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Dua Lipa, Anne-Marie lead Brit Awards nominations

Home-grown talents Dua Lipa, Anne-Marie and George Ezra lead nominations for the U.K. music industry's Brit Awards , set to be handed out at a ceremony featuring performances by "The Greatest Showman" star Hugh Jackman and DJ Calvin Harris.

Lipa, whose star status was cemented with two Grammy awards earlier this month, is up for four trophies, including single of the year for both "One Kiss" and "IDGAF."

Karate black belt and singer Anne-Marie also has four nods, including best British female solo artist, while Ezra has three.

Women dominate the nominations, after past criticism that the Brits have failed to reflect the diversity of British music.

Pink is due to receive an award for outstanding contribution to music during Wednesday's ceremony at London's O2 Arena, hosted by comedian Jack Whitehall.

Artist probes Russia's toxic legacy through family history

Pavel Otdelnov recalls how as a child he saw his mother boil his parents' bedding every day. His father worked in the factories of Dzerzhinsk, the center of Soviet chemical manufacturing, and the chlorine and phosgene that yellowed the sheets seeped through protective gear into his skin.

"Dad was born in a workers' camp and gave his entire life to chemical industries around Dzerzhinsk," Otdelnov wrote in the notes for "Promzona", a new exhibit at Moscow's Museum of Modern Art that features his paintings of industrial ruins interspersed with objects from workers' daily lives.

The artist's huge, architecturally precise paintings of decayed factories in his hometown, some overgrown as nature reclaimed the land, show what he calls "the ruins of a Soviet mythology." Many of the chemical plants, once a proud part of Soviet history, sit abandoned in a city fouled by toxic waste, the result of a utopian mythology which never translated into reality, least of all for its people.

"People who worked in those factories understood a long time ago, in the 1970s, that the Soviet idea, communism, was a myth and would never be realized," Otdelnov, whose post-Soviet landscapes also are in the Russian Museum, the State Tretyakov Gallery and private international collections, said in an interview. "They understood that a long time before the collapse of the Soviet Union."

Otdelnov was born into a "labor dynasty" that gave Dzerzhinsk several generations of chemical workers, starting with his great-grandfather. Just before World War II, his grandmother came from a remote village to the former secret city located 355 kilometers (220 miles) east of Moscow and named for a feared Bolshevik secret police chief.

After the Soviet Union started making chemical weapons starting in Dzerzhinsk in 1941, the artist's grandmother worked on the shop floor assembling lethal payloads. She met her husband after the war in the same factory, Orgsteklo, where he was in charge of quality control of the plexiglass it produced for military and civilian needs.

Otdelnov's father and aunt worked in the same factory after they finished school. Otdelnov's cousin currently works in a Dzerzhinsk factory lab.

Reports vary as to when Dzerzhinsk factories stopped making lewisite, mustard gas and other chemicals designed as weapons of war. Some accounts put the date as late as 1965. Huge stocks of the deadly compounds were sealed and kept in the city's industrial zone until they were moved to dismantling facilities and destroyed under an international chemical weapons ban in the 2000s.

Dzerzhinsk still has a chemical industry producing compounds for munitions along with fertilizers, pesticides and plastics. Many plants that were part of the military industrial complex didn't survive the collapse of the Soviet Union, but their toxic waste remains buried in underground dumps or seeping from landfills.

Dzerzhinsk often is listed as one of the world's most-polluted cities. The Ecology Committee of the lower house of Russia's parliament put it among the 10 with the worst pollution in Russia. Last year, Otdelnov used a drone to record the industrial ruins from the air, capturing a huge multicolored lake of chemical waste, open to the sky, nearby.

The Museum of Modern Art exhibit includes a room decorated like a local museum with everyday objects like factory newsletters and safety instruction films. Gas masks from the old chemical workshops litter the floor of another room. Brown chemical bottles labeled with the names of gases also are displayed.

Running through the whole show are the voices of the people whose lived reality was so far from the Soviet mythology, their stories recorded by Otdelnov's father and written on the exhibition walls.

Otdelnov's grandmother describes an explosion in the caprolactam plant in 1960 that killed 24 workers and never was made public. The workers were buried in different parts of the city cemetery to avoid questions from other residents about why 24 people who worked in that factory died on the same day.

These personal stories are a telling counterpoint to the official Soviet narrative of "Glory to Labor and Science" in Dzerzhinsk, striking in the stoicism and often humor factory workers displayed in a hazardous environment.

"Humor helped them come to terms with their reality but they weren't especially heroic. They just got used to it," Otdelnov said.

In a memoir written for the show, Otdelnov's father, Alexander, recalled random accidents workers had in the chemical factories, due to faulty equipment or simple human error.

