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    'Queen of Soul' Aretha Franklin, 76, dies at home in Detroit

    (Reuters) – Aretha Franklin, the preacher’s daughter whose powerful voice made her the long-reigning “Queen of Soul” with such hit songs as “Respect” and “Chain of Fools,” died on Thursday at the age of 76, officials said.

    Franklin, who won 18 Grammys and had some 25 gold records, died at her home in Detroit surrounded by family and loved ones, her publicist said. She had been battling advanced pancreatic cancer.

    Calling it one of the darkest moments of their lives, Franklin’s family said they were unable to find the appropriate words to express the pain in their hearts.

    “We have lost the matriarch and rock of our family. The love she had for her children, grandchildren, nieces, nephews, and cousins knew no bounds,” her family said in a statement.

    Franklin’s father was a Baptist preacher in Detroit, and the gospel singing she heard in his church was her musical foundation. Her uniquely emotional and powerful voice that put her at the forefront of 1960s soul music along with Otis Redding, Sam Cooke and Wilson Pickett.

    Franklin sang at the funeral of slain civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr. and at the presidential inaugurations of Barack Obama and Bill Clinton. In 1987 she became the first woman voted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, and in 2010 Rolling Stone magazine named her the No. 1 singer of the rock era.

    After recording and touring as a young gospel singer, Franklin’s career took a secular turn in 1961 when she signed with Columbia Records. She had only modest success with Columbia, which had trouble classifying her style and tried to steer her toward pop.

    She switched to Atlantic Records in the mid-1960s, where producer Jerry Wexler put her powerful voice in a setting that combined gospel, soul and rock, and made her a superstar by letting “the lady wail.” As Franklin put it in her autobiography, she “Aretha-ized” the music.

    Singer John Legend called her the greatest vocalist he had ever known. “Salute to the Queen,” he wrote on Twitter.

    Fellow singer Diana Ross tweeted: “I’m sitting in prayer for the wonderful golden spirit Aretha Franklin.”

    Former President Bill Clinton and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton described Franklin as one of America’s greatest national treasures.

    “She was elegant, graceful, and utterly uncompromising in her artistry,” they said in a statement.

    STRING OF HITS

    Franklin’s heyday extended into the early 1970s as she dominated the music charts with “I Never Loved a Man (The Way I Love You),” “Baby, I Love You,” “Chain of Fools,” “Think,” “(You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman,” “Do-Right Woman” and “Respect,” a cover of a Redding tune that became a song of empowerment during the civil rights era.

    Franklin’s popularity faded, then revived in the mid-1980s with songs such as “Freeway of Love,” a duet with George Michael named “I Knew You Were Waiting (For Me),” “Sisters Are Doin’ It for Themselves,” “Who’s Zoomin’ Who?” and a cover of the Rolling Stones’ “Jumpin’ Jack Flash.”

    Aretha Franklin performs during the commemoration of the Elton John AIDS Foundation 25th year fall gala at the Cathedral of St. John the Divine in New York City, in New York, November 7, 2017. REUTERS/Shannon Stapleton

    Franklin inspired a generation of singers.

    “Pop music today is rich with glorious gospel voices and women singers in the mold cast by Aretha,” the late Wexler said in his autobiography. “… Aretha became a model for people like Chaka Khan, Natalie Cole, Donna Summer, Whitney Houston… The list of her disciples is long.”

    Franklin was known to be shy, moody, imperious and difficult. She often did not get along with other women singers, including her sisters, could be quick to fire underlings and was erratic when it came to showing up for concerts and appointments.

    Franklin often demanded she be paid in cash before performing and took her status as musical royalty seriously. In 2008 Beyonce introduced Tina Turner as “the queen” at the Grammy Awards ceremony, which Franklin decried as “a cheap shot” at her.

    PREACHER’S DAUGHTER

    Franklin was born March 25, 1942, in Memphis, Tennessee, and raised in Detroit. Her father, the Rev. C.L. Franklin, was respected as a civil rights leader, an early advocate of “black pride” and a friend of King.

    But the Reverend Franklin had also been arrested for drug possession and, under unexplained circumstances, his wife left him and their five children when Aretha was six. Four years later, Franklin’s mother died and Aretha avoided discussing her parents publicly.

    Franklin started touring as a teenager in her father’s gospel show. She got a musical education from gospel greats: the Staple Singers, the Soul Stirrers, James Cleveland and The Mighty Clouds of Joy.

    She also came to know jazz and R&B greats invited to the family home – Cooke, Art Tatum, Dinah Washington, Fats Domino and Bobby Bland.

    By 17, she had given birth to two children and later had two other sons. First married to Ted White, who became her manager and publicly abused her, Franklin later married actor Glynn Turman in 1978 but they divorced in 1984.

