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Shakira loses tax fraud appeal

Shakira loses tax fraud case

Shakira's tax fraud appeal has reportedly been dismissed.

The 45-year-old singer was previously charged with not paying 14.5 million euros in taxes owed on income earned between 2012 and 2014 because of issues surrounding her country of residence at the time.

The Colombian singer — who declared Spain as her official country of residence in 2015 — claimed she was based in the Bahamas at the time, but prosecutors have argued she was living in the European country with her husband, Gerard Pique, and she was only going overseas for professional reasons.

Under Spanish law, people who spend more than six months a year in the country are required to pay their taxes in Spain.

The authorities calculated the unpaid tax bill from all of her global income, rather than what she just earned in Spain.

The 'Hips Don't Lie' hitmaker's documents previously maintained she had spent most of her time abroad and filed taxes accordingly, making no effort to intentionally hide her income and branded any misunderstandings as a "difference in criteria".

However, on Thursday, a court in Spain determined it had been proven Shakira — who has sons Milan, nine, and Sasha, seven, with her spouse — was "a habitual resident in Spain" and there wasn't enough evidence to prove she lived elsewhere.

The court went on to uphold a ruling from July 2021, when a judge ruled a three-year investigation had determined there was "sufficient evidence of criminality".

A spokesperson for the star insisted she had paid her debt after being told what she owed.

They said: "Shakira's conduct on tax matters has always been impeccable in all the countries where she has had to pay taxes, and she has trusted and faithfully followed the recommendations of the best specialists and expert advisors."

Shakira was first accused of tax evasion in January 2018 and the following month, she paid almost $25 million in owed taxes.





Charli XCX cancels shows after losing her voice

Charli XCX loses voice

Charli XCX has cancelled shows in Belgium and the Netherlands after losing her voice.

The 29-year-old singer has taken to social media to inform her fans of the cancellations and to apologize to them for the situation.

Charli wrote on Twitter: "Dear angels, I'm devastated to inform you that I have to cancel my shows in both Brussels and Utrecht today and tomorrow. I have completely lost my voice and despite trying many techniques to revive it, it is not returning. I am under doctors orders to go on both vocal and physical rest in the hope that my voice will come back as soon as possible. I wish that there was a way that I could perform for you guys, but singing is literally impossible right now and the show is too physical to tackle whilst my glands are flared up and in pain."

The 'Break the Rules' hitmaker also promised to keep her fans updated on her health in the coming days and weeks.

Her post continued: "I am so sorry to let you down, I really am. I was so looking forward to these next two shows in Europe.

"I will keep you updated with my progress and hopefully with rest and the right medication I will be back fighting fit.

"Your ticket provider will be reaching out to you soon with information about refunds.

"Lots of love and apologies. Charli x."

Meanwhile, the pop star previously opened up about her experience of touring, admitting she often eats unhealthily while she's on the road.

Charli explained: "Home is all over the place now. It’s everywhere and nowhere really. The worst thing about touring is probably when you eat pizza every single day. Well that’s not actually that bad, I love it, but technically it’s bad."



Tributes pour out on passing of Depeche Mode's Andy Fletcher

Depeche co-founder dies

Pet Shop Boys have led tributes to Depeche Mode keyboardist Andy Fletcher.

The musician - who was a founder of the electronic band - passed away at the age of 60 on Thursday and the synth-pop duo – consisting of Neil Tennant and Chris Lowe – hailed the music star as a "warm, funny and friendly person."

The band tweeted: "We're saddened and shocked that Andy Fletcher of Depeche Mode has died. Fletch was a warm, friendly and funny person who loved electronic music and could also give sensible advice about the music business."

Alison Moyet – who grew up on the same Basildon estate as Fletcher – was left stunned by news of his death.

The 'All Cried Out' singer said: "I have just heard the news. Since we were 10. Same estate. Class mates to label mates. He who kept faith with all the old gang and they with him. It doesn't compute. Fletch. I have no words."

T'Pau singer Carol Decker has also paid a glowing tribute.

Carol tweeted: "Fletch was a lovely guy, DM one of my all time favourite bands, sending all my love to his family friends and band members."

Depeche Mode enjoyed chart success during the 1980s and '90s, with hits such as 'Personal Jesus' and 'Just Can't Get Enough', and the band said they were filled with "overwhelming sadness" following Fletcher's passing.

A statement from Dave Gahan and Martin Gore read: "We are shocked and filled with overwhelming sadness with the untimely passing of our dear friend, family member and bandmate Andy 'Fletch' Fletcher.

