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Nigerian Soldiers Shoot At Least Two Protesters Demonstrating Against Police Brutality

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LAGOS (Reuters) – Soldiers opened fire on Nigerians protesting against police brutality in the Lekki district of the commercial capital Lagos on Tuesday, striking at least two people, four witnesses told Reuters.

Thousands of Nigerians have demonstrated here nationwide every day for nearly two weeks against a police unit, the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS), that rights groups had for years accused of extortion, harassment, torture and murders. The unit was disbanded on Oct. 11 but the protests have persisted with demonstrators calling for a raft of law enforcement reforms.

“They started firing ammunition toward the crowd. They were firing into the crowd,” said Alfred Ononugbo, 55, a security officer. “I saw the bullet hit one or two persons,” he said.

The condition of those two people was not immediately known. Amnesty International has said at least 15 people had been killed since the protests began.

In a Twitter post, the Nigerian Army said no soldiers were at the scene of the shooting on Tuesday night in Lekki, an upmarket district where the toll gate has been the site of daily protests in Lagos, Africa’s biggest city.

Lagos state government said it would open an investigation into the shooting, which witnesses said began about 7 p.m. (1800 GMT).

“There have been reports of shooting at the Lekki Toll Plaza,” Gboyega Akosile, a spokesman for the governor, said on Twitter. “The State Government has ordered an investigation into the incident,” he said in another tweet.

A Nigerian army spokesman did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

Inyene Akpan, 26, a photographer, said more than 20 soldiers arrived at the toll gate in Lekki and opened fire. He said he saw two people being shot.

Akinbosola Ogunsanya, a third witness, said he saw around 10 people being shot. Ogunsanya, who said lights went out shortly before the soldiers arrived, also said he saw soldiers remove bodies.

Another witness, Chika Dibia, said soldiers hemmed in people as they shot at them.

Video verified by Reuters showed men walking slowly in formation toward demonstrators, followed by trucks with flashing lights, and the sound of gunfire popping. Another video showed the toll gate itself, with a protester waving a Nigerian flag, as people ran amid the sounds of gunfire.

A Reuters witness heard sirens and gunfire.

A doctor at the private Reddington Hospital in the Victoria Island area of Lagos said 13 people were being treated, including some for gunshot wounds. The doctor asked not to be identified.

DEFENCE MEETING

President Muhammadu Buhari on Tuesday held scheduled talks with the defence minister and the chief of defence staff around 6:15 p.m. (1715 GMT) to discuss national security, two presidency officials told Reuters, speaking on condition of anonymity.

A spokesman for the president did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

The Nigerian army was due to begin a two-month national exercise on Tuesday. When the move was announced on Saturday, it denied the move was part of a security response to the demonstrations. Days earlier the military said it was prepared to help maintain law and order.

The weeks-long protests were sparked by a video that began circulating in early October purportedly showing SARS here officers shooting a man in southern Delta state. Police denied the shooting.

Authorities on Tuesday imposed a round-the-clock curfew on Lagos as the state governor said protests had turned violent.

It is one of three of Nigeria’s 36 states to have announced such measures in the last two days. The national police chief also ordered the immediate deployment of anti-riot forces nationwide following increased attacks on police facilities, a police spokesman said.

Reporting by Alexis Akwagyiram and Libby George in Lagos, and Paul Carsten; Additional reporting by Felix Onuah and Camillus Eboh in Abuja and Nneka Chile in Lagos; Editing by Grant McCool

 





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Here’s Why Cecily Strong Was Absent From ‘SNL’ Opening Credits

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Viewers can rest assured that Cecily Strong is still gainfully employed by “Saturday Night Live” despite an opening credits omission.

Season 48 of “SNL,” which premiered Saturday, got off to a rollicking start thanks to host Miles Teller and musical guest Kendrick Lamar. Still, Strong was notably absent from both the show and its opening credits, prompting many to question whether she’d departed the comedy show without fanfare.

Turns out that’s not the case. An “SNL” cast member since 2012, the comedian is currently appearing in the play “The Search for Signs of Intelligent Life in the Universe,” which opened last week at the Mark Taper Forum in Los Angeles.

