CULTURE

Latest

Will Grammy voters take the ‘Old Town Road’ on Sunday?

This combination of photos shows, from left, Lizzo performing at the Voodoo Music Experience in New Orleans on Oct. 27, 2018, Lil Nas X performing "Old Town Road" at the BET Awards in Los Angeles on June 23, 2019 and Billie Eilish performing during the "When We All Fall Asleep" tour in Chicago on June 9, 2019. (Photo: AP)The 2020 Grammy Awards are shaping up to be the night of the new kids, with Lizzo, Billie Eilish and Lil Nas X leading in nominations.Those acts, who all released huge No. 1 hits in the last year, have strong chances of beating their more-seasoned competitors, from Lady Gaga to Vampire Weekend to Ariana Grande.Or maybe they won’t. If there’s one thing we can predict about the Grammys, it’s that the oddball act might actually win. Remember when Beck beat out Beyoncé? Or when Steely Dan won album of the year over Eminem? Or when Milli Vanilli ... OK, I’ll stop.Who knows how things will really play out Sunday, when the awards are handed out live from the Staples Center in Los Angeles. Here are some good guesses from Associated Press music writers Mesfin Fekadu and Nekesa Mumbi Moody.ALBUM OF THE YEAR: “I,I,” Bon Iver; “Norman (Expletive) Rockwell!,” Lana Del Rey; “When We All Fall Asleep, Where Do We Go?,” Billie Eilish; “Thank U, Next,” Ariana Grande; “I Used to Know Her,” H.E.R.; “7,” Lil Nas X; “Cuz I Love You (Deluxe),” Lizzo; “Father of the Bride,” Vampire Weekend.FEKADU: This seriously could go so many ways, but let’s start with who most likely won’t win: Lil Nas X, Ariana Grande, H.E.R. and Lizzo. The other four will split a lot of the votes, eliminating Bon Iver and Vampire Weekend as possible winners. Left are Lana Del Rey, whose album was critically acclaimed and praised, and Billie Eilish, who was not just the year’s brightest newcomer, but arguably the year’s most successful singer. Though I want to say Eilish will win here, something in my gut is telling me that Lana, who has consistently released top notch music for th...

‘Sesame Street’ comforts children displaced by Syrian war

This image released by Sesame Workshop shows, from left, Grover, Basma, Mazooza and Jad with Rami Delshad, who portrays Hadi in "Welcome Sesame," a new, locally produced Arabic TV program for the hundreds of thousands of children dealing with displacement in Syria, Iraq, Jordan and Lebanon. (Photo: AP)“Sesame Street” in the past year has tackled everything from foster care to substance abuse. Now its latest effort is trying to help children suffering as a result of the Syrian civil war.Sesame Workshop — the nonprofit, educational organization behind “Sesame Street” — has launched a new, locally produced Arabic TV program for the hundreds of thousands of children dealing with displacement in Syria, Iraq, Jordan and Lebanon.“The thing that became very apparent in our work on the ground is how critical the need was for the children of this region and children who have been affected by traumatic events to have the social and emotional skills they need,” said Sherrie Westin, president of Social Impact & Philanthropy at Sesame Workshop.Called “Ahlan Simsim,” which means “Welcome Sesame” in Arabic, the show will feature Elmo, Cookie Monster and Grover, as well as two brand new Muppets — the boy monster Jad, who had to leave his home, and Basma, a purple girl monster who befriends the young stranger. An adorable goat named Ma’zooza adds comic relief.Each 26-minute show will explore emotions experienced by all kids but particularly relevant to those dealing with trauma and will offer coping skills for feelings like anger, fear, frustration, nervousness and loneliness. In one episode, Basma shares her toys with Jad, since he left his behind. Some of the strategies include belly breathing and expression through art.A variety show in the second half of each episode offers creators the chance to bring in local celebrities and attract an adult audience to hammer home the message. “The humor has to be there always, which is the ‘Sesame’ spirit,” said Khaled Hadd...

