African Celebrities Join Fight Against Coronavirus With Donations, Songs

(FILES) This file handout illustration image obtained February 3, 2020, courtesy of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and created at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), reveals ultrastructural morphology exhibited by the novel coronavirus, COVID-19.
Lizabeth MENZIES / Centers for Disease Control and Prevention / AFP.

 

Footballers and musicians have been on the frontline of the fight against coronavirus in Africa, reaching not just for social media to spread awareness of the dangers of the virus but also for the cheque book.

Among the first to step up was Senegalese winger Sadio Mane — a key player in Liverpool’s push for the English Premier League title this year –- who donated 30 million CFA francs ($50,000) to his country’s National Medical Commission to fight the deadly microbe.

In Ivory Coast, former Chelsea striker Didier Drogba gave masks to the cathedral of Abidjan, with the warning: “My sisters, my brothers, I ask you to take the matter very seriously… we tend to be too light about our reactions to the situation.”

Another great African striker, the Cameroonian Samuel Eto’o, also now retired, was quick to urge African communities to adhere strictly to precautionary measures.

“My African brothers and sisters! Corona Virus has taken over our lives. With malice, arrogance and without notice,” Eto’o wrote.

READ ALSO: COVID-19 Forcing Parents To Skip Kids’ Vaccinations – UNICEF

“It knows neither race, religion nor political parties. It kills the rich and the poor. Even in countries where research is done well, the consequences are disastrous. Unpredictable.

Eto’o spent most of his playing career in Spain.

“For all these reasons my brothers, sisters, dear parents, I ask you to respect the instructions given by the authorities of our countries and the World Health Organization.”

Affected after Asia and Europe, sub-Saharan Africa has recorded only 1,642 cases and around 20 deaths, according to an AFP count at 1100 GMT Thursday from officially declared cases.

The continent, however, fears a lightning-like spread that would overwhelm its already fragile health structures.

In South Africa, the most affected country on the continent, Springbok rugby captain Siya Kolisi released a couple of videos online showing himself at home with his children, adhering to the isolation regulations laid down by President Cyril Ramaphosa

“Stay safe, stay strong, let’s fight this together,” he says.

– Musicians give support –

African musicians are also stepping up as the continent faces one of its bleakest hours.

Youssou N’Dour, described by Rolling Stone magazine in 2004 as “the most famous singer alive” in Senegal and Africa, handed over a batch of medical equipment to the health ministry in Dakar in mid-March.

Fellow Senegalese rappers collective “Y en a marre” (‘Had enough’) set aside their usual antipathy towards corruption and current politics to release a song called “Fagaru Ci Corona” which warns of the dangers of the virus and advises on washing hands and wearing masks.

They are among other artists who have temporarily laid down their protests against governments to join forces and rally around messages being put out by the authorities.

In Uganda, singer Bobi Wine, a member of parliament who was arrested in early January for his opposition to President Yoweri Museveni, has asked his fans to “watch the social distancing and quarantine”, in a video on Twitter.
– ‘We want to live!’ –

In the Democratic Republic of Congo, rumba star Fally Ipupa stepped away from romance for once to post a video on Twitter called “Fally in confinement mode, the kisses stop”, an improvised melody on an acoustic guitar.

“Stay at home, respect the instructions given by the authorities and the WHO,” Kinshasa crooner said.

The authorities of DRC have not imposed confinement yet but they have closed borders, public places, and put the capital Kinshasa in lockdown.

His compatriot Koffi Olomide, a soukouss singer, a modern version of Congolese rumba, warned fellow countrymen against the “Kuluna-virus”, deftly weaving in the term “kuluna” which indicates armed gangs of Kinshasa, one of the urban legends and terrors of the capital.

In Ivory Coast, the singer DJ Kerozen also alluded to the virus in a new song: “‘There’s a corona, let’s respect the hygiene instructions, the deal is serious, oh..(. ..) Even Mbengue (slang for France), over there, it’s spoiled… we want to live! ”

The Cameroonian saxophonist Manu Dibango, who had become a reference for just about every musician in Africa, died in France this week at the age of 86 as a result of the coronavirus.

The composer of “Soul Makoss” was the first world celebrity to succumb to the virus. Congolese singer Aurlus Mabele, a figure in soukous, also died a week ago in Paris from the virus.

