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Veteran dancehall artiste Barrington Levy added another chapter to his enduring legacy as one of Jamaica's most-talented entertainers with the recent launch of his 48th album (including compilations).

 

The 15-track Acousticalevy album is made up of acoustic, re-recorded versions of past hits and two new songs - Life Is Great, on which the vocals of Germany-based artiste Patrice, who sounds a lot like like Bob Marley, are introduced; as well as Times Hard, a song that reflects Jamaica's harsh economic times.

 

The album will be available for download on iTunes, Spotify, Amazon.com, as well as in CD and vinyl formats, and is to be supported by a three-month promotional tour, starting this month. It will involve performances in the United States, Japan, Europe, the United Kingdom, and South America.

 

During the launch held at South Beach CafÈ and emceed by veteran entertainment writer Howard Campbell, Levy and Ras Records founder Doctor Dread rapped with a smattering of entertainment journalists and radio and television personalities about the new album.

 

"It's you listening to me in a different style. If you have a knack for good music - music that is arranged and put together properly - you're going to definitely enjoy it," said the singer, who also explained that he is satisfied with the songs he selected. He added that had he done anything differently, the end result would have been a double disc.

 

ALMOST FLAWLESSVOCALS

The tracks were re-recorded mainly at Stephen Stanley's Mixing Lab and co-produced by the singer and hitmaker Handel Tucker, with Harmony House also in the mix on some recordings. They feature Levy's almost flawless vocals, accompanied by the strains of Lamont Savoury's guitar.

 

Tucker's previous work includes Maxi Priest's platinum-selling record Bonafide and the critically acclaimed The Score, by the now-defunct Fugees.

 

Savoury plays with the stellar backing band C Sharp.

 

On the album, Levy's fans get to hear the freshly minted version of the record-setting Under Mi Sensi and Here I Come, songs that held the top-two spots on the UK Reggae Charts back in the 1980s, making Levy the first reggae artiste to accomplish the feat.

 

There are also other favorites on the record. Levy lists his most-favoured as Life Is Great, Black Roses, Vice Versi Love, Vibes Is Right, She's Mine and Things Friends.

 

On Times Hard, Levy sings in his distinctive vocal style, "Times hard, times cold, people need some money to control."

 

The song's relevance makes it destined to become as memorable as any of his earlier hits.

 

The album, funded by the artiste's Black Roses Enterprises, will be distributed by Ras Records in association with BMG, and is sure to please true fans of reggae/dancehall, of which Levy is one of its purest exponents.

David Letterman was ushered into retirement Wednesday by four presidents declaring "our long national nightmare is over" and a succession of stars delivering a final Top Ten list of things they always wanted to say to the late-night host.

 

The taped intro of President Barack Obama and former Presidents George Bush, Bill Clinton and George W. Bush referenced President Gerald Ford's declaration to the country when he took office following the 1974 resignation of Richard Nixon. Letterman sidled up to Obama to say, "you're just kidding, right?"

 

Ten stars from Steve Martin to Tina Fey delivered the final Top Ten list of "things I've always wanted to say to Dave." Julia Louis-Dreyfus, with Jerry Seinfeld standing nearby, said, "Thanks for letting me take part in another hugely disappointing series finale."

 

Number One was Bill Murray: "Dave, I'll never have the money I owe you."

 

Letterman said goodbye after 33 years and 6,028 broadcasts of his late-night shows on CBS and NBC. The final "Late Show" broadcast ran long, some 17 minutes over its usual hour, and CBS let the show air without cutting it.

 

The transplanted Hoosier, who made Top Ten lists and ironic humor staples of television comedy and influenced a generation of performers, will be replaced by Stephen Colbert in September.

 

Letterman joked in his monologue that he's been on the air for so long that the hot show when he started was "Keeping Up with the Gabors." He said that Stephen Hawking figured out that the 6,028 broadcasts included "about eight minutes of laughter."