‘Naughty boy’: Monty Python star Terry Jones dies at 77

In this Saturday, Aug. 21, 2010 file photo, Terry Jones arrives at the Creative Arts Emmy Awards in Los Angeles. (Photo: AP)Terry Jones, a founding member of the anarchic Monty Python troupe who was hailed by colleagues as “the complete Renaissance comedian” and “a man of endless enthusiasms,” has died at age 77 after suffering from dementia.Jones’s family said he died Tuesday evening at his home in London “after a long, extremely brave but always good humored battle with a rare form of dementia.”“We have all lost a kind, funny, warm, creative and truly loving man whose uncompromising individuality, relentless intellect and extraordinary humor has given pleasure to countless millions across six decades,” Jones’s wife, Anna Soderstrom, and children Bill, Sally and Siri, said in a statement.Born in Wales in 1942, Jones attended Oxford University, where he began writing and performing with fellow student Michael Palin.After leaving university, he wrote for seminal 1960s comedy series, including “The Frost Report” and “Do Not Adjust Your Set.” At the end of the decade he and Palin, along with Eric Idle, John Cleese, Graham Chapman and Terry Gilliam, formed Monty Python’s Flying Circus. The troupe’s irreverent humor — a blend of satire, surrealism and silliness — helped revolutionize British comedy.“Terry was one of my closest, most valued friends. He was kind, generous, supportive and passionate about living life to the full,” Palin said in a statement.“He was far more than one of the funniest writer-performers of his generation. He was the complete Renaissance comedian — writer, director, presenter, historian, brilliant children’s author, and the warmest, most wonderful company you could wish to have,” Palin said.Jones wrote and performed for the troupe’s early-70s TV series and films including “Monty Python and the Holy Grail” in 1975 and “Monty Python’s Life of Brian” in 1979.Playing the mother of Brian, a hapless young man who is mistaken for Jesus, he delivered one...

Hand sanitizers, flu shots US businesses’ defense against flu

Jo Trizila, left, President and CEO of Trizcom Public Relations, listens to Ann Littmann during a staff meetings at Trizilas offices in Dallas, Tuesday, Jan. 21, 2020. (Photo: AP)As this winter’s flu outbreak intensifies, small business owners try to keep their companies from being overwhelmed by employee absences.At Gold Medal Wine Club, any surfaces people are likely to touch, including the coffee machine, water dispenser and door knobs, are wiped down and there’s hand sanitizer on every desk. The 11 staffers are expected to sub for one another when someone’s sick, something that’s critical when orders for wine pour in.“We want to be sure our phones are answered,” says Kelsey Chesterfield, marketing manager for the Santa Barbara, California, company. “If some people are out sick, others have to come in earlier.”The flu can be devastating for small businesses. If a company with just a handful of employees has two or more out at once, it can be difficult or impossible to get the work done. So owners pay for flu shots and use disinfectants in hopes of keeping everyone healthy and urge sick staffers not to come to work. And, as Gold Medal Wine Club does, they train and reassign staffers to cover for sick colleagues.“Nothing harms our ability to hit deadlines more than a spreading flu through the ranks of our staff members,” says Alex Kehoe, co-founder of Caveni, a website design company that has 10 employees at its Philadelphia headquarters and more than 10 others who work remotely.When Kehoe’s staffers start having flu symptoms, he encourages them to stay home. Kehoe follows his own advice; he was working at home with a bad cold while being interviewed by phone for this story.This flu season started early and all but two states reported widespread outbreaks by the week ended Jan. 11, according to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. From 1982 to 2018, the flu most often peaked in February, so there’s a good chance the rest of the states will see th...

Wreck of Titanic to be protected under UK-US agreement

An image of the Titanic wreck in the Titanic Belfast visitor center in the "Titanic Quarter" in Belfast, Northern Ireland. (File photo: AFP)The wreck of the Titanic is to be better protected under a new treaty between Britain and the United States, Britains Department for Transport (DfT) said Tuesday.The signing of the treaty, which allows the British and US governments to grant or deny licences authorising entry of the wreck or removal of artefacts, will help ensure the resting site of more than 1,500 people is preserved and respected, the DfT said."This strengthens the basic level of protection for the wreck, previously afforded it by UNESCO. Lying in international waters, the wreck was previously not protected by explicit legislation," the DfT said in a statement.Britains maritime minister Nusrat Ghani confirmed Tuesday during a visit to Belfast, where the ship was built, that the treaty, first signed by Britain in 2003, has come into force following its ratification by the US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo at the end of last year."This momentous agreement with the United States to preserve the wreck means it will be treated with the sensitivity and respect," Ghani said.On April 15, 1912, after striking an iceberg, the Titanic sank in the icy waters of the Atlantic Ocean during its maiden voyage from Southampton. The wreck of the ship was discovered in September 1985 approximately 350 nautical miles (648.2 km) off the Canadian coast of Newfoundland, more than 4 km below the ocean surface.Britain will now take a leading role in working with other North Atlantic countries, including Canada and France, to urge them to sign up to the agreement and bring even more protection to the wreck of the Titanic, said the DfT.

