Harry continue to prioritize making a positive impact and inspiring others to do the same.

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Taylor Swift stole the spotlight at this year’s Grammy Awards, securing her fourth album of the year win, a record-breaking feat. Previously tied with Stevie Wonder, Paul Simon, and Frank Sinatra at three wins each, Swift’s achievement was celebrated at the Los Angeles ceremony.

Celine Dion, making an unexpected appearance amid health concerns, presented Swift with the prestigious award. Swift, seizing the moment, also announced a surprise new album during the event.

Other top honors went to Miley Cyrus and Billie Eilish, contributing to a night where women dominated. R&B artists SZA and Victoria Monét, along with the all-female indie supergroup Boygenius, received multiple awards. Music legends Tracy Chapman and Joni Mitchell delivered rare and moving performances.

While rapper Killer Mike emerged as the top male winner with three rap trophies, an incident backstage led to him being “booked for misdemeanor battery,” according to LA police.

Dion received an enthusiastic reception after her return to the stage almost a year after canceling live shows due to a rare neurological disorder. Expressing genuine joy to be present, she announced Swift as the best album winner to thunderous applause.

Swift, reflecting on her historic achievement, emphasized that the award represents the culmination of hard work. She expressed her love for the creative process, stating that each step, from finishing a song to preparing for a show, brings her immense happiness. Swift had previously won album of the year in 2010 for Fearless, in 2016 for 1989, and in 2021 for Folklore.

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Art News Trending

Environmental protesters targeted the iconic Mona Lisa at the Louvre in Paris, throwing soup at the protected artwork to emphasize their call for the right to “healthy and sustainable food.” The 16th Century masterpiece by Leonardo da Vinci, housed behind protective glass, remained undamaged despite the unconventional protest.

Video footage captured two female protesters, affiliated with a group called Riposte Alimentaire (Food Counterattack), tossing liquid at the painting and raising questions about the perceived prioritization of art over the fundamental right to nutritious food. The protesters, clad in T-shirts reading “food counterattack,” stood in front of the artwork, asserting concerns about the agricultural system and the challenges faced by farmers.

The Louvre promptly assured the public that the painting was unharmed, thanks to the security measures in place. The Salle des Etats, where the Mona Lisa is displayed, was evacuated, and the room reopened to visitors after cleaning at 11:30 local time. The museum announced its intention to file a complaint regarding the incident.

The group Riposte Alimentaire released a statement, posted on social media platform X, explaining that the protest was part of their broader efforts to integrate “food into the general social security system.” They argued that the current food model stigmatizes the most vulnerable and fails to respect the fundamental right to food. The group proposed the issuance of a monthly food card worth €150 (£128) for citizens to use on food.

France’s Minister for Culture, Rachida Dati, condemned the act, stating that “no cause” could justify targeting the Mona Lisa, emphasizing the painting’s status as part of the heritage for future generations. The incident occurred amid ongoing farmer protests in Paris, where demonstrators sought relief from rising fuel costs and simplified regulations, blocking key roads in and out of the city.

The Mona Lisa, housed in the Louvre since the early 1950s, has been shielded behind safety glass. In 2019, the museum installed a more transparent form of bulletproof glass to enhance its protection. This incident echoes a 2022 event when an activist threw cake at the painting, urging people to “think of the Earth.” The Mona Lisa’s history includes a notorious theft in 1911, with recovery two years later after the perpetrator attempted to sell it in Italy.

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Oppenheimer dominated the Golden Globe Awards, securing five victories, including the prestigious top prize. Notably, Cillian Murphy and Robert Downey Jr were honored for their outstanding acting performances, and Christopher Nolan received the award for Best Director. The TV series Succession achieved the most wins in its category, following a highly acclaimed fourth and final season.

