Kampala, Jul 15 (AP/UNB) — Bobi Wine, Uganda's pop star-turned-opposition leader, said on Monday he will challenge longtime President Yoweri Museveni in elections set for 2021.
"I will challenge President Museveni on behalf of the people," he said in an interview with The Associated Press.
But Wine, whose real name is Kyagulanyi Ssentamu, said he was concerned about his safety after surviving what he believes was an attempt on his life last August when his driver was shot dead in his car following an incident in which protesters threw stones at the president's motorcade.
"I live every day as it comes, not being sure of the next day," he said in an interview at his home just outside the capital, Kampala. "I am not blind to the fact that the regime wants me dead and wants me dead as soon as possible."
Wine, who is 37, said he is fearful because "there has never been a threat to this regime like the threat we pose to it today as a generation."
As the leader of a popular movement known as "People Power," Wine has captured the imagination of many who want to see the exit of Museveni, who has held power since 1986 and looks set to run for a new term.
Wine first came to prominence in 2017 when, as an independent candidate, he won election as a lawmaker representing a constituency near Kampala. He has since successfully campaigned for other opposition candidates, raising his profile as a national leader and attracting calls urging him to run for president.
But Wine faces multiple challenges, including limited opportunities to hold rallies or stage concerts ahead of elections. The police have violently foiled his most recent attempts to hold public events. He also faces treason charges stemming from his alleged role in the incident in which the president's convoy was attacked with stones. Prosecutors have since amended the charge sheet to include the alleged offence of annoying the president, in addition to a separate charge related to alleged disobedience of lawful orders. He denies all the charges.
Wine would be ineligible to run for president if he were to be convicted of any of those crimes.
"We know that the regime is going to try anything within their reach to block us from contesting," Wine said.
Havana, Jul 15 (AP/UNB) — Dianelys Alfonso has a bold presence — brightly colored tattoos, spandex bodysuits, Technicolor hair — and a clarion voice that won her the label "Goddess of Cuba" for her turns on songs ranging from ballads to reggaeton.
Now she's also the center of a new phenomenon in Cuba after publicly accusing another renowned musician, flutist and bandleader José Luis Cortés, of repeatedly assaulting and raping her during their yearslong relationship while she was a vocalist for NG La Banda, one of the best-known Cuban bands of the last three decades.
Since Alfonso's accusations against Cortés on an internet video program last month, many Cubans have declared their support for her online, calling her the pioneer of the #MeToo movement in a country where open discussion of violence against women is rare.
Cortés has not publicly responded to the allegations or to messages seeking comment left by The Associated Press on his band's social media accounts or with his promoters.
Within hours of speaking to video host Alex Otaola and alleging that she had been abused by Cortés, hundreds of Cubans on the island and in its diaspora in the United States, Latin America and Europe began posting messages of support for Alfonso with the hashtags #IBelieveYouGoddess, #MeTooInCuba and #YouAreNotAlone.
Alfonso also has received reams of abusive messages calling her a liar and accusing her of besmirching Cortés' reputation to win greater renown.
"I look at everything happening online and I'm really stunned," the 38-year-old singer told The Associated Press. "I can't really understand what's happening online. I'm just trying to keep getting professional psychological help to deal with everything that's come at me for having told the truth."
Online activism of any kind is relatively new to Cuba, which only began permitting mobile internet this year. Until recently, open discussion of domestic abuse also has been rare in a communist society where the government portrays itself as able to take care of every social problem and where there are only a handful of non-governmental women's rights groups.
The government last year organized a publicity campaign to raise consciousness of domestic violence, with posters and announcements in official media under the slogans "You Are More" and "Evolve," though that appeared to focus more on physical than sexual abuse.
Some 500 Cuban artists and intellectuals have signed an open letter of support for Alfonso that condemns violence against women on a Facebook page titled, "I Believe You."
Actress and producer Violeta Rodríguez, daughter of Cuban singer Silvio Rodríguez, wrote on her Facebook page last month that she had been abused by a "famous and powerful" Cuban man but had remained silent for years. The post was later deleted, without explanation.
Alfonso was lead singer for NG La Banda from 2003 to 2009, and was involved romantically with Cortés for much of that time. She said Cortés repeatedly hit her, raped her and verbally abused her, in private and in public, during their relationship and after it ended. She said the abuse finally stopped after she left the group in the middle of an Italian tour in 2009 and did not return to Cuba until 2014.
Alfonso's lawyer, Deyni Terry, said Cortés sent the singer a threatening text message after she went public with the accusations. Alfonso reported the threat to police, Terry said, adding that she and her client were investigating whether they can bring charges of abuse and sexual assault against Cortés so many years after the alleged crimes took place.
"Many victims wait years to say what happened and that complicates judicial action, especially in Cuba where many laws are outdated," the lawyer said.
Cuban authorities did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the case.
Terry said the online reaction to Alfonso's accusations appeared to be a sign of changing attitudes on the island.
