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Beyonce’s new album ‘The Gift’ is a love letter to Africa

Jenna Salmers | posted Friday, Jul 19th, 2019

Late last night, Beyonce released the highly anticipated 14-track album ‘The Gift’, inspired by Disney’s new version of the classic ‘Lion King’. Curated and produced by the Queen herself, the tracklist is jam-packed with features from Kendrick Lamar, Jay-Z, Wiz Kid, and a number of African artists.

This album follows her single ‘Spirit’ which dropped earlier this week.

“This soundtrack is a love letter to Africa and I wanted to make sure we found the best talent from Africa, and not just use some of the sounds and did my interpretation of it,” she told ABC News. “I wanted it to be authentic to what is beautiful about the music in Africa.”

The album features several interludes with dialogue taken directly from the film itself, including several prominent guest spots from James Earl Jones and Beyonce herself, who voices Nala.

The album dropped in unison with the movie, in theatres today.

You can listen to the full album, here:

GTA baking under extreme heat and humidity

News Staff | posted Friday, Jul 19th, 2019

If you think the last few days were hot, think again.

The GTA, including Toronto, and the majority of southern Ontario is under a heat warning, as temperatures are expected to reach the low- to mid-30s with afternoon humidex values of 40 or higher.

The heat warning from Environment Canada was issued on Thursday, ahead of the extreme heat that is expected to continue into Saturday.

680 NEWS meteorologist Jill Taylor said the high on Friday will be 33 C with the humidex near 47.

Although it will be a hot one, Taylor said the GTA is not expected to break any heat records on Friday. The record high on this date was 35.6 C in 1946. The highest humidex ever recorded at Pearson airport was 50.3 on July 14, 1995.

Although much of the day will be sunny, the heat does bring with it a chance of thunderstorms — mainly for late afternoon and evening.

Scattered showers and thunderstorms are also expected on Saturday, along with some sun. The high is expected to hit 34 C with the humidex near 47.

There won’t be much relief overnight as the temperature will only be dropping to the low- to mid-20s, with humidex values remaining near 30.

Cooler air is expected to move through the area on Sunday.

The weather agency is reminding people to never leave pets in parked cars.

Janet Jackson, Chris Brown perform at Saudi music festival despite heavy criticism

Jenna Salmers | posted Friday, Jul 19th, 2019

The Human Rights Foundation and other organizations urged artists to cancel their scheduled appearances at Jeddah World Fest in Saudi Arabia yesterday to stand with women and LGBTQ+ rights. Nicki Minaj canceled due to controversy but Janet Jackson headlined alongside Chris Brown, Liam Payne, and 50 Cent.

The website for the event states it is, “For absolutely everyone to attend. We are all-inclusive for all people,” although there is still gender segregation in many places in Saudi and homosexuality is punishable by death.

In a tweet last week, the HRF urged artists to pull out: “Use your influence for good & stand in solidarity with the Saudi #HumanRights activists who are currently in prison.”

The tweet is in reference to the Saudi women’s rights activists who are currently in prison following a sweep of arrests that occurred just weeks before the driving ban was lifted last year.

Multiple were charged with crimes related to their activism and have remained in prison for more than a year, enduring torture and awaiting their trials shrouded in secrecy.

Saudi laws have restricted women for decades and although reform is underway, there are still many cases of abuse that have overshadowed, including guardianship laws that have kept them out of public life.

These laws ensure that a woman will always be under the guardianship of a man– whether it is her father, husband, or even son if they’re widowed.

Thor Halvorssen, president of the Human Rights Foundation, criticized the entertainers performing at Jeddah World Fest in a statement Thursday to The Associated Press, saying it was, “profoundly distressing that they have chosen money over morals.”

Halvorssen also praised Minaj for pulling out of the event: “This is what leadership looks like. We are grateful to Nicki Minaj for her inspiring and thoughtful decision to reject the Saudi regime’s transparent attempt at using her for a public relations stunt”.

Minaj responded, “While I want nothing more than to bring my show to fans in Saudi Arabia, after better educating myself on the issues, I believe it is important for me to make clear my support for the rights of women, the LGBTQ community and freedom of expression”.

Over the past few months, Saudi has hosted multiple American artists such as Mariah Carey and the Black Eyed Peas. This is a stark change from Saudi morality police raids in establishments that played loud music just a few years ago.

This ‘Cats’ teaser is clawing its way through twitter

Jenna Salmers | posted Friday, Jul 19th, 2019

The world got their first glance of Tom Hooper’s rendition of Cats the Movie on Wednesday night, ahead of the official trailer being released this Friday, and the internet is freaking out.

The behind-the-scenes video showcases a hub of celebrities such as Jason Derulo, Jennifer Hudson, and Taylor Swift well… completely in her element. The cast reflects on the modernization of the classic musical, and the intensive training and preparation endured in order to reach full feline potential.

Artists from all corners of the entertainment industry, from ballet to hip hop performers, have come together to create the film that has been penned more as an ‘international event’.

Aside from Taylor Swift playing Bombalurina and living her best cat life, the advanced technological strategies used in this film are setting standards high for both musical and special-effects buffs alike.