US seeks to tighten rules covering service animals on planes

Oscar the cat sits in his carry on travel bag after arriving at Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport in Phoenix in 2017. (File photo: AP)Airlines might soon be able to turn away cats, rabbits and all animals other than dogs that passengers try to bring with them in the cabin.The US Transportation Department on Wednesday announced plans to tighten rules around service animals. The biggest change would be that only dogs that are trained to help passengers with psychiatric needs would qualify.Airlines say the number of support animals has been growing dramatically in recent years, and they have lobbied to tighten the rules. They also imposed their own restrictions in response to passengers who show up at the airport with pigs, pheasants, turkeys, snakes and other unusual pets.The US airline industry trade group praised the tighter rules. Industry officials believe many that hundreds of thousands of passengers scam the system each year by claiming they need their pet for emotional support. Those people avoid airline pet fees, which are generally more than $100 each way.“Airlines want all passengers and crew to have a safe and comfortable flying experience, and we are confident the proposed rule will go a long way in ensuring a safer and healthier experience for everyone,” said Nicholas Calio, president of Airlines for America.Flight attendants had pushed to rein in support animals, too, and were pleased with Wednesday’s proposed changes.“The days of Noah’s Ark in the air are hopefully coming to an end,” said Sara Nelson, president of the Association of Flight Attendants. The union chief said untrained pets had hurt some of her members.Veterans groups have sided with the airlines, arguing that a boom in untrained dogs and other animals threatens their ability to fly with properly trained service dogs. Last year, more than 80 veterans and disability groups endorsed banning untrained emotional-support animals in airline cabins.Department officials said in a briefing wi...

9 Photos

Coronavirus threatens Chinese box office during Spring Festival

Chinas top movie ticketing platform announced on Wednesday that customers in Wuhan can refund their movie tickets to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.A Xingmei cinema is shut down in North Chinas Tianjin. (Photo: VCG)"Customers in Wuhan who bought tickets for films scheduled to be released during the Spring Festival can apply for unconditional refunds. To those who are not in Wuhan and want to refund their tickets, we will try our best to coordinate with the cinemas and minimize the loss to our customers," read the announcement from Taopiaopiaos Sina Weibo account.The announcement came after many Chinese netizens took to social media to express their concern that going to the cinema might increase the risk of infection."Cinemas are high-risk areas for virus infection because of their confined space with a large number of people. Reducing going out could be an option for people to avoid infection," Shi Wenxue, a Beijing-based film critic and teacher at the Beijing Film Academy, told the Global Times on Wednesday.Shi said the coronavirus will hurt the box office of films to be shown during the Spring Festival season, a film critic said on Wednesday.Liu Min, a college student from Central Chinas Hunan Province, told the Global Times she and her friends refunded their tickets for Detective Chinatown Vol. 3 due to the spread of the mysterious respiratory virus. "The environment is where people are most likely to be infected. Although our ticket fee is nonrefundable, we still think safety is priority," she said.According to the pre-sales box office of Maoyan, another ticketing platform, all the films pre-sales box offices show a decline, including the film Lost in Russia, whose pre-sales box office dropped from a peak of 33.71 million yuan ($4.88 million) on Saturday to 84,000 yuan on January 29.

Fishermen cast for new jobs

Workers with the fishery administrative department in Wuhan, Hubei province, load a dismantled fishing boat from the Yangtze River onto a truck on Jan 6. (Photo: Xinhua)HEFEI-Zhu Changhong, who once fished the Yangtze River for a living, skillfully scooped up a plastic bottle with a net while patrolling the water in his boat on a cold January afternoon."There is not much trash to collect in winter, as the water is low," the 54-year-old said.He said farewell to his old job early last year when authorities outlawed fishing along a 58-kilometer stretch of the Yangtze to protect finless porpoises.A 10-year fishing ban on 332 key areas of the river was fully implemented this year to protect biodiversity in the countrys longest river. Among the areas affected is the river section where Zhu lives, Datong township in Tongling, Anhui province.Yu Kangzhen, vice-minister of agriculture and rural affairs, said the fishing ban is regarded as a key move to stop the depletion of biological resources and degradation of biodiversity in the Yangtze River, which has been damaged by overfishing and pollution.Its estimated the ban will affect more than 110,000 fishing boats and 280,000 fishermen in 10 provincial-level regions along the river. The ministry has promised to provide social security services, financial support and vocational training for fishermen who have to find a new way of earning a living.Bigger pictureUnlike other fishermen who have found jobs in factories or become security guards, Zhu and his wife continue to earning a living from the river.With the help of the local government, they joined a team to clean up floating trash and report sightings of finless porpoises, a job that earns them 5,000 yuan ($726) a month.Known for its mischievous smile, the finless porpoise has a level of intelligence similar to that of a gorilla. However, it needs an abundant food supply and in recent years, overfishing in the Yangtze has contributed to a decrease in its...

