By Piya Sinha-Roy INGLEWOOD Calif. (Reuters) - Blood, buttocks, snakes and angry rants are just some of the surprises served up by the MTV Video Music Awards over the last three decades, and as Sunday's ceremony looms, there is stiff competition to deliver the show's next most outrageous stunt. R&B star Beyonce and newcomer rapper Iggy Azalea lead the nominees at the Video Music Awards, or VMAs, with eight nods each, and winners will receive the "Moonman" statuettes at the newly renovated Forum arena in Inglewood, California. But the night is rarely about the winners - rather, all eyes will be on the performances and the surprises. Since launching in 1984, Viacom Inc-owned MTV's VMAs is synonymous with irreverence and unscripted moments. Key moments include Howard Stern baring his derriere as "Fartman" in 1992, Britney Spears' sultry dance with a snake in 2001, and 2009's eventful show where Lady Gaga smeared blood on herself and a ranting Kanye West ripped Taylor Swift's award out of her hand onstage. Last year, pop star Miley Cyrus became the talk around water coolers after thrusting her latex lingerie-clad "twerking" dance moves both on stage and into the zeitgeist during a raunchy performance of "Blurred Lines" with Robin Thicke. With Cyrus in attendance but not scheduled to perform, the achievement of 2014's most talked-about VMA moment is up for grabs to the boldest competitor. "Every artist looks at the VMAs as one of the most competitive live performance moments, where everybody really brings their A-game and comes to own the night," said Amy Doyle, executive producer of the live telecast ceremony. "Knowing that a lot of historical music moments are made on this stage, they want to be part of VMA history," she said. R&B star Beyonce, who last stole the VMA spotlight in 2011 when she revealed her baby bump on stage, is vying to outdo herself this year with "one of the most ambitious" performances the show has hosted, Doyle teased. "She will be doing something that no other artist has ever tried to do before," Doyle said. With a line-up of performances from Taylor Swift, Ariana Grande and Nicki Minaj, this year's show is also dominated by the ladies of pop music, reflecting a growing prominence of solo female talent in the current music industry. "Females are definitely making the most interesting music in the pop-sphere right now," said 22-year-old British singer Charli XCX, who is nominated in the Artist to Watch category and will perform her hit song "Boom Clap" at the pre-show. "Women strive to control their own careers now and change the way people view them in the pop industry, and I think that's amazing because it's hard to be a woman in this industry." (Editing by Eric Kelsey and Gunna Dickson)
The landlocked country, which relies on India for medical supplies, is seeing a dramatic rise in cases.
New York mayoral candidate Andrew Yang is facing backlash from social media users after posting a tweet on Monday that appears to be pro-Israel. What happened: The former 2020 presidential candidate tweeted on Monday that he is "standing with the people of Israel" and "condemn[s] the Hamas terrorists" amid the conflict between Israel and the Palestinian militant group Hamas. The conflict between Israelis and Palestinians escalated due in part to “heavy-handed Israeli policing of Palestinians during Ramadan and controversial efforts in the Israeli courts to evict Palestinians from their homes,” BBC reported.
- Associated Press
Rep. Jamie Herrera Beutler, one of 10 Republican U.S. House members who voted to impeach Donald Trump for his role in the Jan. 6 Capitol insurrection, says she will vote to retain Rep. Liz Cheney in Republican leadership. Cheney, who also voted to impeach the former president, is expected to be ousted from her position this week. “Jaime will be voting to keep the House leadership in place,” Beutler's spokesman Craig Wheeler told The Seattle Times in an email.
Chrissy Teigen is accused of bullying a 16-year-old TV personality and telling them 'I can't wait for you to die'
Courtney Stodden, who was at the center of celebrity gossip circles in the 2010s, revisited the incident of online harassment in a new interview.
- The Telegraph
A young British woman was strangled to death in front of her baby daughter while her husband was tied up in another room in their home in Athens. The horrific killing of 20-year-old Caroline Crouch in front of her 11-month-old daughter is highly unusual in Greece and has shocked the country. A special police task force has been ordered to investigate the murder, with a manhunt currently underway to identify the attackers.
- Associated Press
Scores of dead bodies have been found floating down the Ganges River in eastern India as the country battles a ferocious surge in coronavirus infections. Authorities said Tuesday they haven't yet determined the cause of death. Health officials working through the night Monday retrieved 71 bodies, officials in Bihar state said.
- Business Insider
Downing Street said the NHS app's COVID-19 "vaccine passport" would be ready on Monday, when the UK's ban on international travel is lifted.
The Duke and Duchess of Sussex are partnering with Procter & Gamble 28 years after Meghan Markle asked the company to change a sexist commercial
Meghan Markle and Prince Harry are partnering with Procter & Gamble. Markle wrote a letter to the company about a sexist commercial when she was 11.
- Business Insider
"I had no inkling really just how conservative he was. I blame myself," Stanford historian David Kennedy told The Washington Post.
The magical school of witchcraft and wizardry is the backdrop for much of the fantasy series, but even superfans might not know these secrets.
- The Independent
Judge says ‘presence of the flag is not in the child’s best interests’
The robbers tried to rob a finance company in Hong Kong's Sheung Shui Town, but the employees quickly noticed they were carrying a water gun.
- Yahoo News
The Republican Party’s leaders are once again failing to confront Donald Trump's sustained war on reality and truth because they think they need his support to have a chance at winning in an upcoming election.
- Lexington Herald-Leader
He posted an apology video last month.