 

"You want to know what I'm going to do now that I'm retired?" he said. "By God, I hope to become the new face of Scientology."

 

Letterman, whose wife Regina and son Harry were in the audience, was serenaded at the end by the band Foo Fighters. They sang, "Everlong," the same song they played when he returned following heart surgery in February 2000.

 

Several audience members who filed out of the theater after the show had tears in their eyes.

 

"It was really incredible," said Will Landman of Long Island, New York. "It was the best way he could go out."

 

Letterman "was guarded but you could tell it was really hard for him," said John Bernstein, who flew in from Los Angeles to see the finale.

 

"You could see his emotion," he said. "But I think he's feeling a lot more than he's showing."

 

His last few weeks have been warmly nostalgic, with Letterman entertaining old friends like Murray, Tom Hanks, George Clooney and Julia Roberts. Anticipating the end, viewers sent Letterman to the top of the late-night ratings the week before last for the first time since Jimmy Fallon took over at NBC's "Tonight" show and they competed with original telecasts.

 

From his start on NBC's "Late Night" in February 1982, Letterman's comedy was about more than telling jokes. He attached a camera to a monkey's back, tossed watermelons off a roof and wore a suit of Alka-Seltzer to plunge into a tank of water. Celebrities used to being fawned over either clicked with his prickly personality or didn't, and when Cher called him a more profane version of "jerk," it became a memorable moment.

 

He shifted to CBS in 1993 when NBC gave the "Tonight" show to Jay Leno instead of Letterman, a slight he never forgot or forgave.

 

Letterman even began his final monologue Wednesday by joking, "It's beginning to look like I'm not going to get the `Tonight' show."

 

The tricks subsided as Letterman mellowed with age and fatherhood. His audience welcomed him back after a heart bypass, listened as he became the first late-night host back on the air after the 2001 terrorist attacks and saw him acknowledge to inappropriately having sex with a subordinate.

 

Rival Jimmy Kimmel paid tribute to Letterman by not making a fresh ABC show on Wednesday, where he usually competes in the same time slot. Fallon opened his Wednesday monologue by saying: "I want to thank you for watching this on your DVR after you watched Letterman."

Alfonso Ribeiro is officially tapped to replace Tom Bergeron as the host of "America's Funniest Home Videos". The "Fresh Prince of Bel Air" alum returned to "Dancing with the Stars" on Tuesday, May 19 to dance with Sadie Robertson, after which he announced his new gig. 

 

"You have given me so much love and support in doing this," Ribeiro said to Bergeron. "I'm so proud." Bergeron then jokingly advised his successor, "I only have one thing to say-and you already know this from having to dance with Witney-wear a cup!" referring to the moment when pro dancer Witney Carson accidentally hit Ribeiro in the groin during season 19 of "DWTS". 

 

Executive producer Vin Di Bona said of choosing Ribeiro as the new host, "After receiving hundreds of inquiries, stacks of video submissions and a very close audition race, one smile, one funny and sincere delivery become our standout favorite-Alfonso Ribeiro. We look forward to Alfonso leading AFV into the next generation of family friendly viewership." 

 

Bergeron, who has been the host of "DWTS" since its premiere in 2005, announced in March 2014 that he would not continue hosting "America's Funniest Home Videos" after the 25th season. He made his final appearance on the ABC comedy series in the May 17 episode. He had hosted the show since 2001. 

 

Ribeiro, meanwhile, has hosted a number of TV shows including "GSN Live" and "Catch 21" since "Fresh Prince of Bel Air" ended in 1996. He joined the 19th season of "DWTS" and became the winner along with partner Witney Carson. 

