Lorde picks up music award for Melodrama album after VMA haul

After taking home six Tui's at the Vodafone New Zealand Music Awards last week, Lorde has picked up another top honour from a UK music magazine. 

The kiwi pop star's "stunning second album" Melodrama has been awarded the Best Album of 2017 by British publication NME. 

"This is a regret-drenched break-up album that waves a magic wand at pain and transforms it into pure pop magic," the magazine wrote.

"From house-influenced lead single 'Green Light' to the deliciously overwrought 'Supercut', 'Melodrama' gives you pause to reflect on the past even as it takes your hand and leads you to the dancefloor."

Lorde has just wrapped up her New Zealand leg of her Melodrama world tour and is currently performing in Australia. 

"The tour's been amazing, it's been so nice to finish it like this, I forget how lucky I am to have the support here, it's amazing to come home and be greeted with this," she said after her New Zealand concerts. 

"I've been finding the shows here super moving, there's a lot of kids going to their first shows following me on tour when I was at high school, and they were at high school, now they're in their 20s."

On the 16th of November, the 21-year-old clinched awards at the Vodafone New Zealand Music Awards for the Best Solo Artist, and soon after for Best Pop Artist, then Best International Artist, Single of the Year for Greenlight, and Album of the Year for Melodrama and People's Choice. 

Speaking to those gathered she said she'd been delighted at how her second album had been received.

Ella Yelich-O'Connor, better known as Lorde, with her six Tui Awards at the Vodafone New Zealand Music Awards 2017.
Ella Yelich-O'Connor, better known as Lorde, with her six Tui Awards at the Vodafone New Zealand Music Awards 2017. Source: Luke Appleby/1 NEWS

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Meet BTS, South Korean boy band breaking into the US and UK music charts

First came The Beatles, then One Direction – now, it's BTS.

The South Korean boy band, one of the most influential music groups on social media, recently finished a run of sold-out shows at London's O2 Arena.

Their success has brought K-Pop, or Korean pop music, to the world stage as the first South Korean group to break into the US and UK charts.

But, as the BBC's Sophie Van Brugen, it isn't just the music the fans love.

BTS has just finished a run of sold out shows at London’s 02 Arena. Source: 1 NEWS

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Kiwis fined by Israeli courts over cancelled Lorde concert raising money for Gaza mental health

The Kiwis behind an open letter urging Lorde not to perform in Israel are raising money for mental health in Gaza after they were ordered by the Israeli courts to pay a NZ$19,000 fine.

Justine Sachs and Nadia Abu-Shanab must pay three Israeli teenagers thousands in damages for harming their "artistic welfare" over the cancelled concert, which was to to be performed in Tel Aviv. 

The concert, scheduled for June 2018, was cancelled by the Kiwi singer last December, after the women wrote an open letter to the star asking her to reconsider. 

Justine Sachs and Nadia Abu-Shanab say they won’t pay, and are fundraising for mental health services in Gaza instead. Source: 1 NEWS

"We will not be paying the court ordered amount. Instead, we would like to redirect the support extended to us back to Palestinians in need of mental health support," the pair said on their givealittle page.

Ms Sachs and Ms Abu-Shanab said the crowdfounding campaign was launched in the hopes of raising USD$12,000 for the Gaza Mental Health Foundation, which helps provide financial support for mental health support organisations.

As of 4.44pm, the pair raised $1,651.36 in donations from 40 donors.

To donate to the givealittle page, click here.


Justine Sachs and Nadia Abu-Shanab. Source: Givealittle / Justine Sachs and Nadia Abu-Shanab

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One charge dismissed against Harvey Weinstein amid concerns detective coached witness to remain silent

Prosecutors in New York City abandoned part of their sexual assault case against Harvey Weinstein today after evidence surfaced that a lead police detective coached a witness to keep quiet when she raised doubts about the veracity of one of the allegations.

Weinstein, 66, looked on as a judge agreed to dismiss the lone charge related to Lucia Evans, who helped spark the #MeToo movement a year ago when she told The New Yorker that the Hollywood mogul had forced her to perform oral sex in 2004 when she was a college student and fledgling actress.

Weinstein's lawyer, Benjamin Brafman, unsuccessfully urged Judge James Burke to deep-six the whole case, telling him: "The integrity of these proceedings has been compromised."

The bulk of the prosecution case remains intact, with Weinstein still facing five charges over allegations that he raped an unidentified woman in his Manhattan hotel room in 2013 and performed a forcible sex act on a different woman in 2006. A conviction on the most serious charges could put him in prison for the rest of his life.

Weinstein denies all allegations of nonconsensual sex.

The turn of events, which had been simmering for weeks in closed-door meetings and sealed court documents, enraged Evans' lawyer, who took to the courthouse steps to blast Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus R. Vance Jr. for walking away from her client. Evans told the truth and never misled investigators, lawyer Carrie Goldberg said.

"Let me be clear: the decision to throw away my client's sexual assault charges says nothing about Weinstein's guilt or innocence. Nor does it reflect on Lucia's consistent allegation that she was sexually assaulted with force by Harvey Weinstein," Goldberg said outside the courthouse.

"It only speaks volumes about the Manhattan DA's office and its mishandling of my client's case."

Prosecutor Joan Illuzzi-Orbon insisted in court that the rest of the case is strong and said the district attorney's office was looking into the possibility of bringing additional charges.

"In short, your honor, we are moving full steam ahead," she said.

