Never mind dancing to the jailhouse rock, Kanye West moved some inmates to tears during a surprise show at a prison in Texas.
Almost everybody in the whole cell block at Harris County jail were treated to a performance by the rapper, who reportedly turned up for an exclusive presentation for 200 selected prisoners and staff at the facility.
West shared tracks from his new gospel album Jesus Is King during his visit, with a number of people in the audience seen welling up in a video released by Harris County Sheriff’s Office.
The 42-year-old performed with the backing of a choir, and then moved on to another facility across the street where a smaller selection of female inmates were treated to a show.
West was said to have used a secret tunnel to get to the site of his second concert on Friday, which were kept secret from the public and organised with the approval of prison officials.
Harris County Sheriff Ed Gonzalez said representatives of the music star got in touch about doing the performances, which were reminiscent of jailhouse concerts given by country singer Johnny Cash in California.
Cash performed twice at Folsom State Prison in January 1968 and the 17 total tracks from the shows were later released as part of a live album titled At Folsom Prison.
Unlike At Folsom Prison, Jesus Is King has received a mixed critical reaction since its release earlier this week.
The album, which suffered two delays before finally coming out, holds an average score of just 55 on the reviews aggregation website Metacritic – although it does have its fans.
British music magazine-turned-website NME gave the album – billed by West as “an expression of the gospel” – a four star review and said it was a step-up from the 2018 release dubbed Ye.
It has also been praised by members of the Christian community – and West is due to speak about the album during a trip to the vast 17,000-seat Lakewood Church in Houston on Sunday.
The album opened at number one on the US Billboard 200, giving West – who is one of the most successful and influential artists of the 21st century – his ninth consecutive album to debut atop the rankings.
It remains to be seen whether Jesus Is King enjoys any awards success, potentially helping West – who shares four children with his reality TV star wife Kim Kardashian West – add to a haul that already includes 21 Grammys.
Police officer among six people killed in shootout in New Jersey | US News
Six people, including a police officer, have been killed in a shoot-out in New Jersey.
The officer was investigating a murder in Jersey City when he approached two suspects, one of whom opened fire and shot him in the head, police sources told NBC News.
The two suspects then fled in a rental van and holed up in a grocery store where a gun battle broke out, according to reports.
Both suspects and three civilians were killed, NBC News said.
All schools in Jersey City were put on lockdown as heavy, sporadic gunfire was heard over an hour.
The officer who was killed was a 39-year-old father of five children, according to officials.
A second officer was wounded after being struck in the shoulder by gunfire, and two others were injured by shrapnel.
SWAT teams, state police and federal agents responded to the incident, with officers blocking off an area which includes a school, a kosher supermarket and a hair stylist.
Authorities have said the incident is not believed to be a terror attack
US President Donald Trump tweeted: “Just received a briefing on the horrific shootout that took place in Jersey City, NJ.
“Our thoughts & prayers are [with] the victims & their families during this very difficult & tragic time.
“We will continue to monitor the situation as we assist local & state officials on the ground.”
Child prodigy, 9, quits university in row over graduation date | World News
A nine-year-old boy who was set to become the world’s youngest ever graduate has quit his university following a row over his graduation date.
Laurent Simons made headlines around the world after he was on track to complete a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering at Eindhoven’s University of Technology in the Netherlands.
The Belgian boy – who has an IQ of 145 – was due to complete his studies before the end of the year, which would have made him the world’s first ever graduate under the age of 10.
But the university has now told Laurent and his parents that the target is no longer feasible because of the number of exams he still needs to finish before his birthday on Boxing Day.
“Laurent is an exceptionally gifted boy, who is going through his studies at an unprecedented pace,” the university said in a statement.
The university added that it had offered “a still phenomenally quick scheme in which he would end his education mid-2020”.
But Laurent’s parents decided not to accept the offer and immediately ended his studies in Eindhoven.
His father Alexander Simons said: “Until last week everything was fine, and now suddenly they see a delay of six months.”
He said the exact date of Laurent’s graduation had never been an issue for the family but became one as they felt the university was reacting to their plans to move the boy’s further education abroad.
A programme director at the university had previously described Laurent as “maybe three times smarter than the smartest student we’ve ever had”.
Mr Simons said: “It’s very peculiar that this all comes right at the time when we were finalising our plans for Laurent’s PhD at a different university.
“There is a lot of interest in Laurent from universities he would be honoured to join… there is so much demand for Laurent, he is a unique project which everybody wants to be a part of.”
Laurent, who is inspired by Serbian-American inventor Nikola Tesla, says he wants to research artificial organs and ultimately to develop an entire artificial body in his own laboratory.
Currently the youngest person to obtain a degree is American Michael Kearney, who achieved the feat in June 1994 at the age of 10 years and four months, according to the Guinness Book of World Records.
Greta Thunberg called a ‘brat’ by Brazil’s President Jair Bolsonaro | World News
Brazil’s president has called climate campaigner Greta Thunberg “a brat” after she tweeted about the murder of two indigenous people in the Amazon.
Jair Bolsonaro questioned the coverage given to the 16-year-old Swedish activist after she shared a link to a story about the killings in Maranhao state.
“Greta said that the Indians died because they were defending the Amazon,” said Mr Bolsonaro.
“It’s impressive that the press is giving space to a brat like that.”
Thunberg promptly changed her Twitter bio to simply read: “pirralha” – the Portuguese for brat.
Accompanying the story, she wrote: “Indigenous people are literally being murdered for trying to protect the forest from illegal deforestation. Over and over again. It is shameful that the world remains silent about this.”
Her comments on Sunday came as the UN was holding its international climate change conference, where Brazil’s environmental policies have been criticised.
Mr Bolsonaro has been accused of not doing enough to protect the Amazon where large areas have been hit by major fires in recent months.
The controversial president argues conservation policies hinder economic development, has rolled back measures to limit deforestation and is accused of reducing efforts to fight illegal logging, mining and ranching.
A recent report said deforestation in the rainforest rose by almost a third last year, its highest rate for more than a decade.
The Amazon is considered key to the fight against climate change because of the vast amounts of carbon dioxide it absorbs.
Mr Bolsonaro’s comment is not the first time that the teenage campaigner has been on the end of a barbed comment by a world leader.
In September, President Trump responded to a video of Thunberg’s angry UN speech over climate change inaction by tweeting sarcastically: “She seems like a very happy young girl looking forward to a bright and wonderful future. So nice to see!”
Thunberg also hit back on that occasion, lifting the president’s words “very happy girl” comment for her Twitter bio.
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