MTV VMAs Full of Emotional, Political Moments; Lamar Wins 6

Kendrick Lamar was the king of the 2017 MTV Video Music Awards, winning six awards on a night full of emotional performances, political moments and a new, eye-popping Taylor Swift music video.

 

Lamar’s “Humble” won video of the year, best hip-hop video, direction, cinematography, art direction and visual effects on Sunday at the Forum in Inglewood, California. He also gave an explosive performance of “Humble” and “DNA,” backed by ninjas dancing near fire.

 

But the VMAs, hosted by a forgettable Katy Perry with performances by Miley Cyrus and Ed Sheeran, was tamer than most years, not relying on the shock value and wild antics of past shows. Instead, touching performances and powerful speeches took center stage.

Emotional performances

 Logic performed his inspirational song “1-800-273-8255,” named after the phone number for the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline. He was joined onstage with suicide attempt survivors as well as singers Alessia Cara (best dance video winner) and Khalid (best new artist winner). Lyrics from Logic’s song include: “I don’t wanna be alive/I just wanna die today” and “I want you to be alive/You don’t got to die today.”

 

Kesha introduced the performance and also offered words of encouragement: “As long as you don’t give up on yourself, light will break through the darkness.”

 

Pink was also emotional when she accepted the Michael Jackson Video Vanguard Award, telling the audience a story about her daughter, who was sitting in the crowd with her father Carey Hart. Pink said her daughter recently told her that “I’m the ugliest girl I know … I look like a boy with long hair.”

 

Pink said she then showed her 6-year-old daughter photos of performers such as Michael Jackson, David Bowie, Janis Joplin, George Michael, Elton John and Freddie Mercury.

 

“You are beautiful and I love you,” Pink said to her daughter.

‘Do not give up’

Rock singer and Oscar winner Jared Leto remembered Linkin Park’s Chester Bennington, who hanged himself in July. Leto also mentioned Chris Cornell, who hanged himself in May.

 

“I think about his band, who were really his brothers, and I remember his voice,” Leto said of Bennington. “That voice will live forever.”

 

“Hear me now, you are not alone. There is always a way forward. Reach out. Share your thoughts. Do not give up,” Leto added.

 

The night also featured political moments focused on the Aug. 12 rally in Charlottesville, Virginia that turned violent after Nazis and white nationalists opposed to the city’s plan to remove a statue of Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee clashed with counter protesters. Heather Heyer, 32, was killed when a car plowed into a crowd.

Mother honors daughter

The Rev. Robert Wright Lee IV, a descendent of Gen. Lee, told the audience: “As a pastor it is my duty to speak out against racism, America’s original sin.”

 

Heyer’s mother then entered the stage, telling the audience: “Only 15 days my ago, my daughter Heather was killed as she protested racism. I miss her but I know she’s here tonight.”

 

Bro announced The Heather Heyer Foundation, a nonprofit that will award scholarships and “help more people join Heather’s fight against hatred.”

 

Paris Jackson also spoke out against hatred.

 

“We must show these Nazi white supremacist jerks in Charlottesville, and all over the country, that as a nation with liberty as our slogan, we have zero tolerance for their violence and their hatred and their discrimination. We must resist,” Michael Jackson’s eldest daughter said before presenting an award.

Swift offers new video 

Lamar’s performance kicked off the three-hour show, followed by the premiere of Swift’s video for “Look What You Made Me Do,” which featured the singer dressed like a zombie in one scene and surrounded by slithering snakes in another. The video for the track, rumored to be a diss toward Kanye West, also featured Swift in a tub of diamonds, a cat mask, and a car that crashed (she was holding a Grammy). The clip ended with a dozen of Swifts — in memorable outfits she’s worn in the past — symbolizing how the singer felt the media has portrayed her through the years.

 

Swift and Zayn, who didn’t attend the show, won best collaboration for “I Don’t Wanna Live Forever.” Jack Antonoff and Sam Dew, who wrote the song with Swift, accepted the award.