 

The first part of "Keeping Up with the Kardashians: About Bruce" which aired on May 17 revealed that Bruce Jenner would undergo gender reassignment surgery. The subject came up when the 65-year-old reality TV star had a discussion with his stepdaughter, Kim Kardashian. When Kim asked him whether he was planning to completely become a woman, Bruce answered, "I see myself in the future that way." Furthermore, the former Olyimpian admitted that he had set a date to undergo the full surgery. He also shared with Kim that he planned to do something with his face before undergoing gender reassignment surgery. During a sit-down with Khloe Kardashian and Kendall Jenner, he revealed that the surgery was scheduled to take place "in the spring." The discussion became emotional as the two seemed to have hard time to accept their father's decision to change his gender. "My sisters and I knew, from whatever we found out years ago, that Bruce was a cross-dresser, but we were never told that he was going to fully transition and become a woman," Khloe said during the special. As time went by, the 30-year-old daughter changed her mind and accepted her stepfather's decision. She said, "I don't care, I support you I've always supported you. But I don't think it's fair that you don't tell us...close is in the near future, we are still your kids." During the episode, she also posted some tweets explaining that she came to accept Bruce's decision and gave full support to him.

In a word – IMPRESSIVE!  That was the general consensus on the performances from the 36 Junior Calypso Monarch participants in the 13-18 category yesterday, Sunday, May 17, 2015.  The 13-18 entrants were being judged in the second preliminary round of the Scotiabank Junior Calypso Monarch in association with IGM Stage Lighting which took place at the Queen’s Park Steel Shed. 

 

Like the 8-12s who faced the judges the day before, they were also vying for a place in the semi-final round, scheduled for Saturday, July 4 at the Lester Vaughan School.

 

It must have been an enormously difficult task for the judges to decide on the eventual twelve semi-finalists and one reserve, eight of whom (again plus one reserve), will face defending champion Samantha ‘Sammy G’ Greaves on the Final stage at the Garfield Sobers Gymnasium on Saturday, July 18. 

 

As her fittingly titled song ‘Curtain Call’ suggests, this will be Sammy’s final competition at the Junior Monarch level, but it is by no means the end of her Calypso journey, fans and supporters will continue to see this driven and determined lass on stage in the Pic-O-De-Crop competition.

 

The advice on voice and performance techniques is obviously paying big dividends towards the growth of our junior Calypsonians, evidenced through, among other things, the understanding that their performance is more than just the delivery of the song, but also about believability and movement on stage.  

 

The public will have a chance to decide on and root for their favourite junior semi-finalists and reserves in both categories at the two upcoming Scotiabank Junior Monarch Calypso Tents in association with IGM Stage Lighting on Saturday, June 13 at the Lester Vaughan School and on Sunday, June 21 at the Combermere School. 

 

 

 

Scotiabank Junior Calypso Monarch in association with IGM Stage Lighting

 

13-18 CATEGORY

 

NAME

SOBRIQUET

SONG

 

1

Adela Payne

Ah-Dee-Lah

Remember Me

2

Ranesha Cummins

Confetti

We Are Sorry

3

Rickardo Reid

RJ

Class Clown

4

Tia Yarde

Lady Tii

A Mother's Lament

5

Terri Williams-Niles

Sparkle T

Lesson For This Sunday

6

Moesha Daniel

Nubian Queen

Don't Treat No Woman Like Dat

7

Kymorhi Trotman

De Overcomer

Change Ya Ways

8

T'Kayla Clarke-Weekes

Kay Kay

Always A Winner

9

Sharad Stanford

Sharad

In De Mirror

10

Quinn Prescott

Quinn 'P'

Hollywood Calling

11

Raheem Taylor

 

Don't Shoot Me

12

Daquon Wickham

Tall Boy

Respect Due

13

Rashad Knight [Reserve]

Rashad

Grand Parents To The Rescue

 President Obama on Monday will ban the federal provision of some types of military-style equipment to local police departments and sharply restrict the availability of others, administration officials said.

 

The ban is part of Mr. Obama’s push to ease tensions between law enforcement and minority communities in reaction to the crises in Baltimore; Ferguson, Mo.; and other cities.

