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Celebrities urge Muslims to celebrate Eid at home

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Great British Bake-Off winner Nadiya Hussain and Citizen Khan creator Adil Ray have urged Muslims celebrating Eid this weekend to follow the guidance on social distancing.

The religious festival marking the end of Ramadan is normally a time when families and friends get together but this year due to coronavirus people are being reminded not to gather.

In a video shared online and featuring others including former Blue Peter presenter Konnie Huq and comic Abdullah Afzal, Muslims are encouraged to stay at home, celebrate with families online and not to gather in large groups at mosques or in parks to pray.

Hussain says this “could not be a better time to put others first”, while Huq tells viewers: “By following the guidance we are helping to protect not just ourselves but also our families.”

At Thursday’s Downing Street press conference, a member of the public asked about advice for those preparing to celebrate this weekend.

Mehwish from Coventry asked: “With the BAME (black, Asian and minority ethnic) coronavirus death rate being relatively high, will you be advising the Muslim community to stay at home or stay alert during the upcoming three-day celebration of Eid?

“If not, what is your advice for them? As a member I am concerned that some people may be finding ways to flout the rules like having garden parties or gatherings.”

Analysis by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) found black men and women are more than four times more likely to suffer a coronavirus-related death than white people.

People of Bangladeshi and Pakistani, Indian and mixed ethnicity also had an increased risk of death involving Covid-19 compared with those of white ethnicity, the ONS found.

Chief medical officer Professor Chris Whitty said religious celebrations for all faiths will have to continue to be adapted to meet social distancing rules.

He said: “The clear answer for all faiths is people will have to adapt the celebrations, the joyful celebrations, around current social distancing rules.

“And everybody knows what those rules are and they remain the same for every community.

“And the reason we must all do that is, this is to protect the whole community, all communities and all of us must find ways around this, of whatever faith.”

He added: “I know that all Muslim colleagues and friends of mine are adapting as every other faith has adapted over this period … to make sure they can maintain both the celebration but also maintain the social distancing, which is absolutely critical to keeping the R below one, and the transmission rates going down across the whole of the UK.”

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Public Relations Firm Says It Was Hired To Promote A Celebrity-Studded Philanthropy Conference “Built On Lies”

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[This story is developing and may be updated.]

A virtual summit on philanthropy is advertising a star-studded event that will feature celebrities like George and Amal Clooney, Charlize Theron, Stephen and Ayesha Curry among others as attendees. But that was not true, according to a public relations firm that was hired to promote the event. 

Thrive Philanthropy, a small consulting firm based in Salt Lake City, Utah, has sent out splashy emails inviting journalists and others to attend a two day virtual Connect Summit, described on its website as an effort to connect humanitarians, advocates, and advocates to “educate, enlighten and engage on the most crucial and urgent global issues.”  Early bird tickets to the June 23-24 event are being offered for $399 a pop; some tickets are on sale for as much as $1,799. On Thursday afternoon, the event’s website was still selling tickets.

But Dara Kaplan, president of public relations agency Wunderlich Kaplan, which was hired to promote the conference, said in an email Thursday morning that the agency learned that the celebrities were not booked to attend and that the event information was “fraudulent.”  As a result, the agency has dropped Thrive Philanthropy and its founder, Stephanie Lapensee, as a client. 

“While something like this has never happened at our agency of over 20 years, it seems that we were hired to launch a conference that was built on lies,”  Kaplan wrote. “Regrettably, due to fraudulent information provided to us by our client Stephanie Lapensee the founder of Thrive Philanthropy, the creator of the Connect Summit, our agency, Wunderlich Kaplan Communications no longer represents this project.” 

George Clooney said in a statement to Forbes: “There are ads running claiming that Amal and I will be participating in the Thrive Philanthropy’s Connect Summit. We Have never heard of this summit and have never been approached to be part of a charity that is charging $399.00 for people to participate. When we contacted the company in charge they said it was a mistake and would take our names off. I then asked them who else on the list of people in the ad will not be participating. They told us Ryan Reynolds and Blake Lively. They didn’t respond about Charlize Theron. We don’t know whether this charity is what it says it is and was just duped by a booking agency or whether there is something more nefarious involved. The best antiseptic is sunlight, and in the interest of protecting the public and the many important charitable organisations we hope that this situation will be rigorously investigated.”

A representative for Ryan Reynolds said to Forbes that he and Lively “were not aware of this event or confirmed to participate.” Stephen and Ayesha Curry, through a spokesperson, have also said that they “were never a part of this event.”

Charlize Theron has not responded to requests for comment.

Kaplan adds: “We are horrified about the situation and will be working diligently to make sure that all information put out there is corrected. Thank you for your understanding. It’s all pretty unbelievable as we still have not heard back from Ms. Lapensee.” 

Lapensee is the CEO and chief strategist for Thrive Philanthropy, which organized the summit. Thrive Philanthropy, founded in August 2018, has varying definitions for what it does. Connect Summit’s event website states that Thrive Philanthropy is an organization that “is a trusted advisor to charitable organizations, philanthropists, and world leaders.” The event e-mail boasts that Thrive Philanthropy is “the world’s leading philanthropy organization.” 

The website for Thrive Philanthropy, meanwhile, calls itself a boutique consulting firm. 

According to her LinkedIn profile, Lapensee also recently cofounded Spotlight, an educational platform “created to celebrate successes and failures of non-profit organizations, social enterprises, philanthropists and impact driven corporations.” Prior to Thrive Philanthropy and Spotlight, she writes that she was CEO of CauseMix and S&L Consulting. Forbes was unable to independently verify the existence of any of these organizations.

