Stevie Wonder kneels as he leads anti-poverty concert

Stevie Wonder is seen taking a knee at the 2017 Global Citizen Festival in Central Park. (Photo courtesy: social media)
Updated 24 September 2017
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Stevie Wonder kneels as he leads anti-poverty concert

NEW YORK: Stevie Wonder knelt before a packed New York festival Saturday in a protest for peace as he led stars and politicians in pressing for sustained aid to eliminate the world’s worst poverty.
On a balmy late summer night, thousands converged on Central Park for the live-broadcast Global Citizen Festival which hands out tickets for free to fans who take actions such as petitioning their governments to support development assistance.
With President Donald Trump proposing sweeping aid cuts, the concert had set a goal of building political momentum in the world’s largest donor nation. But in a deeply divided United States, another Trump controversy came to the forefront.
Wonder took the stage and knelt, emulating a gesture popularized by NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick during the national anthem to denounce racial injustice. Trump on Friday angrily denounced such protests, using profanity to demand that teams fire the athletes.
“Tonight, I’m taking a knee for America,” the blind soul legend said as took to the ground, his son Kwame Morris clutching his arm.
Wonder also voiced worry over the increasingly personal venom between Trump and North Korean strongman Kim Jong-Un.
“We could lose the ultimate video game — of life — losing sight that weapons are real, and rhetoric is dangerous, whether it be from a superpower in North America or a superpower in North Korea,” Wonder said.
Wonder jammed through more than an hour of his best-loved songs before turning his ever-powerful belting voice to the 1985 charity singalong “We Are the World” as well as “Imagine,” the peace anthem by John Lennon who was assassinated a short stroll away.
The 67-year-old Wonder closed by bringing up a visibly star-struck Pharrell Williams, singing together a funk-heavy take of “Get Lucky,” which Williams co-wrote for Daft Punk, as well as the younger artist’s ode to optimism “Happy.”
The diverse but heavy-hitting lineup also featured chart-topping electronic duo The Chainsmokers, rising soul star Andra Day, folk rockers The Lumineers and young Canadian pop songwriter Alessia Cara — who, in a feat of organization, also performed Saturday in Toronto at the Invictus Games for wounded soldiers and veterans.

Punk rock greats Green Day injected politics as well, with frontman Billie Joe Armstrong weaving Trump into the lyrics of “American Idiot,” the band’s high-octane 2004 indictment of US media culture.
Green Day turned down the volume for a second set of “Wake Me Up When September Ends” and “Good Riddance (Time Of Your Life),” set to a slideshow from UNICEF to show the still severe human impact of AIDS.
French President Emmanuel Macron addressed the festival by video, promising to help raise more than $1 billion for the Global Partnership for Education before a February 8 conference in Senegal.
The group brings together the public and private sectors to expand schools — seen as critical to reducing poverty.
“It’s all about education precisely to fight against terrorism, fundamentalism,” said Macron, introduced by Senegal’s ambassador to the United Nations which is holding its annual General Assembly.
“It’s all about education to help women to build their lives, to help people to have a decent life.”
The partnership has a goal of $3.1 billion in funding for 2018 through 2020, of which $2 billion has already been committed.
Denmark’s minister for development cooperation, Ulla Tornaes, announced to the festival that her government would next year double to $110 million its international funding for women’s sexual and reproductive health.
“When some countries stop fighting for women’s rights, we intensify ours,” she said to applause.
Trump, as part of his “America First” ideology, has proposed slashing foreign aid by one-third although he faces stiff opposition in Congress.
Aid advocates point out that extreme poverty has fallen by half since 1990, although more than 750 million people live on less than $1.90 a day, according to the World Bank.
Representative Charlie Dent, a leading moderate in Trump’s Republican Party, said that Global Citizen had triggered some 400,000 calls to the US Congress to preserve aid — and voiced hope the pressure would work.
“Foreign assistance is good for humanity and it advances America’s interests around the world,” Dent told the festival.


Joe Root’s century seals England series win over India, maintains No. 1 ODI ranking

Updated 17 July 2018
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Joe Root’s century seals England series win over India, maintains No. 1 ODI ranking

  • This was Root’s second unbeaten century in successive innings
  • Joe Root became England’s leading one-day international century-maker

LEEDS: Joe Root became England’s leading one-day international century-maker as an innings of exactly 100 not out on his Headingley home ground saw the hosts to an eight-wicket victory over India on Tuesday and a 2-1 series win.
This was Root’s second unbeaten century in successive innings after his 113 not out helped England level the three-match contest with an 86-run win at Lord’s on Saturday.
This latest hundred was also Test skipper Root’s 13th in ODIs, taking him past the England record of 12 he had previously shared with Marcus Trescothick.
Tuesday saw Root and one-day captain Eoin Morgan (88 not out) share an unbroken third-wicket stand of 186 as England, first in the ODI rankings to their opponents’ second, ended India’s run of nine straight bilateral series wins in style.
England, who will be bidding to win the World Cup for the first time when they stage next year’s edition, had said they would treat Tuesday’s match as a dress rehearsal for a winner-takes-all game at the showpiece tournament.
And that made the comprehensive manner of their victory all the more satisfying for Morgan’s men.
It was England’s bowlers who set up this win, with Adil Rashid and David Willey, two of the five Yorkshire cricketers in their XI, taking three wickets apiece.
But, after left-arm quick Willey had kept things tight early on, it was leg-spinner Rashid who did significant damage by taking two wickets in an over.
He bowled India captain and star batsman Virat Kohli (71), as well as dismissing Suresh Raina, on his way to three for 49 in a maximum 10 overs.
Willey, who took three for 40 in nine overs, received excellent new-ball support from Durham quick Mark Wood (one for 30).
Root, who was dropped from the final match of England’s preceding 2-1 Twenty20 series loss, told Sky Sports: “It feels fantastic.
“To come into a big series like this and perform how we have as a side is great.”
Morgan added: “I think we were outstanding. I think the tone was set by the bowlers early on, David Willey and Mark Wood were on the money. From that point there was no let up.”
Meanwhile Kohli accepted his side had been outplayed.
“I thought we were never on the mark as far as runs on the board were concerned, we were 25-30 short, and England were really clinical with the bat and in the field as well,” he said.
After Morgan won the toss, Rohit Sharma, who scored a superb century during India’s eight-wicket win in the series-opener at Trent Bridge, struggled to make two off 18 balls, his innings ending when he flicked Willey to Wood at deep square leg.
Opening partner Shikhar Dhawan made a fluent 44 before was run out by Stokes’s direct hit.
Dinesh Karthik, preferred to KL Rahul for this match, then made 21 before he was bowled between bat and pad by Rashid.
Kohli pressed on, however, completing a 55-ball fifty before Rashid struck twice in six balls as India slumped to 158 for five.
He bowled Kohli with a superb leg-break and had Raina caught low at leg-slip by Root.
James Vince, called up in place of the injured Jason Roy cut the first ball of England’s reply, from Bhuvneshwar Kumar, for four.
Vince’s frustrating England career has seen him repeatedly get out on Tuesday he fell for a run-a-ball 27, although it needed a brilliant one-handed take by wicket-keeper Dhoni, from Hardik Pandya’s throw, to run him out.
But by then England were 74 for two inside 10 overs, well above the required run-rate.
Root, stumped off a Yuzvendra Chahal no-ball on 69, went to his century when he pulled Pandya through midwicket for his 10th four in 120 balls as England won with 33 deliveries to spare.
An elated Root celebrated by dropping his bat to the ground — the ‘mic drop’ gesture more associated with rock stars and stand-up comedians than cricketers.