"Fletch had a true heart of gold and was always there when you needed support, a lively conversation, a good laugh, or a cold pint.

"Our hearts are with his family, and we ask that you keep them in your thoughts and respect their privacy in this difficult time."





ABBA reunite for first time in over 40 years at launch of ABBA Voyage

ABBA together after 40 yrs

ABBA reunited on stage for the first time in over 40 years at the launch of ABBA Voyage in London on Thursday night.

The iconic pop group, Agnetha Faltskog, 72, Benny Andersson, 75, Bjorn Ulvaeus, 77, and Anni-Frid 'Frida' Lyngstad, 76, opened their long-awaited digital concert at the ABBA Arena and all four members appeared on stage during the finale to take a bow for the first time since closing their final world tour in 1980.

ABBA - who shot to global fame back in 1974 when they won the Eurovision Song Contest for Sweden with the song 'Waterloo', going on to sell 400 million records worldwide - have been recreated as digital holograms for the concert spectacular.

The CGI band take the audience on an electrifying journey through their back catalogue, all spectacularly amplified by the technical wizardry of more than 30,000 lights and a 65 million pixel state of the art screen.

ABBA - whose hey day was rocked by both marriage and divorce - reunited back in 2021 for their chart-topping album 'Voyage' and audience members cheered as new songs 'I Still Have Faith In You' and 'Don't Shut Me Down' were performed by the lifelike avatars and rocked the specially-built arena along with evergreen classics like 'Dancing Queen', 'Mamma Mia! and 'Thank You for the Music' and several others before closing the show with 'The Winner Takes It All'.

The innovative concert was created by VFX company Industrial Light and Magic - with more than 10 million hours needed to create the ABBAtars - and features a 10-piece live band that play live throughout the 95-minute concert.

In the run-up to the concert, the members donned specially created suits during a five-week process to create the digital holograms for the stage and the show sees their counterparts take on digital costumes from a number of modern designers.

Speaking at the opening night, Agnetha and Frida admitted it was astonishing to see themselves recreated as their younger selves on stage.

Agnetha said: "It's an incredible experience seeing everything once it is all in one place. The results are outstanding and we're once again fascinated by the technical wizardry. I'm humbled by it all."

Frida added: "It's hard to fully grasp that it isn't really me and yet it is me. I can certainly see myself in the digital figure - the gestures, the facial expressions, the eyes that express all sorts of feelings. It's absolutely surreal."

ABBA were joined on stage by producers in front of an invited audience of VIPs, including Swedish royals King Carl XVI Gustaf and his wife Queen Silvia, Myleene Klass, Sophie Ellis-Bextor, Kylie Minogue, Keira Knightley, Kate Moss and Pulp singer Jarvis Cocker. Friends, family, a few lucky fans and media were also in attendance.



Harrison Ford confirms work on Indiana Jones 5 almost complete

Indiana Jones 5 almost done

Harrison Ford has confirmed 'Indiana Jones 5' is "almost complete."

The 79-year-old actor - who plays the titular archaeologist in the long-running franchise - is "really proud" of the motion picture, and has told how he had a "wonderful experience" teaming up with director James Mangold and producers Kathy Kennedy and Frank Marshall.

Speaking during a surprise appearance at the Star Wars Celebration at the Anaheim Convention Center in Anaheim, California, on Thursday, he said: "We have almost completed the next Indiana Jones film, featuring the music of John Williams.

"And I had a wonderful experience working with James Mangold, with Kathy and Frank again. I'm really proud of the movie that we made. So, I'll be seeing you around campus."

The movie, which will be released on June 30, 2023, is yet to have an official titled attached to it.

Harrison's comments come after his 'Indiana Jones 5' co-star Mads Mikkelsen recently described the legendary actor as a "very nice, monster of a man" after he was blown away by how fit the Hollywood star - who turns 80 in July - is.

He said: "Not just as an actor, but physically. I remember the first day we were shooting, it was a night shoot, then we stopped at 5am — and then he got on his mountain bike and went biking for 50 kilometres.

"Harrison is a monster of a man, a very nice monster."

Mikkelsen - whose role is not known at this time - also admitted it has felt like they were making a Steven Spielberg flick, even though the director was replaced by James Mangold.

He explained: "It felt like a Spielberg film, though it’s obviously James making it with the same vision.

"It just oozed that golden period of serials from the 1940s - and that’s in the fifth film as well.

“They’re going heavily back to the first and second film and getting that original feel, the original Indy, something dense and epic.”

