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Johnny Depp loses libel case against The Sun newspaper

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Johnny Depp has lost his libel case against the Sun newspaper over an article that called him a “wife beater”.

Mr Depp, 57, sued the paper after it claimed he assaulted his ex-wife Amber Heard, which he denies. The Sun said the article was accurate.

Judge Mr Justice Nicol said the Sun had proved what was in the article to be “substantially true”.

A spokesperson for the Sun thanked Ms Heard for “her courage”.

The trial was heard over 16 days in July at the Royal Courts of Justice in London.

What is libel and how does it work?

In a statement, Ms Heard’s lawyer in the US said: “For those of us present for the London High Court trial, this decision and judgment are not a surprise.

“Very soon, we will be presenting even more voluminous evidence in the US.

“We are committed to obtaining justice for Amber Heard in the US Court and defending Ms Heard’s right to free speech.”

Speaking outside court on the last day of the trial in July, Ms Heard said the case had been “incredibly painful” and she just wants to “move on her with her life”.

The judge said: “Although he has proved the necessary elements of his cause of action in libel, the defendants have shown that what they published in the meaning which I have held the words to bear was substantially true.

“I have reached these conclusions having examined in detail the 14 incidents on which the defendants rely, as well as the over-arching considerations which the claimant submitted.”

A spokesperson for the Sun said: “The Sun has stood up and campaigned for the victims of domestic abuse for over 20 years.

“Domestic abuse victims must never be silenced and we thank the judge for his careful consideration and thank Amber Heard for her courage in giving evidence to the court.”

Mr Depp’s case was brought against News Group Newspapers (NGN) – publisher of the Sun – and executive editor Dan Wootton over an article published on the Sun’s website on 27 April 2018.

The article had the headline: “Gone Potty: How can JK Rowling be ‘genuinely happy’ casting wife beater Johnny Depp in the new Fantastic Beasts film?”

Evidence was heard from both Mr Depp and actress Ms Heard, 34, along with friends and relatives of the ex-couple, and several former and current employees.

Mr Depp’s lawyer David Sherborne said his client’s case was about “clearing his name”.

In its defence, the Sun’s publisher said Mr Depp was “controlling and verbally and physically abusive towards Heard, particularly when he was under the influence of alcohol and / or drugs” between early 2013 and May 2016, when the couple split.

The lawyer for the Sun’s publisher, Sasha Wass QC, argued there is “no doubt that Mr Depp regularly and systematically abused his wife. The characterisation that he is a wife-beater is entirely truthful”.

SOURCE: BBC

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Netflix Commits $1 Million towards Scholarships in Africa

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Netflix , the world’s leading entertainment streaming service, has  announced a commitment of US$1 million towards the newly-established Netflix Creative Equity Scholarship Fund (CESF) for film and TV students in Sub-Saharan Africa. The scholarship fund forms part of Netflix’s global Netflix Creative Equity Fund  launched in 2021 to be allocated to various initiatives over the next 5 years with the goal of developing a strong, diverse pipeline of creatives around the world.

The scholarship fund will cover the costs for tuition, accommodation, study materials and living expenses at institutions where beneficiaries have gained admission to pursue a course of study in the TV & film disciplines in the 2022 academic year.

The Netflix CESF is targeted for rollout across the region in the academic year commencing in 2022, starting with an open call for applications in the Southern African Development Community (SADC) region, in partnership with social investment fund management and advisory firm Tshikululu Social Investments (https://bit.ly/3qLORX2) as implementing partner/fund administrator in Southern Africa. Fund administration partners for East Africa and the West and Central Africa regions will be announced in due course.

“Netflix is excited by the potential of the next generation of storytellers and we’re committed to investing in the future of African storytelling in the long-term,” says Ben Amadasun, Netflix Director of Content in Africa. “We believe there are great stories to be told from Africa and we want to play our part by supporting students who are passionate about the film and TV industry so they too, can ultimately contribute to the creative ecosystem by bringing more unique voices and diverse perspectives to African storytelling that our global audiences find appealing.”

How it works:

The Netflix CESF is designed to provide financial assistance, through full scholarships, at partner higher educational institutions (HEI) in South Africa to support the formal qualification and training of aspiring creatives from a SADC region country that wish to study in South Africa, and are able to obtain the necessary permissions to do so. The following countries will be eligible: Angola, Botswana, Comoros, Democratic Republic of Congo, Eswatini, Lesotho, Madagascar, Malawi, Mauritius, Mozambique, Namibia, Seychelles, South Africa, Tanzania, Zambia and Zimbabwe.

