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Iconic Tejano star’s legacy lives on 23 years after her death

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In 1996, Warner Brothers conducted the largest movie open casting call since “Gone With the Wind” for the movie version of Selena’s life, the 1997 film that made Jennifer Lopez a star. Less than two years after Selena’s passing, The New York Times was already comparing her status to that of Marilyn Monroe and Elvis Presley.

According to a Hollywood Chamber of Commerce spokeswoman, the 2017 ceremony honoring Selena with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame drew the largest crowd ever for such an event.

Through the last two decades, there have been Selena tribute concerts, stage musicals, and innumerable books, documentaries and even scholarship.

The relatable girl next door

“There is great appeal in the fact that she was not only Latina, but discernibly so,” said José Limón, professor emeritus at the University of Notre Dame. “Selena pushed the boundaries of gender with her provocative outfits, yet she managed to do so while staying well within the bounds of respectability.”

Beyond her music, she presented an attractive image of a successful Hispanic woman. Her emergence as a national figure, Limón believes, provided a kind of symbolic leadership for Latinos at a time of changing demographics and anti-immigrant sentiment.

“I think she still represents the possibility of being a complete American, of having success, fame, being in the public realm — all while still being ‘Mexican enough’ and not losing touch with her family or her roots,” Limón said. “This is the sort of contradiction that all Latinos live with, and she embodied it and navigated both worlds successfully.”

 Gold records line the walls of the Selena Museum, operated by the Quintanilla family in Corpus Christi. Raul A. Reyes

Quintanilla was born in Lake Jackson, Texas, in 1971. After growing up performing with her family, her popularity soared in the Latin music market as she blended a variety of Latin music genres, like conjunto andcumbia with pop. She married her first and only boyfriend, Chris Perez, in 1992. Then, just as she was about to release her first album in English, she was shot and killed by the president of her fan club in 1995. She was only 23 years old.

Like many Mexican-Americans, she grew up speaking English and had to study Spanish as her Latin music career took off. She had the ability to place a “sob” or “teardrop” in her vocals for maximum emotional impact. She had a keen interest in fashion and had opened two boutiques at the time of her death.

 The Selena memorial in Corpus Christi, Texas, draws visitors from all over the world. Raul A. Reyes

“I would describe Selena as a loving, caring person who was a good role model for people to look up to,” Christina Allen, visiting the museum from Houston, said. Her eldest daughter, named Selena in honor of the singer, nodded shyly.

“I’d say she was probably the greatest Hispanic artist ever to walk this earth,” said another museum visitor, Alexander Roman Romano.

Beside him, Maria Pineda declared that she was “almost too overwhelmed” by their visit. “It was emotional, seeing those costumes. Selena was my idol, even when I was little,” she said. “I grew up listening to her. To this day, when I watch videos of her, I can almost believe she is here.”

From Beyoncé to Kardashians, her enduring influence

Celebrities from Beyoncé to Drake to the Kardashians have cited her as a style influence, and she has been referenced on everything from NBC’s Superstore to RuPaul’s Drag Race.

This year, social media lit up when a brief clip from the Selena movie was shown as part of a montage at the Oscars. A new children’s book about Selena has soared to the top of the best-seller charts, while a $2 reusable grocery bag honoring her crashed the website of the Texas supermarket chain H-E-B, then sold out within hours.

 Selena Quintanilla performs for the crowd during a dance following the Feria de las Flores queen’s contest at Memorial Coliseum Aug. 12, 1989, in Corpus Christi, Texas. ASSOCIATED PRESS

In the coming weeks leading up to Selena’s birthday on April 16, there will be commemorations across the country, especially in Texas. The annual Fiesta de la Flor, a two-day musical celebration of Selena’s legacy, is scheduled to take place on April 13 and 14 in Corpus Christi. The 2017 event drew 55,000 visitors and pumped $15 million into the local economy.

It’s this ongoing memorialization of Selena that prompted Columbia University professor Deborah Paredez to write her 2009 book, “Selenidad: Selena, Latinos, and the Performance of Memory.”

