Taylor Swift-Kanye West feud enters political arena

The Taylor Swift and Kanye West on-off feud has made the somewhat unlikely shift from the stage to the political arena. (AFP)
Updated 09 October 2018
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Taylor Swift-Kanye West feud enters political arena

  • West is a vocal — and somewhat improbable — supporter of President Donald Trump and will sit down with him for lunch at the White House this week
  • Swift appealed to her 112 million followers to register to vote and cast their ballots for Democrats running for the Senate and House

WASHINGTON: The bad blood between Taylor Swift and Kanye West goes way back.
At the 2009 MTV Music Video Awards, he famously interrupted an acceptance speech by the then 19-year-old Swift for Best Female Video to say that Beyonce deserved the honor.
“Taylor, I’m really happy for you, I’mma let you finish, but Beyonce had one of the best videos of all time!” he said, leaving Swift in tears.
Now, their on-off feud has made the somewhat unlikely shift from the stage to the political arena.
West is a vocal — and somewhat improbable — supporter of President Donald Trump and will sit down with him for lunch at the White House this week, after meeting his wife Kim Kardashian earlier this year.
Last weekend, the rapper made headlines with an appearance on “Saturday Night Live” that ended with an off-camera defense of Trump — while sporting a red “Make America Great Again” hat.
“There’s so many times I talk to, like, a white person about this and they say ‘How could you like Trump? He’s racist.’” said West, who is 41.
“If someone inspires me and I connect with them, I don’t have to believe in all their policies.”
Swift got press for her politics as well, shedding years of silence on her views just a month ahead of crucial midterm elections to endorse two Democrats running in Tennessee, where she has lived for years.
The 28-year-old pop star is an outspoken feminist and backer of the #MeToo movement, but until she took to Instagram on Sunday, she had been famously apolitical. Not any more.
Swift appealed to her 112 million followers to register to vote and cast their ballots for Democrats running for the Senate and House.
“In the past I’ve been reluctant to publicly voice my political opinions, but due to several events in my life and in the world in the past two years, I feel very differently about that now,” Swift said.
“I always have and always will cast my vote based on which candidate will protect and fight for the human rights I believe we all deserve in this country,” she added.
Trump has been a vocal Swift fan in the past, tweeting her praises on several occasions, but the Republican president has dialed down his affection for her.
“Let’s say that I like Taylor’s music about 25 percent less now, okay?” Trump told reporters on Monday.
Mike Huckabee, the former Arkansas governor and Republican presidential hopeful whose daughter Sarah Sanders is the White House spokeswoman, fired off a dismissive tweet.
“So @taylorswift13 has every right to be political but it won’t impact election unless we allow 13 yr old girls to vote,” Huckabee tweeted.
The last laugh may be on Huckabee.
Kamari Guthrie of Vote.org told Buzzfeed News that voter registrations have surged since Swift’s Instagram post.
Vote.org had received 65,000 registrations within the 24 hours after Swift’s message, more than the 56,669 recorded in the entire month of August,” Guthrie said.
“Thank God for Taylor Swift,” Guthrie told Buzzfeed.
The White House meanwhile announced that West would have lunch with Trump on Thursday and would also meet with his son-in-law and adviser Jared Kushner.
“Topics of discussions will include manufacturing resurgence in America, prison reform, how to prevent gang violence, and what can be done to reduce violence in Chicago,” Sanders said.
West has taken flak for his support of Trump, who won less than 10 percent of the black vote in 2016.
Despite Trump boasting regularly that black unemployment is at historic lows, only 10 percent of the African-Americans surveyed last month by Quinnipiac University said they like his policies.
That has not stopped West from singing Trump’s praises — and the president returning the favor.
“Republicans are delivering for African-Americans like never before,” Trump said at an election rally last week in Tennessee.
“And you saw that the other night with Kanye West,” Trump said in a reference to the rapper’s “SNL” appearance.
“How good was Kanye West?“


Drunk on smoke: Notre Dame’s bees survive cathedral blaze

Updated 20 April 2019
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Drunk on smoke: Notre Dame’s bees survive cathedral blaze

PARIS: Hunkered down in their hives and drunk on smoke, Notre Dame’s smallest official residents — some 180,000 bees — somehow managed to survive the inferno that consumed the cathedral’s ancient wooden roof.
Confounding officials who thought they had perished, the bees clung to life, protecting their queen.
“It’s a big day. I am so relieved. I saw satellite photos that showed the three hives didn’t burn,” Notre Dame beekeeper Nicolas Geant told The Associated Press on Friday.
“Instead of killing them, the CO2 (from smoke) makes them drunk, puts them to sleep,” he explained.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by Beeopic (@beeopic) on


Geant has overseen the bees since 2013, when three hives were installed on the roof of the stone sacristy that joins the south end of the monument. The move was part of a Paris-wide initiative to boost declining bee numbers. Hives were also introduced above Paris’ gilded Opera.
The cathedral’s hives were lower than Notre Dame’s main roof and the 19th-century spire that burned and collapsed during Monday evening’s fire.
Since bees don’t have lungs, they can’t die from smoke inhalation — but they can die from excessive heat. European bees, unlike some bee species elsewhere, don’t abandon their hives when facing danger.
“When bees sense fire, they gorge themselves on honey and stay to protect their queen, who doesn’t move,” Geant said. “I saw how big the flames were, so I immediately thought it was going to kill the bees. Even though they were 30 meters (nearly 100 feet) lower than the top roof, the wax in the hives melts at 63 degrees Celsius (145.4 Fahrenheit).”

Notre Dame Cathedral’s three beehives — home to more than 180,000 bees  — survived the destructive fire. (Instagram/Beeopic)

If the wax that protects their hive melts, the bees simply die inside, Geant explained.
Smoke, on the other hand, is innocuous. Beekeepers regularly smoke out the hives to sedate the colony whenever they need access inside. The hives produce around 75 kilograms (165 pounds) of honey annually, which is sold to Notre Dame employees.
Notre Dame officials saw the bees on top of the sacristy Friday, buzzing in and out of their hives.
“I wouldn’t call it a miracle, but I’m very, very happy,” Geant added.