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Mariah Carey performs in Saudi Arabia despite calls for boycott over human rights concerns | World News

Mariah Carey has performed a headline show in Saudi Arabia – despite activists’ concerns over human rights abuses in the kingdom.

The US singer behind hits like Honey and Fantasy performed in a sequinned black dress in front of screaming crowds at the King Abdullah Economic City.

DJ Tiesto and dancehall artist Sean Paul are also among those set to perform at the multi-billion dollar mega-city, about two hours drive north of Mecca.

Carey is the first international female artist to perform in Saudi Arabia since restrictions were lifted on gender segregation and entertainment last year.

In December, Enrique Iglesias, The Black Eyed Peas and David Guetta also played at shows in the kingdom following high-profile liberalising reforms by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.

But the decision to perform in Saudi Arabia has been criticised by rights advocates who point to the imprisonment of women’s rights activists, the brutal murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi and the ongoing war in Yemen as evidence that the regime is not serious about human rights.

Saudi Arabia's Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman gives a joint press conference with France's President at the Elysee Palace in Paris on April 10, 2018

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Mohammed bin Salman has introduced a series of liberalising reforms

Many argue that flashy concerts are an attempt by the regime to polish its international image while it continues and even expands oppression at home.

Groups including Amnesty International criticised Carey’s decision to perform, arguing that “Mariah should use her voice” to call for the immediate release of female rights activists in prison.

Walid Al Hathloul, whose sister Loujain is imprisoned in Saudi after campaigning for women’s rights and against male guardianship, urged Carey to call for her release on stage.

“This concert is a pathetic attempt to show that the country is becoming more tolerant toward women,” he wrote. “All I want is justice for my sister.”

Omaima A-Najjar, a political refugee from Saudi, also branded the concerts a distraction from the war in Yemen and repressive laws at home.

She has backed a petition calling on Carey to boycott the country, saying taking such a stand would not impact ordinary Saudis as tickets which start at $80 (£61) are unlikely to be affordable for most.

Carey’s publicist said the singer was “presented with the offer to perform for an international and mixed gender audience in Saudi Arabia” and “accepted the opportunity as a positive step towards the dissolution of gender segregation”.

“As the first female international artist to perform in Saudi Arabia, Mariah recognises the cultural significance of this event and will continue to support global efforts towards equality for all,” Carey’s publicist said.

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TVC News Unveils New Studio And Facilities To Become First With Breaking News

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TVC News, a member of TVC Communications, on Friday unveiled a brand-new high definition news studio at its headquarters in Lagos, Nigeria.

Following substantial investment in studio operations and mobile digital satellite technology, TVC News says it is now positioned to become the home of breaking news for Nigeria, ensuring the fast and reliable reporting of news stories whenever, and wherever those stories break around the Federation from its network of news bureau and correspondents.

Addressing the media at a ceremony in Lagos on Wednesday, February 13, 2019, Chief Executive Officer, TVC Communications, Andrew Hanlon, said that its improved news service formed part of a substantial ongoing investment plan aimed at growing the TVC Group of Companies into one of the country’s leading media organizations.

“Behind this state-of-the art studio in Lagos lies the real engine of our news operation: a substantial team of journalists, producers and the latest mobile satellite technology, spread throughout Nigeria, providing us with the ability to broadcast live anywhere, anytime. This will be put to the test this election weekend as over 80 million Nigerians go to the polls to cast their votes,” he said.

“We must be capable of mobilizing correspondents and technical teams anywhere, anytime in this vast country, to cover stories within a very short space of time to get the story on air first — and that’s what separates TVC News from other news networks and allows us to be First With Breaking News.

“In addition is a powerful new suite of motion graphics and visual elements which provide a contemporary look and feel to the TVC News channel, produced by the most talented Nigerian professionals.”

Also speaking at the event, Director of News, TVC News, Stella Din-Jacob, said: “We are incredibly fortunate to have some of the best people and broadcast facilities in continental Africa, which will enable us to bring the highest quality news service to our viewers right across Nigeria, Africa and Europe.

“Having recently been awarded the coveted NBC Prize for the Best Television Station of the Yearat the 26th Nigerian Media Merit Awards (NMMA), we particularly hope that viewers will enjoy our primetime news broadcasts: TVC News at 10pm (The most watched news programme in Lagos at 10pm) and 7pm every weeknight, and to start your day withTVC News Breakfastfrom 6am-9am every weekday. “

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Jussie Smollett’s role in Empire slashed over ‘staged’ homophobic attack

Popular actor, Jussie Smollett’s role in Empire, an American series movie, has been slashed following ‘staged’ homophobic attack scandal.

Empire’ writers are reportedly busy making edits in the original script, which scheduled Smollett for nine scenes and a big musical number, according to TMZ.

The medium further reported that Jussie’s character, “Jamal, was originally scheduled to appear in nine scenes and a big musical number in the second to the last episode, but this would no longer be the case.

“The episodes which are currently being shot will see Jamal appearing in four scenes and his musical number has been taken out of the plot.

“It was also reported that Smollett will no longer be the main focus in the remaining four scenes as he would be flanked by a number of cast members.

“To this end, Jussie will be spending way less time on set without rehearsal,’’ it said.

It was also reported that Smollett, who plays the role of ‘Jamal Lyon’ in ‘Empire,’ will enjoy less screen time.

This move, TMZ reports, is in the wake of a growing sentiment that he staged the widely reported attack on him.

DAILY POST recalls that Smollett was assaulted in Chicago by two men who hurled racial and homophobic words at him.

Smollett told police that he had just landed in town from New York and was attacked as he stepped out to eat at a Subway restaurant around 2 a.m on the East North Lower Water Street, in the upscale neighborhood of Streeterville.

However, there are reports that two Nigerian brothers, Abimbola ‘Abel’ and Olabinjo ‘Ola’ Osundairo, might have been paid off by Smollett to stage the attack.

The brothers were arrested on February 13, 2019, in connection with the case.

They were picked up at the airport in Chicago after they arrived from Nigeria where they had gone to spend some time with their family.

Interestingly, the brothers have been released with no charges as the police revealed there is now new evidence as one of the brothers was Smollett’s trainer for a music video.

Smollett has also vehemently denied paying the two brothers $3,500 to attack him.

His lawyers, Todd S. Pugh and Victor P. Henderson, disclosed to Entertainment Weekly that the star is now being victimised over the false allegations of him staging the incident.

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Nigeria decides: Daddy Freeze mocks Apostle Suleman over prophecy on election postponement

Popular Cool FM’s On Air Personality, OAP, Daddy Freeze, has mocked Pastor Johnson Suleman.

Suleman, during a crusade in Anambra State earlier in the year, had predicted that the 2019 polls would be postponed.

The Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC shifted the elections’ date at the weekend, citing logistic reasons.

But Freeze believes that every Nigerian knew that INEC could come up at any point and change date for the elections.

Freeze, who is popular with his attacks on senior pastors in the country, said that the postponement of elections shouldn’t be counted as a fulfilled prophecy in Nigeria because it happens every election year.

He described the prophesy as a guesswork.

He wrote on Twitter, “OMG Sule is a genuine prophet.

“He saw the elections moving if we don’t pray, but come, they prayed now didn’t they?

“Most Nigerians knew this election, like those of previous years would be postponed, this is guesswork in my opinion, NOT A PROPHECY!”

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