"People are being more daring, speaking out, talking about taboo topics," she said. "They're taking risks and have more freedom to speak out."
A national poll conducted in 2016 and published this year showed that some 27% of 10,698 women who responded to a questionnaire reported being mistreated or abused by a man over the past 12 months but less than 4% sought help.
The availability of the internet in Cuba has allowed activists for various causes — from animal rights to LGBTQ freedoms — to better organize and advocate over the last seven months. The same may now be happening for women's rights, observers said.
"The internet allows us to have a greater diversity of debates and struggles and bring many problems to light," said Francisco Rodríguez, a gay-rights advocate and blogger.
Dhaka, July 15 (UNB) - Superstar Shah Rukh Khan will co-produce a horror series for streaming service Netflix, reports The Indian Express.
According to sources, it is a horror series titled Betaal, written and directed by Patrick Graham, co-directed by Nikhil Mahajan. It will be co-produced by Gaurav Verma, Red Chillies Entertainment and Netflix.
Graham had earlier helmed Radhika Apte-starrer Ghoul for Netflix.
This series is reportedly going to feature Vineet Kumar Singh and Aahana Kumra among others.
The official announcement will be made soon.
This will mark as the third piece of content to be produced by Red Chillies Entertainment for Netflix, after Bard of Blood, featuring Emraan Hashmi, and Class of 83 with Bobby Deol.
Class of 83 is directed by Atul Sabharwal. The film tells the story of an upright policeman-turned-police instructor whose students grapple with the complexities of honour, morals and devotion towards their nation.
Recently, Netflix had announced that Bard of Blood will premiere on its platform on September 27.
The seven-episode show is based on Bilal Siddiqi’s bestselling book of the same name.
The official logline of the show reads, “The story is about four Indian intelligence officers belonging to the Indian Intelligence Wing (IIW) who are compromised, before they can relay an important piece of information to India. They get captured and are about to be decapitated. The stakes are high.”
Dhaka, July 15 (UNB)- Marvel’s Avengers: Endgame is closer than ever to beating Avatar at the worldwide box office. According to Variety, it is now just 7.16 million dollars behind the James Cameron film, reports The Indian Express.
While Endgame has earned 2.780 billion dollars worldwide, Avatar ended its box office run at 2.788 billion dollars.
Avengers: Endgame was recently re-released to promote Spider-Man: Far From Home. Marvel Studios bundled six minutes worth of new content to lure moviegoers to theaters.
Endgame wrapped up the 22-film Infinity Saga within the Marvel Cinematic Universe that began with Iron Man in 2008. The film also teased the future of MCU towards the end.
Avengers: Endgame received highly positive reviews. It earned a 94 per cent score at Rotten Tomatoes. The consensus reads, “Exciting, entertaining, and emotionally impactful, Avengers: Endgame does whatever it takes to deliver a satisfying finale to Marvel’s epic Infinity Saga.”
The Indian Express film critic Shalini Langer gave the film four-and-a-half stars. Shalini wrote, “Starting with Downey Jr and Evans, the actors put their heart and soul into the goings-on, even when the film gets incredulous over its 3-hour-plus length and sags, like in Infinity War, in the real bang-for-the-buck bits. However, the clear winner hands down is Hemsworth as Thor, now with straggly hair and a paunch, who has let himself go in the years following Thanos’s destruction of the world, wallowing in self-pity and beer.”
She added, “Hemsworth has time and again proved that he is the actor with the best comic touch here (forgive us thou Chris Pratt fans), and it is to him that the best line of the film is devoted — when Thor, top undressed and trousers hanging below his bulging stomach, demands to know what is wrong with how he looks, Raccoon (Bradley Cooper) says, “You look like melted ice-cream.”
Dhaka, July 15 (UNB) - The Incredible Hulk star Lou Ferrigno says he cannot take Mark Ruffalo’s portrayal of Marvel superhero the Hulk “seriously”, reports The Indian Express,
Ferrigno portrayed the green-skinned alter-ego of Dr David Banner (Bill Bixby) in 1978 CBS television series The Incredible Hulk.
He said Ruffalo is great actor but his version of Bruce Banner in Marvel Cinematic Universe is not his favourite, reported Comicbook.com.
“Mark is a wonderful actor. But we’ve had three different actors. We’ve had Eric Bana, Edward Norton and Mark Ruffalo. I like Bill Bixby the best, I like Edward Norton. But Ruffalo I think he’s a wonderful actor, he blends in with the Marvel aspect of the Avengers but I can’t take him seriously enough,” Ferrigno said at Montreal Comiccon.
“Bill has that intensity, and you knew that when he was in danger, you could feel that intensity. But because of Marvel and Disney, they’ve taken a different direction. You can’t take it as seriously as the original series,” he added.
Ruffalo, who first essayed the part in The Avengers (2012), has reprised the role in Iron Man 3, Avengers: Age of Ultron, Thor: Ragnarok, Avengers: Infinity War, and Avengers: Endgame.