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Wednesday, October 28, 2020

Getting to the bottom of best museum exhibit

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Getting to the bottom of best museum exhibit Museums across the world are competing to find which contains the “best bum” as part of a weekly online battle between curators. Yorkshire Museum, in York, launched the search on social media on Friday, with a picture of a Roman marble statuette with what appears to be a bite-sized chunk missing from its behind. The tweet has since received hundreds of replies, with bottoms from a range of items, including statues, paintings, photographs, animals, skeletons, insects and vehicles. The museum has been running the “curator battle” throughout lockdown, giving museums worldwide the chance to display some of their most interesting objects to a global audience. It introduced the latest contest with a tweet, which said: “Today’s theme is #BestMuseumBum! “This cracking Roman marble statuette depicts an athlete at the peak of fitness. It may have decorated the town house of one of Eboracum’s wealthier residents. Has someone taken a bite out of this?” The Royal Armouries, in Leeds, replied with a picture of its collection of Henry VIII’s combat armours. It said: “Same derriere, different decade. “You can track Henry VIII’s burgeoning bottom through our collection of his combat armours. The Tudor tubster went from a modest 32in waist in 1520 to a whopping 51in booty by 1540. “A 60% increase in trunk junk.” International entries included the Ota Memorial Museum of Art in Tokyo, Japan, with its paintings of sumo wrestlers by artist Katsushika Hokusai. It commented: “How about these bums of sumo wrestlers in our collections? “These bums were painted by Hokusai.” Cape Fear Museum in Wilmington, North Carolina, USA, was one of many to offer a saucy seaside postcard as its entry. Tweeting a picture of the card, which features a man waterskiing naked apart from a cowboy hat and boots, the American museum said: “Imagine getting this in the mail!” A spokesman for the York Museums Trust said: “We have been running the curator battles throughout lockdown and they have proved really popular. “It is a chance for museums big and small to share their objects under a given theme to create what essentially become global online exhibitions. “We have run a variety of different themes over the weeks but best museum bums is proving one of the most popular yet – it’s great to see museums around the world sharing their cheekiest objects.” Yorkshire Museum issues a new curator battle on its Twitter feed every Friday. Published: 27/06/2020 by Radio NewsHub

National Hero teachers urged to remain at work during holidays

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"National Hero" teachers urged to remain at work during holidays. Teachers have been urged to do what they can to keep schools open for NHS staff and carers during the two-week Easter holidays in Wales. Education minister Kirsty Williams praised all school staff - describing them as national heroes - for meeting the challenge of keeping more than 700 schools open during the coronavirus epidemic. The children of key workers can continue to go to school even though many of their schoolfriends will be staying at home due to the UK-wide lockdown. "It takes a community to raise a child and that statement has never been more true," Ms Williams said. "In this time of national need, our school community has stepped up and met the challenge. "More than 700 schools have stayed open to look after the children of NHS staff, carers, people who are saving lives. "I am now asking you to do more and keep schools open during what would have been school holidays. "It has never been more important for our children and young people to be surrounded by the people they know and trust. "I am asking you to be flexible, and to offer up some time during the Easter period to continue to support both vulnerable children and the families of our critical workers." The minister said she was not asking school staff to put themselves at risk and reiterated that teachers should follow the latest Welsh Government guidance to make schools safe. She also confirmed that the current provision of assistance to families of children in receipt of free school meals would include the Easter school holiday period. "Wales has a strong tradition of supporting communities and I can confirm that the funding announced last week to support children in receipt of free school meals can be used to carry on providing free school meals over the Easter holiday," she said. "This will allow local authorities to continue with their local arrangements while we establish a national scheme to support children in receipt of free school meals. "In devising a national scheme I will ensure that local authorities will still be able to maintain their own approaches, should they want to do so. "They will have the discretion to opt into a national scheme or continue to provide flexible support if that is their preference, such as direct payments or deliveries to families who are unable to leave their homes, due to isolation requirements. "I believe this will be a sustainable approach, that will enable families to budget and plan their spend according to their needs." Ms Williams added: "Finally, I would like to say how much I, and the people of Wales, appreciate your commitment, your dedication and your goodwill. "For me, and pupils across Wales, school staff are already our everyday heroes. But now in this time of national need - in supporting the fight against coronavirus - you are national heroes." Published: 28/03/2020 by Radio NewsHub