“SNL” creator Lorne Michaels is a co-producer of the one-woman comedy, which concludes its run Oct. 23. Entertainment Weekly and TV Insider confirm that Strong is expected to resume her “SNL” duties in New York shortly thereafter.

Cecily Strong as Kimberly Guilfoyle and Mikey Day as Donald Trump Jr. on the March 5 episode of “Saturday Night Live.”

Fans’ concerns regarding Strong’s future on “SNL,” however, were justified. Michaels previously hinted that Season 48 would be a “transition year,” and he wasn’t kidding.

Cast members Aidy Bryant, Pete Davidson, Kate McKinnon and Kyle Mooney collectively announced their exit from the series at the conclusion of Season 47, which wrapped in May. Last month, it was confirmed that Aristotle Athari, Alex Moffat, Chris Redd and Melissa Villaseñor were also leaving, bringing the tally of departing cast members to eight.

As a 10-season “SNL” veteran, Strong is one of the longest-running cast members in the series’ current lineup.

Last year, she won praise for her impressions of Fox News host Jeanine Pirro, Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.) and Donald Trump Jr.’s fiancée, Kimberly Guilfoyle.


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Will Smith Returns To The Big Screen In Gripping First ‘Emancipation’ Trailer

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Will Smith’s next film will be released this year after all, with Apple Studios announcing that “Emancipation” is arriving in theaters next month, just in time for the upcoming awards season.

The historical drama from “Training Day” director Antoine Fuqua will now open in theaters on Dec. 2 and be made available to stream on Dec. 9, contrary to reports that claimed the film would be delayed until 2023.

“Emancipation” is Smith’s first major project since he walked onstage during the Oscars ceremony in March and slapped presenter Chris Rock over a joke the comedian made about Smith’s wife, Jada Pinkett Smith.

Will Smith attends the 2022 Vanity Fair Oscar Party.

Future Publishing via Getty Images

Since then, Smith has apologized for his actions and voluntarily resigned from the Academy, which banned him from attending the Oscars for the next decade. However, he can still be nominated for an award should his Hollywood peers deem him worthy of one.

The release of “Emancipation,” which completed production just a month before the infamous awards show moment, was initially delayed in the fallout from Smith’s altercation with Rock, upending plans for a major awards season push behind Smith’s performance, which is already drawing praise.

But Apple Studios, which acquired the film for a record-breaking $120 million, has apparently changed course — and the gripping first trailer makes a powerful case as to why.

Inspired by real-life events, “Emancipation” stars Smith as Peter, a man who escapes slavery in Louisiana, journeys north and joins the Union Army during the Civil War. Photos of his whipping scars, including one known as “The Scourged Back,” become some of the most widely circulated at the time and ultimately help expose the brutality of slavery to the world.

The trailer unveils Smith’s powerful performance in the film, which also stars Ben Foster, Steven Ogg and Charmaine Bingwa.

“I will not be afraid. What can a mere man do to me?” Smith says in the clip amid flashes of Civil War battlefields and his character evading slave hunters through the swamplands. “I will look in triumph at my enemies.”

During a private screening of the film over the weekend, Smith gave his first comments about the period drama to a crowd at the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation’s 51st Annual Legislative Conference.

“Throughout my career, I’ve turned down many films that were set in slavery. I never wanted to show us like that, you know, and then this picture came along, and this is not a film about slavery,” Smith said, according to The Hollywood Reporter. “This is a film about freedom. This is a film about resilience.”

The screening was the “King Richard” star’s first major public appearance since he broke his monthslong silence earlier this summer in an apology video regarding the Oscars slap.

Watch the trailer for “Emancipation” below.





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John Oliver Reveals ‘Super F**ked Up’ History Museums Hope You Never Learn

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Some of the world’s leading museums are filled with plundered and stolen goods ― and John Oliver of “Last Week Tonight” has had enough.

“If you are ever looking for a missing artifact, nine times out of 10 it’s in the British Museum,” he pointed out. “It’s basically the world’s largest ‘lost and found,’ with both ‘lost’ and ‘found’ in the heaviest possible quotation marks there.”

