Category: News Central

London Fashion Week opens catwalk shows to the public

London Fashion Week opens catwalk shows to the public

The British Fashion Council has announced 4 designers set to show their collections to the public during London Fashion Weekend.

Fashion week may once have been an industry insiders only event but thanks largely to the influence of the internet, social media and a band of very popular bloggers or social influencers – everyone wants to get involved.

Sadly almost all fashion week shows have an invite-only policy that restricts the guestlist to fashion press, buyers and other industry figures. So unless you have the required skills to slip past a burly bouncer unnoticed, you’ll be left out in the cold (or tuning in online for the live stream).

Recent seasons have seen some moves towards the democratisation of fashion shows, most notably last year which saw Givenchy’s New York spring/summer 2016 show open its doors with some tickets made available to the public. And now it seems London Fashion Week will be following in its footsteps.

The BFC yesterday announced that London Fashion Weekend (the consumer-event that follows London Fashion Week) will this season see designers present their collections to the public.

Mary Katrantzou, Emilia Wickstead, Holly Fulton and Temperley London are the names announced so far who will be hosting catwalk shows at the 4 day long event which will be held this year at the Saatchi Gallery.

Whilst catwalk shows are not new to the event – the usual format is trend presentations featuring a variety of brands – this season’s offering however, will allow visitors to get an authentic fashion-insider experience with an in-depth look at the participating designer’s collections.

In addition the BFC have also announced a series of talks which will be held over the weekend hosted by an array of industry figures from designers Nicholas Kirkwood and Charlotte Dellal to Premier Models founder Carole White.

There will of course also be the usual shopping opportunities that London Fashion Weekend has become famous for.

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Why Donald Trump avoids talking about his daughters

Why Donald Trump avoids talking about his daughters

Donald Trump is everywhere right now and while we know an awful lot about him, we can’t help but think that we know very little about his family.

Three marriages and five children later, Trump has got quite the family fan club behind him, all of which have their own achievements to boast.

Despite the fact not all of them want to follow in their father’s political footsteps, they are all doing incredibly well for themselves and it is about time someone sung their praises.
Not to mention, if this father-of-five’s promiscuity is anything to go by, there are bound to be a interesting facts lurking in the closet…

Without further ado, it is time to formally introduce you to Donald Jr, Ivanka, Eric, Tiffany and Barron.

Ivanka Trump

Ivanka Trump

Trump’s eldest daughter Ivanka has become a successful businesswoman in her own right. She’s not only the executive vice president of acquisitions and development for her father’s company, but she had a long career as a model before becoming a New York Times best-selling author.

In July 2009, Ivanka changed her name to Yael after she converted to Judaism. The busy mom of 3 loves her new kosher lifestyle admitting that they are pretty observant and thoroughly enjoys the family time they have during the sabbath.

Stunning beauty Ivanka, has also launched her own Ivanka Trump Brand, which includes a jewelry line, a fashion label and a lifestyle collection.

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‘No shorts’ rule for marriage licences in China

'No shorts' rule for marriage licences in China

Couples who want to apply for a marriage licence in Beijing will have to dress smartly in future, or risk being turned away.

Beijing’s Civil Affairs Bureau has announced a new rule stipulating that couples won’t be issued a licence to wed if they show up in shorts, T-shirts or other casual wear, the state newspaper Beijing Daily reports.

The bureau’s marriage registration director, Han Mingxi, says people aren’t showing sufficient respect for the process. “It is not unusual to see couples registering in shorts and slippers. It shows their carelessness and disrespect for marriage,” he tells the paper. “From one glance you can see that marriage registration is being treated as a casual affair, and this is prone to many problems.”

Coming into effect on 1 July, the new rule is part of efforts to tackle the capital’s divorce rate. Mr Han says his bureau is currently analysing a large number of divorce cases, and asking experts to “propose methods and ways to promote marriage and family happiness”.

China’s divorce rate has been rising for more than a decade: in 2015, the government said that 3.6m couples ended their unions during the previous year. Beijing had the highest rate among cities, with 55,000 divorces in a single year.

There has been a mixed response to the new rule among Chinese social media users. “Marriage is not child’s play, it should be dignified,” writes one on the Sina Weibo microblogging site. But others think applying for a licence shouldn’t have to be a big deal. “What if a young couple want a low-key event?” asks one user, who thinks that applying for a licence is “simply a boring and tedious process” anyway.

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Radiohead erase internet presence – is it a cryptic message?

Radiohead erase internet presence – is it a cryptic message?