Leading musicians call for government help for live events

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Leading musicians call for government help for live events Ed Sheeran, The Rolling Stones and Sir Paul McCartney are among 1,500 music artists and acts calling for urgent Government action to prevent the end of the UK’s “world-leading” live music industry. The open letter, addressed to Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden, says that with concerts and festivals unlikely to return until 2021 at the earliest, the industry is at imminent risk of suffering “mass insolvencies”. The star-studded list of signees includes Dua Lipa, Skepta, Rita Ora, Coldplay, Eric Clapton, Annie Lennox, Sam Smith, Sir Rod Stewart, Liam Gallagher, Florence + The Machine, George Ezra, Depeche Mode, Iron Maiden, Lewis Capaldi, Little Mix and many more. Many of these artists were due to perform at festivals this summer, including Glastonbury, All Points East, Parklife and TRNSMT, with all events either called off or taken online. In the joint letter, the artists say: “UK live music has been one of the UK’s biggest social, cultural, and economic successes of the past decade. “But, with no end to social distancing in sight or financial support from government yet agreed, the future for concerts and festivals and the hundreds of thousands of people who work in them looks bleak. “Until these businesses can operate again, which is likely to be 2021 at the earliest, government support will be crucial to prevent mass insolvencies and the end of this world-leading industry.” Research carried out by Media Insight Consulting in June 2020 and published alongside the letter indicated that the industry supports 210,000 jobs across the country, while venues, concerts, festivals and production companies added £4.5 billion to the economy in 2019. The figures built on UK Music’s annual Music By Numbers report. Following the publication of the letter on Thursday, artists, venues, festivals and production companies will post films and photos of their last live gigs or events using the hashtag #LetTheMusicPlay. Fans are also encouraged to post about the last gig they attended in a show of support. The letter calls on Mr Dowden to deliver a three-point strategy for the restarting of the live music sector. It asks for a clear, conditional timeline for reopening venues without social distancing, a comprehensive business and employment support package, and VAT exemption on ticket sales. Pop star Dua Lipa said: “It’s incredibly important for artists like myself to speak up and support the live music industry in the UK. “From the very start, playing live concerts up and down the country has been a cornerstone for my own career. “I am proud to have had the chance to play through all the levels … small clubs, then theatres and ballrooms and into arenas, and of course festivals in between each touring cycle. “But the possibility for other emerging British artists to take the same path is in danger if the industry doesn’t receive much needed government support in the interim period before all the various venues, festivals and promoters are ready and able to operate independently again.” Former Oasis frontman Gallagher said: “Amazing gigs don’t happen without an amazing team behind the stage, but they’ll all be out of jobs unless we can get back out there doing what we love. “I can’t wait to get back to playing for the fans. But in the meantime we need to look after the live industry. “There are so many great people in it and we all need to support them until we can get back to playing live.” Ben Lovett, a founding member of Mumford & Sons and venue owner, said: “I’ve dedicated my life to music, on and off the stage. I was a teenager when I started running a monthly new music night called Communion with a couple of friends that has evolved into one of the UK’s most established concert promotions businesses, independent record labels and publishing companies. “I was barely 20 when we were cutting some of the early Mumford & Sons demos in my parents’ attic and spending all of our spare energy in rehearsal rooms, and then cutting our teeth in venues throughout London. “Now I’m a venue owner and operator of Omeara and Lafayette and watching our entire industry get decimated by this virus. Every day, literally, I hear of another friend in music losing their job, shutting up shop, switching careers. “This pandemic has affected everyone, it has taken many lives and forever changed many more. “Live entertainment has not been the headline, nor do I believe it should’ve been, at least until now. “We really have to pay some attention to what our cultural landscape is going to look like on the other side of this and we’re hoping that #letthemusicplay will pull some of this into focus for a minute.” Glastonbury organiser Emily Eavis said: “The UK’s venues, festivals, performers and crew bring so much to this country’s culture and economy, but they are now facing desperate financial challenges. “If the Government doesn’t step up and support the British arts, we really could lose vital aspects of our culture forever.” A Government spokeswoman said: “We are already providing unprecedented financial assistance which many music organisations and artists have taken advantage of such as loans and the job retention scheme and we continue to look at additional support we can provide the industry. “We recognise that this pandemic has created major challenges for the sector and are working closely with them to develop comprehensive guidance for performances and events to return as soon as possible.” Mr Dowden tweeted: “I understand the deep anxiety of those working in music and the desire to see fixed dates for reopening. I am pushing hard for these dates and to give you a clear roadmap back. “These involve very difficult decisions about the future of social distancing, which we know has saved lives.” Lord Grade, a member of the Government’s Cultural Renewal Taskforce, told Good Morning Britain: “People have to got to be a little bit patient. This is a huge problem but I can reassure Sir Paul and everybody else who signed that letter that the Government is on top of this. Everybody wants an instant answer, it ain’t that simple. “The Government is well aware of the value of the creative industries to the UK economy. It’s the one growth area of the economy that kept on growing through the recession, so just be a little bit patient.” Published: 02/07/2020 by Radio NewsHub