Last summer, filming was delayed after Harrison suffered a shoulder injury.



Justin Timberlake sells song catalogue in deal reportedly worth $100 million

Timberlake sells catalogue

Justin Timberlake has sold his song catalogue in a deal reportedly worth $100 million.

The ‘SexyBack’ hitmaker is “excited to be partnering with” Hipgnosis Song Management - who offer investors the chance to earn royalties from the work of a diverse range artists such as Barry Manilow and Beyonce - and a $1 billion fund supported by the private equity firm Blackstone in a deal believed to be valued at $100 million, according to The Guardian newspaper.

The 41-year-old entertainer - who has sons Phineas, two, and Silas, seven, with his wife Jessica Biel, 40 said: “I am excited to be partnering with Merck and Hipgnosis – he values artists and their creative work and has always been a strong supporter of songwriters and storytelling.”

The deal between the former NSYNC star and the management company gives them 100 per cent control and ownership over his stake in more than 200 songs he has been involved in writing.

The founder and CEO of Hipgnosis, Merck Mercuriadis said: “Justin Timberlake is not only one of the most influential artists of the last 20 years but he’s also one of the greatest songwriters of all time. His hit songs including 'Cry Me a River', 'Rock Your Body', 'SexyBack', 'My Love', 'What Goes Around… Comes Around', 'Suit Tie', 'Mirrors' and 'Can’t Stop the Feeling' are amongst the most iconic of the period.”

This arrangement with Justin is the third one finalised by and Hipgnosis Song Capital in 2022 as this year this snapped up the late singer-songwriter Leonard Cohen’s share of catalogue and 80 per cent of the royalties of country star Kenny Chesney.



Rolling Stones' Ronnie Wood feels 'reborn' after two cancer battles

Wood beat cancer twice

Ronnie Wood feels like a “reborn” after twice surviving cancer.

The Rolling Stones legend - whose twin girls Gracie Jane and Alice Rose turn six on May 30 - admitted his young family with theatre producer wife Sally, 43, has given him a new lease of life.

Asked by Esquire magazine if he feels “reborn”, the 74-year-old guitarist said: “Without a doubt. I have a new private life, recovered health, new inspirations... and now I need that energy more than anything. After all, we are facing the last tour!”

When asked what he means by the “last” tour with the Stones set to hit the road, he clarified: “Well, all the tours are the last one. You never know what will happen next. All tours are a mystery. But there is no doubt that this one is especially so.”

Wood – due to turn 75 on June 1, when the iconic band kicks off their European tour – revealed last year he secretly battled cancer for the second time during lockdown.

He noted while he was diagnosed with small cell cancer, he had since “come through with the all-clear.”

In 2017, Wood successfully fought lung cancer after 54 years of smoking up to 30 cigarettes a day, and he had part of his lung removed before it was confirmed in 2018 he was cancer free.

Meanwhile, the musician has grown-up children Leah, 42, Jamie, 46, and Tyrone, 37, with Jo Wood, whom he was married to for 26 years before their split in 2011.

Reflecting on his new family and young twins, he said: “Life has given me the opportunity to raise girls again at this age. My older children have grown up, now two babies run around the house again. Alice and Gracie and her mother are a blessing.

“I like to always have them close. And they come with me everywhere.”

In reference to his travelling roots, he added: “They are globetrotters... remember that we are a gypsy family!”



The White House's secret record collection unearthed

White House music trove

The White House has a secret record collection containing LPs by The Sex Pistols and Barry Manilow.

The grandson of the 39th president of the United States Jimmy Carter, John Chuldenko, has confirmed the existence the 97-year-old Democrat's extensive vinyl collection from the year he got into power in 1977.

There are more than 1,800 records, including the controversial punk record 'Never Mind the B******* s, Here’s the Sex Pistols', which came out the same year Carter became president.

According to the Daily Star newspaper, John said: “That started me down this rabbit hole.”

Upon contacting the Jimmy Carter Presidential Library he received an email reading: “Dear John: Yes, we do have a record collection stored at a secure offsite facility.”

Records by The Beatles and Sir Elton John were also stashed away.

The collection hasn't been touched since 1977.

Carter isn't the only former president who is a music fanatic.

Barack Obama - who served as the 44th president of the United States between 2009 and 2017 - still to this day releases playlists of his favourite artists.

In 2021, the 60-year-old politician revealed the likes of Bruce Springsteen, Beyonce and The Beatles feature on his shower playlist.

