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Eurovision signs deal to create US version of song contest

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The American Song Contest will launch in late 2021 with rival musicians from all 50 states

North Dakota could soon find itself awarded douze points by television viewers, after the Eurovision song contest signed a deal to create a US version of the singing competition.

The American Song Contest will launch in late 2021, featuring musicians from all 50 US states competing to be crowned champions in a series of televised competitions. Regional contests will be held in each state to choose a singer or musical group to progress into the nationally televised finals, with viewers whittling down the entries over three rounds of shows.

Continue reading…The American Song Contest will launch in late 2021 with rival musicians from all 50 statesNorth Dakota could soon find itself awarded douze points by television viewers, after the Eurovision song contest signed a deal to create a US version of the singing competition.The American Song Contest will launch in late 2021, featuring musicians from all 50 US states competing to be crowned champions in a series of televised competitions. Regional contests will be held in each state to choose a singer or musical group to progress into the nationally televised finals, with viewers whittling down the entries over three rounds of shows. Continue reading…

Watch an Exclusive Clip From a New Documentary About Maria Ressa’s Fight for Press Freedom in the Philippines

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“First they came for the journalists. We don’t know what happened after that,” says journalist Maria Ressa, quoting a solemn line from a Philippine newspaper, inspired by Martin Niemöller’s postwar poem “First They Came.” The striking quote comes during a scene from the new documentary A Thousand Cuts, out Aug. 7, which highlights attacks on press freedom and democracy in the Philippines and draws parallels with other parts of the world.

As the chief executive officer and co-founder of the Philippine news website Rappler, Ressa knows firsthand the risks that journalists in the country are facing. Her conviction on dubious charges of cyber-libel in June marked the latest in a series of legal attacks against her and Rappler. The site has drawn attention for publishing stories critical of Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte, and in particular his war on drugs, which Human Rights Watch reports has led to the deaths of more than 12,000 Filipinos. “It’s so dangerous to be a journalist right now,” Ressa told TIME after her conviction. “But the mission is more important than ever. We have to stand up for it or we will lose so much.”

Directed by Ramona S. Diaz and filmed during 2018 and 2019, A Thousand Cuts follows Ressa as she and her colleagues persist in holding the regime to account, despite continued attacks and harassment from trolls on social media, in real life and by the president himself. In the the PBS-Frontline documentary, Ressa, a TIME Person of the Year in 2018 and a TIME 100 honoree, explains how quickly disinformation ripples throughout the country’s social media networks, and how she and her colleagues are targeted with dangerous accusations of lying as well as death threats.

In the exclusive clip above, several people behind troll accounts targeting Ressa and Rappler go to the news outlet’s offices in person, live-streaming from their location and amplifying their hateful messages on social media.

“We have to realize that something horrific has already happened, and we are at this existential moment where, if nothing significant is done, journalism is only the first part. Journalism and democracy as we know it, is dead,” Ressa tells an audience at an event in Washington D.C. in the documentary. On her return back to Manila’s airport, she is arrested on fraud charges and flanked by police officers. “This is not the Philippines I knew,” she later says.

A Thousand Cuts also follows figures on the other side of the divide, including a pop star-turned-government secretary known as “the Philippines’ Queen of Fake News,” and an unrepentant politician intent on his public execution campaign targeting drug addicts. But it is Ressa who captures most of the attention. “What do you do when the president lies,” she asks, “then it’s repeated a million times so people have no idea what the truth is?” Diaz shows viewers why the journalist, despised by many in her country for allegedly “betraying” the Philippines with Rappler’s critical coverage, is so revered across the globe—a living symbol of holding truth to power.

‘A Thousand Cuts’ shows how the Filipino journalist, despised by many in her country, is revered across the globe as a living symbol of holding truth to power

‘We’re still so tired’: Europe’s doctors brace for second Covid-19 wave

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When the Guardian spoke to staff in March they had no time for reflection. So what do they think of the new surge now?

During the initial peak of Spain’s Covid-19 pandemic in the spring, the virus displayed an unexpected mercy. In its spread, ferocity and awful novelty, it left health workers too tired and overwhelmed to look beyond the next few hours.

“There’s no time to get angry or to wonder why things have been organised the way they have been,” Sara Gayoso, an A&E doctor at El Escorial hospital near Madrid, told the Guardian at the end of March.