AFP

Scientists Spot Black Hole So Huge It ‘Shouldn’t Even Exist’ In Our Galaxy

This handout received from the Beijing Planetarium via the China Academy of Sciences on November 26, 2019 shows a rendering by artist Yu Jingchuan of the accretion of gas onto a stellar black hole from its blue companion star, through a truncated accretion disk. Astronomers have discovered a black hole in the Milky Way so huge that it challenges existing models of how stars evolve, researchers announced on November 28. PHOTO: Yu Jingchuan / Beijing Planetarium via the China Academy of Sciences / AFP

 

Astronomers have discovered a black hole in the Milky Way so huge that it challenges existing models of how stars evolve, researchers said Thursday.

LB-1 is 15,000 light years from Earth and has a mass 70 times greater than the Sun, according to the journal Nature.

The Milky Way is estimated to contain 100 million stellar black holes but LB-1 is twice as massive as anything scientists thought possible, said Liu Jifeng, a National Astronomical Observatory of China professor who led the research.

“Black holes of such mass should not even exist in our galaxy, according to most of the current models of stellar evolution,” he added.

Scientists generally believe that there are two types of black holes.

The more common stellar black holes — up to 20 times more massive than the Sun — form when the centre of a very big star collapses in on itself.

Supermassive black holes are at least a million times bigger than the Sun and their origins are uncertain.

But researchers believed that typical stars in the Milky Way shed most of their gas through stellar winds, preventing the emergence of a black hole the size of LB-1, Liu said.

“Now theorists will have to take up the challenge of explaining its formation,” he said in a statement.

 ‘New kind’ of black hole

Astronomers are still only beginning to grasp “the abundance of black holes and the mechanisms by which they form,” David Reitze, a physicist at the California Institute of Technology (Caltech) who was not involved in the discovery, told AFP.

The Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory at Caltech, overseen by Reitze, had previously detected ripples in spacetime that suggested the possibility of black holes in distant galaxies that were much bigger than what was thought possible.

Stellar black holes are usually formed in the aftermath of supernova explosions, a phenomenon that occurs when extremely large stars burn out at the end of their lives.

LB-1’s large mass falls into a range “known as the ‘pair instability gap’ where supernovae should not have produced it”, Reitze said.

“That means that this is a new kind a black hole, formed by another physical mechanism!”

 100 million black holes

LB-1 was discovered by an international team of scientists using China’s sophisticated LAMOST telescope.

Additional images from two of the world’s largest optical telescopes — Spain’s Gran Telescopio Canarias and the Keck I telescope in the United States — confirmed the size of LB-1, which the National Astronomical Observatory of China said was “nothing short of fantastic”.

Scientists have tended to find black holes by detecting the X-rays they emit.

But this method has limited usefulness because only a small number of black hole systems where the companion star orbits very close to the black hole would emit detectable X-rays, Liu said at a press conference.

Instead, the team that discovered LB-1 tracked the movements of “huge numbers of stars over a long period of time”, before identifying LB-1 based on the motion of its companion star, Liu said.

This method has been used for decades without much success due to the limitations of the available equipment, Liu added.

But LAMOST, constructed between 2001 and 2008 in north China’s Hebei province, allows researchers to detect up to 4,000 stars simultaneously with each exposure, making it one of the world’s most powerful ground-based telescopes.

Liu told AFP the method used to discover LB-1 could help scientists identify many more black holes in the future.

Out of the 100 million black holes believed to exist in our galaxy, Liu said, only 4,000 “can give you X-rays that can be detected by us”.

Africans Aubameyang, Hakimi Star In Europe

UEFA director of competitions Giorgio Marchetti, French former international Eric Abidal and UEFA head of club competitions Michael Heselschwerdt take part in the draw for the round of 32 of the UEFA Europa League football tournament at the UEFA headquarters in Nyon on December 11, 2017. Fabrice COFFRINI / AFP

Former African Footballer of the Year Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and teenager Achraf Hakimi were among the African stars in the major European leagues at the weekend.

Gabon striker Aubameyang was belatedly credited with a Borussia Dortmund goal to become the leading all-time Bundesliga scorer with 97 goals.

Morocco defender Hakimi became only the sixth African to score for reigning European champions Real Madrid as they routed Sevilla 5-0 in La Liga.

ENGLAND

MOHAMED SALAH (Liverpool)

The Egypt winger maintained his superb form with a sublime strike in a 1-1 draw against Everton at Anfield. Salah broke the deadlock in the 42nd minute when he curled home from the edge of the penalty area. It was his 13th goal in 12 games and 19th of the season.

