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Myanmar Forces Suppress Protests, Kill More Than 100 People

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YANGON, Myanmar (AP) — As Myanmar’s military celebrated the annual Armed Forces Day holiday with a parade Saturday in the country’s capital, soldiers and police elsewhere reportedly killed dozens of people as they suppressed protests in the deadliest bloodletting since last month’s coup.

The online news site Myanmar Now reported late Saturday that the death toll had reached 114. A count issued by an independent researcher in Yangon who has been compiling near-real time death tolls put the total at 107, spread over more than two dozen cities and towns.

Both numbers are higher than all estimates for the previous high on March 14, which ranged in counts from 74 to 90.



Military personnel participate in a parade on Armed Forces Day in Naypyitaw, Myanmar, Saturday, March 27, 2021. 

Figures collected by the researcher, who asked not to be named for his security, have generally tallied with the counts issued at the end of each day by the Assistance Association of Political Prisoners, which documents deaths and arrests and is widely seen as a definitive source. The Associated Press is unable to independently confirm the death tolls.

The killings quickly drew international condemnation, with multiple diplomatic missions to Myanmar releasing statements that mentioned the killing of civilians Saturday, including children.

“This 76th Myanmar armed forces day will stay engraved as a day of terror and dishonour,” the European Union’s delegation to Myanmar said on Twitter. “The killing of unarmed civilians, including children, are indefensible acts.”

U.S. Ambassador Thomas Vajda in a statement said “security forces are murdering unarmed civilians.”

“These are not the actions of a professional military or police force,” he wrote. “Myanmar’s people have spoken clearly: they do not want to live under military rule.”

Anti-coup protesters extinguish fires during a protest in Thaketa township Yangon, Myanmar, Saturday, March 27, 2021. 



Anti-coup protesters extinguish fires during a protest in Thaketa township Yangon, Myanmar, Saturday, March 27, 2021. 

The death toll in Myanmar has been steadily rising as authorities grow more forceful with their suppression of opposition to the Feb. 1 coup that ousted the elected government of Aung San Suu Kyi. The coup reversed years of progress toward democracy after five decades of military rule.

Up through Friday, the Association of Political Prisoners had verified 328 people killed in the post-coup crackdown.

Junta chief Senior Gen. Min Aung Hlaing did not directly refer to the protest movement when he gave his nationally televised Armed Forces Day speech before thousands of soldiers in Naypyitaw. He referred only to “terrorism which can be harmful to state tranquility and social security,” and called it unacceptable.

This year’s event was seen as a flashpoint for violence, with demonstrators threatening to double down on their public opposition to the coup with more and bigger demonstrations. The protesters refer to the holiday by its original name, Resistance Day, which marks the beginning of a revolt against Japanese occupation in World War 2.

State television MRTV on Friday night showed an announcement urging young people — who have been at the forefront of the protests and prominent among the casualties — to learn a lesson from those killed during demonstrations about the danger of being shot in the head or back.

The warning was widely taken as a threat because a great number of the fatalities among protesters have come from being shot in the head, suggesting they have been targeted for death. The announcement suggested that some young people were taking part in protesting as if it was a game, and urged their parents and friends to talk them out of participating.

In recent days the junta has portrayed the demonstrators as the ones perpetrating violence for their sporadic use of Molotov cocktails. On Saturday, some protesters in Yangon were seen carrying bows and arrows. In contrast, security forces have used live ammunition for weeks against what have still been overwhelmingly unarmed and peaceful crowds.

The U.S. Embassy said shots were fired Saturday at its cultural center in Yangon, though no one was injured.

The military government does not issue regular casualty counts, and when it has released figures, the totals have been a fraction of what independent parties such as the U.N. have reported. It has said its use of force has been justified to stop what it has called rioting.

In his speech Saturday, Min Aung Hlaing used the occasion to try to justify the overthrow of Suu Kyi’s government, accusing it of failing to investigate irregularities in last November’s general election, and repeating that his government would hold “a free and fair election” and hand over power afterward.

The military has claimed there were irregularities in the voting rolls for the last election, which Suu Kyi’s National League for Democracy party won in a landslide.

The junta detained Suu Kyi on the day it took power, and continues to hold her on minor criminal charges while investigating allegations of corruption against her that her supporters dismiss as politically motivated.

Phil Robertson, deputy Asia director for New York-based Human Rights Watch, said Saturday’s events showed that the military, known in Myanmar as the Tatmadaw, should be prosecuted in international courts of law.