Continue reading…When the Guardian spoke to staff in March they had no time for reflection. So what do they think of the new surge now? Coronavirus – latest updatesSee all our coronavirus coverageDuring the initial peak of Spain’s Covid-19 pandemic in the spring, the virus displayed an unexpected mercy. In its spread, ferocity and awful novelty, it left health workers too tired and overwhelmed to look beyond the next few hours.“There’s no time to get angry or to wonder why things have been organised the way they have been,” Sara Gayoso, an A&E doctor at El Escorial hospital near Madrid, told the Guardian at the end of March. Continue reading…

Digested week: I had big plans for lockdown, but mostly I watch TV | John Crace

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A holiday in Norfolk is a chance to spend time away from politics, and for my wife to spend less time alone with me

Monday

When I was a teenager, the FA Cup final was always a red letter day in the football calendar. The TV coverage would start in the morning with loads of chat and clips of the teams leaving their London hotels by bus and I would be watching every minute of it. Even my Dad, who had no interest in football whatsoever, would come inside at 3pm to watch the entire match. Sometimes he even managed to stay awake for the entire 90 minutes. Yet for the past 25 years or so, I’ve never bothered to watch the final on TV. Partly because Spurs have not featured since 1991, but mostly because I’ve just lost interest in the competition. This year was no exception. The weather was nice and a game between Tottenham’s two main rivals – Arsenal and Chelsea – seemed entirely missable. So it was only on the following day that I discovered there had been rather more riding on the match than I had thought. By winning and claiming automatic qualification, Arsenal had condemned Spurs to play at least three extra preliminary matches for the Europa League, a competition I had been rather hoping to avoid even before this new form of hell. Tottenham’s possible opponents hardly read like a roll call of Europe’s finest. In no particular order, they are Kesla FK from Azerbaijan, Torshavn from the Faroe Islands, Neftchi Baku also from Azerbaijan, Kaysar Kyzylorda and Ordabasy Shymkent both from Kazakhstan, Sutjeska Niksic of Montenegro, OFI Heraklion from Crete, and Lithuania’s FK Riteriai. These are all games that both Spurs and I would pay money to avoid, as their only real function is to make sure the players are exhausted by November. I’m just praying that further travel bans have been put in place by September and that Tottenham are forced out of the competition by the Foreign Office.

Continue reading…A holiday in Norfolk is a chance to spend time away from politics, and for my wife to spend less time alone with meMondayWhen I was a teenager, the FA Cup final was always a red letter day in the football calendar. The TV coverage would start in the morning with loads of chat and clips of the teams leaving their London hotels by bus and I would be watching every minute of it. Even my Dad, who had no interest in football whatsoever, would come inside at 3pm to watch the entire match. Sometimes he even managed to stay awake for the entire 90 minutes. Yet for the past 25 years or so, I’ve never bothered to watch the final on TV. Partly because Spurs have not featured since 1991, but mostly because I’ve just lost interest in the competition. This year was no exception. The weather was nice and a game between Tottenham’s two main rivals – Arsenal and Chelsea – seemed entirely missable. So it was only on the following day that I discovered there had been rather more riding on the match than I had thought. By winning and claiming automatic qualification, Arsenal had condemned Spurs to play at least three extra preliminary matches for the Europa League, a competition I had been rather hoping to avoid even before this new form of hell. Tottenham’s possible opponents hardly read like a roll call of Europe’s finest. In no particular order, they are Kesla FK from Azerbaijan, Torshavn from the Faroe Islands, Neftchi Baku also from Azerbaijan, Kaysar Kyzylorda and Ordabasy Shymkent both from Kazakhstan, Sutjeska Niksic of Montenegro, OFI Heraklion from Crete, and Lithuania’s FK Riteriai. These are all games that both Spurs and I would pay money to avoid, as their only real function is to make sure the players are exhausted by November. I’m just praying that further travel bans have been put in place by September and that Tottenham are forced out of the competition by the Foreign Office. Continue reading…

Selling curries to India: Japan exports popular restaurant chain

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CoCo Ichibanya hopes locals will approve of its signature hot dishes as it opens near Delhi

It sounds like the culinary equivalent of coals to Newcastle. But a popular Japanese restaurant chain is banking on diners in India to acquire a taste for its signature dish: curry.

CoCo Ichibanya, which has become a staple of the Japanese budget dining scene since it opened its first outlet in 1978, this week launched its first restaurant in India, near Delhi.

Continue reading…CoCo Ichibanya hopes locals will approve of its signature hot dishes as it opens near DelhiIt sounds like the culinary equivalent of coals to Newcastle. But a popular Japanese restaurant chain is banking on diners in India to acquire a taste for its signature dish: curry.CoCo Ichibanya, which has become a staple of the Japanese budget dining scene since it opened its first outlet in 1978, this week launched its first restaurant in India, near Delhi. Continue reading…

Coronavirus Australia latest: the week at a glance

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A summary of the major developments in the coronavirus outbreak across Australia

Good evening, here are the latest developments on the coronavirus pandemic in Australia. This is Naaman Zhou and it’s Friday 7 August.