Detective Nicholas DiGaudio, who was one of two investigators who escorted Weinstein out of a police station and into court after his May arrest, is now embroiled in an internal police department investigation and has been thrown off the case. Chief of Detectives Dermot Shea said today that the department takes seriously the allegations against him.

Prosecutors said in a letter unsealed after today's hearing that they learned weeks ago that a woman who was with Evans the night she first met Weinstein at a restaurant had given DiGaudio a contradictory account of what happened, but that the detective had urged her to keep quiet, telling her "less is more."

The woman, prosecutors said, told the detective in February that Weinstein had offered them money to flash their breasts during the restaurant encounter.

They initially declined, but the woman said that Evans later told her she had gone ahead and exposed herself to the film producer in a hallway. Goldberg disputed that.

The woman also told the detective that sometime after an office meeting where Evans alleged Weinstein forced her to perform oral sex, she suggested what happened was consensual, according to the letter. Weinstein had promised to get her an acting job if she agreed to perform oral sex, and she agreed, it said.

According to the witness, who was not named in the letter, Evans had been drinking and "appeared to be upset, embarrassed and shaking" when she recounted the story.

Prosecutors also disclosed that they had discovered a draft email that Evans had written three years ago to a man who is now her husband that "describes details of the sexual assault that differ from the account" she provided to investigators.

A message left on a phone DiGaudio used in the past wasn't returned. The union for New York City police detectives didn't return a message.

Brafman said he believed Evans had lied both to the grand jury and to The New Yorker about her encounter with Weinstein and suggested she be prosecuted for perjury.

"This is an attack on the fundamental integrity of the grand jury process," Brafman said. "If you have a person willing to commit perjury in the grand jury, that is as serious as the crime of sexual assault because it undermines the fairness of the process for all of us."

The developments in Weinstein's case today capped a tough six-day stretch for the #MeToo movement, bookended by Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh's confirmation amid decades-old allegations that he had committed sexual misconduct. But victim advocates didn't see it as a setback.

"This is so much larger than any singular case," Kristen Houser of the National Sexual Violence Resource Center said. "Weinstein may have been the snowball that started the avalanche, but the ability of any one perpetrator being held accountable or getting away with it doesn't alter the national outrage."

The New Yorker, in a statement, said it stands by its reporting and fact-checking process and that "any assertion by lawyers for Harvey Weinstein that The New Yorker had information that contradicted Lucia Evans's account is patently incorrect."

Vance has already been fiercely criticised for declining to prosecute Weinstein when an Italian model accused him of grabbing her breasts in 2015. At the time, Vance cited a lack of supporting evidence, despite the existence of a clandestinely made recording of Weinstein discussing the episode with the woman.

In the months after The New York Times and The New Yorker began publishing stories about Weinstein's interactions with women, activists pressured Vance to bring charges as dozens of people came forward with claims of sexual misconduct against him.

DiGaudio and other police officials poured on the pressure, saying publicly that they believed they had gathered ample evidence to make an arrest.

The Associated Press does not identify alleged victims of sexual assaults unless they come forward publicly, as Evans has done.
Weinstein is free on $1.5 million bail and is due back in court December 20.

FILE - In this July 9, 2018 file photo, Harvey Weinstein is escorted in handcuffs to a courtroom in New York. The #MeToo movement has sent dozens of once-powerful men in Hollywood into exile, but it has yet to put many of them in handcuffs or courtrooms. Weinstein has been charged with sexual assault in New York and Bill Cosby has been sent to prison in Pennsylvania in the year since stories on Weinstein in The New York Times and The New Yorker set off waves of revelations of sexual misconduct in Hollywood. But those two central figures have been exceptions. (AP Photo/Richard Drew, File)
Harvey Weinstein is escorted in handcuffs to a courtroom in New York. Source: Associated Press


Israeli court fines two Kiwi activists $23,600 over Lorde boycott letter

An Israeli court has ordered two Kiwi women to pay about NZ$19,000 in damages for writing a letter to Lorde asking her to not perform in Israel due to its occupation of Gaza.

Justine Sachs and Nadia Abu-Shanab appealed to the singer in an open letter in December asking her to "join the artistic boycott of Israel".

Lorde acknowledged the letter and cancelled her show days later, saying, "I have had a lot of discussions with people holding many views, and I think the right decision at this time is to cancel the show".

Three Israeli ticket holders, Shoshana Steinbach, Ayelet Wertzel and Ahuva Frogel, then filed a lawsuit in January under a law that allows civil lawsuits against anyone who calls for a boycott against Israel.

All three ticket holders had received refunds for the tickets, the Jerusalem Post reports, but despite that, they claimed their "artistic welfare" had been harmed by the cancellation - "and above all damage to their good name as Israelis and Jews".

Yesterday, NZT, Judge Mirit Fohrer agreed and imposed fines of NIS$45,000, plus NIS$11,000 - this equates to about NZ$23,600 in total.

Their lawyer, Nitsana Darshan-Leitner of the Shurat HaDin advocacy group, said the decision sends a message that "no one can boycott Israel without paying for it."

Darshan-Leitner said she intended to enforce the judgment through "international treaties" and go after the women's bank accounts, either in New Zealand or if they try to travel abroad.

The ruling is believed to be the first time the 2011 Israeli law has been applied.

Ella Yelich-O'Connor, better known as Lorde, with her six Tui Awards at the Vodafone New Zealand Music Awards 2017.
Ella Yelich-O'Connor, better known as Lorde, with her six Tui Awards at the Vodafone New Zealand Music Awards 2017. Source: Luke Appleby/1 NEWS