“This is a day of suffering and mourning for the Burmese people, who have paid for the Tatmadaw’s arrogance and greed with their lives, time and time again,” he said.

Myanmar military forces also on Saturday engaged in combat with guerrillas of the Karen ethnic minority near the country’s eastern border with Thailand.

The Karen National Union, the leading political body for the ethnic group, announced that its armed wing, the Karen National Liberation Army, had overrun a small government military outpost, and captured eight soldiers.

In apparent retaliation, government warplanes on Saturday night carried out strikes on Mutraw district where the KNLA’s 5th Brigade that carried out the morning attack is based and where there is also a large civilian settlement. Hsa Moo of the Karen Peace Support Network, who spoke to villagers from there, said the air attack killed two people and wounded two others while also damaging several houses, Some of the survivors fled to the jungle to hide.

The KNU is one of more than a dozen ethnic armed organizations that have been fighting for decades to gain more autonomy from Myanmar’s central government. There have been calls for them to band together and lend support to the fight against the country’s new ruling junta.



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Angela Yee Officially Leaves ‘The Breakfast Club’ After 12 Years On Radio Show

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Radio show host Angela Yee has bid farewell to Power 105.1′s nationally syndicated show, “The Breakfast Club,” after 12 years.

On Friday, Yee appeared on her final episode of the show, which she hosted with Charlamagne tha God and DJ Envy. Her co-hosts each gave tributes celebrating the media personality’s influence on the radio.

“Job well done,” Charlamagne tha God said on-air. “They can never take away what we built. We’ve all made history together as a radio show.”

“I’m gonna miss my sister,” DJ Envy chimed in.

Yee, Charlamagne tha God and DJ Envy hosted the first episode of “The Breakfast Club” when the show launched in December 2010. The trio interviewed countless notable guests, musicians, actors, and politicians. The show has faced controversy for some of its segments and has had many successes.

In 2020, “The Breakfast Club” was inducted into the Radio Hall of Fame. President Joe Biden appeared on the show months before he was elected to office that same year.

DJ Envy, Angela Yee and Charlamagne Tha God at the Barclays Center on November 2, 2013 in Brooklyn, New York.

Michael Stewart via Getty Images

Yee announced her plans to leave the show on Twitter in August, writing, “The Breakfast Club as you know it is officially over.”

She’s launching her nationally syndicated show on iHeartMedia called “Way Up With Angela Yee” at the beginning of 2023, she told Variety in an article published Friday. She also co-hosts a podcast called “Lip Service.”

Yee said that she hopes her new role will allow her to support and mentor other Black women breaking into the media industry.

“I think about who is going to be following me and who is next, who I can help mentor, and all of those things are exciting to me,” she told Variety. “I hope later on in life there are a bunch of other Black women radio personalities who can say, ‘Angela gave me my shot,’ or ‘Angela helped me do this,’ or ‘Angela plugged me with this person.’”

She continued, “I think that’s what really means a lot, not just what you did for yourself but for other people, also how you spread the love.”





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Jim Parsons And Ben Aldridge Reflect On The Real-Life Love Story Behind ‘Spoiler Alert’

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After appearing in the seminal queer dramas “The Normal Heart” and “The Boys in the Band,” Jim Parsons was eager to play a character who wasn’t “suffering at the hands of his homosexuality.”

The “Big Bang Theory” star found the role he was looking for in “Spoiler Alert,” the movie adaptation of Michael Ausiello’s 2017 memoir. The romantic drama opened in select cities Friday ahead of a nationwide release next week.

“I’m playing a guy who — in the thrust of love, excitement and romance — is on an incredible journey he can’t believe he’s there for, and then, with tragedy, is again on an incredible journey,” Parsons told HuffPost. “It’s a deep-dive journey that these two souls go on together. I felt very hungry to get the chance to portray that as best I could.”

Watch the trailer for “Spoiler Alert” above.

Jim Parsons (left) and Ben Aldridge in “Spoiler Alert.”

Linda Kallerus/Focus Features

Directed by Michael Showalter, “Spoiler Alert” follows Ausiello (played by Parsons), an endearingly nerdy journalist who falls for an aspiring photographer, Kit Cowan (Ben Aldridge), after a dance floor meet-cute. Before long, the two men are living together and hosting dinner parties in their chic New York apartment. Their 13-year relationship is sadly tested, however, when Cowan is diagnosed with a rare form of neuroendocrine cancer.