Continue reading…A summary of the major developments in the coronavirus outbreak across AustraliaGood evening, here are the latest developments on the coronavirus pandemic in Australia. This is Naaman Zhou and it’s Friday 7 August. Continue reading…

Coronavirus US: death toll tops 160,000 as relief package impasse continues – live updates

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11.11am BST

Good morning, and welcome to our live coverage of US politics, coronavirus crisis and the Black Lives Matter movement for Friday.

Continue reading…Over 1,000 new deaths and 57,000 new US coronavirus cases yesterdayDonald Trump claims Joe Biden is ‘against God’President bans transactions with Chinese-owned TikTok and WeChatSign up to our First Thing newsletter 11.11am BSTGood morning, and welcome to our live coverage of US politics, coronavirus crisis and the Black Lives Matter movement for Friday. Continue reading…

Rishi Sunak: UK will not hesitate to add nations to quarantine list

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Chancellor’s warning comes amid concerns France may lose its travel corridor status

Rishi Sunak has issued a warning that the UK government will “not hesitate” to impose quarantine restrictions on arrivals from other countries amid concerns that France may be the next destination to be removed from the travel corridor list.

The chancellor said Downing Street constantly kept measures under review, highlighting that people needed to bear in mind there is a risk to travel plans because of the pandemic.

Continue reading…Chancellor’s warning comes amid concerns France may lose its travel corridor statusCoronavirus – latest updatesSee all our coronavirus coverageRishi Sunak has issued a warning that the UK government will “not hesitate” to impose quarantine restrictions on arrivals from other countries amid concerns that France may be the next destination to be removed from the travel corridor list.The chancellor said Downing Street constantly kept measures under review, highlighting that people needed to bear in mind there is a risk to travel plans because of the pandemic. Continue reading…

‘A blatant hegemonic act’: China urges US to stop ‘politicizing’ economic relations amid TikTok & WeChat restrictions

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The US is using national security as an “excuse” to suppress Chinese-owned companies despite them following American rules and regulations, Beijing says, after President Trump issued an order targeting the TikTok and WeChat apps.

The ban on the popular apps is an act of “political manipulation,” Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Wang Wenbin told reporters.

These companies carry out business activities in the United States in accordance with market principles and international rules, and abide by US law and regulations. The US uses national security as an excuse to frequently abuse national power and unreasonably suppress non-American companies. This is a blatant hegemonic act.

Wang urged the US to stop “politicizing economic issues” and create a “fair and non-discriminatory environment” for foreign companies.

According to the executive order signed by US President Trump on Thursday, in 45 days Americans will be banned from making transactions with ByteDance, the owner of TikTok, and Tencent, the owner of WeChat, unless the apps are sold by their parent companies.

Also on rt.com

RT
‘National security threat’? Trump signs executive orders on TikTok & WeChat, bans transactions with Chinese owners in 45 days

Trump described both apps as a “threat,” accusing them of collecting the personal data of Americans and sharing it with the Chinese government. Officials in Washington have made similar allegations against Chinese telecoms giant Huawei, as American companies were banned from working with its equipment last year. Beijing has repeatedly denied using Chinese-owned companies for espionage.

The aggressive move against TikTok and WeChat is the latest in a series of hostilities between the two countries in recent years. Last month, the US ordered Chinese diplomats to vacate a consulate in Houston, Texas, after accusing them of espionage, which Beijing denied.

China responded to the closing of its consulate by ordering that a US consulate in Chengdu also be shut down.

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The US is using national security as an “excuse” to suppress Chinese-owned companies despite them following American rules and regulations, Beijing says, after President Trump issued an order targeting the TikTok and WeChat apps. Read Full Article at RT.com

The Latest: French investigators seeking Beirut blast clues

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The Latest: French investigators seeking Beirut blast cluesA team of 22 French investigators has started work in Beirut to search for evidence and bodies from Tuesday’s deadly explosion and help Lebanese authorities determine what caused it. Based on information from Lebanon so far, France’s No. 2 forensic police official Dominique Abbenanti says the explosion “appears to be an accident” but that it’s too early to say for sure. French investigators are involved at the request of Lebanon, and also because one French person died and at least 40 were injured.

A team of 22 French investigators has started work in Beirut to search for evidence and bodies from Tuesday’s deadly explosion and help Lebanese authorities determine what caused it. Based on information from Lebanon so far, France’s No. 2 forensic police official Dominique Abbenanti says the explosion “appears to be an accident” but that it’s too early to say for sure. French investigators are involved at the request of Lebanon, and also because one French person died and at least 40 were injured.