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Woman, 74, and her late boyfriend are exonerated of 1987 rape and murder of her 4-year-old great niece after spending 27 years in prison

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A 74-year-old woman and her late boyfriend have been exonerated of the 1987 rape and murder of her four-year-old niece after spending nearly 30 years behind bars.

Joyce Watkins was convicted of the rape and murder of her great niece Brandi in 1988. Police and prosecutors said she and her boyfriend, Charles Dunn, brutalized the girl so badly that she died in the nine hours that she was in their care.

Watkins, then aged 38, took Brandi to a hospital in Nashville nine hours after collecting her from another woman’s home, where the child had spent two months and where neighbors suspected she was being abused.

A doctor ruled that Brandi – who was unconscious – had been raped, and that she died as the result of an injuries inflicted in the nine hours Watkins and her boyfriend had her in their care.

Dunn, who was known as Charlie, died in prison in 2015 and Watkins was released that same year after serving 27 years.

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On Wednesday, a judge overturned their convictions – Dunn’s posthumously – after an appeal from The Innocence Project which questioned the doctor’s analysis of when Brandi had been raped and injured.

It found there was no proof of when the girl had been brutalized, and that the doctor made the assertion by looking at marks on Brandi’s skin rather than any internal injuries.

A report by the Nashville Criminal Review Unit also suggests that the girl’s then 19-year-old male cousin, who was enlisted in the Marines at the time, may have been the one who raped and beat her.

No one else has been arrested for the crime and it’s unclear if he is still alive.

After the hearing, Watkins said: ‘It’s been a long struggle, but I want to thank the DA’s office.

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‘I want to thank Mr. Gichner here with the Tennessee Innocence Project and all the people for their prayers and just helping me to get out of this mess which cost me half of my life for nothing.’

Charlie Dunn’s daughter Jackie said: ‘It’s a bittersweet day. I wish my daddy was here to witness this day. He knew he was innocent. He knew he did not commit those crimes.

‘He lost his mother, his two brothers, his sister and his son. So many people lost and he was innocent. He died in a place he was never supposed to be.’

The report also detailed how Brandi had suffered bruises while in the care of Rose Williams, the Marine’s mother, and that she was reported to social services.

Brandi’s mother, Louis Lockhart, has long supported Watkins. She said on Wednesday that she never believed she was responsible for killing her daughter.

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On June 27, 1987, Watkins and her boyfriend drove from their home in Nashville to Kentucky to collect Brandi from Williams’s home at her request.

The child had gone there to spend a few weeks with Williams’ kids, who were four and eight, but she behaved ‘strangely’ while there, according to Williams.

Neighbors at the time reported watching Brandi nearly fall asleep while standing up. They said she seemed like an ‘unhappy’ child who never played, and often had bruise on her body.

Williams called Watkins on June 26, 1987, begging her to come and collect Brandi because her mother wouldn’t.

The report says she was in a rush to get Watkins and her boyfriend out of the house with Brandi, and didn’t invite them in as she usually would have done.

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In the car ride home, Brandi complained that she was thirsty. When they got back to home an hour later, Watkins noticed blood in the girl’s underwear and her mother.

She said she felt they should go to the hospital but the girl’s mother, who lived in Georgia at the time, didn’t think it was necessary.

The next day, at 9am, Watkins decided to take the girl to the hospital.

She had been conscious that morning – something that was corroborated by Watkins’ sister – but by the time she arrived in the ER, was no longer awake.

Doctors ruled that she had ‘severe vaginal trauma’ and a head injury. She was placed on life support but died the following day.

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The medical examiner, Dr. Greta Harlan, told the trial that the injuries had been inflicted in the nine hours the girl was in Watkins and Dunn’s care.

Initially, she had said they could have been inflicted in the 48 hours before her death, and modern medical advances have proven that it could have been even longer.

The pair were arrested and in 1988 were found guilty of first degree murder and aggravated rape. They appealed their convictions but an appeals court upheld them in 1990.

The exoneration report reveals how detectives failed to question many others who could have been involved or who had access to Brandi while she was at the home.

It was on a military base, the report notes, where dozens of adults had access to her.

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SOURCE: Dailymail

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Iran’s president and foreign minister killed in helicopter crash

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Iran president and foreign minister killed in helicopter crash

Iran’s President, Ebrahim Raisi, has been killed in a helicopter crash in a mountainous area of north-western Iran, the country’s state media has said.