Sales at John Lewis fall sharply

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Sales at John Lewis fall sharply Total sales were down 17 per cent since the middle of March John Lewis sales have plunged after it was forced to shut stores in face of coronavirus despite a surge in online orders. The John Lewis Partnership group also said its Waitrose supermarket chain saw sales surge as shoppers stocked up on essentials. However, the John Lewis department store chain saw total sales tumble 17% in the weeks since March 15, after it closed all its sites on March 23. The high street retailer warned that a worst-case scenario would see the chain's annual sales plunge 35%. Nevertheless, John Lewis said online sales have jumped 84% as shoppers purchased more technology and food preparation products. The retailer said demand has particularly spiked in some of its "less profitable lines", with people "buying more Scrabble but fewer sofas". Published: 21/04/2020 by Radio NewsHub

Jack Grealish deeply embarrassed by lockdown incident

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Jack Grealish ‘deeply embarrassed’ by lockdown incident Jack Grealish is hoping to draw a line under the controversy surrounding him agreeing to visit a friend during the coronavirus lockdown in March. Police were called to the Dickens Heath area of Solihull to reports a Range Rover had crashed into two parked cars, with pictures emerging online of the Aston Villa captain at the scene in slippers and a bright blue hoodie. The midfielder later said he was “deeply embarrassed” by the incident – less than a day after launching a video appeal for people to stay at home during the Government-enforced lockdown. And in an interview with The Guardian, he said: “I knew straight away that I had to come out and apologise myself, which I wanted to do; I didn’t want to hide behind a club statement. “I am old enough now and mature enough to know that I’d done wrong. “I know I am a footballer but I’m still human and we all make mistakes and straight away I knew I’d made a mistake. I’m also a role model as well to a lot of people out there, especially young children who might look up to me. “So I try to act in respectable manner but since then I have tried to keep my head down, work hard and do as much charitable work as possible.” Grealish, who has donated £150,000 to Birmingham Children’s Hospital and raised a further £55,000 for the NHS by raffling off one off his Villa shirts, accepts his misdeeds will always be placed under greater scrutiny. He added: “That’s just the way things are in this world that we live in. Everyone knows when you do something it’s always going to be the bad stuff that gets out there. “That’s what I have to deal with. I respect my job, absolutely love what I do, and wouldn’t change it for the world.” Published: 03/06/2020 by Radio NewsHub

