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Blind Aboriginal musician dies in Australia aged 46

A blind Aboriginal musician renowned for singing in his native Yolngu language with a heart-rending voice and a unique guitar-playing style has died, his recording label said Wednesday. He was 46.

Geoffrey Gurrumul Yunupingu, whose is now referred to by local media as Dr. G. Yunupingu because of cultural sensitivities among northern Australian Aborigines around naming the dead, died Tuesday after a long illness in a Darwin Hospital, west of his ancestral country known as Arnhem Land, Darwin-based Skinnyfish Music said in a statement.

"Yunupingu is remembered today as one of the most important figures in Australian music history, blind from birth and emerging from the remote Galiwin'ku community on Elcho Island off the coast of Arnhem Land to sell over half a million copies of his albums across the world, singing in his native Yolngu language," the statement said.

His debut album "Gurrumul" released in 2008 hit triple platinum in Australia, silver in Britain and topped charts in other countries.

He released another two top-five studio albums —"Rrakala" and "The Gospel Album" — and performed around the world for audiences including former President Barack Obama and Queen Elizabeth II.

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull tweeted that Yunupingu was "a remarkable Australian sharing Yolngu language with the world through music."

More comfortable speaking in his native language than in English, Yunupingu avoided media interviews and lived most of his life on remote Elcho Island.

He first picked up a guitar as a 6-year-old, learning to play it upside down because he was left handed. He suffered years of ill health, having contracted Hepatitis B as a child, which left him with liver and kidney disease.

In 2012, he had to cancel a number of European performances due to illness, including performing at the London Olympic Games.

Friend Vaughan Williams took Yunupingu to the hospital last week over concerns he may not have been receiving renal treatment more than 500 kilometers (320 miles) away at Elcho Island.

Williams said he felt the death was "preventable," which made it more crushing.

"I feel he was trapped in the same cycle of bad health that so many indigenous people are trapped in," Williams told Australian Broadcasting Corp.

Aborigines are the most disadvantaged ethnic group in Australia. They die younger than other Australians and suffer higher incarceration and jobless rates.

'Wonder Woman 2' sets December 2019 release date

"Wonder Woman 2" is set to storm theaters on Dec. 13, 2019.

Warner Bros. announced the date late Tuesday.

"Wonder Woman" star Gal Gadot is set to reprise her role as Diana of Themyscira. But a director has yet to be set. Patty Jenkins is still in negotiations for the job.

Jenkins' "Wonder Woman" is still chugging along at the box office, with over $389.7 million from North American theaters. It recently surpassed "Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2" to become the top domestic earner of the summer movie season and the second-highest of the year, behind "Beauty and the Beast."

"Detroit" director, stars hope film spurs talk about race

The actors and filmmakers from "Detroit" walked the red carpet ahead of the film's premiere in its namesake city Tuesday evening and talked about their hope that it will spur conversation about attitudes toward race.

"(The film) created an opportunity to humanize the unthinkable and out of that, hopefully, creates empathy. And out of the empathy, perhaps, meaningful conversation can begin toward healing," director Kathryn Bigelow said of the drama about the deadly 1967 Detroit riot.

"Detroit" focuses on the Algiers Motel incident, a little-remembered event that took place almost exactly a half-century ago amid the uprising of African-Americans sparked by a police raid of an after-hours club — and a reaction to what some considered a long history of oppression. The riot, among the largest in U.S. history, left 43 dead and led to the deployment of National Guardsmen to a city in flames.

"I think largely what happened in Detroit 50 years ago is forgotten, so I hope that people go see this movie and remember where we were, see where we are and from this point do something different," said actor Anthony Mackie, who also appeared in 2009's "The Hurt Locker," which earned Bigelow the Academy Award for best director. 

"Detroit" tries to lay out the historical context and individual reality of the unrest. At the Algiers Motel, three unarmed black males were killed in an encounter with police.

Will Poulter portrays one of the officers, a character he acknowledges is particularly unsavory.

"My responsibility in this film I think was to expose a racist individual, and I'm grateful to have that opportunity," Poulter said ahead of the screening at Detroit's historic Fox Theatre. "But there's no sense of enjoyment or relish in that. You just try and do it as honestly as possible."

