• It’ll Haunt Me Forever: Chris Brown


    Chris Brown has revealed the truth about the night he assaulted former girlfriend Rihanna - and said she was "spitting blood" after he hit her.

    The Forever singer was arrested and charged after the altercation in 2009 and in a new documentary; Chris Brown: Welcome to my life, the 28-year-old reveals details of what happened between them that night.

    According to Chris, the couple already had a volatile relationship and Rihanna no longer trusted him after he admitted having a sexual relationship with a woman who used to work for him.

    On the night of the assault, Rihanna and Chris were at a pre-Grammy party when the woman turned up unexpectedly.

    Rihanna was so upset - she burst into tears and the pair argued in their car on the way home.

    Despite efforts to calm her down, Chris says Rihanna was furious to find a text from the woman on his phone.

    He recalled: "She starts going off, she throws the phone, "I hate you!", whatever, whatever, she starts hitting me, we're in a little Lamborghini, you know she's fighting me.

    "Like I remember she tried to kick me, just like her beating s**t, but then I really hit her.

    "With a closed fist, like I punched her, and it busted her lip, and when I saw it I was in shock, I was "f***, why did I hit her like that?

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  • Chinese man pays S$14,000 for whisky shot at Swiss bar

    GENEVA — Have you heard the one about the guy who walked into a bar and ordered a shot of whisky that cost more than S$14,000?

    A young Chinese man paid 9,999 Swiss francs (S$14,019) last week at a Swiss hotel for a glass of whisky made in 1878 by the revered Scotch maker Macallan, the 20Minuten website said.

    The report was confirmed by an employee of the luxury Waldhaus Hotel in St. Moritz, northeast Switzerland.

    The hotel’s Devil’s Place Whisky Bar has been honoured for its 2,500 bottle collection, including by the Guinness Book of World Records.

    But proprietor Sandro Bernasconi told 20Minuten he never expected to open this particular treasure.

    After entering the bar with a group of people, the client expressed particular interest in the Macallans — the hotel has 47 options, with prices starting from seven Swiss francs.

    “I told the customer that the most expensive Macallan was not for sale,” Bernasconi was quoted as saying by the website.

    The client persisted, so Bernasconi called his father, who had run the hotel for 20 years and never had a client order the 1878. The elder

    Bernasconi told his son to go for it, even if the customer was not going to pay in advance.

    “I was nervous,” Bernasconi was quoted as saying, explaining that he was concerned the ancient cork would disintegrate.

    But everything went down smoothly, including the 2cl measure, Bernasconi said.

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  • Rock-Hewn Churches Mark Old ‘New Jerusalem’ in Ethiopia


    LALIBELA, ETHIOPIA-It’s a darkness so complete, it feels like a physical thing. The guide’s bright scarf serves as my beacon until it disappears into the deepest gloom imaginable, and I start to feel a bit claustrophobic as I follow him. All of the clichés apply, including the one about (not) seeing your hand in front of your face. I’ve never known the true meaning of that other one — about the light at the end of the tunnel — until we near the end of this 30-metre one, and emerge in a church courtyard. I ask the guide, Moges Melkamu, what people call that particular passage. “Oh, we just call it hell,” he says, lightly.

    I’m in Lalibela, a small town cradled in the mountains of northern Ethiopia and home to 11 rock-hewn churches. Commissioned by King Gebre Mesqel Lalibela back in the 13th century, these places of worship had been created as a new Jerusalem for Ethiopian Orthodox pilgrims. Now recognized and protected as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, they continue to pull in people by the thousands from around the world, drawn to the biggest attraction in a country where tourism is on the rise.

    I start the day at the largest of them all, Biete Medhane Alem, or House of the Saviour of the World, descending from ground level and circumnavigating the structure before we enter. Melkamu explains the basics as we go. We pass portraits of devotion — an impossibly elderly woman with a red-crossed hat reciting prayers, a man folded in behind the pillars of the church, doing the same — and Melkamu notes that Ethiopia had been one of the first countries to adopt Christianity. Actually mentioned in the biblical Book of Acts, Ethiopia adopted Christianity as its official state religion in the fourth century.

    The churches here had been constructed at the direction of King Lalibela after the sultan Saladin captured Jerusalem in 1187. Carved from grey basalt and volcanic red scoria, “these were built by Ethiopians — with the help of the angels, of course,” Melkamu says.

    It seems wherever we go, we see the faces of angels — Ethiopian ones —with beautiful round faces flanked by wings, staring at us from the ceiling, or from frescoes on the walls.