    Franklin, who received the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2005, was the subject of a singing tribute at the February 2011 Grammy Awards ceremony and a Carnegie Hall tribute concert in early 2017. She did not attend either.

    Franklin did not perform regularly for many years, partly because of an aversion to flying after a rough trip in 1982. Instead, she traveled in a customized bus. She often had to cancel shows for health reasons.

    In February 2017, she said she would keep recording but retire from touring after a limited run of concerts marking a new album that year, “A Brand New Me,” which featured her doing some of her biggest hits with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra.

    She performed “Natural Woman” at the Kennedy Center Honors in December 2015 in a tribute to songwriter Carole King. Her last live performance was Nov. 7, 2017, for the Elton John AIDS Foundation gala.

    “I feel very, very enriched and satisfied with respect to where my career came from and where it is now,” Franklin told a Detroit television interviewer in 2017. “I’ll be pretty much satisfied, but I’m not going to go anywhere and just sit down and do nothing. That wouldn’t be good either.”

    President George W. Bush presented Franklin the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2005.

    Slideshow (39 Images)

    Editing by Daniel Wallis and David Gregorio

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    'Queen of Soul' Aretha Franklin dies at home in Detroit aged 76

    (Reuters) – Aretha Franklin, the preacher’s daughter whose powerful voice made her the long-reigning “Queen of Soul” with such hit songs as “Respect” and “Chain of Fools,” died on Thursday at the age of 76, officials said.

    Franklin, who won 18 Grammys and had some 25 gold records, died at her home in Detroit, according to one of her publicists. She had been battling advanced pancreatic cancer, and her family had asked for prayers.

    Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan said few people in the city’s history had been as universally loved or had left as indelible a mark as Franklin, describing her as a “performer without peers.”

    “Throughout her extraordinary life and career, she earned the love – and yes, the respect – of millions of people, not just for herself and for women everywhere, but for the city she loved so dearly and called home,” Duggan said in a statement.

    Franklin’s father was a Baptist preacher in Detroit, and the gospel singing she heard in his church was her musical foundation. She created a uniquely emotional and powerful voice that put her at the forefront of 1960s soul music along with Otis Redding, Sam Cooke and Wilson Pickett.

    Franklin sang at the funeral of slain civil rights leader Martin Luther King, as well as at the presidential inaugurations of Barack Obama and Bill Clinton. In 1987 she became the first woman voted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, and in 2010 Rolling Stone magazine named her the No. 1 singer of the rock era.

    After recording and touring as a young gospel singer, Franklin’s career took a secular turn in 1961 when she signed with Columbia Records. She had only modest success with Columbia, which had trouble classifying her style and tried to steer her toward pop.

    But when she switched to Atlantic Records in the mid-1960s, producer Jerry Wexler knew just what to do with Franklin, putting her powerful voice in a setting that combined gospel, soul and rock and made her a superstar by letting “the lady wail.” As Franklin put it in her autobiography, she “Aretha-ized” the music.

    STRING OF HITS

    Franklin’s heyday extended into the early 1970s as she dominated the music charts with “I Never Loved a Man (The Way I Love You),” “Baby, I Love You,” “Chain of Fools,” “Think,” “(You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman,” “Do-Right Woman” and “Respect,” a cover of a Redding tune that became a song of empowerment during the civil rights era.

    Franklin’s popularity would fade but she had a revival in the mid-1980s with songs such as “Freeway of Love,” a duet with George Michael named “I Knew You Were Waiting (For Me),” “Sisters Are Doin’ It for Themselves,” “Who’s Zoomin’ Who?” and a cover of the Rolling Stones’ “Jumpin’ Jack Flash.”

    Along the way Franklin inspired a generation of singers.

    “Pop music today is rich with glorious gospel voices and women singers in the mold cast by Aretha,” the late Wexler said in his autobiography. “… Aretha became a model for people like Chaka Khan, Natalie Cole, Donna Summer, Whitney Houston… The list of her disciples is long.”

    Singer Aretha Franklin performs during the 85th annual Christmas tree lighting at the New York Stock Exchange December 4, 2008. REUTERS/Lucas Jackson

    Franklin was known to be shy, moody, imperious and difficult. She often did not get along with other women singers, including her sisters, could be quick to fire underlings and was erratic when it came to showing up for concerts and appointments.

    Franklin often demanded she be paid in cash before performing and took her status as musical royalty seriously. In 2008 Beyonce introduced Tina Turner as “the queen” at the Grammy Awards ceremony, which Franklin decried as “a cheap shot” at her.

    PREACHER’S DAUGHTER

    Franklin was born March 25, 1942, in Memphis, Tennessee, and raised in Detroit. Her father, the Rev. C.L. Franklin, was respected as a civil rights leader, an early advocate of “black pride” and a friend of King.