“Everyone seems to have a stake in remembering her, whether it was young girls who were Latina and from other communities who were dressing like her and singing her songs, or whether it was corporate sponsors who were tapping into Latino-based marketing,” she said.

Paredez calls it “Selenidad.”

“She meant a lot to different people and constituencies,” she said. “People en Español launched as a result of the success of the sales from the magazine announcing her passing; gay Latino and trans communities still honor and remember her.”

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Now, Selena is a generational touchstone. “She has now become something that, especially in Mexican-American families, people like to share with their children, nephews or nieces, like teaching them about Tejano music while listening to Selena, or girls learning how to put on makeup while listening to Selena. She has become something that is part of our cultural inheritance, and is passed down,” said Paredez.

Mario Gomez is a volunteer at the Mirador de la Flor Memorial in Corpus Christi. “I’ve been doing this for the last 13 years, and I feel like I’ve met a family from every country in the world,” he said.

Gazing about at the throngs at the Selena Museum, Christina Allen, the mother from Houston, said, “We just keep her memory going. That’s what we do. We just keep her in our hearts.”

Raul A. Reyes is an NBC Latino contributor. Follow him on Twitter at @RaulAReyes, and on Instagram at @raulareyes1

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Germany election: Angela Merkel’s party has been castigated in the polls – and CDU activists are not happy | World News

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It has not been a great election for Angela Merkel’s own party, the CDU.

Its candidate Armin Lashert was castigated in the polls, caught on camera laughing as the country’s president made a speech after the country’s devastating floods.

But they had hoped for better, especially after a rally in the polls in the final leg of this contest. They were gathering from early evening in bar R 23 buying drinks hoping to have something to celebrate.

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CDU leader Laschet ‘not happy’ with Germany exit polls

As exit polls and official projections predicted a tie between them and rivals, the SPD, there was a palpable sense of deflation.

Sandra Khalatbari, candidate for the Berlin parliament told Sky News they weren’t the figures she’d hoped for.

“It is disappointing,” she said.

“In the last one-and-a-half weeks we were raising our votes and we were very hopeful that it’s going to be successful but now it is kind of disappointing.”

Sandra Khalatbari called the figures 'disappointing'
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Sandra Khalatbari called the figures ‘disappointing’

The right of centre CDU, Merkel’s party, should have done better. Its chancellor has completed 16 years in power and is one of the most popular politicians in German history. Yet her party has not been rewarded by voters.

There was some consolation in the party’s recovery from its meltdown early on, but campaigner Martin Feldmann told Sky News, only outright victory is what counts.

“The numbers in the past few weeks were disturbing – now it’s about 25%.

“This is okay but only because of the numbers in the past few weeks. What we want is to be number one. At the moment we are not and I’m not happy about this.”

As CDU activists took consolation in large servings of German lager, the period of reflection was already beginning. For some, the problem was the candidate or how voters perceived him on the doorstep.

Regional party organiser Christophe Lehmann told Sky News the problem was the candidate.

He said: “We had to drive against the wind.”

Cordula Kollotschek
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Cordula Kollotschek says Mr Laschert doesn’t have ‘charisma’

“Because many people didn’t understand why we picked Laschet. Voters were not convinced.”

Former member of Berlin parliament Cordula Kollotschek told Sky News, Laschet is not political box office but that wasn’t the only problem.

“He has not the charisma, he’s not really a star, he is not really good looking in the media – that’s really important in a time like now but also I don’t think we have the answer especially for young people for things like climate change.”

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A look back at Angela Merkel’s 16-year career

On the bar television, coverage continued in almost funereal tones. German political coverage is serious and sombre. Most had drifted away from the screen though, to drink outside on a balmy late summer evening, or head off home.

It’s a longer game now.

Whoever clinches the biggest share of Bundestag seats, haggling and horse-trading starts to form a coalition and with everything so close – that may take a while.

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La Palma: Residents in limbo as pressure in the Cumbre Vieja volcano drops – but eruption threat remains | World News

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Thousands of people have been forced to leave their homes to escape rivers of lava cascading from La Palma’s erupting volcano.