 

Sheeran performed his hit, “Shape of You,” and was later joined by rapper Lil Uzi Vert. Sheeran won artist of the year, a new award established after MTV eliminated gender categories like best male and female video.

 

“Thank you to all the fans,” Sheeran said.

 

Tearful presentation

Fifth Harmony, who lost a group member last year and released their first album as a foursome last week, won best pop video for “Down.” Ally Brooke and Dinah Jane of the group were in tears as they accepted the award alongside Normani Kordei, Lauren Jauregui and rapper Gucci Mane.

 

“This is honestly so unreal. Thank you to God and thank you to our families,” Jane said.

 

Fifth Harmony started their performance standing on high platforms to sing “Angel,” then falling backward like superheroes. They followed it with the upbeat “Down,” taking a break from singing to perform intense choreography. Later, water rained on the four girls, who dropped their microphones at the end of the performance.

 

Lorde, who had the flu, danced throughout the performance of “Homemade Dynamite” instead of singing it, wearing a tin foil half dress, pants and sneakers.

Summer hit missing

Lamar’s win for video of the year beat videos by Bruno Mars, DJ Khaled, the Weeknd and Cara. “Despacito,” which was snubbed in the video of the year category, lost the only award it was nominated for: song of summer. Lil Uzi Vert’s Top 10 hit, “XO Tour Life,” won the prize.

 

Luis Fonsi and Daddy Yankee’s international hit is the most viewed video on YouTube and currently No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart. MTV said Universal Music Latin Entertainment didn’t submit the video, while the record label said they weren’t asked to send in the clip.

 

Shawn Mendes, 30 Seconds to Mars, and Perry, with guest Nicki Minaj, performed during the show. Rod Stewart, DNCE and Demi Lovato sang remotely from Las Vegas.

 

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Trump Renews Threat to Scrap NAFTA Going into Next Round of Talks

U.S. President Donald Trump renewed his threat to scrap NAFTA and ripped on trading partners Canada and Mexico in a tweet early on Sunday, days before the three countries were scheduled to hold a second round of negotiations on rewriting the 23-year-old agreement.

“We are in the NAFTA (worst trade deal ever made) renegotiation process with Mexico & Canada. Both being very difficult, may have to terminate?” he wrote.

In a separate Sunday morning tweet, Trump repeated his pledge that Mexico will eventually pay for his proposed border wall, saying the barrier is needed due to Mexico’s high crime rate.

In response, Mexico’s foreign ministry issued a statement Sunday afternoon reiterating the country’s position that it will not “in any way or under any circumstance” pay for Trump’s signature border wall.

The ministry added that overcoming violent crime associated with cross-border drug trafficking is the responsibility of both nations, pointing to the high demand for drugs in the United States from Mexico and other countries.

Trump, a Republican, promised during his campaign to build the wall and overhaul or eliminate the North American Free Trade Agreement, which he cast as killing jobs and exacerbating the U.S. deficit, and to adopt a more protectionist stance for trade generally.

The first five-day round of talks between the three countries concluded last Sunday, with all sides committing to follow an accelerated process in revamping the agreement, which was originally signed by former President Bill Clinton, a Democrat whose wife, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, ran against Trump in the 2016 election.

The second round of NAFTA talks will kick off on Friday in Mexico City.

Mexico’s negotiating position will continue to be “serious and constructive” and the country’s negotiators will not hash out differences “via social media or the press,” the foreign ministry’s statement said.

Going into the next round of NAFTA talks, Trump has kept the heat turned up. Both Mexico and Canada have dismissed his musing in a Tuesday speech that “we’ll end up probably terminating NAFTA at some point” as a negotiating tactic.

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Порошенко привітав донеччан із днем міста: український гімн знову лунатиме в Донецьку

Президент Петро Порошенко привітав жителів Донецька із днем міста і запевнив, що Україна наполегливо бореться за повернення міста.

