Hollywood star Will Smith brings down curtain on Russia World Cup

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US singer Will Smith (R), Kosovo's singer Era Istrefi (L) and US rapper Nick Rivera Caminero aka Nicky Jam (C) perform during the closing ceremony prior to the Russia 2018 World Cup final football match between France and Croatia at the Luzhniki Stadium in Moscow on July 15, 2018. (AFP)
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Singer Will Smith performs during Russia's World Cup closing ceremony. (Reuters)
Updated 15 July 2018
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Hollywood star Will Smith brings down curtain on Russia World Cup

  • Smith performed at Moscow’s Luzhniki stadium

MOSCOW: Hollywood actor and singer Will Smith performed the soccer World Cup’s official song “Live It Up” in the tournament’s closing ceremony in Moscow on Sunday.
As Smith performed at Moscow’s Luzhniki stadium, giant screens laid out on the pitch showed images of soccer players and the colors of the Croatian and French flags — the two teams who face each other in the final.
Smith was joined on stage by Nicky Jam, a US-born singer with Puerto Rican roots, and by Era Istrefi, a pop singer who describes herself as Albanian Kosovar. Both artists had featured with Smith on the “Live It Up” single.
In the final sequence of the ceremony, Russian opera singer Aida Garifullina performed Russian folk song “Kalinka” accompanied by bagpipes, a children’s choir, and a percussion section.
That section featured a guest performer: Brazilian soccer star and past World Cup winner Ronaldinho, who for a few bars of the song hammered out the rhythm on an African drum.
The performances were a prelude to France and Croatia’s players taking to the pitch to begin their final match, in front of a packed crowd at the 80,000-seat stadium.


Indonesia woman irked by mosque noise convicted of blasphemy

Updated 21 August 2018
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Indonesia woman irked by mosque noise convicted of blasphemy

  • Prosecutors said the 44-year-old defendant violated the criminal code by committing blasphemy against Islam
  • The maximum sentence for blasphemy is two years

MEDAN, Indonesia: An Indonesian court has sentenced a woman who complained about a noisy mosque to 18 months in prison for blasphemy.
The ethnic Chinese woman, Meiliana, burst into tears as presiding Judge Wahyu Prasetyo Wibowo announced the sentence Tuesday. She was taken from the court in handcuffs.
Prosecutors said the 44-year-old defendant violated the criminal code by committing blasphemy against Islam, the dominant faith in Indonesia, the world’s most populous Muslim nation.
Mobs burned and ransacked at least 14 Buddhist temples throughout Tanjung Balai, a port town on Sumatra, in a July 2016 riot following reports of Meiliana’s complaint about a mosque’s noisy loudspeakers.
The woman’s lawyer, Ranto Sibarani, said the sentence would be appealed. A conservative group, Islamic Community Forum, said Meilana’s sentence was too light.
The maximum sentence for blasphemy is two years.
Indonesia’s Constitution guarantees freedom of speech and religion but in recent years blasphemy cases have been filed against those perceived as offending Islam. The overwhelming majority end with guilty verdicts.
Last year, the minority Christian and ethnic Chinese governor of Jakarta, the capital, was convicted of blasphemy and imprisoned for two years after massive street protests over comments seized upon by his political opponents.
Judges imposed the sentence despite prosecutors downgrading the blasphemy charge to a lesser offense.