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Kayley Loveridge

Fortnite Battle Royale

Sports Scholarship for Fortnite Battle Royale

Ohio’s Ashland University will be the first university to offer a scholarship for Fortnite Battle Royale as part of its eSports program beginning Fall 2018.

The 100-player online shooter game, in which players fight to the death, has been the most watched game on the Twitch streaming platform in recent months. So popular is the title, online organizations including The eSports Hub and MLG GameBattles have established ladders and tournaments for the game.

Josh Buchanan, who will be the head coach for the program, told Variety, “I think Fortnite has a lot of room for players to get creative.

“There’s a lot of teamwork in [the game’s core building mechanic] that’s really untapped. A lot of players kind of do fancy stuff, and it looks cool, but it might not be the most efficient. I think it’s a game that, due to how creative you can be, there’s a lot of potential to get really, really skilled in the game.”

The eSports team will arrange four-player teams who will begin competing in the Fall, with the program offering up to $4,000 in scholarships. Applications will be based on player skills and academic requirements.

“As part of the program, you’re going to have coaches and a staff dedicated to helping you succeed—not only in the game but also in your academics,” Buchanan said to Variety.  

The statement for the scholarship by the university says that a gaming center will be placed at the school with “25 gaming stations, complete with gaming PCs, accessories and peripherals.” 

The National Association of Collegiate Esports stipulates that Ashland University is the first college to officially announce a Fortnite Battle Royale scholarship, but Missouri Baptist University has announced their plans for adding a Fortnite team.

Further reading: AAA Video Game Titles: A Look Ahead in 2018

Martin Garrix Game Over

Martin Garrix and Loopers Release Game Over

Young EDM superstar Martin Garrix and Dutchman Loopers have joined forces to release the highly anticipated single Game Over today (Friday 20 April) via STMPD RCRDS.

The track was initially premiered during Garrix’s set at EDM and dance music festival Tomorrowland back in 2017, and fans have been urging the DJ to officially release it ever since.

Game Over is nothing short of what fans would expect from Garrix—spunky, fun, full of bass with a big sound—but the collaboration with Loopers gives this new release a unique flair.

The now 21-year-old Garrix shot to fame stardom in 2013 with his hit tune Animals which received worldwide critical acclaim. By 2016, with the number one hit In the Name of Love featuring Bebe Rexha (racking up over a billion streams since its release so far), the artist’s career hit stratospheric heights.

Garrix also launched his own record label, STMPD RCRDS in 2016 to produce and release original tracks and collaborations besides his official global deal with Sony Music International. “There’s so much music out there in this whole EDM thing that sounds so similar,” he said. “I want to make my label more diverse.” Garrix’s commitment to the music industry at such a young age and in such a short time is commendable.

For Looper, Game Over follows a collaboration with dance music titan David Guetta and Brooks with Like I Do.

Watch Game Over by Martin Garrix and Loopers, here:

Further reading: David Guetta and Sia Release Flames

Jessie J

Jessie J Wins China’s Singer 2018 Talent Show

British pop star Jessie J has won major Chinese singing talent show, Singer 2018. The program, which can be likened to television shows like American Idol, is a singing contest for already-established artists.

The London-born artist was one of the first international contestants to ever appear on the show and won the competition with a staggering 48 percent of the vote.

Jessie J sang a selection of her own hits including Domino (2011) and Flashlight (2015), as well as a cover of Whitney Houston’s blockbuster hit My Heart Will Go On.

Many fans of the pop star were initially confused as to why she would enter a singing competition in the first place. “I know a lot of people were shocked when they found out,” she said. “Like why would I compete in a singing competition… I’m probably the least competitive person I know.

“I said yes because I LOVE to do the unexpected and I LOVE to represent the UK and singing everywhere I go. I LOVE to sing. But also it was an opportunity to bridge a gap between two cultures.”

The platinum-winning star added, “Chin is an amazing place and so different to anywhere I have ever been. I have never been made to feel more welcomed and loved as I have done here.”