Radiohead’s internet presence has essentially disappeared and the band have sent out cryptic leaflets in the mail, fueling speculation over when – and how – the band will release its ninth album.

A visit to Radiohead.com on Sunday offered viewers only a blank page, while the band’s six-year-old Twitter feed was also empty, featuring only a message saying: “@Radiohead hasn’t tweeted yet.” On Facebook, nearly 12 million users “like” a page with nothing on it.

Brian Message, of the band’s management company Courtyard Management, has previously said the new album, a follow-up to 2011’s King of Limbs, would be released in June. But by 1 May, some wondered whether it could come sooner, perhaps via an unusual method of delivery. Some fans have recently received cards in the mail emblazoned with the band’s bear logo and the words: “Sing the song of sixpence that goes ‘Burn the witch’.”

The band have a history of unveiling their music in unusual ways. Frontman Thom Yorke himself was among those handing out Radiohead-themed newspapers at record stores upon the release of King of Limbs. That album appeared within days of the band announcing it, heralded by a music video for the song Lotus Flower.

The previous album, In Rainbows, was initially distributed online, and fans were invited to pay any price they chose in order to download the songs. And a more recent Thom Yorke project, Tomorrow’s Modern Boxes, was provided for free via the download service BitTorrent.

As the band’s ninth album approached, fans discussed how they might like to receive it, with suggestions ranging from a “surprise webcast” to “directly into my vein”.

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Syrian Alawites: Their history, their future

Syrian Alawites: Their history, their future

The conflict in Syria has taken a critical turn. Alawites, who have long rallied behind their co-religionist president, now want to execute his cousin for killing an Alawite army officer August 7 in an apparent road rage incident. It is rare for them to speak against the ruling regime publicly, but activists are now voicing their protest.

Since the beginning of the Syrian conflict in 2011, one-third of young Alawite men have died, mothers are hiding their sons and many men are fleeing the country. It seems that solidarity between Bashar Assad and the Alawites is weakening. Although Assad keeps the sectarian threat boiling, his fall would mean a hell for the Alawites by Sunni extremists, and many Alawites no longer doubt they are fighting a losing war.

With the Islamic State group advancing closer to the Alawite heartland, the next genocide will be of the Alawites, regardless of whether they stand with Assad. Their faith will bring them a worse nightmare than that of the Yazidis: Alawites are not only considered heretic, but also an enemy on the battlefield.

Nusayris

According to common understanding, Alawites became a Shia offshoot a thousand years ago. However, some scholars find this a problematic claim. A deeper understanding of the nature of this secretive faith will shed light on the complexity of the sectarian insecurity and manipulation that Assad has been using to sustain his power by the deaths of hundreds of thousands of Syrians since 2011.

The sect was originally called Nusayri, named after Muhammad ibn Nusayr (A.D. 859) who, after the death of the 11th Imam Hasan al-Askari, claimed he was the imam’s intimate messenger. The core of Nusayrism is the concept of God in triad, with God himself being manifested through Ali, cousin and son-in-law of the Prophet Muhammad. Nusayris believe that God is Ali in the flesh, who created Muhammad from his spirit, who in turn created Salman al-Farisi, a Persian companion and evangelist. These three form a triad — Mana (Meaning), Ism (Name/Veil) and Bab (Gate).

Nusayrism is also cyclical. Nusayris believe that there have been seven times that God manifested in seven different trinities. The first was of Abel, Adam and Gabriel; the last in Ali, Muhammad and Salman. In all, the meanings, or manifestations, of God seem to be subordinate figures while the name/veil appear to be superior ones: Jesus is the name but God manifestation is actually Simon Peter; Muhammad is the name but God is manifested through Ali.

With this trinity concept, it is tempting to conclude that Nusayrism derives from Christianity. Nusayriyya is similar to Nasara, which means “Christian” in Arabic. Some scholars and observers have even accused Alawism of being a secret Christian proclivity because Alawites celebrate some Christian holidays and honor many Christian saints. In 1903, Jesuit scholar Henri Lammens believed that Nusayris were actually lost Christians.

For Nusayris, salvation goes through a succession of divine emanations. This shows its root in Gnosticism’s cosmogonies, which pre-date Islam. The concepts of transmigration of the soul and reincarnation after death were most likely borrowed from Hinduism through Manichaeism. Greek influences can be seen in the way Nusayris believe each soul is a star, the sinful will be reincarnated as inferior beings through nine levels of human existence and nobility. This mysterious religious cocktail then added elements from Zoroastrianism, Phoenician paganism and Mazdakism, thrown in for good measure.