    At Biete Maryam (House of Miriam), Melkamu pauses to kiss the doors before entering, then shows us the icons inside, which include ancient frescoes depicting the Holy Family’s flight to Egypt.

    We also see priests everywhere, their heads wrapped in turbans and a wooden staff always at the ready. They gather together and walk past reading and talking and, like everyone else, praying.

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  • Chester Bennington Commits Suicide

    The Los Angeles County coroner has confirmed the death of the star – with TMZ reporting he was found dead at a private residence in Palo Verdes Estates, Los Angeles.

    His body was discovered this morning just before 9 am.

    It is believed the singer hanged himself and was found by an employee.

    The singer is survived by his wife of twelve years, Talinda Ann Bennington (nee Bentley), and six children – Jamie, 21, Isaiah, 19, Draven, 15, Tyler Lee, 11, and Lily and Lila, 7.

    They are not thought to have been at the house when the incident took place, and Chester was alone.

    He was previously married to Samantha Marie Olit from 1996 – 2005.

    Chester, whose band Linkin Park spawned rock songs including Numb and Breaking the Habit, often focused his lyrics on personal struggle, depression, and addiction.

    The star was reportedly found in a private residence in Palo Verdes Estates in Los Angeles.

    Mike Shinoda, who also provides vocals for the band, confirmed the news on Twitter and wrote: “Shocked and heartbroken, but it’s true. An official statement will come out as soon as we have one.”

    One of the band’s latest singles, Heavy, released four months ago, focused on the topic of depression.

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  • 10 record-breaking records that have made history


    Luis Fonsi's summer hit Despacito has officially become the most-streamed song of all time - only six months after it was released.
    It has been played 4.6 billion times on streaming services.

    On YouTube, the video for the song has been viewed more than 1.8 billion times.

    It has also reached number one in 35 different countries.

    The song was originally in Spanish, but became popular in the English-speaking world when Justin Bieber heard the song in a nightclub and asked to add a verse.

    It has actually taken the record off Bieber's own song Sorry, which held the streaming title before.

    When asked why he thinks the song is so popular, 39-year-old Fonsi told BBC Music: "Obviously, it's a very catchy melody. The way the chorus starts Des-Pa-Ci-To is very easy to remember.

    "And obviously you add Justin Bieber to that, and it brings another angle to all of this. But I wish I knew exactly what the secret was, so I could apply it to all my future songs!"

    So which other songs have smashed amazing records like this track?

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  • Teddy Afro, Ethiopia's biggest Pop Star: 'Because of Our Government, Our Country is Divided'


    Tewodros Kassahun’s manager meets me on a quiet suburban road inside a gated compound. With their neoclassical mansions, manicured lawns and white picket fences, compounds such as this are a rarity in Ethiopia’s capital, Addis Ababa, and this one is as grand as it gets. Still, I’m underwhelmed as we turn in to the driveway of the house, which, by contrast with its neighbours, is relatively modest. This is, after all, the home of the biggest star in Ethiopian musical history: Teddy Afro.

    He greets me in the living room, padding around in a tracksuit and socks. The house is in a bit of a mess, and he apologises – they’re clearing up the remains of an album launch party over the weekend. He and his manager are in high spirits. Three days earlier, they released Ethiopia, his fifth studio album; it had a record $650,000 recording budget, was the fastest-selling record in the country’s history, and topped Billboard’s world albums chart. Teddy’s relief is palpable – the release was beset by delays – as he settles into a chair and begins outlining his philosophy. “Art is closer to magic than logic,” he says, beaming cheerfully.

    It is difficult to overstate Teddy Afro’s popularity and importance in Ethiopia today. “His level of celebrity is simply unprecedented,” says Heruy Arefe-Aine, the organiser of the country’s Ethiopian Music festival.

    He makes for an unlikely political radical, and indeed his manager makes clear from the outset that politics is off the agenda. But he is nonetheless keen to explain the new album’s message. Lyrics are everything in Ethiopian music, and his – rich in idiom, allusion and wordplay – have excited his fans ever since he broke on to the scene in the early 00s.

    He argues that the country, under a state of emergency after violent anti-government protests last year, is slipping backwards. “We used to be a model for Africa,” he says, “but, because of our government, our country is divided.” The album is a call for unity and the rehabilitation of Ethiopia’s glorious past. “This younger generation is in a dilemma about their history,” he continues. “I feel a responsibility to teach them about the good things from their history. They should be proud of their achievements.”

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