In the SADC region, the fund will be available to students who have obtained admission to study in various film & TV-focused disciplines, for the 2022 academic year, at the following partner institutions:

Students interested in applying for scholarships for the 2022 academic year will be able to find additional information, application criteria, a list of partner higher education institutions (HEI) and will be able to apply online on our fund manager and advisory partner, Tshikululu’s website (Tshikululu.org.za). Applications are now open until 04 February 2022 at 23h59 CAT.

The Netflix CESF will also benefit students from other parts of Africa – particularly East Africa as well as West and Central Africa. Fund administration partners for East Africa and the West and Central Africa regions will be announced, along with the calls for applications, in due course.

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Cummings Blasts Weah After Unprovoked Attack On Peaceful Protest

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Liberian opposition leader Alexander B Cummings has launched a stinging attack on President George Weah after government forces today launched an unprovoked attack on peaceful protesters in Monrovia, injuring multiple people.

 

The protesters displayed banners and posters calling for justice and indicating solidarity with Cummings, the leader of the Alternative National Congress (ANC), who is being prosecuted by the Government of Liberia on discredited, politically motivated charges of “forgery and criminal conspiracy”.

 

Cummings accused the Weah administration of abusing its authority to restrict Liberia’s political space ahead of the 2023 presidential elections.

 

“Today, thousands of Liberians took to the streets of Monrovia to exercise their right to peaceful assembly. This right is one of the cornerstones of Liberia’s democracy, bestowed to us through our constitution. These peaceful, lawful protesters have been tear-gassed, wounded, and arrested by police,” Cummings said.

 

“I have stood firm and calm when the government has violated my own democratic rights, through the manipulation of courts and casting false accusations. I cannot remain calm when the democratic rights of my fellow Liberians are violated, and law-abiding citizens are left bleeding on the streets on Liberia.”

 

Footage and pictures of the protest have been circulating widely on Liberian social media, showing multiple injuries and abuses by police.

 

Cummings, a former international business executive, called on Weah to govern in line with international democratic standards, or move aside in favor of others who can.

 

Cummings said, “The weak leadership of President Weah has brought the Liberian economy to the brink of collapse; the events at this protest, combined with the bogus charges levelled against me, is further evidence that he is now abusing his position and using every tool, including democratic institutions, at his disposal to cling to power. Enough is enough.”

 

The ANC leader called on his countrymen to defend the country’s young and hard-won democracy.

 

He said, “Now, I speak to all Liberians – whether my supporters or critics. Liberia cannot continue in this downwards spiral. Our democratic rights are not guaranteed. We – the upholders of democracy – need to protect them. Our chance to choose the government we deserve, and deliver the future we deserve to a future generation of Liberians, comes in 2023. I stand with you. I hear you.”

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Social audio platform Stationhead launches new web interface, a first for live social audio

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Live social audio platform Stationhead is now accessible via its new web interface, making it the first entry in the social audio space to allow users to broadcast their own streaming audio shows—fully integrated with streaming music—directly from the web without using an iOS or Android app. In the wake of the new web interface launch, host engagement has increased by 50%.
Stationhead’s new web platform provides users with the ability to integrate premium recording hardware, giving professional creators even more options. With over 3.5 million active users and 20k+ active hosts spending an average of more than two hours on-platform per day, Stationhead continues to expand and improve its capabilities for all users.
“Stationhead has exploded in popularity this year. Our exponential organic growth is a testament that radio needed to be reinvented for the world we’re living in today,” Ryan Star, CEO and co-founder of Stationhead, tells Billboard. He goes on to explain about the new web interface, “As we continue to grow, it is critical to give our users even more ways to stay connected with each other and for our hosts to be able to take it to the next level.”
Stationhead continues to see extensive adoption by top tier artists since its launch, with Cardi B, Camila Cabello, Megan Thee Stallion, Brandi Carlile and Raekwon all making live appearances on shows. Coldplay is now using Stationhead as their primary radio outlet, featuring broadcasts from members of the band, and Ed Sheeran and Halsey have also held listening parties via Stationhead while The Maine and Vanessa Carlton have established their own artist stations on the platform. Most recently, Bruno Mars and Anderson .Paak joined guest host D-Nice for a listening party debuting their new record as the superduo
Silk Sonic.
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2022 Grammy Awards rescheduled to April 3 in Las Vegas

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The 64th annual Grammy Awards have a new air date. (more…)

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Actors, Keith Powers and Ryan Destiny split after dating for 4 years

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Ryan Destiny and Keith Powers are calling it quits. (more…)

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T.I. says no one can outrap him

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T.I. is laying claim to the throne. (more…)

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