Sinead O’Connor’s Estate Tells Trump: ‘Stop Playing Her Music at Rallies’

LONDON — The estate of Sinead O’Connor asked Donald Trump Monday not to play her music at campaign rallies, saying the late singer considered the former president a “biblical devil.” Trump has played O’Connor’s biggest hit, “Nothing Compares 2 U,” at events as he campaigns for the Republican presidential nomination. In a joint statement, O’Connor’s estate…

Israel to Revise Eurovision Entries Said to Allude to Hamas Attack 

Jerusalem — Israel on Sunday said it had asked lyricists to revise its proposed Eurovision Song Contest entries, potentially heading off a dispute with organizers over political content. Authorities last week said Israel would not be able to participate in this year’s edition of the popular competition if organizers rejected the song choice, which reportedly referenced…

Raye Sets Record at BRIT Awards, Britain’s Pop Music Honors

LONDON — Singer-songwriter Raye was the big winner Saturday at the BRIT Awards, the biggest night in British music, setting a new record for most prizes in one night at the annual ceremony. Raye won six awards, including for artist of the year, album of the year for My 21st Century Blues and song of the…

Pope Francis Asks Aide to Read Ceremonial Speech Due to Bronchitis

VATICAN CITY — Pope Francis, who has been suffering from influenza, said he delegated the reading of a speech at a ceremony Saturday to an aide because he was unable to read it due to bronchitis.  “I have prepared a speech but as you can see, I am unable to read it because of bronchitis. I…

Iris Apfel, Fashion Icon Known for Her Eye-Catching Style, Dies at 102

NEW YORK — Iris Apfel, a textile expert, interior designer and fashion celebrity known for her eccentric style, has died. She was 102. Her death was confirmed by her commercial agent, Lori Sale, who called Apfel “extraordinary.” No cause of death was given. It was also announced on her verified Instagram page on Friday, which a…

Alaska’s Iditarod Dogs Get Neon Visibility Harnesses After Crashes

ANCHORAGE, Alaska — The Iditarod, the annual sled dog race celebrating Alaska’s official state sport, is set to get under way Saturday with a new focus on safety after five dogs died and eight were injured in collisions with snowmobiles while training on shared, multiuse trails. For the first time, mushers who line up for the…

Rooted in Nature, Washington Festival Explores Ideas About Forests, Conservation

Exploring the relationship between humanity and nature, the Reach to Forest international festival brings artists together to plant ideas among viewers about the environment and conservation. From the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, VOA’s Cristina Caicedo Smit has the story. Camera: Phillip Datcher …

Athletes’ Village Handed Over to Paris Olympics Organizers  

Paris — The organizers of the Paris Olympics took possession of the newly built athletes’ village on Thursday on schedule, reinforcing growing confidence that they will be ready for the Games. At an inauguration ceremony in northern Paris, chief organizer Tony Estanguet received a symbolic key for the complex in front of VIPs including President Emmanuel…

Cricket Tournaments in Indian-Administered Kashmir Boost Local Economy

Srinagar, Indian administered Kashmir — The blanket of snow covering one of the prominent cricket grounds at the Magam neighborhood of Budgam district on the Indian side of Kashmir has melted. The ground is set to host a monthlong local cricket tournament from March 3. Hundreds of youths from various parts of the valley will compete…

What Might Happen Without a Leap Day? More Than You Think

NEW YORK — Leap year. It’s a delight for the calendar and math nerds among us. So how did it all begin and why? Have a look at some of the numbers, history and lore behind the (not quite) every four-year phenom that adds a 29th day to February. By the numbers The math is mind-boggling…

‘One Love’ Gets More Box Office Love, No. 1 for Second Week

Los Angeles — For a second straight week, biopic “ Bob Marley: One Love” continues to exceed expectations by claiming the No. 1 spot at the box office, overcoming two debut films and Sony’s “Madame Web” that’s still producing subpar numbers. The Paramount film starring Kingsley Ben-Adir pulled in $13.5 million during its second week of…

Israel Threatens Eurovision Pull-Out if Entry Vetoed 

Jerusalem — Israel on Sunday warned that it may withdraw from this year’s Eurovision Song Contest if organizers reject the lyrics from its entry as too political. Eden Golan and her song “October Rain” were chosen to compete in the annual competition, which is being held in May in Malmo, Sweden. Media reports have suggested that…

Tax-Free Status of Movie, Music and Games Traded Online Is on Table as WTO Nations Meet in Abu Dhabi

Geneva — Since late last century and the early days of the web, providers of digital media like Netflix and Spotify have had a free pass when it comes to international taxes on films, video games and music that are shipped across borders through the internet. But now, a global consensus on the issue may be…

Japan’s ‘Naked Men’ Festival Succumbs to Aging of Population

Ōshū, Japan — Steam rose as hundreds of naked men tussled over a bag of wooden talismans, performing a dramatic end to a thousand-year-old ritual in Japan that took place for the last time.  Their passionate chants of “Jasso, joyasa” (meaning “Evil, be gone”) echoed through a cedar forest in northern Japan’s Iwate region, where the…

Eva Peron Maintains Grip on Argentina Decades After Her 1952 Death

BUENOS AIRES, Argentina — Early every morning, just as she reaches her workplace at a labor union in Buenos Aires, Ángeles Celerier heads to the chapel and prays to Saint Cajetan, Saint Teresa and Eva Perón. Perón — unlike the others — has not been canonized by the Vatican, but this doesn’t matter to Celerier. “For…

Dior Postpones Hong Kong Fashion Show ‘Indefinitely’

HONG KONG — Dior has postponed a fashion show set to be held in Hong Kong next month, a city official confirmed Saturday, dealing a blow to the financial hub’s ambitions to boost its economy through major events. Hong Kong is courting top international celebrities and brands in the hope of rebooting its reputation, which has…

Strike Closes Eiffel Tower in Blow to Tourists Ahead of Paris Olympics

Paris — The Eiffel Tower, one of the most visited tourist sites in the world, closed on Monday as staff went on strike in protest against the way the Paris monument is managed financially, disappointing the crowds below. The strike comes as Paris prepares to host the 2024 Summer Olympics, which begin on July 26 and…

Berlin Film Fest Grapples With Nazi Past, Far-Right Threat

BERLIN — This week’s Berlin international film festival is wrestling on- and off-screen with the weight of the Nazi past and the menace of a resurgent far right. The 74th Berlinale, as the event is known, has a reputation for confronting political realities head-on with high-profile movies and hot-tempered debates. German director Julia von Heinz brought…

‘Bob Marley: One Love’ Stirs Up $27.7 Million Weekend at Box Office

New York — Paramount Pictures’ Bob Marley biopic “Bob Marley: One Love” outperformed expectations to debut at No. 1 at the box office with a $27.7 million opening weekend, while Sony’s “Madame Web” flopped with one of the lowest debuts for a movie centered on a Marvel character. Both films launched in theaters on Tuesday to…

And the Winner Is… London Rolls Out Red Carpet for BAFTA Film Awards 

London — Hollywood stars descended on London on Sunday for the annual BAFTA Film Awards, where U.S. historical drama “Oppenheimer,” one of the highest-grossing films of 2023, leads nominations for Britain’s top movie honors.  The three-hour epic about the making of the atomic bomb during World War Two has 13 nods, including for the night’s top…