A prime example: the Elgin Marbles, aka the Parthenon Marbles, taken from Greece in the 19th century by Lord Elgin and currently in the British Museum.

“They weren’t lost. They were taken, which is clearly worse. It’s like being unable to find the last puzzle piece and learning that you didn’t actually misplace it,” he said. “A British earl snuck into your house, stole it, and then sold it to a museum over 1,000 miles away.”

Oliver slammed the “unbelievably patronizing” arguments of those who defend the British Museum and other repositories of stolen goods. Some claim the objects were taken in a different time ― and that means there’s a different context to consider.

But, as Oliver pointed out, British Prime Minister William Gladstone in 1868 said he “deeply lamented” objects looted from Ethiopia by the British Army and called for their return.

“He was saying that in 1868!” Oliver said. “We didn’t even know how to fix a UTI without leeches back then, but we knew that raiding other countries for their shit was ‘deeply lamentable,’ which is British for ‘super fucked up.’”

See his full takedown below. And be sure to stick around for a tour of the “Payback Museum,” featuring Kumail Nanjiani:





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Bella Hadid Stuns As Dress Is Sprayed Onto Her Body At Paris Fashion Week

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Supermodel Bella Hadid stunned audiences at Paris Fashion Week on Friday when she stood on the catwalk topless, clad in only underwear, as a dress was sprayed onto her bare skin.

The 25-year-old moved slowly while three people used spray guns to coat her with a white, weblike material. Then, a fourth person sculpted the substance into an off-the-shoulder dress, and complemented it by cutting a high slit by her legs.

Hadid then walked the runway in the newly created fabric dress to close out the Coperni show for their spring-summer 2023 line at the Musée des Arts et Métiers in Paris.

Coperni, a Parisian fashion label, posted a video of Hadid’s dress formation on Instagram. The magical moment was viewed more than 273,000 times, and went viral across the internet.

Coperni owners Sébastien Meyer and Arnaud Vaillant told Vogue before the show on Friday that the inspiration for the dress came from wanting to merge fashion and technology.

“It’s our celebration of women’s silhouettes from centuries past,” Vaillant said. “And we wanted to update our aesthetic in a more grown-up and scientific way, too,” Meyer added.

The spray-on fabric used in the dress creation was developed by London-based fabric technology company Fabrican, according to The New York Times. After the fabric is sprayed, it hardens into wearable material.

Hadid thanked Coperni and the fashion duo on Instagram, saying “I love you,” and there was “no rehearsal, no nothing, just passion.”





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Nicole Kidman’s Iconic AMC Ad Gets Even More Culty In ‘SNL’ Parody

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If we come to AMC theaters for magic, then we depend on “Saturday Night Live” to parody it, with Chloe Fineman perfectly recreating Nicole Kidman’s iconic commercial with a cultish twist.

What began as a simple ad campaign to encourage moviegoers to return to theaters after pandemic-era shutdowns quickly became a full-blown pop culture phenomenon. The Oscar winner’s overly sincere musings about the power of cinema took on immediate meme status with fans emblazoning her awestruck face on T-shirts, as well as standing, cheering and reciting the famous “heartbreak” line aloud in theaters.

During the Season 48 premiere of NBC’s long-running sketch series over the weekend, Fineman hilariously mimics Kidman’s Australian accent and dramatic hand gestures (yes, we get the clap), as she slinks into an AMC theater on a cold, rainy evening.

After frightening fellow moviegoer Kenan Thompson with all-too-direct eye contact, Fineman’s Kidman then launches into the oft-quoted line: “Heartbreak feels good in a place like this.”

Her message brings the entire theater to its feet, with the adoring audience saluting the screen and chanting the line over and over again, which, naturally, imbues Kidman with supernatural powers. Soon enough, she’s become possessed by a cinema-loving demon, as lightning shoots through her body and she starts levitating above the seats.

But, ultimately, she’s just there to enjoy a movie and revel in that indescribable feeling we get when the lights begin to dim and … well, you know the rest. Thompson, however, isn’t as quick to brush the moment aside, remarking, “What the fuck just happened?”