Jessie J’s appearance on Singer 2018 followed the failed launch of her latest album R.O.S.E at the end of 2017.

Further reading: David Guetta and Sia Release Flames

Pulitzer Prize

Kendrick Lamar Wins Pulitzer Prize

Rapper Kendrick Lamar has won the Pulitzer Prize for music, breaking major records by becoming the first non-classical or jazz artist to receive the prestigious award since the Pulitzer’s inception some 75 years ago.

The prize was given for the 30-year-old’s 2017 album Damn, which also won the 2018 Grammy award for Best Rap Album. The album has sold more than three and a half million copies, including digital streams, since its release last year.

Dana Canedy, administer of the Pulitzer prizes, said, “The time was right.

“We are very proud of this selection. It means that the jury and the board judging system worked as it’s supposed to—the best work was awarded a Pulitzer Prize.”

Canedy added, “It shines a light on hip-hop in a completely different way. This is a big moment for hip-hop music and big moment for the Pulitzers.”

The Pulitzer board described Damn as “a virtuosic song collection unified by its vernacular authenticity and rhythmic dynamism that offers affecting vignettes capturing the complexity of modern African-American life.”

The record has received much global critical acclaim since its release. It topped the charts in the United States and Canada while reaching number two in the Australian charts. Damn was also certified double platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) and became the Billboard Year-End Number One Album of 2017.

The Swimming Pools artist has been lauded by critics for his distinct, honest and authentic sound ever since he first broke into the mainstream with the album Good Kid, M.A.A.D City in 2012.

Punch, the head of Top Dawg Entertainment, Lamar’s record label, tweeted that he’d better not hear anyone “speak with anything less than respect in your mouth for Kendrick Lamar.” Lamar has yet to comment on his historical win of the Pulitzer Prize.

Further reading: Panic! At the Disco Back with New Track

Pittsburgh Steelers

Former Pittsburgh Steelers Linebacker James Harrison Announces Retirement

Former Pittsburgh Steelers linebacker James Harrison has announced his retirement from the NFL for the second time after a strong 15-year career.

The 39-year-old made the announcement on Instagram on Monday. Beneath an image of his children, he said, “I’ve missed way too much for way too long… and I’m done. Many thanks to my family, coaches, the fans, and everyone who played a role in my football life.”

Harrison, who will turn 40 in May, spent most of his career as the linebacker for the Pittsburgh Steelers before signing with the New England Patriots on 26 December, 2017.

Despite an illustrious career with the revered Pittsburgh Steelers, Harrison and the team parted on negative terms. With reduced playing time during the 2017 season, Harrison requested that the team release him from his contract.

The long-time NFL player had previously announced his retirement in 2014 following a one-year stint with the Cincinnati Bengals, but returned to the game with the Steelers for the next season.

Harrison, who began his career playing college football for Kent State University, won the NFL Defensive Player of the Year award in 2008. The football star also won two Super Bowls, he XL and XLIII with the Pittsburgh Steelers.

The linebacker finishes his career with 84.5 sacks.

Further reading: Robert Griffin Joins Baltimore Ravens

Canadian Arctic

Subglacial Lakes Found in the Canadian Arctic

Researchers at the University of Alberta in Canada have discovered two isolated subglacial lakes located 550 to 750 meters of ice beneath the Devon Ice Cap, one of the largest ice caps in the Canadian Arctic.

These lakes have been considered to be the first hypersaline (containing four to five times more salt than normal sea water) subglacial lakes in the world.

Anja Rutishauser, the PhD student who made the discovery during an analysis of radar data, said, “We weren’t looking for subglacial lakes. The ice is frozen to the ground underneath that part of the Devon Ice Cap, so we didn’t expect to find liquid water.

“We saw these radar signatures telling us there’s water, but we thought it was impossible that there could be liquid water underneath this ice, where it is below -10C”.

According to Science Daily, there are more than 400 known subglacial lakes in the world which can largely be found in Antarctica and Greenland. These are the first subglacial lakes found in the Canadian Arctic. All previously found subglacial lakes are believed to contain freshwater, these in the newest discovery are thought to consist of hypersaline water.