How can you make healthy food resolutions really stick?

This Jan. 17, 2020 image shows a display of guacamole and chips and blueberries in Allison Park, Pa. (Photo: AP)For many of us, January is all about giving things up: Maybe we’re going to stop eating meat and embrace a plant-based diet. Or we’re ready to kick excess sugar to the curb after a holiday season awash in sweets. Or we’re committed to avoiding fast food.Starting the year with noble goals for eating well is a modern rite of passage. But it’s just as common to ditch those grand plans within a few weeks.This year, how can we do it right? If we’re pledging to make better food choices, which strategies can help us stick with them?START SMALLThe consensus among experts is clear: It’s tempting to begin with dramatic gestures, but the key to lasting change is setting goals that are small enough we won’t scrap them by Valentine’s Day.Manageable, measurable goals can create long-term change, says Leila Azarbad, associate professor of psychology at North Central College in Naperville, Illinois. When people set lofty goals, they can get discouraged after a couple weeks.“Our self-efficacy, that belief in our own ability, tanks,’’ she says. ``And that’s a huge predictor: If you don’t feel confident in your ability to make the change, you’re going to discontinue trying.”Picture this, says Dana White, a sports dietitian and clinical associate professor at Quinnipiac University: You want to lose 20 pounds and you know that every afternoon you visit the office vending machine for a snack to boost your energy. So, begin packing a healthy afternoon snack — not something punitive, but something healthier that you’ll enjoy — and have that instead of a vending machine candy bar.It’s a measurable, specific change that won’t be unpleasant. And if it eliminates 200 calories, that shift will make a difference over the coming weeks and months. Once that new behavior is in place, you can add another small but meaningful change.The same thinking works if you’re eliminating animal produ...

California considers declaring common pain killer carcinogen

This Dec. 18, 2019 photo shows generic acetaminophen capsules in Santa Ana, Calif. (Photo: AP)A fight is coming to California over whether to list one of the world’s most common over-the-counter drugs as a carcinogen, echoing recent high-profile battles over things like alcohol and coffee.The drug is acetaminophen, known outside the US as paracetamol and used to treat pain and fevers. It is the basis for more than 600 prescription and over-the-counter medications for adults and children, found in well-known brands like Tylenol, Excedrin, Sudafed, Robitussin and Theraflu.Acetaminophen has been available in the US without a prescription since 1955. Concerns about its potential link to cancer come from its relationship to another drug: phenacetin. That drug, once a common treatment for headaches and other ailments, was banned by the FDA in 1983 because it caused cancer.State regulators have reviewed 133 studies about acetaminophen, all of which were published in peer-reviewed journals. Some studies reported an increased risk of some types of cancers, while others did not. Overall, the review noted acetaminophen has been difficult to examine because it is hard to isolate it from other variables that could contribute to cancer, such as smoking.A state law known as Proposition 65 says California must warn people of any chemical known to cause cancer or reproductive toxicity. The state’s list has grown to about 900 chemicals, including toxic pesticides and flame retardants, and is more extensive than any in the US Some critics say California regulators have been overzealous, requiring warning labels for countless products that confuse instead of inform consumers when the risk of cancer is disputed.Supporters of Prop 65 say it protects not only Californians but consumers nationwide by compelling manufacturers to make products safer.Evidence for acetaminophen’s link to cancer has been weak enough that the International Agency for Research on Cancer declined to list it as a p...