 

He is taking the action after a task force he created in January decided that police departments should be barred from using federal funds to acquire items that include tracked armored vehicles, the highest-caliber firearms and ammunition, and camouflage uniforms. The ban is part of a series of steps the president has made to try to build trust between law enforcement organizations and the citizens they are charged with protecting.

 

Mr. Obama planned to promote the effort on Monday during a visit to Camden, N.J. The city, racked by poverty and crime, has become a national model for better relations between the police and citizens after replacing its beleaguered police force with a county-run system that prioritizes community ties.

 

Mr. Obama is expected to hold up Camden as a counterpoint to places like Ferguson, where the killing of a young black man by a white police officer last summer and the violent protests that followed exposed long-simmering hostility between law enforcement agencies and minorities in cities around the country.

 

The trip and the action on military-style equipment are to coincide with the release on Monday of a report from a policing task force that Mr. Obama formed late last year in response to the crisis in Ferguson. The 116-page report calls for law enforcement agencies to “embrace a guardian — rather than a warrior — mind-set to build trust and legitimacy both within agencies and with the public.” It contains dozens of recommendations for agencies throughout the country.

 

“We are, without a doubt, sitting at a defining moment in American policing,” Ronald L. Davis, the director of the Office of Community Oriented Policing Services at the Department of Justice, told reporters in a conference call organized by the White House. “We have a unique opportunity to redefine policing in our democracy, to ensure that public safety becomes more than the absence of crime, but it must also include a presence for justice.”

 

After the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, the federal government sharply expanded its efforts to provide police departments with automatic weapons, armored vehicles and other military-style gear through grant programs at the Homeland Security and Justice Departments and transfers from the Defense Department. The programs have enjoyed widespread popularity among lawmakers eager to take steps to protect their communities and constantly in search of ways to steer federal money to their districts and states.

 

The report from the task force on military equipment cited the police response to the Ferguson unrest as an example of how the “militarization” of police departments can lead to fear and mistrust. In addition to prohibiting some equipment outright, officials said, Mr. Obama accepted the group’s recommendation to impose new restrictions on other military-style items, such as wheeled armored vehicles, pyrotechnics, battering rams and riot gear, and more stringent requirements for training and information collection for departments that acquire them.

 

“The idea is to make sure that we strike a balance in providing the equipment, which is appropriate and useful and important for local law enforcement agencies to keep the community safe, while at the same time putting standards in place,” said Cecilia Muñoz, the director of Mr. Obama’s Domestic Policy Council.

 

 

Last December, as we were leaving church in downtown Tulsa we saw the groups forming for the annual Christmas parade, including a huge...

JPM08 1 minute ago

I would think an issue to confront is that criminals possess similar equipment, why they have access to such equipment is another issue...

Grant Stern 1 minute ago

More important than distribution of Body Cameras is developing a set of laws that mandate full and rapid disclosure of these public records...

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The report to be released on Monday represents a two-pronged response to a problem that has emerged as a central predicament for Mr. Obama in recent months. He has struggled to acknowledge the sense of fear, grievance and victimization by the police that dominates many minority communities without seeming to forgive violence or condemn law enforcement with a broad brush.

 

In doing so, he is grappling with the limits of his power to force changes in police departments around the country, where practices and procedures are varied and the federal government’s ability to influence change can be minimal. The equipment task force stems from an executive order, and its conclusions affect only the material supplied by the federal government, while the policing recommendations are merely a blueprint for what Mr. Obama would like to see happen in jurisdictions throughout the country.

 

 

Mr. Obama on Monday will announce $163 million in grants to encourage police departments to adopt the suggestions. The administration also will launch a “tool kit” for the use of body-worn cameras; the Justice Department created a grant program for law enforcement agencies to purchase them.

 

Ms. Muñoz said the task force’s report was “not just a blueprint for us and for local law enforcement agencies, but also for community leaders and others and stakeholders,” giving them “some very specific things to be asking for and, frankly, insisting on in order to improve policing practices.”

