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Rita Ora apologises after holding birthday party with 30 friends in London | Ents & Arts News



Rita Ora's performance was it by technical difficulties, Macy's says

Rita Ora says she’s “deeply sorry” for breaking lockdown rules by celebrating her birthday with 30 friends.

The How We Do singer held what she says was a “small gathering” in a west London restaurant over the weekend to mark her 30th.

Celebrity guests included Cara Delevingne and her sister Poppy, and former The Only Way Is Essex star Vas J Morgan.

Scotland Yard confirmed that officers had been called to an address in Notting Hill on Saturday night amid a breach of COVID-19 regulations.

Current lockdown rules in England state that restaurants and pubs should be open for takeaway and delivery only, and that people are not allowed to mix indoors or outside in groups larger than six.

Ora posted an apology on Instagram admitting that she was “embarrassed” because she knows how hard people have worked to combat coronavirus.

In a statement on her Instagram story, Ora wrote: “Hello all, I attended a small gathering with some friends to celebrate my 30th birthday.

“It was a spur of the moment decision made with the misguided view that we were coming out of lockdown and this would be OK…

“I’m deeply sorry for breaking the rules and in turn understand that this puts people at risk.

“This was a serious and inexcusable error of judgement. Given the restrictions, I realise how irresponsible these actions were and I take full responsibility.

“I feel particularly embarrassed knowing first-hand how hard people have worked to combat this terrible illness and being fully aware of the sacrifices that people and businesses have made to help keep us all safe.

“Even though this won’t make it right, I want to sincerely apologise.”

Ora had shared photos of the plush west London venue earlier in the week

Ora’s mother, psychiatrist Vera Sahatciu, returned to work at the NHS earlier this year to help during the coronavirus pandemic.

A few days after the celebration, Ora had shared photos and videos of her in her shiny silver and black latex outfit, in a balloon and flower filled room on the night of her party.

In a message she wrote: “Me and cake and some trousers I couldn’t breathe in. Thank you for all the love it felt weird not doing anything for my bday so being me I dressed up and ate cake.”

The singer has previously said she has used lockdown to work on her third album and catch up on some sleep.

Ora’s coronavirus breach, along with several other celebrity gatherings over lockdown, has prompted Downing Street to remind people that the rules apply to everyone.

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The Prime Minister’s official spokesman said: “It’s important that everybody in society sets an example by following the rules – that is for every member of the public, including celebrities.

“Throughout the pandemic we’ve been clear that it’s vital for everyone to abide by the rules in order to suppress the virus and reduce the transmission, but enforcement matter is for the police.

“The Prime Minister has been clear of the need for everybody across the country to continue to abide by the rules in order to reduce the transmission of the virus, but it’s up to police to decide what action to take.”

Lockdown restrictions in England will lift on Wednesday, and the tier system will kick in meaning that different areas have to comply with different restrictions.

London will be placed under tier 2 which means that restaurants will be able invite customer in as long as substantial food is served.


John Lennon was ‘bubbling over with excitement’ at UK return, letter shows | Ents & Arts News



John Lennon with Yoko Ono

John Lennon was “bubbling over with excitement” about returning to the UK in a phone call the night before he was assassinated in New York, according to a newly released letter by his aunt.

The former Beatle was shot and killed outside his home in Manhattan on 8 December 1980 by Mark Chapman.

The following month, his aunt Mimi Smith replied in a letter to a journalist, Judith Simons of the Daily Express, who had sent her condolences over the assassination.

John Lennon, pictured with Yoko Ono, was murdered on 8 December 1980

“Dear Judith, Thank you for your letter, kind thoughts,” Ms Smith wrote.

“I’m trying to accept this terrible thing which has happened, but finding it very hard. He had such faith himself, I’m trying to do the same.

“He phoned the night before, witty, funny, bubbling over with excitement, coming over very soon. Couldn’t wait to see me. So I’m glad of that.

“If I’m in London, I’ll get in touch with you. Kind thoughts to you too. Mimi.”