«Український Донецьк святкує сьогодні день народження. З днем міста, дорогі донеччани! Ми вас любимо, ми про вас пам’ятаємо і наполегливо боремося за ваше повернення в Україну. Переконаний, український гімн знову лунатиме у нашому Донецьку», – написав Порошенко у Facebook.

Донецьк від 2014 року перебуває під контролем підтримуваних Росією бойовиків.

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Emirati Filmmaker Unsettles Traditions, Exposes Hidden Lives

An Emirati filmmaker is pushing boundaries and bypassing state censors by delicately unraveling a story about a traditional Arab family grappling with issues of homosexual love, gender identity, sectarianism and women’s rights.

The movie focuses on a conservative Iraqi family who begin seeing and unearthing one another’s secrets after the family matriarch goes blind and dies.

What makes the film “Only Men Go To the Grave” particularly avant-garde is that the homosexual characters are not simply supporting characters or portrayed as Westernized or globalized elites, like past characters in other famous Arabic films. Rather, the film’s stars are homosexual lovers who are also traditional Arab mothers, wives and caretakers.

The movie, by filmmaker Abdallah Al Kaabi, also reveals its central male character to be struggling with his masculinity and gender. In possibly the movie’s boldest scene, the character dresses in full makeup, a wig, jewelry and a dress.

Most surprisingly, the Arabic film passed state censors to screen at major movie theaters across Dubai this month. The United Arab Emirates, and Dubai specifically, are more liberal and seen as more tolerant than other parts of the Gulf, such as Saudi Arabia, where there are no movie theaters.

Al Kaabi says he believes the film’s handling of homosexuality and gender identity helped propel it to the big screen.

“A movie in the end is a story and people don’t really have a problem with what you talk about in the story, but they have a problem with how you expose it,” he told The Associated Press after a screening of the film.  “I think you need to show good taste when you talk about controversial and taboo issues,” he said.

The lovers in his film are never shown being physically intimate.

Egyptian cinema — the oldest and most revered film industry in the Arab world — has tackled homosexuality in film since the 1950s, though often portraying it as something that exists among a progressive minority. Gay characters have also been portrayed in some films as psychologically ill or are punished in some way.

Tunisian cinema has also depicted homosexuals in movies since the 1970s, while a genre of so-called queer cinema is currently surfacing among Lebanese filmmakers.

Egyptian film critic Joseph Fahim said Al Kaabi’s film appears to be the first made by an Arab Gulf filmmaker to tackle the issue of homosexuality in such a candid manner.

“It shows that this is coming from within, especially that the director casts no judgmental eye on it … he treated it in a matter-of-fact way, not as a disease. That is also a major stepping stone,” Fahim said.

Watch the film’s trailer:

It took Al Kaabi six years to complete the ambitious project, which was awarded best Emirati film at the Dubai International Film Festival in 2016 — the year it was produced.

Al Kaabi grew up in the smaller emirate of Fujairah along the Gulf of Oman. With little entertainment around him, he would venture out to the emirate’s only video store and rent VHS tapes. It sparked in him a love for cinema.

“My pastime was to travel and dream through movies so I was watching a lot of Hollywood movies, Egyptian movies and Bollywood movies,” he said.

After vacationing in Iran, Al Kaabi was awed with the country’s vibrant film scene in the southern city Ahvaz, known for its ethnic diversity. He decided to shoot his debut feature film there using Iranian actors of Arab heritage and actors from Iraq.

Across the Gulf, there are varying degrees of censorship and support for independent filmmakers like Al Kaabi.

Despite there being no theaters in Saudi Arabia, a handful of films have been shot there in recent years. In Kuwait, which once held the mantle for Gulf theatrical productions, censors pulled Disney’s new Beauty and the Beast from theaters this year after the public’s reaction to what Disney called its first “gay moment” for a character.

Homosexuality and cross-dressing are forbidden in the predominantly Muslim Gulf. A popular transgender social media star said she was denied entry to Dubai by airport officials last year because her passport still listed her as “male.”