As for the real commercial, it proved to be so popular that Kidman has renewed her commercial contract with the theater chain and is set to appear in a sequel coming soon to an AMC near you.

“I got a text from the chairman of AMC about a month ago asking me if I would write the next one, and of course the answer to that is yes,” screenwriter Billy Ray, who helmed the first ad, told Vanity Fair earlier this year. “It’s already written.”

“Of course, it’s with Nicole,” he added. “I’m not doing it without Nicole.”





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Kanye West Makes Runway Debut As Model In Mud-Filled Fashion Show

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Kendall Jenner, pack it up, because Kanye West is the new model in the family.

The rapper and fashion icon, who legally changed his name to Ye last year, made his catwalk debut during Paris Fashion Week on Sunday with a runway strut that’s already grabbed the internet’s attention.

West opened Balenciaga’s apocalyptic-themed Summer 2023 show, which featured a mud-soaked runway surrounded by piles of sludge, surprising everyone in the audience, including daughter North West who sat front row at the event alongside aunts Khloe Kardashian and Kylie Jenner.

Ditching his much-discussed bedazzled flip-flops, the Yeezy designer was dressed in a black, oversized, military-inspired jacket adorned with a “security” patch and leather pants. He wore a hoodie over a cap, which obscured part of his face ― West’s preferred method of appearing in public as of late.

The musician arrived at the show with his younger children Saint West, 6; Chicago West, 4; and Psalm West, 3, according to Entertainment Tonight, while their mother Kim Kardashian was reportedly not in attendance.

The unexpected appearance from the Grammy winner on the runway naturally spurred much conversation online.

The hip-hop legend has a long history with the Spanish fashion house, which he collaborated with for a capsule collection under his now-defunct partnership with Gap. Kardashian has also made major inroads with the luxury brand, which recently featured her in a buzzy new campaign.

Earlier in the week, West appeared at the Givenchy show in the French capital sporting a Balenciaga mouthguard.

Kanye West attends the Givenchy Womenswear Spring/Summer 2023 show as part of Paris Fashion Week.

Stephane Cardinale – Corbis via Getty Images

As for why models were tasked with trudging through high-fashion muck, creative director Demna Gvasalia said the set stood as a “metaphor for digging for truth and being down to earth.”

“I hate boxes and I hate labels. … Individualism in fashion is downgraded to pseudotrends dictated by a post in stories of some celebrity of the moment,” he wrote in the show’s notes. “I’ve decided to no longer explain my collections and verbalize my designs, but to express a state of mind.”

It’s unclear why Kardashian wasn’t at the event, as she’s made a habit of still supporting West publicly since their split, while the former couple continue to hammer out the details of their somewhat-contentious divorce.

West was absent at the show she curated for Dolce & Gabbana titled “Ciao Kim” during Milan Fashion Week days ago, which was a full-fledged KarJenner family affair.

The back-to-back fashion extravaganzas arrive on the heels of West’s public apology to Kardashian for “any stress that I have caused” after previously attacking the reality star and her family on social media.

“This is the mother of my children and I apologize for any stress that I have caused, even in my frustration because God calls me to be stronger,” he said during a “Good Morning America” appearance. “But also, ain’t nobody else going to be causing no stress either. I need this person to be least stressed and the best sound mind and as calm as possible to be able to raise those children.”

Watch the full Balenciaga Summer 23 Collection below.





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‘SNL’ Mocks Adam Levine’s Cheating Scandal In NSFW Sketch

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Day concocted a not-safe-for-work portrayal of Levine during a game show-themed sketch titled “Send Something Normal,” a competition that the announcer deemed “America’s easiest game show.”

The game show’s host asked Levine in the sketch to respond to a woman who sent a DM that read: “Hey Adam! Huge fan. Love your music!”

Day, in his impression of Levine, quizzed the host to reveal the woman’s “most liked vacation photo” before giving his X-rated answer to her.

“Going to kick things off with a ‘Holy moly’… ‘Holy moly’… ‘Holy crap’… ‘Your body is makin’ my penis smile!’” Day answered.

You can watch the full sketch below.





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