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The letter “provides solid confirmation that, but for his murder, Lennon would have returned to Britain during 1981 for the first time in 10 years”, said Beatles historian Mark Lewisohn.

The letter from the estate of Judith Simons was recently discovered by Tracks Ltd, which offers valuations of music memorabilia.

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Larry King: US talk show host dies weeks after testing positive for COVID-19 | US News



Former President Bill Clinton (R) speaks with Larry King on CNN in New York on September 3, 2002

US talk show host Larry King has died at the age of 87.

The TV star was taken to hospital in Los Angeles in late December after testing positive for coronavirus.

King, whose career spanned more than six decades, had Type 2 diabetes and had suffered from lung cancer, angina and heart attacks in recent years.

Former US president Bill Clinton (R) speaks with Larry King on CNN in September 2002

King’s broadcasting fame began in the 1970s with his radio programme The Larry King Show, which he hosted on the network Mutual Broadcasting System.

He then went on to have his own television show, Larry King Live on CNN, between 1985 and 2010, where his guests included politicians, celebrities, sports stars and well-known conspiracy theorists

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You Me At Six: ‘Everything is at stake’ over visa-free touring in Europe | Ents & Arts News



Josh Franceschi of You Me At Six performs at the Isle of Wight Festival in 2015. Pic: AP

You Me At Six frontman Josh Franceschi has told Sky News “everything is at stake” over the issue of visa-free travel for musicians in Europe – and has called on the government to “prove us all wrong and show they care”.

The singer-songwriter spoke out about the issue as the British rock band’s seventh studio album, SUCKAPUNCH, claimed the number one spot in the UK album charts.

A massive 85% of the first-week sales were physical copies of the record, the band’s second to top the UK charts, and more than half were purchased from independent record stores – something of a boost for the industry while COVID-19 lockdown restrictions are still in place.

Like all bands, You Me At Six have been unable to tour. Pic: AP, 2015

Like all other musicians at the moment, You Me At Six are unable to tour due to the pandemic. But in recent weeks, the issue of playing shows in Europe following Brexit has also made headlines, after it emerged the government’s deal did not include visa-free travel for performers.

“Everything is at stake” if the problem is not solved, Franceschi said.

“Touring is kind of the lifeblood of the music industry. It’s kind of always been that way, in particular for bands like ourselves.

“I mean, we’re experiencing right now, we’ve got the number one album in the country. And for us, the thought of not being able to go on tour in mainland Europe and [that] not be an accessible, viable option is not one that we know that we’re comfortable living with.

“So hopefully the government can prove us all wrong and show us that they do actually care about what people like myself and our peers have made a life out of doing, which is being performers and touring the world doing so.”

Since leaving the European Union, British performing artists hoping to tour the continent must now seek separate permits to work in many of the 27 member states.

They will also have to pay for expensive carnets (permits) to cross borders with their equipment and trucks carrying kit, or they could have their journeys capped.

Liam Gallagher on stage at Glastonbury 2019
Liam Gallagher is among the stars who have signed a letter calling for the visa issue to be resolved

Earlier this week, more than 100 artists, from pop singers to classical composers, signed a letter calling on the government to resolve the “gaping hole where the promised free movement for musicians should be”.

Stars including Ed Sheeran, Liam Gallagher, Brian May and Sting were among the signatories.

So too was The Who star and Brexiteer Roger Daltrey – who questioned what leaving the EU had “to do with the rock business” during a Sky News interview with arts and entertainment reporter Bethany Minelle in 2019.

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March 2019: Roger Daltrey not impressed by Brexit question

After his decision to sign the letter saw Daltrey accused of hypocrisy on social media, he denied changing his opinion of the EU.

“I have not changed my opinion on the EU,” he said in a statement. “I’m glad to be free of Brussels, not Europe.

“I do think our government should have made the easing of restrictions for musicians and actors a higher priority.

“Every tour, individual actors and musicians should be treated as any other ‘goods’ at the point of entry to the EU with one set of paperwork.

“Switzerland has borders with five EU countries, and trade is electronically frictionless. Why not us?”

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