Nusayris’ religious duties are also interpreted on the basis of gnostic cosmogony. Because people sin, they are no longer splendid stars and must redeem themselves by knowing God through ma’rifa — inner knowledge from one’s own direct experience of reality, something not possible through books. Consequently, traditional ritual and literal reading of scripture are not essential and can even lead to perdition.

With “inner knowledge” as a goal, the pillars of Islam are radically reinterpreted with “inner meaning.” For example, the five daily prayers are understood to be five members of the holy family, including Fatima (Muhammad’s daughter), despite the paradox that Nusayris regard women to be inferior and therefore unable to be reincarnated. Ramadan is allegorized and applied to speech, such as taking a vow of silence rather than abstaining from food.

It is very likely that the Shia principle of taqiyya (religious dissimulation) was the base for this interpretation. For Nusayris, revealing religious secrets to outsiders can lead to severe punishment. Their holy books and rituals are restricted to a few people who pledge to keep the secrets of the faith (Kitman); they are called Khassah while the ignorant majority are Ammah. The syncretic and mythical belief is a secret, even to its own believers.

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European Union: Turkey visa deal only once ‘all criteria met

European Union: Turkey visa deal only once 'all criteria met

The EU’s top diplomat Federica Mogherini said Tuesday that Turkey would only get visa-free travel to the bloc once it has met all the required criteria.

Turkey has demanded its citizens be allowed to enter the European Union’s passport free Schengen zone without visas by June, in exchange for it taking back migrants from Europe.

But the EU insists that Turkey must meet 72 conditions before allowing visa-free travel, of which it is believed to have fulfilled about half.

“On free travel, this will be done only once all the criteria are respected, as for all countries with which we negotiate free travel for a limited period,” EU foreign policy chief Mogherini said on France Inter radio.

“It was the case with Georgia, it was the case with Ukraine, it is a discussion we are having with Kosovo. There are very strict, technical criteria that must be put in place, a very severe verification must be carried out to apply this measure.”

The EU struck the deal with Turkey to send back all “irregular” migrants which arrive in Greece after March 20 in a bid to halt mass migration which has created enormous strain in Europe.

Two sets of deportations expelling 325 migrants from Greece took place three weeks ago, and another 49 were sent back Tuesday.

The operation has been hampered by last-minute asylum applications and Turkey has also sounded the alarm several times about the EU failing to keep its side of the bargain.

The accord is awash with legal and moral concerns, and critics have accused the EU of sacrificing its values and overlooking Turkey’s growing crackdown on free speech in order to secure the deal.

The deal also promises to speed up talks on Turkey’s accession to the EU.

Mogherini said resuming talks on Turkey’s bid to join the bloc was “the only way we can help Turkey modernise its state (and) respect fundamental rights including press freedom… and also hold a larger conversation for example on relaunching peace talks with the Kurds.”

European Council president Donald Tusk said last week that “Europe must set clear limits to its concessions. We can negotiate money, but never our values.”

“Our powerlessness could lead to a temptation to blackmail Europe,” he warned.

The deal has already sharply reduced the number of people crossing from Turkey to Greece, though the International Organisation for Migration has said the numbers are “once again ticking up”, possibly as smugglers get more creative.

If Ankara meets its side of the agreement, the European Commission has promised to recommend next month that EU states approve visa-free travel for Turks.

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Guatemala sends 3,000 troops to disputed border with Belize

Guatemala sends 3,000 troops to disputed border with Belize

Guatemala has sent 3,000 troops to its disputed border with Belize as “preventive measure” after a 13-year-old boy was shot dead.

The two countries are disputing the shooting’s facts in the latest territorial dispute. “It is not a declaration of war,” Guatemala defense minister Williams Mansilla told reporters.

Julio Rene Alvarado Ruano was walking home from working in the fields last week when he was shot. His father and brother were also wounded, according to Mansilla.

Belize disputes the account, calling it a “justifiable self-defense.” Belize’s government said in a statement Friday its security forces were investigating illegal land clearing in the Cebada area of the Chiquibul National Park in western Belize when they detained a Guatemalan man suspected of illicit activities. It said the patrol came under fire around nightfall and shot back in self-defense. Before leaving just inside Belizean territory, the soldiers found the boy’s body, the statement said.

In a scathing response, the ministry said, “It is regrettable that the defense forces of Belize are the only army in the Latin America and Caribbean region that fires on unarmed civilians from another country.”