Barbie received the inaugural box office achievement award, recognizing its global earnings of $1.4 billion. Multiple awards were also bestowed upon Anatomy of a Fall, The Holdovers, and Poor Things, with Martin Scorsese’s Killers of the Flower Moon earning recognition. Lily Gladstone, the star of the latter film, made history as the first indigenous person to win the award for Best Drama Actress.

Murphy, the lead in Oppenheimer, praised Nolan’s dedication to the film, which earned $954 million and secured the Best Drama Film award. The biopic also received accolades for Best Score and Best Supporting Actor, awarded to Downey Jr for his portrayal of Lewis Strauss.

Downey Jr humorously acknowledged the film’s unexpected box office success and commented on changes within the Golden Globes membership, expressing gratitude for the alterations made in response to a diversity scandal. Murphy, also known for Peaky Blinders, playfully addressed the numerous Irish nominees, extending appreciation to all nominees, regardless of nationality.

Lily Gladstone, representing Killers of the Flower Moon, delivered her acceptance speech partly in the Algonquian language Blackfoot. She emphasized the historic significance of her win and highlighted the importance of Native actors preserving their languages in the film industry.

Emma Stone claimed the title of Best Actress in a Musical or Comedy for her role in Poor Things, which also secured the award for Best Musical or Comedy Film. Stone expressed deep gratitude to director Yorgos Lanthimos and writer Tony McNamara for their contributions to the film, emphasizing the transformative impact of her character, Bella Baxter, on her perspective of life.

The Golden Globes serve as the initial highlight in the film awards season, with the Oscars scheduled for March 10th.

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Dire Straits star Mark Knopfler is preparing to auction over 120 of his guitars and amps, with a notable 25% of the proceeds earmarked for charitable causes. Among the instruments up for sale is the iconic 1983 Les Paul that Knopfler used to record hits like “Money For Nothing” and played on stage at Live Aid in 1985. The auction, scheduled for January at Christie’s in London, spans the entirety of Knopfler’s illustrious 50-year career, offering fans a chance to own a piece of music history.

The collection boasts a range of guitars, including the revered 1959 Gibson Les Paul with a sunburst finish, often referred to as the “Holy Grail of electric guitars.” This particular instrument carries an estimated value between £300,000 to £500,000. In keeping with Knopfler’s diverse musical influences, the auction also includes more accessible items, such as a mandolin once owned by blues legend Yank Rachell, with an estimated value of £300 to £500. Knopfler expressed his appreciation for both the expensive and more affordable instruments, stating, “I like the cheap ones as much as the expensive ones.”

Mark Knopfler, considered one of the greatest guitar virtuosos of all time, shared his sentiment about parting with his beloved instruments, citing his age as a primary factor. The 74-year-old musician emphasized his desire for the guitars to find new owners who will play and appreciate them, rather than being confined to cases. Knopfler’s guitars have been companions throughout his career, contributing to the distinctive sound of Dire Straits and his solo work.

Reflecting on his lifelong connection with the guitar, Knopfler reminisced about his childhood fascination with the instrument, inspired by the likes of Elvis Presley and Hank Marvin of The Shadows. His journey began with a Spanish guitar plucked off the wall of a shop in Newcastle, England, where he spent hours dreaming of owning his own instrument. Despite initially yearning for a Fiesta Red Fender Stratocaster, he received a twin-pickup Höfner Super Solid, sparking a lifelong love affair with the instrument.

The decision to part with his cherished guitars, including the first lot—a twin-pickup Höfner Super Solid—is rooted in practicality. Knopfler acknowledged owning around 20 guitars for recording purposes, leaving approximately 100 others that won’t see much play. Despite the bittersweet farewell, he emphasized having enough guitars left to continue playing and creating music. The guitars will be on display in New York and London before the auction, allowing fans to witness these iconic instruments up close.