In Saudi Arabia, homosexuals and cross-dressers can be imprisoned, fined and lashed. Earlier this year, Saudi police raided a gathering of men dressed in women’s clothing outside the capital, Riyadh. A Pakistani arrested in the raid later died in police custody under unclear circumstances.

Though rare, judges in Saudi Arabia, Iran, Iraq and a handful of other countries can issue the death penalty in cases of same-sex relations.

Possibly for this reason, Al Kaabi prefers to describe the relationship between the women in his film as “alternative love.”

Still, throughout most of the Middle East, there is a narrow margin of acceptance for transgender individuals and homosexuality so long as it isn’t visible to the public. More recently, some Gulf countries have begun considering laws that would permit gender reassignment.

In the UAE, two Emirati women are petitioning the courts to be recognized as males. Last year, the UAE approved a law that would allow gender reassignment surgery for those who psychologically identify as the opposite sex.

The scene of the male character dressed as a woman, shocking for its raw and rare portrayal of a transgender character, left one young Emirati college student perplexed.

“There are things I really didn’t understand in the movie, like the man. Why was he wearing these kinds of clothes like woman clothes?,” Mahra Al-Nuaimi said after watching the movie.

Her cousin, Moza Al-Hamrani, appeared less confused by the filmmaker’s motives. As a student of film, she said she hoped to one day have the chance to produce similarly groundbreaking work.

“The issues to do with gender identity and sexuality — I thought like `Whoa, did he really do that?”‘ But I was also proud that someone finally spoke out about it, because these issues exist but everybody turns a blind eye,” she said.

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Волкер: Україна сама ухвалить рішення щодо НАТО, але ще не готова до вступу в альянс

Спецпредставник Держдепартаменту США у справах України Курт Волкер заявляє, що країна ще не готова до вступу в НАТО і не близька до того, щоб отримати запрошення до членства.

В інтерв’ю телеканалу «Прямий», оприлюдненому у п’ятницю, 25 серпня, Волкер наголосив, що підготовка до приєднання до НАТО займає тривалий час. Водночас він висловив упевненість у тому, що Україні вдасться провести всі необхідні для цього реформи, зокрема у сфері безпеки.

Спецпредставник зауважив, що будь-яке остаточне рішення про членство буде за Києвом, а США, Росія й інші сторони мають його поважати.

Волкер також похвалив рішення Києва відмовитися від ядерної зброї в 1994 році, заявивши: «Не думаю, що ядерна зброя була б для України чимось позитивним».

Відповідаючи на запитання щодо спільних білорусько-російських військових навчань, запланованих у Білорусі на 14–20 вересня, спецпредставник заявив, що «Захід-2017» демонструє західним державам необхідність спільно розвивати свою безпекову систему і бути готовими до будь-якого сценарію.

6 липня президент Петро Порошенко підписав закон щодо зовнішньополітичного курсу України, схвалений Верховною Радою 8 червня 2017 року. Цей документ визначає вступ до НАТО пріоритетом України.

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Floyd Mayweather Dominates Conor McGregor

Floyd Mayweather Jr. figured out a 50th opponent, letting Conor McGregor have the early rounds before stalking him late and leaving the mixed martial artist defenseless and exhausted on the ropes.

Mayweather battered McGregor around the ring in the later rounds, finally stopping him at 1:05 of the 10th round Saturday night with a flurry of punches that forced referee Robert Byrd to stop the fight.

Before a pro-McGregor crowd that roared every time the UFC star landed a punch, Mayweather methodically broke him down after a slow start to score his first real stoppage in nearly a decade. He did it in what he said would be his final fight, against a fighter who had never been in a professional boxing match.

McGregor boxed surprisingly well early. But after landing some shots in the first three rounds, his punches seemed to lose their steam, and Mayweather went on the pursuit. McGregor backpedaled most of the way, stopping only to throw an occasional flurry as Mayweather wore him down.