"Detroit" is due to be released Aug. 4.

Artist uses Iraq refugees, war veterans in radio project

In 2016, an Iraqi-American artist sat down with Bahjat Abdulwahed — the so-called "Walter Cronkite of Baghdad" — with the idea of launching a radio project that would be part documentary, part radio play and part variety show.

Abdulwahed was the voice of Iraqi radio from the late 1950s to the early 1990s, but came to Philadelphia as a refugee in 2009 after receiving death threats from insurgents.

"He represented authority and respectability in relationship to the news through many different political changes," said Elizabeth Thomas, curator of "Radio Silence," a public art piece that resulted from the meeting with Abdulwahed.

Thomas had invited artist Michael Rakowitz to Philadelphia to create a project for Mural Arts Philadelphia, which has been expanding its public art reach from murals into new and innovative spaces.

After nearly five years of research, Rakowitz distilled his project into a radio broadcast that would involve putting the vivacious and caramel-voiced Abdulwahed back on the air, and using Philadelphia-area Iraqi refugees and local Iraq war veterans as his field reporters. It would feature Iraqi music, remembrances of the country and vintage weather reports from a happier time in Iraq.

"One of the many initial titles was "Desert Home Companion," Rakowitz said, riffing on "A Prairie Home Companion," the radio variety show created by Garrison Keillor.

Rakowitz recorded an initial and very informal session with Abdulwahed in his living room in January 2016. Two weeks later, Abdulwahed collapsed. He had to have an emergency tracheostomy and was on life support until he died seven months later.

At Abdulwahed's funeral, his friends urged Rakowitz to continue with the project, to show how much of the country they left behind was slipping away and to help fight cultural amnesia.

Rakowitz recalibrated the project, which became "Radio Silence," a 10-part radio broadcast with each episode focusing on a synonym of silence, in homage to Abdulwahed.

"The voice of Baghdad had lost his voice," Rakowitz said, calling him a "narrator of Iraq's history."

It will be hosted by Rakowitz and features fragments of that first recording session with Abdulwahed, as well as interviews with his wife and other Iraqi refugees living in Philadelphia.

Rakowitz and Thomas also worked with Warrior Writers, a nonprofit based in Philadelphia that helps war veterans work through their experiences using writing and art.

The first episode, on speechlessness, will launch Aug. 6 is. It will be broadcast on community radio stations across the country through Prometheus Radio Project.

One participant is Jawad Al Amiri, an Iraqi refugee who came to the United States in the 1980s. He said silence in Iraq has been a way of life for many decades.

"Silence is a way of survival. Silence is a decree by the Baath regime, not to tell what you see in front of your eyes. Silence is synonymous with fear. If you tell, you will be put through agony," he said at a preview Tuesday of the live broadcast. He said he saw his own sister poisoned and die and wasn't allowed to speak of it.

When he came to the U.S. in 1981, his father told him: "We send you here for education and to speak for the millions of Iraqis in the land where freedom of speech is practiced."

Lawrence Davidson is an Army veteran who served during the Iraq War and works with Warrior Writers also contributed to the project. He said the project is a place to exchange ideas and honestly share feelings with refugees and other veterans.

The project kicks off on July 29 with a live broadcast performance on Philadelphia's Independence Mall — what Rakowitz calls the symbolic home of American democracy. It will feature storytelling, food from refugees and discussions from the veterans with Warrior Writers.

Rising country music star killed in UTV accident after weekend performance 

It should have been a Sunday of fun for up and coming country singer Abby Nicole Ueker, but it ended in tragedy when Ueker, 25, was injured in an accident following her Saturday night performance at the Thayer County Speedway in Nebraska. She died early the next morning.

>> Read more trending news

According to the Norfolk Daily News, Ueker, who went by the name Abby Nicole professionally, was a passenger in a utility transport vehicle when she was injured in an accident early Sunday morning. She was taken to a medical facility in Hebron, Nebraska and passed away at 5:30 a.m.

No further details were available about the accident as the investigation continues.