    The Reverend Franklin was a charismatic figure but had also been arrested for drug possession and, under unexplained circumstances, his wife left him and their five children when Aretha was six. Four years later, Franklin’s mother died and Aretha avoided discussing her parents publicly.

    Franklin started touring as part of her father’s gospel show as a teenager and got a musical education from gospel greats of the time – the Staple Singers, the Soul Stirrers, James Cleveland and The Mighty Clouds of Joy.

    She also came to know jazz and R&B greats invited to the family home – Cooke, Art Tatum, Dinah Washington, Fats Domino and Bobby Bland.

    By 17, she had given birth to two children and later had two other sons. First married to Ted White, who became her manager and publicly abused her, Franklin later married actor Glynn Turman in 1978 but they divorced in 1984.

    Franklin, who was given the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2005, was the subject of a singing tribute at the February 2011 Grammy Awards ceremony and a Carnegie Hall tribute concert in early 2017. She did not attend either.

    Franklin did not perform regularly for many years, partly because of an aversion to flying after a rough trip in 1982. Instead, she traveled in a customized bus. She often had to cancel shows for health reasons.

    In February 2017, she said she would keep recording but retire from touring after a limited run of concerts marking a new album that year, “A Brand New Me,” which featured her doing some of her biggest hits with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra.

    She performed “Natural Woman” at the Kennedy Center Honors in December 2015 in a tribute to songwriter Carole King, who wrote the song. Her last live performance was Nov. 7, 2017, for the Elton John AIDS Foundation gala.

    “I feel very, very enriched and satisfied with respect to where my career came from and where it is now,” Franklin told a Detroit television interviewer in 2017. “I’ll be pretty much satisfied, but I’m not going to go anywhere and just sit down and do nothing. That wouldn’t be good either.”

    President George W. Bush presented Franklin the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2005.

    Slideshow (20 Images)

    Writing by Bill Trott; Editing by David Gregorio

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    With pictures and songs, fans pay tribute as Madonna turns 60

    LONDON (Reuters) – From pictures of their favorite Madonna looks to naming their top tracks by the songstress, fans paid tribute to the “Queen of Pop” on Thursday as the “Material Girl” turned 60.

    FILE PHOTO: U.S. singer Madonna attends the world premiere of ‘The Beatles: Eight Days a Week – The Touring Years’ in London, Britain September 15, 2016. REUTERS/Neil Hall/File Photo

    Taking to social media under the hashtag #MadonnaAt60 fans young and old – and some famous in their own right – sent birthday wishes to the music superstar, known for repeatedly reinventing herself during her 35-year pop career.

    “Happy birthday to Lady @Madonna!!!I’m 14 years old, dancing and singing in my bedroom and she was just WOW!!! What a force and an inspiration. Enjoy your day Madonna!!!” singer Kylie Minogue wrote on Twitter.

    Madonna shared pictures of herself adorned in colorful jewelry whilst in Morocco, with captions reading “BerberQueen” and “Almost Birthday Selfie”.

    FILE PHOTO: Madonna performs “Nothing Compares 2 U” during her tribute to Prince at the 2016 Billboard Awards in Las Vegas, Nevada, U.S., May 22, 2016. REUTERS/Mario Anzuoni/File Photo

    In one photo, the singer/songwriter, actress, director and mother of six held up a sign reading “The Queen”, writing “In case someone forgot!” alongside the #birthday hashtag.

    To mark her birthday, she last month started a fundraiser in support of her non-profit organization Raising Malawi aimed at helping vulnerable children in the southern African country. The singer has adopted four children from Malawi, including twin girls last year.

    Since her first, eponymous album came out in 1983, Madonna has sold more than 300 million records, with albums such as “True Blue”, “Like a Prayer” and “Ray of Light” topping music charts around the world.

    “She pioneered the art of reinvention, changing your image with every song, with every video, which we’ve come to expect of pop stars now but at the time was radical,” author Matt Cain, who wrote a novel inspired by the singer, told Reuters.

    “And she made some great music, she always has done, which really made an emotional impact on people.”

    FILE PHOTO: Madonna arrives at the Metropolitan Museum of Art Costume Institute Gala (Met Gala) to celebrate the opening of “Heavenly Bodies: Fashion and the Catholic Imagination” in the Manhattan borough of New York, U.S., May 7, 2018. REUTERS/Eduardo Munoz/File Photo

    Reporting By Marie-Louise Gumuchian; additional reporting by Jayson Mansaray; Editing by Hugh Lawson

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    La Reserva de Sotogrande opens lagoon attraction The Beach

    Sotogrande resort community in Andalucia, Spain opens The Beach, Southern Europe’s only man made fresh water lagoon.

    The post La Reserva de Sotogrande opens lagoon attraction The Beach appeared first on Travel Daily Media.