Sometimes they escaped unharmed. Sometimes they died. On New Year's Eve in 1981, as the men hurried to get home, carbon monoxide from an overflow pump filled a gas holding tank to capacity, then burst into the pipe system and through to the employee showers. The 12-man crew that had just completed a shift was killed.

Many of the exhibition's viewers on a cold February evening were young people from Moscow and other cities. Otdelnov's pared-down industrial aesthetic is certainly part of the appeal, but 23-year-old Anna Kiselyova said the exhibit held valuable political lessons for Russia's younger generation, not just its factory workers.

"Our present government tells us this all happened such a long time ago," said Kiselyova, a Russian teacher from Moscow. "It may seem like a very different world, but I don't think it's just a problem of the past, and we need to be aware of that."

Judge to consider Weinstein appeal of sex trafficking ruling

A judge who ruled that an aspiring actress can use sex trafficking laws to sue Harvey Weinstein will hear lawyers argue whether his decision can be appealed before trial.

U.S. District Judge Robert Sweet is scheduled to hear arguments Wednesday.

He'll rule at a later date whether his August decision can be immediately taken to the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.

Sweet concluded that the proverbial casting couch, in which women are asked to trade sex for Hollywood opportunities, could be considered a "commercial sex act."

Weinstein's lawyers say nothing of value was exchanged between an actress and Weinstein in 2014 when they watched her demo reel in a Cannes, France, hotel room. The actress said Weinstein later molested her.

Weinstein denies wrongdoing.

Former Sessions spokeswoman joins CNN

CNN has hired a former spokeswoman for Attorney General Jeff Sessions for work on its political desk as 2020 elections coverage heats up.

The network says Sarah Isgur will help manage teams in the field and coordinate use of stories between the network's television and digital arms. CNN said Tuesday she'll be one of several editors supervised by political director David Chalian and won't be in a policy-making role.

People who have jumped from political to media work are more often on-screen hosts or commentators.

Isgur was in a different position in 2015 when, while working for Carly Fiorina's presidential campaign, she was quoted by the Washington Post calling CNN's decision to keep her out of a debate silly.

'Fight Back!' consumer reporter David Horowitz dies

David Horowitz, whose "Fight Back!" syndicated program made him perhaps the best-known consumer reporter in the U.S., has died. He was 81.

Horowitz had dementia and died on Thursday in Los Angeles, a family spokesman said.

"Fight Back! With David Horowitz" won multiple Emmys and a huge audience as Horowitz investigated product defects, tested advertising claims and confronted companies with customer complaints.

A popular feature on "Fight Back!" were commercial challenges, which included "products being dropped from a helicopter or being smashed with wrecking balls to test claims of strength" and even durability tests featuring an elephant, according to a family biography.

"Fight Back!" aired on KNBC-TV, where Horowitz was a consumer reporter for more than 15 years.

At its peak, the program was syndicated on dozens of TV stations across the country. Horowitz also made regular appearances on KNBC newscasts and on NBC's "Today" show. He also had a popular radio program and a newspaper column and authored several best-selling books.

In 1993, Horowitz moved to KCBS-TV where he delivered "Fight Back!" segments during news broadcasts, according to the family biography.

"I don't consider myself a consumer advocate," Horowitz told the Los Angeles Times in 1988. "If you're on television you have to really be broadcasting in the public interest ... but you also have to be objective ... I do a lot of stories where the consumer's wrong — where they're trying to rip off companies, too."

In 1987, Horowitz was taken hostage during a KNBC-TV broadcast by a gunman with mental problems. The journalist read the man's statements on camera although the hostage-taker didn't realize the broadcast had been cut. The weapon turned out to be an empty BB gun.

The experience led Horowitz to join a successful campaign to outlaw realistic-looking toy guns in California and other states.

His reporting was criticized by some consumer advocates and reporters as being too concerned with showmanship and less-serious consumer concerns, such as whether a particular popcorn brand lived up to its advertising.

But the Chicago Tribune noted in 1987 that Horowitz waged successful campaigns to remove life-threatening sulfites from salad bars and to require automakers to install rear window collision-avoidance lights. He was honored by consumer groups and in 1981 became the first newsman to receive the Chief U.S. Postal Inspector's Award for uncovering mail fraud, the Tribune reported.

Horowitz also took heat for his paid work for Better Books, which offered directories with ads, consumer tips and lists of Better Business Bureau members but collapsed into bankruptcy.

Horowitz was born on June 30, 1937, in the Bronx and held a master's degree in journalism from Northwestern University. Before joining KNBC-TV in the 1970s, he worked for various newspapers and TV stations.

Horowitz also appeared as himself on episodes of "Silver Spoons," ''ALF," ''The Golden Girls" and "Saved by the Bell."

Horowitz worked "to make the world a better and more honest place," his family said in a statement.

He is survived by his wife, Suzanne, two daughters and two grandchildren.