The U.S. State Department said it was “deeply concerned” but “urge calm and restraint by both sides, and we call for a full investigation of the facts surrounding this tragedy.”

The Organization of American States office in the adjacency zone is planning an investigation at the request of both governments. “The OAS General Secretariat repudiates the death of a Guatemalan minor at the hands of a Belizean patrol and urges both sides to redouble efforts to establish a lasting peace in the adjacency zone between the two countries,” the OAS said in a statement.

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Trainspotting 2 to start filming in May for 2016 release

Trainspotting 2 to start filming in May for 2016 release

The long-awaited sequel to Danny Boyle’s film is said to be ‘really, really good’.

Six months ago, Trainspotting fans got the news they had been waiting years for: Danny Boyle would be making a sequel, and with all of the original cast, to boot. But there was no specific time frame attached to the project, and seeing as the original film was released 20 years ago, Trainspotting 2 could have been a way off yet.

However, it looks like the sequel will be here sooner than some fans thought: shooting will begin in Glasgow in a few weeks, at the end of May, and the film is expected to be in cinemas later this year.

Ewan McGregor, who starred as heroin addict Mark Renton in the 1980s-Edinburgh-based film, recently gave an interview to Collider in which he said that “we start shooting at the end of May.”

McGregor’s claim backs up that of Boyle, who was pictured on the Humans of Edinburgh Facebook page in mid-March saying: “We’re up in Scotland filming Trainspotting 2 just now.”

However, Irvine Welsh, who wrote the Trainspotting novel that inspired the film as well as Porno, its sequel, recently said in a podcast that shooting couldn’t begin until at least 16 May.

McGregor added that the cast had only very recently received the script, written by original Trainspotting writer John Hodge:”The script only arrived very recently, which was really, really, really good,” he told Collider.

“I think if that had not happened, none of us would be into it. I think we’re all sort of somewhat protective of what Trainspotting means to people, and what it means to us.”

Robert Carlyle, who played fellow addict Begbie in the original film, praised the script at the end of last year after an early read-through, telling the NME: “it’s one of the best scripts I’ve f—— read.”

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Adele announces she will headline Glastonbury Festival

Adele announces she will headline Glastonbury Festival

Pop star Adele has announced she will headline the Pyramid Stage at this year’s Glastonbury Festival. She revealed the news live on stage at London’s O2, where she is in the middle of a six-night residency.

“Who’s going to Glastonbury this year?” she asked. “See you there. I’ll be there. I’ll be headlining on the Saturday night this year.”
“I’ve had to keep that secret for years!” the star added. Glastonbury later confirmed the news on Twitter.

Adele now joins Muse and Coldplay at the top of the bill when the festival takes place in June. “What a great honour it is to have the wonderful Adele confirmed for this year’s Saturday night headline spot!” said festival organiser Emily Eavis.

Adele: The full story

Adele’s latest album, 25, has sold more than 19 million copies worldwide, and is currently number one in the UK albums chart. Earlier this week, the singer teased fans in Manchester that she would “see them at Glastonbury” even she didn’t perform. “I’ll be dressed as Elsa and my kid will be Olaf,” she said, referring to characters from the Disney film Frozen.

Last November, Adele told Beats 1 radio that she had been put off playing the festival after watching Kanye West’s headline set in 2015. “I wasn’t anywhere near the stage and it was the biggest crowd I’d ever seen,” she told Zane Lowe.

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Protest Kiss in Vancouver

Protest Kiss in Vancouver

The picture taken by Canadian photographer Richard Lam became a global sensation – appearing in the media, shared on Facebook and tweeted around the world – and looked set to take its place as one of the world’s most iconic kiss photographs.

“How’s that for making love, not war,” astonished dad Brett Jones declared on his Facebook page, announcing that his son, Scott, was the Romeo depicted in the picture.

But others wondered if it was a fake, and the photographer himself had doubts about what the picture really showed. A second shot emerged showing more people around the couple and adding to the mystery.

A witness, identifying himself as William, wrote to the Vancouver Sun to give his take. He said he was on top of a carpark looking down on the place where the picture was taken. “What happened was the police line rushed the crowd and this couple trying to stay together couldn’t react in time and were run over my two riot police officers.

“The girl who was knocked over landed head first on the pavement with her boyfriend landing partially on top of her. She was in visible pain, crying, but the two officers gave them a parting shove and moved on. Bystanders went to go make sure she was OK. I understand that the frontline police have to control the crowd but it is a bit ridiculous that they couldn’t have other officers or paramedics behind the line to help anyone who is hurt.”

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