Ueker’s drummer, Char Barnhill, shared a heartbroken message to his friend, following her death.

Barnhill wrote, “I drove home today and wanted you in my passenger seat. Feet on the dash. Wrapped up in your blanket. Singing our favorite songs. You weren’t there, but I still felt you.”

>> Related: NASCAR remembers the tragic death of one of its own 

Ueker had embraced a second chance to share her music with the world after being diagnosed with a brain tumor in 2014. The tumor was located in the left part of the brain that controls speech and memory, but following surgery, she was able to continue her college education in Nebraska and pursue her musical career.

The singer recorded her first EP recently in Nashville and released her debut single, “Cool,” this spring.

She spent time in Music Row where she immersed herself in the city’s rich songwriting community.

>> Related: A Texas country band is involved in fatal accident en route to show

The singer opened shows for fellow country stars, including Kip Moore, Casey Donahew, Chase Bryant and Kane Brown.

Fired Fox News executive proclaims innocence in lawsuit

A Fox News Channel executive fired because of a sexual-harassment case has proclaimed his innocence in a lawsuit, saying he was tricked into signing an agreement to keep quiet about the case.

The network announced earlier this year it was paying $2.5 million to settle an assault claim by former contributor Tamara Holder. But fired executive Francisco Cortes says he had a consensual relationship with Holder.

Cortes says in a lawsuit filed Tuesday he couldn't defend himself at the time of the settlement because he had signed an agreement he believed compelled all sides not to talk. He says he was made a scapegoat in Fox's effort to seem responsive to assault claims.

Cortes is seeking more than $36 million from Fox parent Twenty-First Century Fox.

Fox calls the lawsuit's allegations frivolous and without merit.

President (bleep): TV sitcom bars use of Trump's name

President Donald Trump's name is off limits on the upcoming season of Comedy Central's "Broad City."

Series creators Ilana Glazer and Abbi Jacobson said Tuesday that Trump's name will be bleeped each time it's used in an episode — a move typically reserved for expletives.

Glazer told TV critics that talking constantly about Trump and his administration have made the sound of his name, as she put it, "so gross."

She said she and Jacobson decided Trump has enough air time and they didn't want to share theirs with him.

Glazer and Jacobson star in "Broad City," which returns for its fourth season in September on Comedy Central. The series is about the freewheeling lives of two New York City women.

Darius Rucker Announces Release Date for New Album, 'When Was The Last Time'

Darius Rucker has revealed the release of his fifth studio album.

Continue reading…

Nielsen's top programs for July 17-23

Prime-time viewership numbers compiled by Nielsen for July 17-23. Listings include the week's ranking and viewership.

1. "America's Got Talent" (Tuesday), NBC, 12.57 million.

2. "Game of Thrones," HBO, 9.27 million.

3. "60 Minutes," CBS, 7.36 million.

4. "World of Dance," NBC, 6.91 million.

5. "The Big Bang Theory," CBS, 6.49 million.

6. "NCIS," CBS, 6.49 million.

7. "The Bachelorette," ABC, 6.22 million.

8. "Big Brother" (Wednesday), CBS, 6.19 million.

9. "Celebrity Family Feud," ABC, 6.02 million.

10. "Big Brother" (Sunday), CBS, 5.98 million.

11. "Big Brother" (Thursday), CBS, 5.95 million.

12. "Little Big Shots: Forever Young," NBC, 5.82 million.

13. "American Ninja Warrior," NBC, 5.78 million.

14. "Big Brother" (Friday), CBS, 5.45 million.

15. "Bull," CBS, 5.36 million.

16. Movie: "Descendants 2," Disney, 5.33 million.

17. "NCIS: New Orleans," CBS, 5.325 million.

18. "The Wall," NBC, 4.95 million.

19. "Phelps vs Shark," Discovery, 4.78 million.

20. "Blue Bloods," CBS, 4.67 million.


ABC and Disney are owned by The Walt Disney Co.; HBO is owned by Time Warner; CBS is a division of CBS Corp.; Fox is owned by 21st Century Fox; NBC is owned by NBC Universal; Discovery is owned by Discovery Communications.

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