Live Nation launches socially distanced drive in gig series

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Live Nation launches socially-distanced drive-in gig series Dizzee Rascal, Kaiser Chiefs, Gary Numan and Spandau Ballet’s Tony Hadley will perform during a series of socially-distanced drive-in music concerts this summer. The programme will visit 12 venues, such as stadiums, racecourses and airports, across the UK between July and September, in cities and towns including London, Liverpool, Bristol and Edinburgh. Acts will perform to about 300 cars at each show, backed by concert-quality sound with a full lighting rig and LED screens. The event will be among the first of its kind in the UK during the coronavirus pandemic, as venues both large and small remain shuttered. There will also be performances from Beverley Knight, Brainiac, Bjorn Again, The Brand New Heavies, Cream Classical Ibiza, Embrace, Jack Savoretti, The Lightning Seeds, Nathan Dawe, Reggae Roast Vs Gentleman’s Dub Club, Russell Watson, Sheku and Isata Kanneh-Mason, Sigala, The Streets, The Snuts and Skindred. Utilita Live From The Drive-In comes from promoter Live Nation and Utilita Energy and follows a spike in the popularity of drive-in cinemas around the world, where social-distancing is guaranteed. Each drive-in event will comply with Government rules on social-distancing, with audience members given a designated area around their cars within which they can stand and sit. The programme will also feature West End theatre, interactive science shows, DJs and family events. It will also visit Cheltenham Racecourse, Newmarket Racecourse, Leeds East Airport and the Resorts World Arena in Birmingham. There will be morning, afternoon, early evening and late evening performances, depending on the artist and productions. Singer-songwriter Savoretti said: “I can’t wait to get back out on stage. I have always romanticised about the drive-in culture and hope to bring some of that romance to these drive-in shows.” Published: 19/06/2020 by Radio NewsHub

McGregor retires from UFC

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McGregor retires from UFC UFC fighter Conor McGregor has announced he is retiring from the sport. The Irish former featherweight and lightweight champion tweeted the news following the conclusion of the UFC 250 event. He wrote: “Hey guys I’ve decided to retire from fighting. “Thank you all for the amazing memories! What a ride it’s been! Here is a picture of myself and my mother in Las Vegas post one of my world title wins! Pick the home of your dreams Mags I love you! Whatever you desire it’s yours.” The 31-year-old retires with a 22-4 record. McGregor previously said he was finished with the sport in 2016 and 2019 before ultimately returning to the octagon. Published: 07/06/2020 by Radio NewsHub

New pictures mark Duke of Cambridges 38th birthday and Fathers Day

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New pictures mark Duke of Cambridge’s 38th birthday and Father’s Day The Duke of Cambridge smiles as he is surrounded by his three children in new pictures marking both his birthday and Father’s Day. William turns 38 on Sunday, and was pictured at his Anmer Hall mansion on the Sandringham estate in Norfolk, where he has been staying with the Duchess of Cambridge, and their children Prince George, Princess Charlotte and Prince Louis. In one image taken by Kate, William and his three youngsters sit on a tree-swing posing for the camera, and in another the light-haired brood clamber on top of their father as he lies grinning on the ground. William, who is second in line to the throne, is just one of a number of royals who have celebrated birthdays during lockdown. The Queen turned 94 and also marked her official birthday, the Duke of Edinburgh turned 99 earlier this month, while Louis turned two in April and Charlotte reached age five in May. The royals have stayed apart during the pandemic, and are scattered around the country at their various homes. William, a future king, has kept himself busy during the crisis with royal video calls, and in the past week, stepping out for the re-starting of physical royal engagements – albeit with social distancing as a key element. The duke is the most senior royal in line to the throne who is not considered most at risk of coronavirus because of his age. The monarch is in the high-risk category, and the Prince of Wales is 71, although Charles has already caught and recovered from the Covid-19 illness. Clarence House released a photo of William with his father to mark the day. The image of the pair in an affectionate embrace was taken by the Duchess of Cambridge at Sandringham in December. The duke is also apart from his brother the Duke of Sussex, who is living in Los Angeles after quitting the monarchy for a freer life and the ability to earn his own money. The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge released the same photo on social media along with a photo of Kate as a child, sitting on the knee of her father Michael Middleton. Prince William Arthur Philip Louis of Wales was born second in line to the throne at St Mary’s Hospital, Paddington, at 9.03pm on June 21 1982. He weighed 7lb 1 1/2oz and was the first born son of heir to the throne Charles and the Princess of Wales. At just nine months old, he accompanied his parents on their six-week official visit to Australia and New Zealand, a move which was a break from royal tradition. His mother Diana, who separated from Charles in 1992, died in a car crash in 1997. He was just 15 and Harry 12, and the brothers walked behind the princess’s coffin during a funeral procession through London. William met Kate Middleton at St Andrews University in Fife, Scotland, and the pair wed in 2011 after dating for more than eight years. He was made the Duke of Cambridge by his grandmother the Queen on the morning of his wedding. The couple welcomed their first child George – also a future king – in 2013, followed by Charlotte in 2015 and Louis in 2018, and the family has been pictured together during the coronavirus crisis, joining in with the clap for carers. William has opened up about his life in lockdown, in a variety of calls with charities, saying the success of his family meals depend very much on “what’s on the table”. At his first face-to-face meeting with the public in months when he met ambulance crews in Norfolk on Tuesday, he confessed he was looking forward to being able to go to the local pub for a pint when it was allowed. He also joked: “I’m worried about the waistline of the nation as well, with all the chocolate and cakes. “I’ve done a lot of baking at home. Chocolate goes down very well.” Kate has revealed they have had “ups and downs, probably like lots of families” and she found keeping to a strict regime had helped, but home schooling had been challenging. In recent years, the duke has focused his work on mental health, particularly trying to break the stigma surrounding men’s mental health and harnessing the power of football to do so. Published: 21/06/2020 by Radio NewsHub

