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Katy Perry ‘saddened’ as her shoe line is taken off shelves for being racist | Ents & Arts News



Katy Perry has apologised after her shoe line was heavily criticised for evoking racist imagery in the form of blackface.

The 34-year-old pop star’s fashion brand, Katy Perry Collections, removed the footwear from its website immediately after it sparked outrage online.

The two styles of shoe, the Rue Face slip-on loafer and the Ora Face block heel sandal, feature a face with prominent red lips.

The shoes were on sale in US retailers including Walmart, but have been removed following the backlash.

Perry is ‘saddened’ by the response to shoes, which were meant to reflect modern art

A spokeswoman for Perry told Sky News that they have been “saddened” by the negative response to the shoes, which were supposed to be a nod to modern art.

“The Rue and The Ora were part of a collection that was released last summer in nine different colourways (black, blue, gold, graphite, lead, nude, pink, red, silver) and envisioned as a nod to modern art and surrealism,” the spokeswoman said.

“I was saddened when it was brought to my attention that it was being compared to painful images reminiscent of blackface.

“Our intention was never to inflict any pain. We have immediately removed them.”

Perry’s shoe line is available to buy at House of Fraser in the UK, though the department store confirmed it has never stocked the Rue and Ora styles.

Several fashion items have recently sparked controversy under similar circumstances.

Gucci has been accused of selling a jumper that resembles 'blackface'. Pic: Gucci/Spring
Gucci has been accused of selling a jumper that resembles ‘blackface’. Pic: Gucci/Spring

Last week, Gucci was forced to apologise after it became embroiled in a racism row – with shoppers complaining that a women’s jumper resembled “blackface”.

The Italian fashion brand faced a barrage of criticism after images emerged of the “balaclava jumper”, which features a cut-out at the mouth that is outlined in red.

In December, Prada removed a series of accessories that included black monkeys with red lips.

The line of small items, called Pradamalia, featured keychains and toys in several colours. However, the black and brown versions had oversized red lips.

And in January last year, high street store H&M came under fire after an image of a black child modelling a hoodie with the slogan “coolest monkey in the jungle” appeared on its website.

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Public to vote for name of minor planet in our solar system | Science & Tech News



Astronomers have invited the public to help decide the name of a planet in our solar system.

The minor planet was discovered in 2007 in the Kuiper Belt that orbits the sun beyond Neptune and is currently known as (225088) 2007 OR10.

US scientists who found the planet have now proposed three names for the public to vote on, with the winner set to be submitted to the International Astronomical Union as a formal suggestion.

The names that have been put forward are Gonggong, Holle and Vili.

Gonggong is a Mandarin word that describes a Chinese water god who is reputed to have visited floods upon the Earth.

Holle is a German fairy tale character with connections to Christmas, while Vili is a Nordic deity who battled and beat a frost giant.

It is believed the planet may have a rocky, icy surface with a reddish tint due to the presence of methane in the ice.

The decision to let the public decide on three chosen names, rather than propose names for themselves, will help organisers avoid a repeat of previous votes that have backfired.

In 2017, a submersible was christened Boaty McBoatface after the Natural Environment Research Council asked members of the public to name the vessel.

The sub was christened Boaty McBoatface after a public vote
The sub was christened Boaty McBoatface after a public vote

The astronomers say on their website: “We tried to selected deities where there were links to the colour red and also where there was a theme of the inside turning outside or with water ice/snow.

“We also looked for naming suggestions that have connections to other mythological creatures and deities that could be used as naming options for 2007 OR10’s moon.”

The public have until 11 May to vote for their choice on the astronomers’ website.

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India’s Jet Airways cancels all international flights | Business News



Indian airline Jet Airways has cancelled all its international flights stranding thousands of passengers around the world.

The carrier had 10 more of its aircraft grounded by its lenders as the company has been unable to find alternative means of funding its operations.

The airline operated daily services to London and Manchester from Mumbai and Delhi.

Around 80% of its fleet of 120 aircraft had already been seized as the company struggled to find buyers willing to take on more than £900m in debt it owes to multiple banks.

India’s aviation minister Suresh Prabhu confirmed that the airline has sufficient funds to operate only 6-7 aircraft until 15 April.

Pilots fly a Jet Airways aircraft
Jet Airways had more than 15,000 employees a year ago

Media reports suggest the Indian prime minister’s office has called for an urgent meeting to discuss issues with Jet Airways and its lenders.

Prime Minister Narendera Modi is wary of any job losses having a negative impact on the general elections currently taking place in the country.

India's Jet Airways aircraft
Many of India’s Jet Airways aircraft lie idle on the ground as fuel suppliers demand stringent terms on their contract

Jet Airways had more than 15,000 employees a year ago.

Alana Gomez, spokesperson for flight comparison site said: “Whilst the airline is still seeking financial aid and is yet to announce that it has gone bust, the outlook really doesn’t look positive, with calls to the customer line not getting through, thousands of passengers left without travel and staff & suppliers not being paid – among other issues.”

Lenders, led by government-owned State Bank of India, are looking for investors to buy a 75% stake in the airline by the end of Friday. UAE-based Etihad Airways owns 24% in the company.

The 25-year old carrier is set to receive $217m (£166m) from its lenders to keep its current operations running, but lessors have reclaimed many of the aircraft by de-registering and flying them out of the country.

Fuel suppliers have also begun demanding stringent terms on their contracts, piling additional pressure on Jet.

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Magnitude 6.8 earthquake hits Indonesia near Sulawesi island | World News



A magnitude 6.8 earthquake has struck near Indonesia’s Sulawesi island, which was hit by a devastating earthquake and tsunami in September.

More than 4,400 people died in the twin natural disasters last year, which struck the coastal city of Palu.

On Friday, Indonesia’s geophysics agency lifted a tsunami warning which had been in place for about 40 minutes after the earthquake struck.

The latest quake hit at a depth of 10.5 miles (17km), according to the US Geological Survey.

Its epicentre was far from Palu, but it was felt there and caused terrified residents to run into the streets.

low flying drone shot showing destruction in the Petobo area of Palu city, which suffered heavy damage from last week's natural disaster

Drone footage shows the destruction in Palu following an earthquake and tsunami last year

Disaster agency spokesperson Sutopo Purwo Nugroho said it was felt in different areas for between four to six seconds and some eastern coastal regions had ordered residents to go to higher ground.

Gina Saerang, from Manado in North Sulawesi, said the quake was “strong and long lasting”.

It was also felt strongly in the nickel mining region of Morowali.

There were no immediate reports of deaths or damage following the quake.

Indonesia sits on the seismically active Pacific “ring of fire” and is vulnerable to earthquakes and volcanic eruptions.

Last year, Indonesia suffered its highest death toll in natural disasters in more than a decade, following two major tsunamis and several earthquakes.

September’s disaster in Palu caused widespread destruction and left many without homes or clean water.

High waves hit the shore and wiped out communities after a tsunami warning was lifted.

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