Abused circus animals arrive at South African sanctuary

Stripes, one of 17 rescued tigers and lions from Guatemala circuses is released at the Animal Defenders International Wildlife Sanctuary in Winburg, South Africa, Tuesday Jan. 21, 2020. (Photo: AP)Twelve tigers and five lions have been relocated to a sanctuary in South Africa after being rescued from circuses in Guatemala following years of abuse and confinement.The animals, both cubs and adults, are among 200 that have been rescued from the circus industry in Guatemala, Peru, Bolivia and Colombia since 2018. The countries have banned the use of animals in circuses.Enforcement of the law in Guatemala has been a challenge, so the government has partnered with animal rights groups such as the London-based Animal Defenders International to help.“These animals have suffered a lifetime of deprivation and abuse,” ADI president Jan Creamer said in a statement. The group runs the South Africa sanctuary, which is already home to 26 rescued lions.The lions and tigers were transported with chartered aircraft to South Africa, arriving Tuesday morning, then were carried to the sanctuary in large trucks.They were released into their new habitat soon after their arrival. As rain poured down, they calmly walked around their enclosures on the 455-acre (184-hectare) farm, enjoying their first encounter with nature after years of confinement.According to the ADI, the animals were kept at a vehicle scrapyard in Guatemala for years and physically abused to make them submissive.All have needed veterinary treatment for health issues due to inbreeding, and some needed dental surgery to repair smashed teeth. Some had had their claws and teeth removed. Some have scars from the abuse.Because of the rough treatment and confinement, the animals will not be released into the wild.“South Africa obviously has the perfect climate for the lions, and it’s an advanced country in that it has good infrastructure, airports and roads so it helps us to manage the animals and to bring them here,” Creamer sa...

‘Still Not Enough’

Promotional material forStill Not Enough. (Photo: Global Times)More and more young people in China are entering big cities like Beijing, Shanghai and Shenzhen to work and live after graduation. However, while enjoying the convenience of urban life and high salaries, they also suffer from loneliness, anxiety and challenges. This situation has ignited hot debate and discussions on social media platforms and is even reflected in many TV dramas.The ongoing TV seriesStill Not Enoughis one such drama, centering on young people dealing with life and love in the big city. Chen Jiong (Han Geng) has established a good career for himself, but is having trouble when it comes to romance and settling down for good. Fortunately, or perhaps unfortunately, he ends up meeting someone he might be destined for.According to the shows producer Liu Sisi, Chens pressure does not only come from inside, but also from the outside through people such as his colleagues, family members and girlfriends. She said the drama series hopes to remind audiences to share their inner worlds.TV shows such asStill Not Enoughoften tackle issues such as the growth of young people and ones sense of responsibility to their career and family.Online statistics show that a large number of young people are afraid of marriage and even talking about it. Perhaps this explains why the series has managed to earn 300 million views on streaming sites and user-generated content related to the show have received up to 200 million views on short video platform TikTok.Liu said that for various reasons, young people today dont like to share the feelings behind their fears, even with those they are close with."What we need to do is to raise peoples awareness toward this issue, so we can face it right on," she said.Zhao Yi, a scholar from Shanghai Normal University, has established two key criteria for a good urban series: delvin...

Sex education urged after HIV/AIDS hits Chinese students

Members of the community and volunteers for people living with HIV pose for a group photo at the International AIDS Candlelight Memorial in Beijing on Sunday. (Photo: Global Times)Chinese experts called for sex education for adolescents after the latest data shows around 3,000 newly infection cases of HIV/AIDS among students were reported every year from 2016 to 2019.People aged between 15 and 24 were diagnosed of HIV/AIDS in China every year from 2016 to 2019, according to data released at a youth AIDS prevention education forum in Beijing on Saturday.Fan Zemin, a researcher from the Department of Physical, Health and Arts Education of ChinasMinistry of Education, said students aged between 15 and 24 diagnosed of HIV/AIDS account for 17 percent of all infections among young people of the same age."Although the total number of infected students is small, adolescence is an important stage of mental and physical development. If the students do not master scientific knowledge or are not aware and able to protect themselves, unhealthy behavior will lead to serious consequences to their health," Li Bin, a vice head of the National Health Commission, said at the forum.Many experts and teachers called for sex education and AIDS prevention education in the compulsory education system.Due to cultural factors, Chinese parents and teachers are ashamed to talk about sex, which is why the popularization of AIDS prevention education and sex education has progressed slowly in China, experts said.Wu Jiang, a project director from the AIDS Prevention Education Project for Chinese Youth (APEPCY), said some parents link sex education to negative sex-related social phenomena, which leads them to avoid talking about the topic with their children."Authorities have done much work to inform the public of the transmission of HIV/AIDS through blood and mother-to-child. So we are finding another way to promote HIV/AIDS prevention t...

READ MORE

Terms od Service & Privacy Policy

We have updated our privacy policy to comply with the latest laws and regulations. The updated policy explains the mechanism of how we collect and treat your personal data. You can learn more about the rights you have by reading our terms of service. Please read them carefully. By clicking AGREE, you indicate that you have read and agreed to our privacy policies

Agree and continue