He was travelling with Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian who also died after the aircraft came down on Sunday.
It was initially reported that the helicopter carrying the men and their entourage had made a rough landing in foggy conditions.

Mr Raisi, 63, was tipped as a potential successor to Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.

The helicopter came down in a remote area of north-western Iran on the way back from Azerbaijan where Mr Raisi had been meeting President Ilham Aliyev.

On Monday, the Iranian Red Crescent confirmed the bodies of the president and others who died in the crash had been recovered and search operations had ended.
“We are in the process of transferring the bodies of the martyrs to Tabriz [in Iran’s northwest],” the organisation’s chief said on state television.
According to local media he had been in the area to open the Qiz Qalasi and Khodaafarin dams.
Ahead of the confirmation of the death, vigils had taken place in the capital, Tehran, with pictures showing people kneeling in prayer.

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Mr Raisi, 63, was a hard-line cleric close to Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, and was considered to be a potential successor to the 85-year-old.

His election as president in 2021 consolidated the control of conservatives over every part of the Islamic Republic.
In a statement following his death, the Iranian government said it would continue to operate “without disruption”.
A number of countries have expressed their condolences following President Raisi’s death.

In Pakistan, Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif announced a national day of mourning and described the Mr Raisi and Mr Amir-Abdollahian as “good friends of Iran”.

Writing on social media, India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi said he was “deeply saddened and shocked” by the deaths.
Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said his government was “in full contact and co-ordination with the Iranian authorities” and was ready to “provide any necessary support”.

Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov expressed his condolences and said the president and foreign minister were “true, reliable friends of our country”.

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Studio Ghibli Honorary Palme d’or of the 77th Festival de Cannes

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Apple Music’s Top 100 Albums of All Time Day 2: 50 Cent, Snoop Dogg, Lady Gaga, Neil Young and more

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Today we’re excited to reveal albums 90-81 on Apple Music’s 100 Best Albums countdown.

For in-depth analysis of each album, archival interviews and so much more please visit the new Apple Music 100 Best microsite – updated daily at 9am PT to make it easy for fans to follow along with us.

Albums 90-81 on Apple Music’s 100 Best Albums list 

  • 90: Back in Black – AC/DC
  • 89: The Fame Monster (Deluxe Edition) – Lady Gaga
  • 88: I Put a Spell on You – Nina Simone
  • 87: Blue Lines – Massive Attack
  • 86: My Life – Mary J Blige
  • 85: Golden Hour – Kacey Musgraves
  • 84: Doggystyle – Snoop Dogg
  • 83: Horses – Patti Smith
  • 82: Get Rich or Die Tryin’ – 50 Cent
  • 81: After the Gold Rush – Neil Young
Apple Music’s 100 Best Albums is a modern, 21st century list of the greatest records ever made, crafted by Apple Music’s team of experts alongside a select group of artists, including Maren Morris, Pharrell Williams, J Balvin, Charli XCX, Mark Hoppus, Honey Dijon, and Nia Archives, as well as songwriters, producers, and industry professionals. The list is an editorial statement, fully independent of any streaming numbers on Apple Music — a love letter to the records that have shaped the world we live and listen in.

Press Release: https://www.apple.com/newsroom/2024/05/apple-music-celebrates-the-launch-of-inaugural-100-best-albums-list/
Apple Music 100 Best: https://100best.music.apple.com/us

Tomorrow we will reveal albums 80-79 on the list. Follow @AppleMusic on TikTok, Instagram, YouTube, Facebook and X and be part of the conversation.

 

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Paris 2024 in Cannes!

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The Festival de Cannes and the City of Cannes are gearing up for Paris 2024! Sports personalities and athletes will be the guests of an exceptional evening on Tuesday, May 21, for the premiere screening of Mickaël Gamrasni’s documentary Olympiques! La France des Jeux, with its most prestigious ambassador, the Olympic flame!

When the Olympiads of sport meet the Olympiads of cinema, fraternity, the celebration of peoples and a humanist ideal converge on the red carpet and climb the steps like a podium before coming together on the screen.
Because cinema and sport are languages that transcend words and overcome borders, they coalesce into pacifist values. This will be the motto of this festive evening around the screening of Mickaël Gamrasni’s documentary, Olympiques! La France des Jeux, featuring David Douillet, Guy Drut, Jean Galfione, Céline Gerny, Laura Flessel, Laure Manaudou, Cédric Nankin and some twenty Olympic and Paralympic champions.