 

That is why Mr. Obama made plans to visit Camden, where he wants to highlight a policing model that emphasizes a collaborative approach. Camden is also one of 20 cities participating in a new White House initiative to enhance the use of police data, by releasing detailed information on such things as traffic stops, officer-involved shootings and the use of force.

It's both the end of an era and a new beginning for Darryl "Farmer" Henry. After 33 years of being on stage with Machel Montano, the Trinbagonian singer/songwriter/performer is now embarking on his first European Tour as a solo artiste, with his first stop in London on May 15th. His tour will then take him to Berlin, Copenhagen, Stockholm and Amsterdam.

 

 

It is because of his musical consistency throughout his career, becoming a solo act during Carnival 2015 allowed Farmer to refocus his energies. The recent spin on his career reinforced his love for "the band life" and fuelled his idea to create his own band; Farmer Nappy & De Red Boyz. For Farmer, the undeniable talents of De Red Boyz coupled with his is a perfect musical marriage whether in studio or on stage. De Red Boyz over the past eight years have been responsible for the production of a number of Farmer's hit singles such as 'Chippin', 'Stranger', 'Big People Party', 'Flirt', 'Surrender' and 'My House.'

 

Farmer Nappy & De Red Boyz, the four-piece band will consist of Bass, Drums, Keys and Guitar along with vocal accompaniment from Bajan songstress Imani. With passion, amazing musicianship and undeniable talent, Farmer and his team have their eyes on accomplishing major goals in the future.

 

 

About De Red Boyz

 

Mikey Hulsmeier (drummer) and Scott Galt (guitarist) have been independent touring musicians for a number of top Caribbean acts. It was in 2006 that the duo merged their keen understanding of music and their musicianship to create one of the most sought after production brands; De Red Boyz. They have successfully been creating a movement of change in the sound of Groovy Soca. Their production style has left them being considered as one of the top musical production houses in the Caribbean. They have both acted as musical directors in different capacities and have a genuine love for Caribbean culture and music.

A number of Hollywood celebrities have paid their tribute to the late B.B. King who passed away at his Las Vegas home on Thursday, May 14. Among the stars who celebrated his life were Ringo Starr, Brad Paisley, Lenny Kravitz, Gene Simmons, as well as Orlando Jones. 

 

Starr took to Twitter to share good words about the late music star. "God bless BB King peace and love to his family Ringo and Barbarax," so read his tweet. As for Paisley, he tweeted, "Sad to hear B.B. King has left us. I loved collaborating with him, loved his music, & his spirit. He changed music forever. God bless him." 

"BB, anyone could play a thousand notes and never say what you said in one. #RIP #BBKing," Kravitz tweeted in companion to a throwback pic of King. "Very sad. BB KING: Rest In Peace.." Simmons tweeted. "'The beautiful thing about learning is nobody can take it away from you - RIP B.B. King (9/16/25 - 5/14/15)'," read Jones' tweet. 

B.B. King passed away peacefully in his sleep at 9:40 P.M. PDT on Thursday at his home in Las Vegas. He was 89 years old. The musician was recently hospitalized for high blood pressure and type 2 diabetes. 

 

 

Federal prosecutors have agreed to drop a firearms charge against reggae star Buju Banton, who is already serving a 10-year sentence.

 

The US Attorney's Office announced Thursday that a deal with Banton calls for his waiver of all future appeals related to his 2011 conviction on a cocaine distribution conspiracy charge.

 

Banton is scheduled to be released from federal prison in January 2019, at which time he will be deported to Jamaica.

 

Banton's attorneys previously argued that he should be released early under a change in federal drug sentencing guidelines. But the change didn't apply to most minimum mandatory sentences.

 

Banton's 10-year sentence is the minimum mandatory sentence for his conviction stemming from a 2009 arrest following a sting operation.

He's up for re-election to continue running world football, but Sepp Blatter's bid to stay on as FIFA president has fallen on deaf ears as regards Argentine great Diego Maradona.

