Vuitton stages New York thriller for Jackson-inspired menswear

PARIS (Reuters) – Louis Vuitton recreated a nocturnal New York cityscape to present designer Virgil Abloh’s latest Michael Jackson-inspired collection in Paris on Thursday. Parent group LVMH spared no expense to promote the brand at a time when menswear is on the up, constructing a set complete with steam rising from manholes. Celebrities including Naomi Campbell looked on, sat on doorsteps. It is betting on Abloh – a friend of singer Kanye West and DJ-turned-designer who helped made hoodies a luxury staple – to broaden Vuitton’s reach with male shoppers,…

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Pets, owners flock to Madrid church for blessing of animals

MADRID (Reuters) – Dogs, cats and birds were blessed at a church in Madrid on Thursday on the feast day of St. Anthony, the patron saint of animals, with many of the owners making an annual pilgrimage for their pets. St Anthony the Abbot’s church priest Angel Garcia expected up to 15,000 pets to be brought in for this year’s ceremony. “St. Anthony cared a great deal about dogs and abandoned animals, healing and feeding them. That’s where the tradition comes from,” said the priest, who blesses each animal. “We…

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Netflix, local rival Hotstar to censor content in India – sources

MUMBAI/NEW DELHI (Reuters) – Netflix Inc and home-grown rival Hotstar plan to adopt self-regulation guidelines for content streamed on their platforms in India in an effort to prevent potential government censorship, sources familiar with the matter told Reuters. India has film and TV certification bodies that moderate public content but the country’s laws currently do not mandate any censorship of content on online streaming platforms. But global video streaming market leader, Netflix, was drawn into a legal battle last year after a complaint that its first Indian original series “Sacred…

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Face value: One-time Afghan wedding singer a ringer for Canada's Trudeau

KABUL (Reuters) – Afghan singer Abdul Salam Maftoon’s striking resemblance to Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has turned him into an unlikely celebrity in the war-torn country since his debut on a talent show. The 28-year-old first caught the attention of fans when he traveled to the capital, Kabul, to appear on “Afghan Star”, a televised musical competition that draws contestants from around the South Asian nation. “People are calling me the Justin Trudeau of Afghanistan… Since I came to Kabul, I have become very popular and people are grabbing…

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Hindu ascetics lead millions of Indians in holy bath, but politics weigh

PRAYAGRAJ, India (Reuters) – Millions of pilgrims began bathing on the first official day of India’s Kumbh Mela on Tuesday, the world’s largest religious festival where politics play an important role ahead of a general election later this year. During the eight-week festival at Prayagraj in the northern state of Uttar Pradesh, up to 150 million people, including a million foreign visitors, are expected to bathe at the confluence of the Ganges, the Yamuna, and a mythical third river, the Saraswati. More than 18 million pilgrims led by naked, ash-smeared…

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Salmon-fishing season opens on Scotland's River Tay amid hopes of rain

MEIKLEOUR, Scotland (Reuters) – The salmon-fishing season got under way on the banks of Scotland’s River Tay on Tuesday with a whisky toast and pipe band and, more unusually, hopes of rain. Fishermen and women sporting tweed, Scotland’s traditional woven fabric, lined the river in the northeastern tip of Britain as boats were blessed and some made praying gestures after last year’s long, dry summer. “The 2018 season was particularly challenging, with disappointing runs and, with the almost unbroken three-month summer heatwave, very difficult fishing conditions,” said Iain McLaren, Chairman…

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Ski chic on Berlin catwalk as Fashion Week kicks off

BERLIN (Reuters) – Comfy puffer jackets, brightly printed tops and sleek goggles gave Berlin a cool start to its fashion week late on Monday, with German brand Bogner mixing ski and clubbing for its latest looks. Models strutted in oversized jackets teamed with tops printed with the logo of the brand founded by ski jumper Willy Bogner in 1932. They paired the looks with cozy hats and shiny tie up boots in the “Alpine Clubbing” fashion show, which drew inspiration from mountain sports and Berlin’s clubbing scene. “Bogner…has always been…

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Hindu ascetics lead millions of Indians in holy bath

PRAYAGRAJ, India (Reuters) – Millions of pilgrims began bathing on the first official day of India’s Kumbh Mela on Tuesday, the world’s largest religious festival where politics play an important role ahead of a general election this year. During the eight-week festival at Prayagraj in the northern state of Uttar Pradesh, up to 150 million people, including a million foreign visitors, are expected to bathe at the confluence of the Ganges, the Yamuna, and a mythical third river, the Saraswati. Devout Hindus believe bathing in the waters of the Ganges…

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Braille technology firm builds 'Kindle for the blind'

LONDON (Reuters) – A British company plans to launch a Braille e-reader for blind people this year that should greatly enhance their reading experience and spare them from lugging around hefty print volumes. Since it was developed by Louis Braille in the 19th Century, the alphabet of raised dots has brought the joy of reading to millions of blind and partially-sighted people. But in its printed form it’s not exactly convenient or portable: A Braille copy of the Bible can take up about 5 feet (1.5 meters) of shelf space.…

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Finns with fins make a splash at 'mermaiding' classes

ESPOO (Reuters) – At a pool in Espoo, near Finland’s capital Helsinki, Maija Mottonen is teaching adults to swim like mermaids in a class that combines fantasy with fitness. Since August, more than 200 women and men have attended the classes run by Mottonen, a former kindergarten teacher who is Finland’s first professional mermaid instructor. “It’s my childhood dream-come-true,” the 28-year-old told Reuters. “When I was a kid, I always wanted to be a mermaid or a dolphin. But I think it’s easier to become a mermaid because it’s half-human.”…

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