But 160 of them will now be allowed to return, after local authorities said their houses were no longer in the path of the molten streams moving down the side of the Cumbre Vieja volcano range.

The rest of the evacuees will have to wait, including Eliza Gonzales.

Eliza Gonzales with her dog, Luna
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Eliza Gonzales has been separated from her dog Luna

I met her at an improvised animal sanctuary on the island. She had come to see her dog Luna. They’ve been separated for days.

Ms Gonzales was told she had to leave Luna behind when she fled her home.

Thankfully the rescue centre called to tell her they had saved Luna. But the reunion is bittersweet. Ms Gonzales is staying in temporary accommodation and no dogs are allowed.

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What’s next for La Palma?

“It’s very bad,” she says.

Luna will be fostered while Ms Gonzales waits to go back home.

“I’m happy there are good people that offered their houses for the dogs to stay in and be calm.”

There are several dogs at the sanctuary, waiting for their owners to come for them. They all bark whenever someone new arrives.

But the centre can only care for abandoned animals. Those who were badly injured during the eruption have to be taken for specialist care.

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Volcano eruptions ‘could last for months’

They rescued a goat whose udders were severely burnt and took it to the vet, hoping it can recover from its wounds.

Scientists say the pressure inside the volcano has decreased, but that doesn’t mean the eruptions are about to stop.

The experts can’t predict when the explosions of lava will end, they think it could last till December.

With each day that passes, people are becoming more desperate.

Volcanic dust is damaging the 'plátano' skin leaving farmers including Mr de Paz Perez fearing they won't be able to sell their produce to supermarkets.
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Volcanic dust is damaging plátano skins, leaving farmers including Mr de Paz Perez fearing they won’t be able to sell their produce

Ernesto de Paz Perez is a banana farmer. The plant is known as “plátano” here, they are slightly smaller than bananas from Latin America.

Mr de Paz Perez, 75, started working on a plátano farm when he was 14.

La Palma depends on the fruit for around half of its economic output.

Banana farmer Ernesto de Paz Perez fears there will be 'many losses' due to the damage caused by the eruption.
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Banana farmer Ernesto de Paz Perez fears there will be ‘many losses’ due to the damage

But the volcanic dust is damaging the fruit’s skin and farmers fear they won’t be able to sell their produce to supermarkets.

The eruption has also cut off the water supply to Mr de Paz Perez’s plants.

If it [the eruption] keeps going for a long time it will cause a lot of damage. If the plátano fields are not watered we will lose them. There will be many losses,” he said.

Elsewhere on the island they’re trying to get back to normal. The airport is open after closing because of an ash cloud, but flights haven’t immediately resumed.

The whole of La Palma just wants to repair and return to how their lives were before the volcano erupted, but when that will be, no one knows.

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Lewis Hamilton hails ‘magical moment’ as he wins 100th Formula One race | UK News

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Lewis Hamilton has spoken of the “magical moment” of winning his 100th Formula One race at Sunday’s Russian Grand Prix.

Hamilton, 36, used his driving and overtaking skills, and his strategic thinking in the rain, to fight back from seventh place on the first lap to a landmark victory.

He is the first driver to reach 100 victories.

It was his fifth win of the season and his first since the British Grand Prix in July.

“It’s taken a long time to get to 100 and at times, I wasn’t sure it would come,” the British driver said.

“It is a magical moment. I could only have dreamed of still being here, to have this opportunity to win these races, and to drive with such phenomenal talents this late on in my career.”

“I am so proud of everything we have done with Mercedes, on and off the track, and this is a special moment for everyone that has been part of it.

“My dad called me last night and he has always been that one to reassure me and to continue to support me. I feel incredibly grateful for the amazing support that I have had.”

The victory takes Hamilton two points clear of Max Verstappen in the title race with seven rounds to go.

It also denied Lando Norris of his first victory following a thrilling finale.

Norris, 21, appeared on course to keep Hamilton at bay, and become the youngest British Formula One winner.

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