The real-life Cowan died in 2015 at age 43, and as a love story, “Spoiler Alert” is first and foremost a tearjerker. Still, the movie offers plenty of humor and heart, most notably in scenes that recall the early days of Ausiello and Cowan’s romance. It also boasts a stellar supporting cast, including Sally Field and Bill Irwin as Cowan’s parents, Bob and Marilyn.

Ausiello, who is the founder and editorial director of the entertainment outlet TVLine, began writing “Spoiler Alert” at the suggestion of an editor at the Simon & Schuster book publishing company who had taken note of his Facebook statuses throughout Cowan’s illness.

Writer Michael Ausiello (left) with Parsons and Aldridge.
Writer Michael Ausiello (left) with Parsons and Aldridge.

Kimberly White via Getty Images

A week after the book was published in 2017, Parsons and his husband, Todd Spiewak, approached him at a Q&A in San Francisco to tell him they wanted to adapt the book as a movie.

When it came to translating his story, the writer had just one stipulation for screenwriters David Marshall Grant and Dan Savage.

“I didn’t want the movie to portray Kit as a victim,” Ausiello, also an executive producer on the film, said. “He wasn’t a victim, he didn’t see himself as a victim and never acted like a victim. I also wanted to depict the fact that his parents showed up for their son when he got sick. They didn’t shy away from the hard stuff. They were there for their son.”

In keeping with Ausiello’s advice, Aldridge plays up Kit’s debonair charm even as his body succumbs to cancer. The actor, whose credits include “Fleabag” and “Pennyworth,” described the experience as “very life-affirming and exhilarating.”

“It’s important to risk rejection and risk heartbreak to live your fullest life,” said Parsons (right, with co-star Sally Field).
“It’s important to risk rejection and risk heartbreak to live your fullest life,” said Parsons (right, with co-star Sally Field).

Linda Kallerus/Focus Features

Though “Spoiler Alert” isn’t an overtly political film, its stars are conscious of the fact that it’s being released at a challenging time for the queer community. The Supreme Court’s ultraconservative rulings on abortion and gun control as of late have sparked justifiable concerns among many Americans that LGBTQ rights, including same-sex marriage, could soon be rolled back at the federal level.

“If it changed minds, that would be incredible — I couldn’t ask for more,” Aldridge said. “But we just saw a chance to tell a story that felt real to us. Love is love, and this film is real proof of that.”

As for Parsons, his biggest takeaway from “Spoiler Alert” is personal.

“As we were filming, I realized that one of the most painful things in my life is something I do to myself, which is not telling other people when I love them or when I care about them for fear of rejection or for fear of looking sentimental or caring more than might be cool,” he said. “It’s important to risk rejection and risk heartbreak to live your fullest life.”





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Broadway Actor Quentin Oliver Lee Dead At 34

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Broadway actor Quentin Oliver Lee, best known for playing the title role in the national tour of “Phantom of the Opera,” has died at the age of 34.

“I saw his last breaths, held his hand tight, and felt his heartbeat slowly drift away,” she wrote. “He had a smile on his face, and was surrounded by those he loves. It was peaceful, and perfect.”

She described her late husband as an “incredible man, husband, father, son, brother, friend, singer, actor, and disciple of Christ with great faith in his Father in Heaven.”

The “Phantom of the Opera” show paid tribute to Lee, writing on Instagram it was “saddened to hear of the passing” of Lee who’d “brilliantly lead our North American tour in 2018.”





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Angela Bassett’s Reaction To Keke Palmer’s Popular Impression Of Her Is Priceless

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Keke Palmer finally performed her well-known impression of Angela Bassett in front of none other than the veteran actor herself.

During a conversation in a Vanity Fair video published on Friday, Bassett asked to see Palmer’s impersonation in person, after seeing clips of Palmer imitating her online.

“I’ve seen you online imitating me,” Bassett said with a laugh. “You do a great job.”

Palmer replied that the impression is one of her “most notable” ones. She explained that Queen Latifah would ask her to imitate Bassett whenever she and Palmer worked on projects together.

The “Nope” actor then carried out her impression of a scene that Bassett performed when she portrayed Katherine Jackson in the 1992 miniseries “The Jacksons: An American Dream.”