Thrive Philanthropy and Lapensee have not responded to a request for comment.

PR agent Kaplan says she found out the event was potentially fraudulent when a publicist who represented one of the celebrities reached out to her asking why her client was involved. “It’s just the weirdest thing,” she tells Forbes. “I’ve never come in contact with anything like this in my professional career.” 

Connect Summit also claims to have David Simas, the CEO of the Obama Foundation, and Dr. Rajiv Shah, President of the Rockefeller Foundation, as participants in its panels, among others. Lisa Hamilton, president and CEO of the Annie E. Casey Foundation, is also listed on a panel, though the photo used for her appears to be a stock image of a man holding a microphone. Their representatives have not responded to requests for comment.

Others speakers the website claimed to have include Peter Buffett, son of billionaire Warren Buffett and his wife Jennifer. His foundation, the NoVo Foundation, has not responded to a request for comment. The Buffetts’ last name is misspelled on Connect Summit’s website.

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Celebrities Unite for a Video to Support the #thanknurses Campaign – Variety

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Since the coronavirus pandemic started, nurses have been on the front lines, braving the conditions to save lives and help others.
Celebrities have collaborated on a video to thank nurses for rising to the task as part of the #thanknurses campaign. Rita Wilson, Constance Wu, Noah Wyle, Kit Williamson, John Halbach, Kate Flannery, Chris Chalk, Angelica Maria, Simon Helberg, Parminder Nagra, Angelica Vale, Joan Lunden and more are featured in the video, offering their support for the American Nurses Foundation, the philanthropic arm of the American Nurses Association. Featuring  self-shot footage from their shelter-in-place locations, the video is meant to help raise moeny for nurses treating patients during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The American Nurses Foundation has established the Coronavirus Response Fund for Nurses. The Fund will offer financial assistance, mental health services and other information to nurses to help themselves and their families.



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Celebrities Speak Out Over Death Of George Floyd

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28 May 2020, 09:15 | Updated: 28 May 2020, 09:16

Celebrities speak out over death of George Flloyd
Celebrities speak out over death of George Flloyd.

Picture:
Instagram: @lizzobeeating


Lizzo, Beyoncé and Cardi B are among the celebrities speaking out over the death of George Floyd, an unarmed black man who died after being pinned down by his neck by white police officers in the US.

Celebrities have spoken out over the death of George Floyd, an unarmed black man who died after being pinned down by his neck by a white police officer in Minneapolis, Minnesota.

Beyoncé, Lizzo, Megan Thee Stallion, Ariana Grande, Harry Styles, Cardi B, Selena Gomez, Justin Bieber, Khalid, Taylor Swift, Doja Cat, Demi Lovato, Halsey, Camila Cabello and many more stars have expressed their shock over the death.

There have been protests across the US following Mr Floyd’s death, which many Americans have cited as the latest example of systemic police brutality against African American citizens.

Police were filmed kneeling on the handcuffed man’s neck for at least eight minutes, despite Mr Floyd saying he couldn’t breathe. The 46-year-old security guard was later pronounced dead in hospital.

Megan Thee Stallion and Khalid were among the celebrities to share a widely-circulated image, quoting what George Floyd said as he died: “Please I can’t breathe. My stomach hurts. My neck hurts. Everything hurts. They’re going to kill me.”

“We have an extremely, inherently racist and corrupt police system,” Lizzo said on her Instagram.

“Now I’m not saying that every police officer is a racist person and a murderer but I am saying that at the core of the police organisation there is a system of racism and corruption.”

Beyoncé paid her respects by changing the homepage of her website to a photo of Mr Floyd with the message: “Rest in Power George Floyd.”

George Floyd, who died after being pinned down by his neck by police officers in the US
George Floyd, who died after being pinned down by his neck by police officers in the US.

Picture:
George Floyd


Cardi B posted a powerful tribute to Mr Floyd on Instagram, writing: “Enough is enough! What will it take ? A civil war ? A new president? Violent riots ? It’s tired ! I’m tired ! The country is tired !You don’t put fear in people when you do this you just show how coward YOU ARE ! And how America is really not the land of the free !”

Ariana Grande demanded justice for Mr Floyd’s death, writing on her Instagram story: “Justice is not just about specific officers being arrested. it’s about dismantling the systems that make it possible.”

Demi Lovato called on her followers – “especially white people” – to do more to fight racism and recognise privilege within society: “Do not let your discomfort surrounding social issues prevent you from speaking up for those IN DANGER.

“Until this STOPS COMPLETELY – THE BLACK COMMUNITY WILL CONTINUE TO LIVE IN DANGER. DO YOUR PART. THIS INVOLVES YOU TOO. #GeorgeFloyd, I hope you RIP because it isn’t fair so many didn’t do their part to ensure you lived in peace.”

Doja Cat encouraged her 1.6 million followers to sign a petition calling for “Justice for George Floyd”, which has close to half a million signatories, and shared a link to the Official George Floyd Memorial Fund.

The fund was set up by George’s sister Philonise Flloyd to “cover funeral and burial expenses and to assist my family in the days to come as we continue to seek justice for George” and has so far raised over $360,000.

The incident began when officers were called to a report of a customer attempting to use a counterfeit $20 bill at a store. The four Minnesota police officers involved were fired on Tuesday afternoon and the FBI is now investigating.

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