Aged 20 to 100, they tell their stories and trace France’s incredible Olympic genealogy, from the creation of the Games in 1896 to recent exploits, from Charles Coste, gold medallist in 1948, to Romain Cannone, gold medallist in 2021, including Kiki Caron, who lit up Tokyo 1964, and Béatrice Hess and Nikola Karabatic, four and three-time gold medallists.

In this film, produced by France Télévisions, three generations of French athletes are brought together for the first time, revealing why France has such a special relationship with the Games.
“What a joy it is to welcome such a host of Olympic stars,” Iris Knobloch, President of the Festival de Cannes, and Thierry Frémaux, General Delegate, said. “We look forward to continuing to write the great history between sport and the Seventh Art, and to delving with as much fervor as happiness into a century of participation in the Olympic Games, which have left an indelible mark on our collective memory.”

Tony Estanguet, Marie-José Pérec, Thierry Rey, Iliana Rupert, Marie Patouillet, Nélia Barbosa, Alexis Hanquiquant, Christine Caron and Brahim Asloum will flank Arnaud Assoumani (Paralympic Champion in Para Athletics), who will carry the Olympic flame onto the red carpet. Paris 2024, in agreement with the Mairie de Cannes, is offering the flame to the Festival, as a preview on the red carpet, before it is welcomed in the City of Cannes by all Cannois on June 18.

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© Elephant. Tous droits réservés

Olympiques ! – La France des Jeux

A film by Mickaël Gamrasni

Written by Mickaël Gamrasni and Benoit Heimermann

Produced by Elephant Adventures (Gaël Leiblang, Philippe Pécoul), with the support of France Télévisions

Narrated by Marion Cotillard

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Usher, Solange and Travis Scott Albums Launch Apple Music’s Top 100 Best Albums of All Time list

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Apple Music today announced the release of its 100 Best Albums of all time, a celebratory list of the greatest records ever made, crafted by Apple Music’s team of experts alongside a select group of artists, including Maren Morris, Pharrell Williams, J Balvin, Charli XCX, Mark Hoppus, Honey Dijon, and Nia Archives, as well as songwriters, producers, and industry professionals. The list is an editorial statement, fully independent of any streaming numbers on Apple Music — a love letter to the records that have shaped the world music lovers live and listen in.

Apple Music is bringing its 100 Best Albums to life with a countdown celebration beginning today, revealing 10 albums each day for the next 10 days, along with a brand-new 100 Best microsite, new and exclusive content, dedicated Apple Music Radio episodes, and so much more. The countdown will culminate on the final day with the reveal of Apple Music’s top 10 albums of all time during a broadcast radio special.

“100 Best brings together all the things that make Apple Music the ultimate service for music lovers — human curation at its peak, an appreciation for the art of storytelling, and unparalleled knowledge of music and an even deeper love for it,” said Rachel Newman, Apple Music’s senior director of content and editorial. “We have been working on this for a very long time, and it’s something we are all incredibly proud of and excited to share with the world.”

“Putting this list together was a true labor of love, both in that it was incredibly difficult to do and in that we are all so passionate about it,” said Zane Lowe, Apple Music’s global creative director and lead anchor for Apple Music 1. “We were tasked with selecting the 100 best — that’s practically mission impossible. But as music fans, it was also amazing to really take a minute and sit and think about the music and albums and artists that we love so much in this context. If this list sparks more debate among fans outside of Apple Music and gets people talking passionately about the music they love, then we’ve done what we set out to do.”

Introducing the Top 100 – 91 Albums

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The first 10 albums, revealed today, offer a glimpse into Apple Music’s unique approach with 100 Best. With seven of the 10 records hailing from the 21st century, two from the 90s, only one from the 70s, and various genres represented, the list spotlights contemporary artists like Tyler, The Creator; Robyn; Lorde; Travis Scott; Solange; Burial; and more who have helped define this century through their music and its influence on others.

100. Body Talk, Robyn
99. Hotel California, Eagles
98. ASTROWORLD, Travis Scott
97. Rage Against the Machine, Rage Against the Machine
96. Pure Heroine, Lorde
95. Confessions, USHER
94. Untrue, Burial
93. A Seat at the Table, Solange
92. Flower Boy, Tyler, The Creator
91. Listen Without Prejudice Vol. 1, George Michael

“There are so many fun facts for our listeners to discover about these albums,” said Scott Plagenhoef, Apple Music’s global head of music programming. “For example, two of the records revealed today were promoted without the image of the artist, but for opposite reasons — Burial’s Untrue because the artist was still operating anonymously at the time, and George Michael’s Listen Without Prejudice Vol. 1 because the artist was actually retreating from fame.”