Bassett hilariously joined Palmer to recite one of the lines. She then revealed that she’d improvised that bit of dialogue, to which Palmer responded: “Now let’s get into it!”

During a video interview with Wired in July ― where she (of course) did the impression ― Palmer said she often gets told she resembles Bassett.

Palmer and Bassett memorably played a mother and daughter duo in the 2006 film “Akeelah and the Bee.”

Bassett told Palmer in the conversation for Vanity Fair that she was impressed with how “present” Palmer was when she played Akeelah at the young age of 11.

“I’ve worked with a few kids here, and child actors are very serious if they get into it at all,” Bassett said. “But you were always very present, but also just so bubbly, and full of life and energy and spirit.”





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Kate Middleton Makes Bold Fashion Statement In $91 Rented Gown

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Royals! They’re just like us. At least ― this one time.

Kate Middleton showed up to the 2022 Earthshot Awards on Friday in a rental dress from the rental platform HURR.

Attendees of awards were asked to focus on sustainability or wear something recycled or vintage for their red carpet looks, and the Princess of Wales was right on theme.

Kate’s gown was from the designer Solace London. You can rent the Sabina dress, too, as it retails from $91 to $238.

She paired the dress with a necklace from the collection of Diana, Princess of Wales.

Earlier in the day, the Prince of Wales wrote an exclusive essay for HuffPost about why he was “thrilled to bring The Earthshot Prize to U.S.” ― and why he remains a “stubborn optimist” about the planet’s future.

“I believe in the power of human ingenuity, and I’m thrilled to bring The Earthshot Prize to the U.S.,” he wrote. “This week, in Boston, we want to demonstrate what we can all do to help put the world on a path toward a stable climate where communities, nature and oceans thrive in harmony.”

The prince added, “In this critical decade, I invite you all to be optimistic, to support the game-changers, and to believe in the power of human ingenuity.”

See more photos of the royals’ visit to Boston below:





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‘Orange Is The New Black’ Actor Brad William Henke Dies At 56

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Brad William Henke, the former NFL player known for his role as corrections officer Desi Piscatella in “Orange Is the New Black,” died Tuesday at age 56, a representative of the actor told Variety.

“Brad was an incredibly kind man of joyous energy. A very talented actor, he loved being a part of this community…. and we loved him back. Our thoughts are with his wife and family,” his manager, Matt DelPiano, said in a statement to TMZ.

The cause of death was not disclosed.

Henke began a career in acting after injuries forced him to retire from professional football in 1994. Over his career, he appeared in dozens of TV series, including “Law & Order,” “Life on Mars,” “Shameless,” “Criminal Minds,” Bones,” “Lost” and and “The Office.”

His movie appearances included “Pacific Rim” and “World Trade Center.”

He played college football at the University of Arizona before he was drafted in 1989 by the New York Giants. He went on to play for the Denver Broncos and in 1990 played on their defensive line in Super Bowl XXIV against the San Francisco 49ers.





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A Resurfaced ‘Drew Barrymore Show’ Clip Has Twitter Users In Shock

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A clip of a couple’s interaction on “The Drew Barrymore Show” didn’t sit right with Twitter users this week, but the full clip clears up the pair’s complicated love story.

The clip, which depicts part of a “Drew’s News” segment that aired during the show’s last season, shows a woman telling the man sitting next to her in the audience that he’d “ruined everything,” then the woman explains what the man had ruined in their relationship.

The couple were shown in the audience when Barrymore and Ross Matthews asked audience members to respond to a question about what they’d do if they didn’t like a friend’s partner.

Barrymore called on a couple that had been “giggling.” The man in the couple told her that you “have to be honest and also not ruin everything” ― but then the woman chimed in to say that he had “ruined everything.”

The woman then told Barrymore that he had just spoiled her attempt to propose to him while they were on the Brooklyn Bridge.

“He said to me, ‘Oh, no, it’s embarrassing. Get up,’” said the woman, who left Barrymore and the audience in shock.

You can watch the clip below.

“What does this have to do with a friend?” Drew asked the couple.

“Nothing,” they both said.

“I had to do this,” the woman then said to the man.

Twitter users called for the viral clip to receive an “Emmy immediately” while others appeared to celebrate the woman’s on-air comment.

The Twitter clip, however, left out a “happy ending” to the couple’s story.

“I wanted to do it myself, later. Not today,” the man said of the proposal as he received a mix of awww’s and — later — laughter.





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