Speaking on an episode of the 'Renegades: Born in the USA' Spotify Original Podcast, Obama told his co-host Springsteen: "I sing in the shower, I sing out of the shower.

"I am unembarrassed about singing ... My daughters and my wife sometimes roll their eyes."

Nine songs by The Boss made the cut, including 'Born in the U.S.A.' - both the studio version and a live take recorded at the Walter Kerr Theatre in New York - 'My Father's House', 'Born To Run' and 'My Hometown'.

The Fab Four also featured with 'Come Together' alongside Elvis Presley ('All Shook Up'), Joni Mitchell ('Help Me'), Sam Cooke ('A Change Is Gonna Come') and Public Enemy ('Harder Than You Think').

Beyonce's 'Freedom' and Kendrick Lamar's 'King Kunta' were also featured in the list.



Alan White, the drummer for Yes and John Lennon, has died aged 72

Alan White dies aged 72

Alan White, the drummer for Yes and John Lennon, has died aged 72.

The tragic news that the veteran musician - who joined YES in 1972 to replace the previous drummer, Bill Bruford - passed away follow a “brief illness” was confirmed by his family via Facebook.

The band said in a statement: “It is with deep sadness that YES announce Alan White, their much-loved drummer and friend of 50 years, has passed away, aged 72, after a short illness. The news has shocked and stunned the entire YES family.

“Alan had been looking forward to the forthcoming UK Tour, to celebrating his 50th Anniversary with YES and their iconic Close To The Edge album, where Alan’s journey with YES began in July 1972.

They revealed that he recently “celebrated” four decades of marriage to his wife, Gigi, with whom he had two children; Jesse and Cassi.

The statement continued “He recently celebrated the 40th Anniversary of his marriage to his loving wife Gigi. Alan passed away peacefully at home.”

Before joining the band, Alan provided drums in John Lennon’s Plastic Ono Band after the former Beatle brought him on board in 1969 and played on eight tracks on his ‘Imagine’ album, such as ‘Gimme Some Truth’.

Along with his collaborations with John, Alan also worked with George Harrison - a fellow Beatle - on his album ‘All Things Must Pass’.

Throughout his career, he also played with other bands, such The Downbeats, The Gamblers, Happy Magazine and The Ventures before becoming inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2017.

YES’s statement concluded: “YES will dedicate their 50th Anniversary Close to the Edge UK Tour in June to White,” which will kick off on June 15 at the Royal Concert Hall in Glasgow.

Tributes have poured in for Alan from people such as Mike Portnoy, who admitted to being “stunned” at the tragic news.

The 55-year-old musician wrote on Twitter: Absolutely stunned to wake up to the news of Alan White’s passing. His playing for the past 50 yrs was a massive influence on me I’ve had the honor of spending much time together thru the years. My condolences to his wife Gigi, his family the entire Yes camp.”

Eric Alper also paid his respects to the drummer, saying he “will be deeply missed”.

The 52-year-old radio host tweeted: “Drummer Alan White, the Rock and Roll Hall Of Famer and longest-tenured member of Yes, has died at age 72 . He also played with John Lennon, George Harrison, Ginger Baker’s Air Force and Joe Cocker and will be deeply missed.”



Jeff Bridges was 'close to dying' after catching COVID-19 during cancer battle

Bridges was 'close to dying'

Jeff Bridges almost died when he contracted COVID-19 during his cancer battle.

The 'Big Lebowski' actor - who has been in remission since September 2021 - was undergoing chemotherapy for his non-Hodgkin lymphoma when he caught the respiratory illness in January 2021.

He told PEOPLE magazine: "I was pretty close to dying. The doctors kept telling me, 'Jeff, you’ve got to fight. You’re not fighting.'

"I was in surrender mode. I was ready to go. I was dancing with my mortality."

As well as fighting cancer - having revealed his diagnosis early in 2020 - he also hadn't been vaccinated as it wasn't available yet.

He added: "I had no defense. That’s what chemo does — it strips you of all your immune system. I had nothing to fight it."

The 72-year-old star admitted the affects of COVID were much worse than his cancer, as the illness left him hospitalised for five months, where he was in intense pain and had to be put on oxygen.

He said: "COVID made my cancer look like nothing."

His recovery - which he described as "baby steps" at first - saw him undergo convalescent plasma treatment, which uses blood from people who have already recovered from the coronavirus.

He then had to work on physical therapy to regain his strength, but despite the difficult period, he was glad to be able to spend time with his loved ones.