“I think we gave the fans what they wanted to see,” Mayweather said. “I owed them for the (Manny) Pacquiao fight.”

McGregor had vowed to knock Mayweather out within two rounds, and he won the early rounds with movement and punches to the head. But the tide of the fight turned in the fourth round as Mayweather seemed to figure out what he had to do and began aggressively stalking McGregor.

“I turned him into a Mexican tonight,” McGregor said. “He fought like a Mexican.”

In a fight so intriguing that it cost $10,000 for ringside seats, McGregor turned in a respectable performance for someone in his first fight. But Mayweather’s experience and his ring savvy paid off as he executed his game plan to perfection.

“Our game plan was to take our time, go to him and take him out in the end,” Mayweather said. “I guaranteed everybody this fight wouldn’t go the distance.”

Mayweather was widely criticized for not going after Pacquiao in their megafight, and he didn’t make the same mistake this time. In a fight that could make him $200 million he seemed to stagger McGregor with a series of punches in the ninth round, then came back in the 10th eager to finish it off.

McGregor went over and hugged Mayweather. He seemed almost happy in the ring afterward, secure that he had given a good performance even in losing.

“I was a little fatigued,” he said. “He was composed in there, that’s what 50 pro fights can give you.”

Mayweather ran his record to 50-0, surpassing Rocky Marciano’s 49-0 record and giving himself a great parting gift. He repeated afterward that he was not going to fight again.

“This is my last fight for sure. 50-0 sounds good, I’m looking forward to going into the Hall of Fame,” Mayweather said. “I picked the best dance partner to do it with.”

Irish fans arrived by the thousands in the days before the fight, filling the arena for the weigh-in and boisterously cheering for their man. They even went off in the middle of the night and spray painted an Irish flag and “49-1” on a billboard on Interstate 15 promoting Mayweather’s businesses.

The capacity crowd at the arena cheered McGregor on, but they quieted as the fight progressed and Mayweather showed his dominance.

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Taylor Swift Sets Records for Spotify Streams, YouTube Views

Spotify says Taylor Swift has set a new global first day streaming record.

The music delivery site said Saturday it had logged more than 8 million same-day streams for her new single, “Look What You Made Me Do.”

The 27-year-old singer dropped the much-anticipated song late Thursday to streaming platforms and iTunes.

She wrote and produced it with frequent collaborator Jack Antonoff, who performs in the bands Bleachers and fun. It’s the first single from her sixth album, “reputation,” set to be released Nov. 10.

The video for the song will premiere Sunday on the MTV Video Music Awards. A clip previewed Friday on “Good Morning America.”

YouTube said Saturday the song’s lyric video broke a record for that site, with more than 19 million same day views.

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Саакашвілі заявив, що Грузія готує йому звинувачення у підготовці перевороту

Колишній президент Грузії та екс-голова Одеської облдержадміністрації Міхеїл Саакашвілі заявляє, що влада Грузії у координації з українською планує звинуватити його у підготовці перевороту в Грузії.

Саакашвілі написав у Facebook, що грузинська влада «у повній координації з баригами в Україні» планує висунути нове звинувачення.

«Вони обіцяли [президентові України Петру] Порошенку, що вони подадуть обвинувачення до 10 вересня», – написав Саакашвілі.

Він зазначив, що нові обвинувачення дадуть українській владі «правову основу» для його затримання, якщо він прибуде в Україну. І додав, що звинувачення у спробі державного перевороту «сміховинні» і політично мотивовані.

У суботу, 26 серпня, керівник грузинського телеканалу «Руставі-2» Ніка Гварамія висловив припущення, що Саакашвілі може бути пред’явлене звинувачення у спробі здійснення перевороту.

Раніше Саакашвілі заявляв, що 10 вересня прибуде з Польщі в Україну через пункт пропуску «Краковець» (Львівська область).