Mark Knopfler’s illustrious career began with the formation of Dire Straits in 1977, and the band achieved widespread success with albums like “Brothers in Arms.” Beyond his role in Dire Straits, Knopfler engaged in session work for notable artists, contributed to film soundtracks, and forged a successful solo career. Known for his fluid and cinematic guitar solos, he downplayed his technical prowess, attributing his success to songwriting and storytelling. The auction proceeds will benefit charities such as the Red Cross, Tusk, and Brave Hearts of the North East, showcasing Knopfler’s commitment to philanthropy even as he bids farewell to some of his most cherished possessions.

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Taylor Swift expressed deep sorrow and devastation after a fan tragically passed away before her concert in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. The pop star shared the heartbreaking news on Instagram, describing the fan as incredibly beautiful and lamenting that she was far too young.

Despite the soaring temperatures in the city, Swift was actively involved in trying to keep fans hydrated during the concert. She was seen handing out water bottles to the audience, showing a genuine concern for their well-being.

Swift confessed on Instagram that she felt overwhelmed by grief and, as a result, couldn’t bring herself to discuss the incident on stage. She expressed her condolences, stating that her broken heart goes out to the fan’s family and friends, emphasizing that this was the last thing she expected to happen during her tour in Brazil.

Details surrounding the fan’s death emerged from Brazilian newspaper Fohla De Sao Paolo, indicating that the fan had fainted at the stadium and later succumbed to cardiorespiratory arrest. Swift’s Instagram story addressing the tragedy was posted after the show, where videos circulated on social media showing her actively involved in urging staff to provide water to fans during the concert.

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The first four episodes of Netflix’s The Crown, marking the final season, have faced criticism from a majority of critics. This season delves into the events of the late 1990s, with a particular focus on Princess Diana’s relationship with Dodi Fayed and her tragic death. The portrayal of Diana’s character, including the use of her “ghost,” has garnered negative feedback from reviewers, with some describing it as a departure from the show’s earlier strengths.

Critics express dissatisfaction with the writing, with The Guardian giving the series a one-star review, stating that the “Diana-obsessed series is the very definition of bad writing.” The challenges of portraying events within living memory are noted, with some suggesting that the show has lost its balance and is now plummeting in quality.

Despite the negative feedback, there are acknowledgments of strong performances from the cast. Elizabeth Debicki’s portrayal of Diana receives praise, with one review calling it “outstanding.” However, the use of Diana’s ghost and the handling of certain events, such as the car crash scene, have been criticized as desperate or self-defeating.

While The Times offers a four-star review, praising the emotional depth of the season, other critics point out what they perceive as historical inaccuracies and a reliance on speculative elements. The Financial Times suggests that the series takes emotive shortcuts, externalizing the complexity of the royals’ shock and grief, indicating a lack of inspiration.

The Crown has also faced criticism for its depiction of other characters, including Dodi Fayed and his father Mohamed Al-Fayed. Some critics argue that certain portrayals amount to a brutal hatchet job on these characters, deviating from the more nuanced versions presented in earlier seasons.

Despite the mixed reviews, Variety’s Aramide Tinubu believes that the new season has helped the show “reclaim its glittering throne.” The second half of the final season, set to be released in December, will cover additional significant events in the royal family, including the Queen’s Golden Jubilee, Prince Charles and Camilla’s wedding, and the courtship of William and Kate.

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Art Entertainment News Trending

A 1932 masterpiece by Pablo Picasso recently sold for $139 million, making it the second most expensive piece by the artist ever sold. Titled “Femme a la Montre” (Woman with a Watch), it portrays Marie-Therese Walter, Picasso’s French muse and lover, and was previously owned by the late art collector Emily Fisher Landau.

Picasso’s relationship with Walter, which began when she was 17 and he was 45, was clandestine as he was still married to Ukrainian ballerina Olga Khokhlova. The painting depicts Walter seated in a chair against a blue backdrop.

Picasso’s artistic contributions, which spanned eight decades, were diverse, with his experimentation with various styles and themes making him one of the most influential artists of the 20th century. His notable contributions include inspiring the “Cubism” movement, known for depicting objects and people from multiple perspectives simultaneously.