 

"We are talking about the most beautiful sport and most passionate in the world," Maradona told CNN anchor Becky Anderson in an exclusive interview, "and it's been directed by a freezer, someone who should live in a block of ice."

 

FIFA's current head has held the position for four terms since 1998, and is running against former Portuguese international Luis Figo, as well as Prince Ali bin Al-Hussein of Jordan, whose campaign is backed by Maradona.

 

"Rats can get anywhere in the world; he is the president of FIFA," added Maradona, who went on to dub football's governing body "a mafia."

 

FIFA under Blatter's leadership has been mired in controversy since its decision to award the 2018 and 2022 World Cups to Russia and Qatar.

 

Criticism of the organization reached a fever pitch when the man hired to investigate the bidding process for those World Cups, American lawyer Michael Garcia, resigned in protest last year, unhappy that the published summary did not accurately reflect his findings.

 

Africa is likely to be a bedrock of support for Blatter in his re-election bid, but Maradona cited the poor conditions for that continent's footballing youth as evidence of FIFA's current failings.

 

"I was talking to Samuel Eto [who currently plays for Italian Serie A side Sampdoria] and he told me that they are playing in the same old pitch where he used to play when he was seven," said Maradona. "So, after all the World Cups that we [Cameroon] played, what happened to all that money that was collected?"

 

"I want transparency," said the Argentine, who hoisted the World Cup trophy after beating West German in the 1986 final. "I want to finish with the corrupt contracts in FIFA."

 

Blatter ran unopposed in 2011, after his most vocal opponent, Mohammed bin Hammam of Qatar withdrew just before the vote. One month later, the Qatari was banned from all football activities for life by a FIFA panel.

 

Blatter had stated that he would not run again after 2011, but changed his mind. He is a strong frontrunner when FIFA's 209 members go to the polls on May 29.

 

FIFA was not immediately available for comment when contacted to provide a response to Maradona's interview, but earlier this year, responding to criticism of his tenure of office, Blatter told CNN, "You know it is impossible to make everybody happy.

 

"If I would have only positive press then it would not be good. And I like criticism as long as the criticism is... I would say fair criticism.

 

"I like the discussion to go with that. But listen I've been there such a long time now and I just want to finish that," he added.

 

Maradona spends much of his time in Dubai these days, and voiced his opinion for a unified 2022 World Cup in the Gulf Arab states, which -- apart from slated host Qatar -- include the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman and Saudi Arabia.

 

"Of course it would have been better, the distances are not huge," he said. "It would have been way more productive for the Arab world. But it seems like Blatter only has friends in Qatar."

 

Maradona knows the region well.

 

Three years ago, he was sacked by United Arab Emirates club Al-Wasl after only 14 months in charge.

 

He arrived in Dubai on a lucrative contract in May 2011, but could only manage to take Al-Wasl to eighth place in the 12-team UAE Pro-League -- which resulted in the club's board resigning.

 

Maradona was not given the chance to continue his two-year tenure by the new board.

 

He is one of the greatest players in soccer history, having helped Napoli win two Italian league titles after a difficult two-year stay at Barcelona -- both clubs signed him for record fees.

 

But his career was marred by controversy over drug use -- he was thrown out of the 1994 World Cup after testing positive for ephedrine -- and he suffered from subsequent health problems.

 

Maradona's parting words crystalized his sentiment towards Blatter: "I only ask God, and my mom that is in heaven, that I can have the opportunity to get this man out of FIFA and give the people what they deserve."

 

Meanwhile FIFA has described a claim made by an ESPN documentary that Blatter is avoiding traveling to the U.S. due to an FBI investigation into the 2018 and 2022 World Cup bidding process as "absolutely untrue."

 

"FIFA has never received any request from the American law enforcement," said a FIFA statement sent to CNN.

 

"During his mandate period, the President tries to visit as many of the 209 Member Associations as possible.‎

 

"As the President travels extensively, we need to check precisely when he last visited the U.S., but his travels are not restricted by any alleged fears."

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