Наприкінці липня стало відомо, що президент України Петро Порошенко своїм указом затвердив втрату Міхеїлом Саакашвілі громадянства України – за повідомленнями, через свідоме подання неправдивих відомостей при набутті українського громадянства. У Генпрокуратурі заявляли, що Міхеїл Саакашвілі може потрапити в Україну тільки після оформлення візи.

Після відставки з посади голови Одеської облдержадміністрації Саакашвілі став різко критикувати владу України.

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Російські силовики у Криму катують затриманих струмом – правозахисники

Координатор Кримської контактної групи з прав людини Абдурешит Джеппаров розповів, що стосовно двох чоловіків, які були затримані російськими силовиками після обшуку в селі Новокленове (10 серпня), застосовувалися тортури, у тому числі з використанням електричного струму. Про це Джеппаров розповів на нараді об’єднання «Кримська солідарність» 26 серпня в Бахчисараї, повідомляє проект Радіо Свобода Крим.Реалії.

«Вони не громадяни Росії, тому вони не хочуть, щоб їхні імена озвучували… За їхніми розповідями, коли їх затримали після обшуку, двох братів катували. Силовики їх прив’язали до стільців і били. Били ногами, била не одна людина і наприкінці їх катували струмом. В те місце, про яке непристойно говорити, їм встромили металевий предмет і пустили електричний струм. Так робили дванадцять разів. Потім їх лякали, щоб нікому не повідомляли про тортури», – передав слова затриманих правозахисник.

Інформацію також підтвердив на зустрічі адвокат Едем Семедляєв.

«Цей чоловік розповів, що його били вміло, таким чином, щоб не залишати слідів», – сказав адвокат.

На зборах активісти зазначили, що тортури струмом – це вже не перший прецедент у Криму».

Позиції підконтрольних Росії силових відомств Криму щодо цього питання немає.

Вранці 10 серпня стало відомо про те, що озброєні російські силовики заблокували одну з вулиць у селі Новокленове Білогірського району Криму. В одному з будинків селища відбувся обшук. Як стало відомо, після обшуку батько й середній син покинули територію півострова, молодший син був заарештований на 15 діб, старший син повернувся додому.

Після російської анексії в Криму почастішали масові обшуки у незалежних журналістів, громадських активістів, активістів кримськотатарського національного руху, членів Меджлісу кримськотатарського народу, а також кримських мусульман, підозрюваних у зв’язках із забороненою в Росії організацією «Хізб ут-Тахрір».

Верховна Рада України офіційно оголосила 20 лютого 2014 року початком тимчасової окупації Криму й Севастополя Росією. 7 жовтня 2015 року президент України Петро Порошенко підписав відповідний закон. Міжнародні організації визнали окупацію й анексію Криму незаконними й засудили дії Росії. Країни Заходу запровадили низку економічних санкцій. Росія заперечує окупацію півострова й називає це «відновленням історичної справедливості».

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В Івано-Франківську вчетверте проходить свято винограду і вина

Виноградарів із Прикарпаття і Львівщини, Закарпаття і Буковини, Київщини і Хмельницького зібрав в Івано-Франківську 4-й фестиваль «Свято винограду і вина», який розпочався у суботу, 26 серпня, на площі Ринок.

Відвідувачі фестивалю, організованого Клубом виноградарів Прикарпаття, можуть придбати ягоди і розсаду, а також отримати консультації фахівців-виноградарів.

Відбувся конкурс, на якому глядачі обрали найкрасивіше, найсмачніше і найважче гроно. Цей виноград було одразу реалізовано на аукціоні, а вторговані гроші передадуть для потреб бійців на сході України.

Під час фестивалю також проводилася дегустація домашніх вин, а у неділю для глядачів проведуть майстер-клас з виготовлення вина.

За словами директора свята винограду і вина Василя Зварича, фестиваль проводять задля популяризації виноградарства, а девізом обрали вислів: «Хочеш бути щасливим – посади виноградну лозу».

Свято винограду і вина продовжиться в Івано-Франківську в неділю, 27 серпня.

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