Despite his artistic legacy, questions have arisen in recent years regarding his behavior, with allegations of cruelty, womanizing, and coercive conduct. Picasso, born in Malaga in 1881 and raised in Barcelona, relocated to Paris in 1904. He had four children and passed away in 1973 at the age of 92.

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Art News Trending

A Dutch art detective, Arthur Brand, successfully recovered a stolen Van Gogh painting from a Dutch museum in March 2020, ending a quest spanning three and a half years.

Brand mentioned that the 139-year-old artwork was delivered to him in an unconventional manner: a man showed up at his doorstep with the painting concealed within a pillow and an Ikea bag. He emphasized that this operation was carried out in close coordination with Dutch law enforcement, and they were confident that the person returning the painting was not connected to the theft.

The original theft occurred when an individual used a sledgehammer to break into the Singer museum in Laren, located southeast of Amsterdam, at the onset of the COVID-19 lockdown. The stolen artwork, titled “The Parsonage Garden at Nuenen in Spring,” had been on loan from a museum in Groningen and is valued at several million euros.

In 2021, a career criminal named Nils M, who lived near Laren, was sentenced to eight years in prison for the theft, but by that time, the painting had already changed hands. DNA evidence linked Nils M to both the theft of the Van Gogh painting and another theft of a Frans Hals painting in Leerdam, near Utrecht.

Intercepted communications revealed that a criminal group had acquired the stolen Van Gogh painting with the intention of using it as leverage to secure reduced prison sentences. Arthur Brand, collaborating closely with Dutch law enforcement, had received images confirming the painting’s existence as early as June 2020.

Eventually, a man in Amsterdam approached Brand and offered to return the painting under the condition of strict confidentiality, as it had become a cumbersome burden for those in possession of it. The exchange occurred at Brand’s residence, with the director of the Groninger museum verifying the artwork’s authenticity at a nearby bar’s street corner.

The painting, upon recovery, was wrapped in a pillow with bloodstains, as the person returning it had injured their finger during retrieval.

The Dutch police’s arts crime unit authenticated the recovered painting, and Andreas Blühm, the head of the Groninger museum, expressed his delight at its safe return. While slightly damaged, the artwork can be restored. Currently, the Van Gogh painting is in the custody of the Van Gogh museum, and it may take several weeks or months before it is ready for public display.

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In the ever-evolving realm of global cinema, ‘August 27’ has emerged as a remarkable triumph, enchanting audiences with its riveting storyline and impeccable performances. The film is directed by the illustrious Dr. Ajit Ravi Pegasus, a celebrated name in the fashion industry, who has seamlessly transitioned into the world of cinema. Produced under the banner of Pegasus Global Private Limited, ‘August 27’ has recently concluded a triumphant 20-day theatrical run, making an indelible mark on the global film landscape.

Director Dr Ajit Ravi Pegasus

What truly sets ‘August 27’ apart is its exceptional ensemble cast, comprising gifted individuals who breathe life into their characters with extraordinary finesse. The harmonious narrative, borne out of the creative synergy between screenwriter Kumbalathu Padmakumar and director Dr. Ajit Ravi, exemplifies cinematic brilliance. As the film continues to gain momentum, it is poised to captivate an even wider international audience with upcoming releases in multiple languages, in addition to its availability on the OTT platform.

Top Left to Right – Rishad N K, Jaseela Parveen ; Bottom Left to Right – Director Dr Ajit Ravi Pegasus, Shiju Rasheed

As the festive season approaches, ‘August 27’ stands as a must-watch for European cinephiles, emphasizing the potent blend of storytelling and artistic innovation on the silver screen. Its meteoric success underscores the universal resonance of captivating narratives, transcending geographical boundaries and striking a chord with global audiences, firmly establishing ‘August 27’ as a cinematic masterpiece that has taken the industry by storm.

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