Discover, Learn, and Share with Friends

To accompany the list, today Apple Music also revealed a dedicated microsite that will update every day of the countdown, making it easy for listeners to follow along. Available now at 100best.music.apple.com, the new 100 Best microsite spotlights in-depth analysis of each album, archival interviews, and more, and makes it easy for fans to share their favourite albums with friends and on their social channels.

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Explore records 100-91 of Apple Music’s 100 Best Albums at 100best.music.apple.com.

Follow Along on Apple Music Radio

Fans will also be treated to a full 100 Best Albums Radio takeover on Apple Music Hits, where round-the-clock specials with Apple Music Radio hosts and daily specials at 9 a.m. PT (noon ET) will be broadcasted, plus exclusive content will drop every day on demand on Apple Music and Apple Podcasts.

The last 10 albums will be revealed on Wednesday, May 22, with a special roundtable discussion broadcasting globally on Apple Music that features guest artists Nile Rodgers and Maggie Rogers reflecting on the list alongside Apple Music’s own Zane Lowe and Ebro Darden. Lowe will also curate a special mashup-style DJ mix featuring songs from all 100 Best Albums.

Apple Music will keep the momentum going after the countdown ends with an additional week of 100 Best Albums Radio takeover on Apple Music Hits.

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All 100 Best Albums recipients will be given an award comprised of blasted anodized aluminum, sourced entirely from recycled Apple products, in a unique polished PVD gold. The design on the back of the award takes its cues from a vinyl LP record and is inscribed with the artist’s name, the album title, and the album’s year of release.

Explore Apple Music’s 100 Best Albums at 100best.music.apple.com and check back daily to discover the full list. Get exclusive content by following @AppleMusic on TikTok, Instagram, YouTube, Facebook, and X.

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Ice Spice returns with “Gimmie A Light”

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Today, GRAMMY® Award-nominated global superstar Ice Spice returns with “Gimmie A Light” — the first official single from her forthcoming debut album Y2K. Set for release via 10K Projects/Capitol Records, the massively anticipated Y2K is due out later this year. Go here to stream/download “Gimmie A Light,” and check out the video here.

 

Produced by Ice Spice’s longtime collaborator RiotUSA — who also handled production on career-defining hits like her gold-certified breakout single “Munch (Feelin U)” — “Gimmie A Light” centers on a sample from dancehall legend Sean Paul’s 2002 single “Gimme the Light.” With all the effortless star power that made her an icon soon after emerging from New York drill scene, the Bronx Baddie unleashes a two-minute anthem spotlighting her whip-smart bars, rapid-fire delivery, and potent vocal command. Slick and self-possessed, the result is a high-energy track stacked with bouncy beats and irresistible hooks.

 

For the video to “Gimmie A Light,” Ice Spice once again joined forces with fellow New York City natives George and Frederick Buford, aka The Evil Twins — the fast-rising filmmaking duo behind the visuals for past hits like “Deli” and “Boy’s a liar Pt. 2” (her platinum-certified, chart-topping 2023 collaboration with PinkPantheress). Equal parts fantasy and hyperreality, “Gimmie A Light” places Ice Spice in a dizzying sequence of high-glamour scenarios: sipping Patrón El Alto on the dancefloor with a shiny piece of bling bearing her own likeness; posing with fat stacks of cash in her J’adore Dior baby tee; twerking in the back of a hot-pink Range Rover, surrounded by stuffed animals as the smoke-filled SUV speeds through the streets of her hometown.

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Last month at Coachella, Ice Spice thrilled the crowd with a sneak-peak performance of “Gimmie A Light.” Her debut at the famed festival instantly drew raves from the likes of UPROXX, who proclaimed that Ice Spice “will almost certainly headline Coachella in the near future if her trajectory continues.”

 

Due out later this year, Y2K has been hailed as one of the most highly anticipated albums of 2024. With its title nodding to her birthday (January 1, 2000), Ice Spice’s full-length debut will also include her recent smash single “Think U The Shit (Fart).” The album arrives on the heels of her widely acclaimed debut EP Like..? — a 2023 release that landed on best-of-the-year lists from Pitchfork, Rolling Stone, The New York Times, and more and featured hits like “Munch (Feelin U)” and the platinum-selling “In Ha Mood” and “Princess Diana.”

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