Second Reading terror victim named as US citizen Joe Ritchie Bennett

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Second Reading terror victim named as US citizen Joe Ritchie-Bennett A second victim of the Reading terror attack has been named locally as 39-year-old Joe Ritchie-Bennett, a US citizen who reportedly moved to the UK 15 years ago. According to tributes posted on social media, Mr Ritchie-Bennett was friends with 36-year-old teacher James Furlong, the only other victim to have been named so far. Mr Ritchie-Bennett’s Facebook page states he is originally from Philadelphia in Pennsylvania, and US ambassador to the UK Woody Johnson has confirmed an American citizen was killed in the attack in Forbury Gardens. The Philadelphia Inquirer newspaper spoke with Mr Ritchie-Bennett’s father and said he initially worked for a law firm in London after moving to the UK a decade-and-a-half ago. He later joined a Dutch pharmaceutical company which has its headquarters in Reading about 10 years ago. Mr Ritchie-Bennett’s brother, Robert Ritchie, is a captain in the Philadelphia police force and told the local newspaper: “I love him. I always have. I always will. He was a great guy. “We used to play together every day. We rode bikes together every day. Our family is heartbroken and beside ourselves. He did not deserve to go out like this.” Mr Ritchie-Bennett’s father, also called Robert, said: “I absolutely love my son with all of my heart and all of my soul. “We’re mourning, and we’re trying to decide what we’re going to do. It’s 3,500 miles away. They are still in lockdown over there with the coronavirus, and I don’t know what else to say.” Mr Johnson tweeted: “I offer my deepest condolences to the families of those killed in the attack on June 20. “To our great sorrow, this includes an American citizen. Our thoughts are with all those affected. “We condemn the attack absolutely and have offered our assistance to British law enforcement.” Published: 22/06/2020 by Radio NewsHub

Test and Protect advice to be sent around Scotland

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Test and Protect advice to be sent around Scotland Information about the Test and Protect system, and what to do if someone develops coronavirus symptoms, is to be sent to households across Scotland. The NHS programme is designed to reduce the risk of the virus spreading and was rolled out across Scotland on May 28. It is being issued as the country moves into phase two of the Scottish exit strategy with more restrictions being lifted and the new message to “Stay safe. Protect others. Save lives”. Health Secretary Jeane Freeman said: “NHS Scotland’s Test and Protect plays a vital and central role in protecting all of us and will ensure we move through the phases of our exit strategy. “It is a collective effort to help us protect others and save lives. “We will continue to lift restrictions if we break the chain of transmission and suppress the spread of the virus. “We need everyone who has symptoms of Covid-19 to isolate and book a test immediately and to work with NHS Scotland contact tracers to identify who they may have had close contact with. “Please keep the leaflet handy so you know exactly what to do if you need to self-isolate and how to access any support you need. “NHS Test and Protect is central to keeping this virus under control but so too is physical distancing, wearing a face covering, avoiding crowds and good hand and cough hygiene. “Together all of this will help us stay safe, protect others and save lives.” People with symptoms are urged to get tested straight away, with positive cases then referred to contact tracers. Published: 21/06/2020 by Radio NewsHub