WILFRIED BONY (Swansea)

The Ivorian international struck with a much-needed goal for his club, himself and manager Paul Clement to secure a 1-0 win over fellow strugglers West Brom. It was the first time since December 2014 that the 28-year-old has scored in back-to-back matches.

ANDRE AYEW (West Ham)

Their record signing has not rewarded the outlay for him with many eye-catching performances, but although he didn’t score in a 1-0 win over Chelsea, his sublime tackle on Nigerian substitute Victor Moses late in the match all but extinguished the champions hopes of getting even a point.

SPAIN

ACHRAF HAKIMI (Real Madrid)

Morocco right-back Hakimi fired home his first Madrid goal with an impressive effort from a narrow angle as Real ran riot in thrashing Sevilla 5-0 with all five goals coming before half-time. The 19-year-old, deputising for suspended Dani Carvajal, did his chances of featuring more regularly for the European champions in 2018 no harm as an inexperienced Madrid backline nullified Sevilla’s threat.

ITALY

FRANCK KESSIE (AC Milan)

Ivorian midfielder Kessie played a pivotal role as AC Milan got their first victory under new coach Gennaro Gattuso with a 2-1 win against Bologna. The 20-year-old former Atalanta player bolstered the defence and provided impetus up front.

GERMANY

PIERRE-EMERICK AUBAMEYANG (Borussia Dortmund)

The Gabon striker became the Bundesliga’s all-time top-scorer after belatedly being credited with his 12th goal this season in Borussia Dortmund’s 2-1 defeat at home to Werder Bremen. Shinji Kagawa’s second-half cross hit the arm of Bremen defender Philipp Bargfrede, who was initially credited with an own goal, as Aubameyang scrambled the ball into the net. However, the Bundesliga later credited the goal to Aubameyang, who has now netted 97 times in Germany’s top flight, beating the previous record of Ghanaian Anthony Yeboah, who scored 96 goals for Eintracht Frankfurt and Hamburg.

SALOMON KALOU (Hertha Berlin)

The Ivory Coast veteran striker rescued Hertha with a 91st-minute equaliser off the bench in their 1-1 draw at Augsburg. Kalou came on 11 minutes from time and stabbed the ball home from close range after a corner

FRANCE

FIRMIN MUBELE (Rennes)

The 23-year-old Democratic Republic of Congo forward came off the bench to score a late equaliser as Rennes drew 1-1 at Ligue 1 bottom club Metz. It was a fourth goal of the season for Mubele, but a first since August.

Goldie Hawn, Kurt Russell Honored With Twin Walk Of Fame Stars

Goldie Hawn and her longtime partner Kurt Russell received the 2,609th and 2,610th stars on the Hollywood Walk of Fame on Thursday.

The couple were on hand to accept their honors, which came with congratulatory speeches by Kate Hudson, Quentin Tarantino and Reese Witherspoon.

Hawn, who received a best supporting actress Oscar in 1970 for her first major film role “Cactus Flower,” spoke about how she had always wanted a normal life.

“I didn’t get my white picket fence,” said Hawn. “But I got a hell of a lot more.”

Russell dedicated his star to Hawn, with whom he’s shared his life for more than 30 years.

“And so if I’m to be honored with this sweet token of memorabilia that is to be sunk forever in the cement of a street whereupon I will be subjected to the constant harshness of the blazing California sun, blowing winds and pouring rains, and stray dogs of both the canine and human variety perhaps in need of a little relief. and trod upon by the soles of shoes caked with Earth from all corners of the globe, there’s no one else I’d rather be next to for all of that than Goldie Hawn.”

Hudson thanked them for their legacy, saying, “Real legacy is what they have instilled in us kids. Our tribe that they created, that they so vehemently protect and defend, the relationship they fiercely refused to lose sight of together, and the deep feeling of love and nurturing they reserve for the most important thing we have in this life, family. So that’s what these stars represent to me forever. Thank you guys.”

On her part, Witherspoon hailed Hawn for inspiring women and actresses.

“Since the first time I saw on screen, Goldie has just inspired me. She’s taught me to want more out of my life, out of my films. And she taught me to want more out of my career and I became a producer because of her. She changes the possibilities of what women can do in film,” she said.

“So thank you Goldie. Thank you for inspiring us all, all of us. Thank you for inspiring women and actresses to control their own destiny and for inspiring women to demand respect no matter where they are or what they’re doing.”

The duo each have movies opening this month. Russell’s “Guardians of Galaxy Vol. 2” hit theaters today and Hawn’s “Snatched” is due out on May 12.

Reuters