Professor Martin Siegert from the Imperial College of London said, “To my knowledge, this is a unique lake system. Of the [more than] 400 subglacial lakes in Antarctica, all of them are thought to comprise fresh water. Hence, whatever might be living in it may also be unique.”

The discovery is special in that it is a potential host to microbial life and is similar to the saline conditions of the subsurface ocean found on Europa, Jupiter’s moon. The lakes’ conditions may help researchers and scientists to further understand the possibility of life existing on Europa.

Dr Claire Cousins from the University of St Andrews said, “While the chemistry of these lakes nay be somewhat different to ocean environments on icy moons such as Europa, their otherwise extreme conditions will help us understand the habitability of hypersaline sub-ice environments.”

Dr Alison Murray of Nevada’s Desert Research Institute told the BBC that further research on the subglacial lakes found in the Canadian Arctic could provide “a key to understanding the life-supporting nature of such systems which may occur in the icy and ocean worlds of the solar system and beyond.”

Further reading: Climate Change Fears as Arctic Temperature Rises

San Francisco 49ers

San Francisco 49ers Reuben Foster Charged with Three Felonies

San Francisco 49ers linebacker Reuben Foster has been charged with three felonies including a domestic violence charge, announced the Santa Clara County District Attorney’s Office.

The domestic violence charge is in connection to Foster’s arrest back in February, in which he allegedly attacked his girlfriend at their Los Gatos home in California. The 28-year-old woman reported to responding officers that the football player dragged her by her hair and punched her head eight to 10 times. The victim was left with a perforated eardrum.

Other felonies charged against the San Francisco 49ers linebacker include forcefully attempting to prevent a victim from reporting a crime and possession of an assault weapon.

The 24-year-old, who was arraigned Thursday April 13, faces the possibility of more than 11 years behind bars if convicted on all charges. Foster is expected to enter his plea during the next court hearing on April 30.

Kevin Smith, the Santa Clara Deputy District Attorney, said, “Our focus is on holding accountable those who hurt their intimate partners.

“Our office handles between four and five thousand domestic violence cases each year. We only hope that this case illuminates the tragic regularity of the rest.”

Foster also faces scrutiny from the NFL and may be subject to NFL discipline under the league’s Personal Conduct Policy. NFL spokesperson Brian McCarthy said, “We continue to monitor all developments in this matter which is under review of the Personal Conduct Policy.

“Reuben is aware that his place in our organization is under great scrutiny and will depend on what is learned through the legal process.”

The NFL called the charges made against the San Francisco 49ers player “disturbing”.

Further reading: Robert Griffin Joins Baltimore Ravens

Cannes Film Festival

Netflix Pulls Out of Cannes Film Festival

Streaming giant Netflix pulls out of Cannes Film Festival this year after a new rule change was made banning films without a theatrical release in France from competing for the main prizes.

In an interview with Hollywood trade publication Variety, Netflix’s chief content officer, Ted Sarandos, said that the company will not be changing its release strategy to satisfy the new rule. Commenting on pulling out of the prestigious event, Sarandos said, “It was not our decision to make.” He called the new rule, which was imposed by the festival’s artistic director Thierry Frémaux, “completely contrary to the spirit of any film festival in the world.”

While Netflix will be able to screen films not in the competition, Sarandos maintains that this would be an unlikely route for the company to take. “We want our films to be on fair ground with every other filmmaker.

“There’s a risk in us going in this way and having our films and filmmakers treated disrespectfully at the festival. They’ve set the tone. I don’t think it would be good for us to be there.”

Frémaux responded to Netflix’s announcement saying, “Any film in competition should be open to distribution in theaters.”

He continued, “We made offers for two films by Netflix this year, one out of competition and one in competition. Netflix did not wish to release the [competition title] in theaters. According to the rule, this film will not be in the competition. The film could not be in the competition. Films must be open to the possibility of being distributed in cinemas. It’s too bad.”

