Putin says rap should be controlled in Russia, not banned

Russian President Vladimir Putin speaks at meeting with cultural advisers in St. Petersburg, Russia, Saturday, Dec. 15, 2018. (AP)
Updated 16 December 2018
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Putin says rap should be controlled in Russia, not banned

  • Putin’s comments come amid a crackdown on contemporary music that evoked Soviet-era censorship of the arts

MOSCOW: Alarmed by the growing popularity of rap among Russian youth, President Vladimir Putin wants cultural leaders to devise a means of controlling, rather than banning, the popular music.
Putin says “if it is impossible to stop, then we must lead it and direct it.”
But Putin said at a St. Petersburg meeting with cultural advisers Saturday that attempts to ban artists from performing will have an adverse effect and bolster their popularity.
Putin noted that “rap is based on three pillars: sex, drugs and protest.” But he is particularly concerned with drug themes prevalent in rap, saying “this is a path to the degradation of the nation.”
He said “drug propaganda” is worse than cursing.
Putin’s comments come amid a crackdown on contemporary music that evoked Soviet-era censorship of the arts.
Last month, a rapper known as Husky, whose videos have garnered more than 6 million views on YouTube, was arrested after he staged an impromptu performance when his show was shut down in the southern Russian city of Krasnodar.
The 25-year-old rapper, known for his lyrics about poverty, corruption and police brutality, was preparing to take to the stage on Nov. 21 when local prosecutors warned the venue that his act had elements of what they termed “extremism.”
Husky climbed onto a car, surrounded by hundreds of fans, and chanted “I will sing my music, the most honest music!” before he was taken away by police.
On Nov. 30, rapper Gone.Fludd announced two concert cancelations, citing pressure from “every police agency you can imagine,” while the popular hip hop artist Allj canceled his show in the Arctic city of Yakutsk after receiving threats of violence.
Other artists have been affected as well — pop sensation Monetochka and punk band Friendzona were among those who had their concerts shut down by the authorities last month.


Taiwan’s ‘selfie queen’ Gigi Wu dies after ravine fall

Updated 22 January 2019
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Taiwan’s ‘selfie queen’ Gigi Wu dies after ravine fall

  • The social media star fell down a ravine in Taiwan’s Yushan national park on Saturday
  • She used a satellite phone to tell friends of the fate that had befallen her

TAIPEI: Taiwanese rescue teams were trying Tuesday to retrieve the body of a dead hiker who became famous on social media for taking selfies on top of mountain peaks dressed in a bikini.
Gigi Wu — dubbed the “Bikini Climber” by fans — used a satellite phone on Saturday to tell friends she had fallen down a ravine in Taiwan’s Yushan national park and badly injured herself.
Rescue helicopters struggled to reach her because of bad weather and officials eventually located her lifeless body on Monday.
“The weather conditions in the mountains are not good, we have asked our rescuers to move the body to a more open space and after the weather clears we will make a request for a helicopter to bring the body down,” Lin Cheng-yi, from the Nantou County Fire and Rescue Services, told reporters.
Officials said Wu had told friends she was unable to move the lower half of her body after a fall of some 20-30 meters (65-100 feet) but was able to give her coordinates.
She is the latest in a string of social media adventure seekers who have met an untimely end.
Last week, the bodies of an Indian couple were found at the bottom of a popular overlook in California’s Yosemite National Park after hikers alerted officials to their camera equipment at the top of the cliff.
New Taipei City native Wu, 36, built up a sizeable social media following through photos of herself at the top of mountains dressed in bikinis.
She usually wore hiking clothes to scale the mountains, only changing into a bikini once she reached the top.
In an interview with local channel FTV last year, she said she had scaled more than 100 peaks in four years.
“I put on a bikini in each one of the 100 mountains. I only have around 97 bikinis so I accidentally repeated some,” she said.
When asked why she did it, she replied: “It just looks so beautiful, what’s not to like?“
While Taiwan is a largely tropical country, it boasts a spine of towering peaks down its middle that regularly top 3,000 meters. In the winter, temperatures routinely drop well below freezing on the mountain slopes.
Lin said their top rescue team hiked for 28 hours to reach the body, only sleeping for three hours because they knew temperatures were rapidly plunging.