Jeff - who has children Isabelle, 40, Jessica, 38, and Haley, 36, with his wife Susan, as well as grandchildren - admitted the situation wasn't ideal, but there was a bright side.

He explained: "Who would say, 'I’d love some cancer and give me a dose of COVID?'

"But my ability to receive all the love and give it was just heightened. Everything was turned up in the most beautiful way."



Amber Heard says she has been 'harassed, threatened, humiliated' by the public

Amber Heard 'humiliated'

Amber Heard detailed the abuse and death threats she has experienced during the defamation action put forward by Johnny Depp.

The ‘Aquaman’ star outlined how she gets “harassed, threatened, humiliated” daily while on the stand in court in the Virginia city of Fairfax on Thursday during the last week of testimony in the case between her and her the 58-year-old actor.

The 36-year-old actress told Fairfax County Court: “I am harassed, threatened, humiliated … every single day.”

Amber claimed that the abuse — which includes people expressing their desire to “kill” her — extended to her 13-month-old daughter Oonagh, saying that someone said they wanted “put” the infant “in the microwave”.

She continued: "Even just walking into this courtroom, sitting here in front of the world, having the worst parts of my life used to humiliate me. People want to kill me and they tell me so every day. People want to put my baby in the microwave and they tell me that. Johnny threatened, promised me that if I ever left him, he'd make me think of him every single day I lived."

During cross-examination from the ‘Pirates of the Caribbean’ star’s lawyer Camille Vasquez, Amber claimed that she did not know who tipped off the celebrity gossip site TMZ prior to her arrival at a Los Angeles court to file a restraining order and a video of Johnny in a kitchen serving a “mega pint” of wine.

On Wednesday, former TMZ reporter Morgan Tremaine testified that the outlet had been notified and they had tried “to capture Amber leaving the courthouse and an alleged bruise on her face.”

In another instance during the ‘Machete Kills’ star’s testimony, Camille wondered about an alleged lack of bruising on her face in some photos taken soon after an alleged incident between the former couple where Amber asserts that Johnny beat her.

In response, Amber said that she was wearing cosmetics, telling the lawyer: “If [the photo] was taken as you represented, then obviously there is a bruise on my face. It’s covered by makeup, as per usual.”

Camille proceeded to ask Amber if she had made up stories of being bruised or editing photos to make it appear she had been to boost her claims, to which Amber replied: “absolutely not”.

After what she thought about the notion the abuse allegations were a “hoax:, Amber told the court that Johnny — who she was married to from 2015 to 2017 — “promised me he would ruin me. He’d ruin my career and take my life from me. Death was the only way out – and if I got out, this is what he’d do to me. He promised me global humiliation.”

She continued: “The harassment and the humiliation, the campaign against me that’s echoed every single day on social media, and now in front of cameras in the showroom – every single day I have to relive the trauma. Perhaps it’s easy to forget I’m a human being.

Heard, who has been booed by people outside the courthouse, went to say that she wants the lawsuit to allow her to get back her “voice,” and stated that she had the “right as an American” to pen the 2018 Washington Post op-ed - which did not name Johnny - where she described herself as survivor of domestic abuse.

Of the opinion piece, that the Depp is suing his ex for $50 million in damages, she said: “Johnny has taken enough of my voice”

Amber, who is counter-suing for $100 million over Johnny’s legal team’s claims her allegations are “fake” and “hoax," added: “I have the right to tell my story.”

Amber has told the court about more than dozen occasions of physical abuse from Johnny, who in turn has stated she was the abuser in their relationship and denies all allegations of abuse.

Both their legal teams will give their closing arguments on Friday and the jury will be given their instructions for their deliberation by Judge Azcarate.



Goodfellas and Field of Dreams star Ray Liotta dead at 67

Ray Liotta dead at 67

Actor Ray Liotta has died. He was 67-years-old.

Liotta was best known for his portrayals of shoeless Joe Jackson in Field of Dreams, and Henry Hill in Goodfellas.

TMZ reports he passed away in the Dominican Republic, where he was shooting the movie ‘Dangerous Waters’. He reportedly died in his sleep.

He was born in Newark, New Jersey on December 18, 1954, and was adopted by Mary and Alfred Liotta when he was six months old.

He earned a Golden Globe nomination for Best Supporting Actor for his first major acting role in ‘Something Wild’(1986).

He won an Emmy for a guest-starring role in ER in 2004.

According to TMZ, Liotta’s fiance Jacy Nittolo was with him while he was filming in the Dominican Republic.



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