Cannes Film Festival started life more than 70 years ago as an art house showcase. It has attracted major celebrities and commercial films over the decades, giving it its stellar reputation as one of the most important festivals in the world.

Cannes Film Festival will run from May 8 to May 19 in France.

Further reading: Stranger Things Creators Sued for Plagiarism

New York Yankees and Boston Red Sox

New York Yankees and Boston Red Sox Brawl

Wednesday’s game at Fenway Park between baseball giants New York Yankees and Boston Red Sox saw a dramatic turn of events during the seventh inning as Tyler Austin charged at Sox reliever Joe Kelly on the pitch.

The bustle occurred after Austin was hit by a pitch handed by Kelly. Austin reacted, slamming his bat on the plate and leaping towards the Boston Sox reliever, ending up in a pile up on the mound with other members of the teams. “Once I got hit, it was going to happen,” said Austin.

Yankees’ slugger Aaron Judge pulled the two men apart, gripping Kelly in a headlock in an attempt to stop the fight.

ABC News reported that Kelly had “visible red marks on his neck after the game.”

“I was ready to defend myself,” said Kelly. “Someone comes on my property and in my back yard—I’ve got two dogs and if you come on my property and I feel like I was getting attacked then I’m going to have to defend myself.”

Pedro Martinez, former Red Sox pitcher, weighed in on the fight between the New York Yankees and Red Sox players with a tweet that read: “The only thing I would had done different than Joe Kelly tonight, is I would’ve hit Tyler Austin at his previous bat. Other than that, Kelly executed perfectly.”

The fight was not a first, however, with the two teams well known for their history of violent clashes and team rivalry. In 1973, Thurman Munson confronted catcher Carlton Fisk after major league baseball player Gene Michael missed a bunt attempt.

“It’s Yankees-Red Sox. That’s what everybody wants. That’s what they got,” said Boston starter David Price.

“Two competitive teams going at it and sometimes stuff happens,” said Yankees general manager Brian Cashman. “But sometimes stuff shouldn’t happen and there was no reason for fisticuffs to have to happen based on that slide at second base.”

The MLB official Twitter account tweeted, “Benches clear, punches thrown in Yankees-Red Sox after Tyler Austin is hit by a pitch from Joe Kelly.”

The New York Yankees ended Boston Red Sox’s nine-game winning streak, leaving the pitch with an exciting 10-7 victory.

Further reading: Los Angeles Angels Player Shohei Ohtani Hits First Home Run

Sexual Assault Retrial

Bill Cosby Sexual Assault Retrial to Begin

Actor Bill Cosby’s sexual assault retrial is set to begin in Pennsylvania on Monday in front of a new jury of 10.

Cosby, now 80 years old, denies allegations of drugging and sexually assaulting Andrea Constand 14 years ago, and has pleaded not guilty.

Constand, a Canadian massage therapist, has alleged that Cosby drugged and molested her after inviting her to his home in Pennsylvania in 2004. The 44-year-old had first reported the alleged attack one year following the event, but the local district attorney declined to press charges against the renowned comic. Constand then filed a civil lawsuit against Cosby which was settled for an unknown sum in 2006.

The actor, once affectionately known as “America’s Dad”, has been charged with aggravated indecent assault—a second degree felony—by the Pennsylvania prosecutor. If found guilty, Cosby could face up to 10 years in jail.

The sexual assault retrial comes after the jury in the first hearing in June 2017 failed to reach a conclusive verdict.

The Emmy award-winning actor, most famous for starring in the 80s comedy TV series The Cosby Show (1984), has been the center of a major scandal in which more than 60 women have come forward with allegations of sexual assault. Cosby has denied all of the allegations.

The sexual assault retrial will put Cosby before the same judge—Steven O’Neill–and district attorney as the first in 2017. The BBC reports that the judge will allow other accusers to come forward with evidence during the trial. The Guardian reports that O’Neill will allow for five women to speak during the sexual assault retrial.

Further reading: #MeToo Campaign Raises Awareness About Sexual Assault