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    Short-term property rental manager Guesty partners with RemoteLock

    Guesty, the all-in-one property management solution for short-term property management companies worldwide, added IoT company RemoteLock to its integrations marketplace.

    The post Short-term property rental manager Guesty partners with RemoteLock appeared first on Travel Daily Media.

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    “Fresh, friendly and trendy” GHG opens Business Bay property

    Bahrain based hospitality firm Gulf Hotels Group (GHG) has announced the intial soft opening of its new luxury hotel in the UAE, The Gulf Court Hotel Business Bay – its first property in the region.

    The post “Fresh, friendly and trendy” GHG opens Business Bay property appeared first on Travel Daily Media.

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    Qatar pledges $15 billion to invest in Turkey

    The flailing Turkish lira rebounded slightly on Thursday, on the heels of Qatar’s announcement that it would earmark $15 billion for deposits and investment projects to be made in Turkey.

    The massive pledge came during a visit by Qatar’s emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani to Ankara on Wednesday, where he met his Turkish counterpart Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

    “Qatar & Turkey’s relationship goes beyond strategic partnerships,” Qatar’s interior minister Abdullah bin Nasser bin Khalifa Al Thani tweeted in the wake of the announcement.

    “We have stood together and will continue to do so,” he said, making clear the high-level meeting was meant to communicate unequivocal support for Turkey at a critical juncture.

    The leaders engaged in three hours of talks on Wednesday, according to Erdogan’s press office, discussing bilateral relations and regional developments.

    Turkey has proven a key ally for Qatar over the past year, helping the tiny Gulf nation ride out a more than 14-month blockade by its powerful neighbors, including Saudi Arabia, with which it shares its only land border.

    Now, it is Turkey under pressure.

    US President Donald Trump last Friday announced he would double tariffs on Turkish steel and aluminum, mocking the slide of the Turkish lira on Twitter.

    President Erdogan for his part warned Washington that his nation would seek out other friends and allies if the pressure campaign continued.

    “Turkey has alternatives,” he said.

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    Here is why Amadeus bought TravelClick

    Leading Global Distribution System company Amadeus described its acquisition of TravelClick as an important milestone for its hospitality business. The former believed that buying the latter will fuel its expansion and strengthen its hold of the sector.

    The post Here is why Amadeus bought TravelClick appeared first on Travel Daily Media.

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    Rapper Stormzy to fund Cambridge university scholarship for two black students

    LONDON (Reuters) – Rapper Stormzy said on Thursday he will fund two black British students to go to Cambridge university through a scholarship, after criticism of some top UK universities that their admissions processes do not do enough to ensure diversity.

    British rapper Stormzy performs at the Arena Stage during the Roskilde Festival 2018 in Roskilde, Denmark, July 5, 2018. Ritzau Scanpix/Olafur Steinar Gestsson via REUTERS

    His move came as a record proportion of 18-year-olds in England and Wales learned they will be heading to university after receiving their A-level exam results.

    “We are still under-represented at leading universities,” Stormzy said in a statement. “I hope this scholarship serves as a small reminder that if young black students wish to study at one of the best universities in the world, then the opportunity is yours for the taking.”

    The University of Cambridge’s Vice-Chancellor, Professor Stephen Toope, welcomed the scholarship but said the university needed to do more.

    “The studentships are a beacon for black students who might otherwise have felt they could not come to Cambridge,” he said on the university website.

    Thursday’s exam results saw the percentage of students receiving the top grades hit a six-year high.

    In England, a record 27.9 percent of 18-year-olds had been accepted to start at university, with the 26.3 percent in Wales also a record, Britain’s Universities and Colleges Admissions Service (UCAS) said.

    The total of 411,860 students set to start an undergraduate course was 1 percent lower than last year, due to there being fewer 18-year-olds in the population this year.

    While Science Technology Engineering and Maths (STEM) subjects continued to grow in popularity, the falling trend in modern languages such as French and Spanish continued, with Chinese bucking the trend and rising 8.6 percent.

    UCAS said there was a 1 percent rise in European Union students accepted to study at UK universities, 7 months before Britain leaves the bloc, and a record number of international students from outside the EU.

    “The encouraging growth in international students choosing to study in the UK is testament to the welcome of our world class universities,” Clare Marchant, UCAS Chief Executive, said in a statement.

    The Joint Council for Qualifications (JCQ) said that the proportion of students achieving grade A* or A was 26.4 percent, the highest since 2012, though the 97.6 percent who achieved one A*-E grade was down 0.3 percentage points.

    Reporting by Alistair Smout; editing by Stephen Addison

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    YouGov: Married Indians travel more than singles

    Despite the bad exchange rates, people in India are still looking forward to a holiday. A new YouGov study reveals around a third of Indians take a vacation every year. 

    The post YouGov: Married Indians travel more than singles appeared first on Travel Daily Media.

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