The first revelation the teaser revealed is the massive, real-life scale of the set. Instead of using CGI to create realistic environments, they built real sets scaled to portray the cast as cat-size.

Additionally, Hooper announced that the film is paired with a level of technology that has never been used– ‘digital fur technology’, which he says, “[will] create the most perfect covering of fur.”

Although the visuals of digital fur technology were not seen in the teaser, James Corden says the result is, “kind of blowing [his] mind”, and we are living for all of our favourite celebrities to transform into furry friends.

The film will be clawing its way to theatres on December 20, 2019. Let’s hope this isn’t another Sonic The Hedgehog moment.

6 Tips for Cool Summer Sleeping

Riley Glenn | posted Friday, Jul 19th, 2019

Summer is awesome. Beach days? Check. Barbecues? Check. Not wearing 11 layers of clothing every time you leave your house? Check. Sweaty Sleep? Unfortunately, check.

Let’s get scientific for a moment. When we sleep, our body’s internal temperature drops by about 1 or 2 degrees. For this reason, it’s recommended to aim for a room temperature around 15-19 degrees. Easy, right? Well, not when it’s a million degrees outside and you don’t have AC.

If you’re (literally) tired of lying awake at night, trying to un-stick yourself from your sheets and flipping your pillow endlessly so you can finally fall asleep and can catch those much-needed Z’s, this list is for you. Without further ado, here are 6 simple tips for staying cool during hot summer nights.

1 . Open the window

It sounds simple (and it is), but this is a really effective way of cooling down a steaming hot room. Even if it seems just as warm and humid outside as it is inside, even a light breeze will help create a nice airflow, and help suck the warm air out of your room.

2 . Cotton is your friend

Maybe you have a snazzy silk set of Pyjama-jams that you want to wear to bed or an expensive new silk bedspread you want to try out. We’ve all been there (Ok, I haven’t) but I seriously recommend saving them for cooler nights. Instead, stick with cotton, which breaths far better than silk, polyester, or really any other fabric. Better breathing fabrics=less sweat.

3. Cool off before you go to bed

You might be saying, “Hey, that’s cheating! I clicked this for tips to cool off while sleeping”, and I toooootally get that, but I promise you that a cold shower or a dip in a pool prior to bed is easily the best way to stay cool at night. Remember when I said your internal body temperature drops when you sleep? Well, one way to make this easier for your body is to cool off your external body temperature first. Science.

4. Homemade Air Conditioning

Channel your inner engineer and create the ultimate coolness defender. All it takes is a bowl filled with ice or icepacks placed in front of a fan. The ice will cool the air surrounding it, and the fan will, well you can probably figure the rest out. You’re an engineer now, after all.

5. Less is More

Back to the silk pajama-jams, it’s another no. Instead, opt for a loose-fitting t-shirt and underwear or shorts (cotton, of course). Going nude is an option as well, but there is a pretty strong debate about whether or not sleeping nude actually keeps you cool.

6. Be creative

If all else fails, just try things until something works! Put your pillow, sheets, or pajama-jams in the freezer before bed, sleep with an Ice pack, unplug electronics (they all give off a little heat, even when off), whatever it takes! You can do it!

Experience ‘Jumanji’ in real life with this viral twitter video

Jenna Salmers | posted Thursday, Jul 18th, 2019

Twitter user @Bumfluffski shared a crazy video of an elephant charging at a  jeep during a safari trip on Saturday, which has since gone viral.

The video shows the driver backing up through a dusty safari path as an elephant charges the vehicle and trumpets at them.

It appears all parties involved were unharmed. You can watch the whole thing below.

Final council meeting before summer break: expanded bike lanes, childcare funding

News Staff | posted Thursday, Jul 18th, 2019

There will be one last city council meeting before summer break and from the looks of the agenda, it will be a long one.

Tuesday’s proceeding was stalled by a nearly four-hour long debate over Vision Zero 2.0 — the city’s action plan focused on reducing traffic-related fatalities and injuries.

This means there will be several major items that could see heated debate on Wednesday, including asking the province to extend a deadline for the city to commit to covering operating costs for thousands of proposed new childcare spaces.

Also on the agenda is approving an updated cycling network.

The cycling plan includes a pilot project for protected bike lanes on the Danforth next year, and extending the Bloor lanes to High Park.

Jared Kolb of Cycle Toronto said it’s a plan not only supported by cyclists.

“What we’ve heard from drivers, in terms of why they really like protected bike lanes, is it really adds a sense of order to the street,” he explained.

Committees will resume in September, but full council won’t sit again until after the federal election — the same week MPPs return to Queen’s Park.

9 dogs killed in fire at kennel in King Township

The Canadian Press | posted Thursday, Jul 18th, 2019

Officials say nine dogs have died after a fire at a kennel in King Township.

James Arnold, the deputy fire chief in King, said the fire happened late Tuesday or early Wednesday.

He said the fire “self-extinguished” but killed nine dogs inside the kennel and caused smoke damage to the building.

No other dogs were hurt in the blaze.

Arnold says he isn’t releasing the name of the kennel for now, because the dogs’ owners are still being notified.

He says the cause of the fire is still under investigation, but York regional police say foul play is not suspected.

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