Katy Perry, Taylor Swift set to steal show at Video Music Awards

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This file photo shows singer Katy Perry attending the presentation of the new Stella McCartney Autumn 2016 Collection with live surprise musical performances at Amoeba in Hollywood, California, on January 12, 2016. (AFP)
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In this file photo, Taylor Swift performs at the DIRECTV NOW Super Saturday Night Concert in Houston, Texas, Feb 4, 2017. (AP)
Updated 27 August 2017
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Katy Perry, Taylor Swift set to steal show at Video Music Awards

LOS ANGELES: Rapper Kendrick Lamar should be the big winner at Sunday’s MTV Video Music Awards (VMAs), but long-time rivals Katy Perry and Taylor Swift are expected to steal the limelight at a show that thrives on controversy and surprises.
Lamar leads all comers with eight VMA nominations for his “Humble” music video, a searing critique on the excesses of fame and social media.
But the three-hour live show in Los Angeles will feature the world premiere of the music video for Swift’s vengeful new single “Look What You Made Me Do,” in which she takes aims at unnamed people who have tried to take her down, and declares her old self dead.
It’s not clear whether Swift, 27, who is launching a harder image and her first album in three years, will attend Sunday’s VMAs, where Perry is hosting the show and will perform a medley of songs from her “Witness” album ahead of an upcoming world tour.
VMA organizers on Saturday sought to quash rampant speculation that Swift will perform, let alone use the VMA stage to reconcile with Perry and end a three-year feud between pop’s leading female singers that stemmed from a dispute over backing dancers.
“She (Swift) has been on the show many times and performed with a new album coming, but not this time,” executive producer Jesse Ignjatovic told People magazine. “I definitely wish she was coming on and performing.”
The VMAs are known for memorable moments, like the raw meat dress that Lady Gaga wore on the red carpet in 2010.
In 2009, rapper Kanye West, thought to be one of the targets of Swift’s new single, leapt on stage to interrupt Swift’s acceptance speech. In 2015, the pair briefly made up when Swift presented West with a VMA lifetime achievement award, only to fall out again publicly over the lyrics of the rapper’s 2016 single “Famous.”
Swift has just one nomination on Sunday, for her “I Don’t Wanna Live Forever” single collaboration with Zayn Malik.
Speculation over her attendance and the buzz over her new single has sidelined the rest of the line-up, which includes Britain’s Ed Sheeran, Miley Cyrus, Pink, Demi Lovato, Lorde, Canadian rapper The Weeknd, girl group Fifth Harmony and best new artist contender Julia Michaels.
Lamar, The Weeknd, Bruno Mars, Lorde, Sheeran and Ariana Grande are competing for one of the top awards — artist of the year — which is voted on by fans online.
Lamar’s video “Humble,” The Weeknd’s “Reminder,” Bruno Mars’ “24K Magic,” Alessia Cara’s “Scars to Your Beautiful,” and DJ Khaled’s “Wild Thoughts,” featuring Rihanna and Bryson Tiller are the nominees for video of the year.


Stubbed out: Japan university stops hiring smoking professors

Updated 23 April 2019
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Stubbed out: Japan university stops hiring smoking professors

  • Nagasaki University the first state-run university to introduce such a condition of employment
  • Japan is steppiing up an anti-smoking campaign ahead of the 2020 Olympics

TOKYO: A Japanese university has stopped hiring professors and teachers who light up, officials said Tuesday, as the nation steps up an anti-smoking campaign ahead of the 2020 Olympics.
Nagasaki University spokesman Yusuke Takakura said they have “stopped hiring any teaching staff who smoke,” although applicants who promise to kick the habit before taking up their post could still be offered employment.
The university will also ban smoking entirely on campus from August, opening a clinic for those who cannot give up, said Takakura.
“We have reached a conclusion that smokers are not fit for the education sector,” the spokesman said, adding that the university had sought legal advice and does not believe the policy contravenes discrimination laws.
Local media said it was the first state-run university to introduce such a condition of employment and the move comes after Tokyo’s city government passed strict new anti-smoking rules last year ahead of the 2020 Summer Games.
Japan has long been an outlier in the developed world, considered a smoker’s paradise where lighting up is allowed in many restaurants and bars.
Tokyo’s new laws ban lighting up at restaurants in the capital, regardless of size. Restaurants can set up separate indoor smoking areas, but customers cannot eat or drink there.
Smoking is also banned entirely on school premises from kindergartens to high schools, although space can be set aside outside university and hospital buildings.
The World Health Organization has given Japan its lowest rating for efforts to prevent passive smoking, and it even scores poorly in the region compared with countries like China and South Korea.
Despite that, tobacco use in Japan has been falling in line with a broader global trend.