- Reuters Videos
Palestinian militants in the Gaza Strip fired rockets toward the Jerusalem area and southern Israel, carrying out a threat to punish Israel for violent confrontations with Palestinians in Jerusalem.The Gaza health ministry said nine Palestinians, including three children, were killed "in a series of strikes in northern Gaza." It did not explicitly blame Israel for the deaths, in an area that has been a staging ground for militants' cross-border rocket attacks.Rocket sirens sounded in Jerusalem, in nearby towns and in communities near Gaza minutes after the expiry of an ultimatum from the enclave's ruling Hamas Islamist group demanding Israel stand down forces in the al Aqsa mosque compound and another flashpoint in the holy city.Lieutenant-Colonel Jonathan Conricus said that on Monday, at least six of the 45 rockets fired from Gaza were launched towards Jerusalem's outskirts, where a house was hit. No casualties were reported.He said Israel had carried out an air strike in northern Gaza against Hamas militants and was looking into reports that children were killed.
It is not clear where the bodies came from but local media suggest they may be Covid-19 victims.
- Business Insider
US officials believe Russia may be behind the suspected directed-energy attacks that are getting government employees sick around the world, report says
The US investigation into personnel falling ill around the world is focusing on whether Russia's GRU spy agency is involved, officials told Politico.
- The Daily Beast
Carlos Gil/GettyROME—Last week, Salvatore Martello, the mayor of the Sicilian island of Lampedusa, which is just 8 square miles in area, bragged that his island was nearly COVID-free after all of its residents would soon be fully vaccinated.Now, islanders are panicking after more than 2,000 migrants and refugees from all over unvaccinated Africa started arriving in smugglers’ boats on Saturday. By Sunday, 20 boats in all had arrived, carrying some 2,000 desperate souls who had somehow skirted the Libyan Coast Guard and made it all the way across the calm sea.Migrants Rescued at Sea Between Death and HopeLocal business owners voiced concerns that the arrival of migrants en masse has already scared off many people planning their holidays. The owner of the Hotel Baja Turchese said he had received several cancellations by people who were coming because they thought the island would be COVID-free.“The migrants change the dynamic, because even if they have to quarantine and get tested, they have already potentially brought the virus back to the island,” he told The Daily Beast.But many of the asylum-seekers escaping to the island had no choice but to flee the poverty, violence, and persecution they faced in their home countries.On Monday, most of the migrants had been processed and, based on their interviews, were primarily from sub-Saharan Africa, including countries like Eritrea and Somalia that have not yet received a single dose of anti-COVID vaccines. Others were migrant workers who had been laboring in the oil fields of conflict-ridden Libya, where they suffered through consistent wage theft, discrimination and waves of violent civil strife.Because the tiny reception center on the island is not conducive to social distancing, most were made to sleep on the hot pavement under the scorching sun in the dock area to avoid potentially infecting islanders. Until Sunday, the migrant center had been empty for nearly two years.“The situation on Lampedusa is literally explosive,” Domenico Pianese, a police official, said in a statement to local media. “If we have another day like yesterday, with an incessant succession of disembarking, it won’t be possible to manage public and health safety.”The island, which is closer to North Africa than Europe, has long been a magnet for migrants who have crashed their rickety blue fishing boats onto its rocky shores. The island hit a near breaking point in 2011, when thousands of people escaping Arab Spring violence in North Africa arrived.Libya’s Migrant ‘Holding Areas’ Have Become Death CampsBut in 2014, when NGO rescue boats started patrolling the seas after Italy’s government-sponsored Mare Nostrum rescue mission ended, boats carrying migrants were often intercepted and rarely made it to Lampedusa, allowing the island to beef up its tourism industry. This summer, they were hoping for a windfall with stir-crazy Europeans looking for remote beaches and guaranteed sun.It is unclear if Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi’s recent trip to Libya in any way changed the Libyan Coast Guard’s response to the latest exodus. Italy has trained and funded the Libyan coastguards and supplied them with boats, even as they have been accused of—and caught on video committing—horrific human rights abuses, including shooting at and leaving migrants to drown.When they are intercepted by Libyan coastguards, the migrants are usually taken to squalid detention centers until smugglers, working with complicit guards, try to get them across the sea again. On Monday, the Libyan coastguards stopped some 600 migrants on several smuggler ships from departing, according to UNHCR.The migrants and refugees that arrived will all have to quarantine and be tested, Martello says, and many will isolate on ferries docked off the island or be shuttled to the considerably larger land mass of Sicily. A massive ship is on its way to the island to offer additional accommodation. The bulk of the tests should be done by the end of the week. No COVID test results have yet been released.So far this year, some 12,000 migrants have made it across the sea to Italy—four times the number that made it last year in the same time frame. They have come either on their own in fishing boats or were rescued by one of just a couple of NGO boats allowed to deliver them to land. Late Monday, the NGO group Alarm Phone, which tries to alert authorities to boats in trouble, reported that around 400 people were languishing on boats between Malta and Lampedusa. By nightfall, no one had rescued them.In April, Italy was criticized by humanitarian groups after ignoring distress calls from a boat off Libya, which eventually capsized. At least 130 people were thought to have drowned in that accident. So far this year, around 500 migrants are known to have died at sea trying to reach safety. And they won’t be the last, especially if the group on Lampedusa are viewed only as COVID threats.Read more at The Daily Beast.Got a tip? 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- Associated Press
China’s ruling Communist Party has opened a new front in its long, ambitious war to shape global public opinion: Western social media. Liu Xiaoming, who recently stepped down as China’s ambassador to the United Kingdom, is one of the party’s most successful foot soldiers on this evolving online battlefield.
- Business Insider
Jeff Bezos once got so frustrated with Alexa's lack of intelligence that he told Alexa to 'shoot yourself' - and Amazon's engineers heard it
Engineers thought the project was done for, according to Brad Stone's new book, "Amazon Unbound: Jeff Bezos and the Invention of a Global Empire."