Legal hurdles would look familiar in any new R. Kelly case

Prosecutors will have to clear a series of high legal hurdles if they intend to charge R. Kelly and convict him, even if there's video evidence.

One case illustrates the difficulties: The R&B star's own 2008 trial at which he was acquitted. At the heart of that child pornography trial was a VHS recording that prosecutors said showed Kelly, in his 30s at the time, having sex with a girl as young as 13 sometime between 1998 and 2000.

Speculation that Kelly, now 52, could face new charges arose after attorney Michael Avenatti said he recently gave prosecutors a VHS tape of Kelly having sex with an underage girl, although it's not clear when it allegedly was recorded.

The office of Cook County State's Attorney Kim Foxx hasn't commented about whether a grand jury has convened to consider charges against Kelly. But Foxx may feel emboldened to bring new charges in the #MeToo era, said one legal scholar.

"Because they couldn't get the conviction in 2008, the state's attorney's office may feel justice wasn't done and they may want to take another stab at it," said DePaul University College of Law professor Monu Bedi, who teaches criminal law and procedure and has followed the Kelly case closely.

Kelly's attorney, Steve Greenberg, has said his client "never knowingly had sex with an underage woman."

"If R. Kelly is charged with anything, we will address it in court. I am confident he will leave through the front door," Greenberg told The Associated Press.

Prosecutors in 2008 played the 27-minute VHS tape — entered as "People's Exhibit No. 1" — nearly every day for jurors during the monthlong trial. In it, a man has sex with a young female, who is not wearing any clothes for most of the recording. He speaks to her in a hushed voice, and she calls him "Daddy."

But in the end, jurors took just seven hours to deliberate before acquitting Kelly on all 14 child pornography counts. As the verdict was read aloud, tears streamed down Kelly's face.

"Thank you, Jesus," the singer said over and over in a soft voice.

Afterward, lead trial prosecutor Shauna Boliker told reporters the acquittal "shows the world how difficult this crime is to prosecute."

Prosecutors didn't explain in 2008 why they chose not to charge and try Kelly for sexual assault, though legal experts said it almost certainly had to do with the alleged victim's unwillingness to testify. Child pornography is, or should have been, easier to prove without a cooperating victim.

Statute of limitations is also an issue.

If prosecutors now hope to charge Kelly anew, determining the time of any alleged crime will be crucial to seeing if too much time has passed for him to be charged under Illinois law.

The tape handed over to prosecutors recently was recorded in VHS format, which suggests the incident also dates to around or before 2000. So any crime could be 20 or more years old.

Illinois legislators in 2017 did erase all time limits for charging sexual assault of children and it unambiguously applies to such crimes that happened anytime since 2017. But it can't apply retroactively to older crimes.

Bedi said older sexual assault crimes against children are governed by the statute of limitations as it existed before 2017, when prosecutors had 20 years to charge an assault against children. So, if Kelly sexually assaulted a minor as far back as the late 1990s, prosecutors could still charge him under the 20-year charging window.

Other factors, including when an abused child turned 18, can extend that charging window.

Kelly's across-the-board acquittal in 2008 stunned many legal observers, and a future Kelly trial team may try to use similar defense strategies.

Defense lawyers in 2008 focused on Kelly's insistence that the man in the video was not him. They showed jurors that Kelly has a large mole on his back, but played excerpts of the video in which a mole was not visible on the man appearing on the screen. Prosecutors used different excerpts to show a dark spot was visible.

One of Kelly's attorneys, Sam Adam Jr., told jurors during closings there was no mole on Kelly's back and that meant one thing: "It ain't him. And if it ain't him, you can't convict."

Defense attorneys even suggested the video footage could have all been computer-generated to make the man look like Kelly.

One reason child pornography and child sexual abuse cases are difficult is that the accusers find it traumatizing to recount what happened to them. The situation can be more intense if the setting is a high-profile trial involving a celebrity defendant.

In the 2008 trial, Kelly's alleged victim, who by then was around 23 years old, did not testify. She denied before trial that she was on the video. Instead, prosecutors relied on friends of hers and four relatives to identify her as the girl in the video.

Prosecutors also called on Kelly acquaintances who said the man in the video was clearly Kelly.

Jurors who spoke to reporters after the trial ended said they had difficulty convicting someone when the alleged victim didn't testify. One said he wasn't convinced the girl was a minor when the tape was made. Another said jurors had reasonable doubts about the identity of the people in the video.

"You want to be 100 percent sure it's Kelly and (the alleged victim)," one juror said. "What we had wasn't enough."

___

Follow Michael Tarm on Twitter at http://twitter.com/mtarm

Noose knot on Burberry hoodie pulled amid fury

The chief executive and chief creative officer of luxury fashion powerhouse Burberry have apologized for putting a hoodie with strings tied in the shape of a noose on their London Fashion Week runway.

The knotted strings surfaced after Sunday's show when a model hired to walk (but not wear the outfit) complained both before the show and on Instagram, saying the noose not only evoked lynchings but also suicide.

Marco Gobbetti, the brand's CEO, said in a statement Tuesday that Burberry is "deeply sorry for the distress" the top has caused and has removed it from the autumn-winter collection, along with all images featuring the look.

Riccardo Tisci, Burberry's creative director, also apologized, saying "while the design was inspired by a nautical theme, I realize that it was insensitive."

Model Liz Kennedy took to Instagram the day of the show, posting a photo of the hoodie with a long message directed at Burberry and Tisci.

"Suicide is not fashion," she wrote. "It is not glamorous nor edgy and since this show is dedicated to the youth expressing their voice, here I go. Riccardo Tisci and everyone at Burberry it is beyond me how you could let a look resembling a noose hanging from a neck out on the runway."

She added, "Let's not forget about the horrifying history of lynching either."

Her post has prompted dozens of negative social media comments directed at Burberry and Tisci.

The collection, called "Tempest," is Tisci's second for the brand. The clothes were a mix of classic, severely tailored ensembles to more trendy street-inspired looks aimed at younger consumers.

Kennedy and other critics said the company should have known better.

"A massive brand like Burberry who is typically considered commercial and classy should not have overlooked such an obvious resemblance. I left my fitting extremely triggered after seeing this look. Feeling as though I was right back where I was when I was going through an experience with suicide in my family," Kennedy wrote on Instagram.

She said she asked to speak to somebody about it and was told to write a letter.

"I had a brief conversation with someone but all that it entailed was 'It's fashion. Nobody cares about what's going on in your personal life so just keep it to yourself.'"

Gobbetti said he called Kennedy to apologize as soon as he became aware of her concerns on Monday.

"The experience Ms. Kennedy describes does not reflect who we are and our values. We will reflect on this, learn from it and put in place all necessary actions to ensure it does not happen again."

The gaffe comes after Gucci removed a sweater from the market last week after complaints that the oversized collar designed to cover the face resembled blackface makeup. In December, Prada stopped selling baubles that also prompted complaints of racist imagery.

Those two companies have announced initiatives to foster cultural diversity and awareness among their employees to avoid future missteps.

Lady Gaga, fiance Christian Carino no longer together

Lady Gaga and her fiance, talent agent Christian Carino, have split up.

A representative for the singer-actress confirmed the news to The Associated Press on Tuesday. No more details were provided.

Gaga, 32, and Carino, 49, began dating in 2017. Gaga was previously engaged to actor Taylor Kinney.

Gaga has a big week ahead: She is a double nominee at Sunday's Academy Awards for her work in "A Star Is Born." Her nominations include best actress and best original song for "Shallow," which won two Grammys and a Golden Globe.

The Academy Awards will air live on ABC from the Dolby Theatre in Los Angeles

Meghan Markle spotted in New York for rumored baby shower

Meghan Markle has been spotted at several swanky venues in New York City, cradling her baby bump as she visited friends for what is rumored to be a baby shower.

The 37-year-old pregnant Meghan, formally known as the Duchess of Sussex, was seen Tuesday entering The Mark hotel on Manhattan's Upper East Side, at a restaurant on the ground floor of The Met Breuer and at The Surrey Hotel.

Meghan wore sunglasses, a black William Vintage trapeze coat and neutral high heels with a matching bag. As photographers waited outside the Mark, a high-end boxed crib and pink flowers were delivered.

Abigail Spencer, a co-star on Meghan's former TV show "Suits," was spotted at one of the gatherings.

Meghan and Prince Harry announced the pregnancy in October.

'Leaving Neverland' trailer paints dark picture of Michael Jackson

Nearly a month after its premiere at Sundance, HBO has released the trailer for “Finding Neverland,” the documentary in which two men allege Michael Jackson sexually abused them when they were boys.

In the two-part documentary, James Safechuck and Wade Robson speak about their experiences with the icon, whom they befriended when they were 10 and 7, respectively. 

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“He told me if they ever found out what we were doing, he and I would go to jail,” Robson said in the trailer.

According to The Hollywood Reporter, Robson and Safechuck graphically detail allegations of sexual abuse by Jackson. Still, the Dan Reed-directed documentary points out that both men have said under oath during Jackson’s first sexual abuse trial that the musician did not do anything inappropriate with them.

Jackson’s estate sent a 10-page letter to HBO CEO Richard Plepler Feb. 7, criticizing the network for “an admittedly one-sided, sensationalist program.” The estate also claimed the documentary gave Safechuck and Robson credibility despite their past testimony.

“Leaving Neverland” airs on HBO March 3 and 4. Watch the trailer below:

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