Solange Knowles takes seat at top of Billboard chart

By Piya Sinha-Roy | LOS ANGELES

LOS ANGELES Singer Solange Knowles, sister of R&B star Beyonce, topped the weekly U.S. Billboard 200 chart on Monday for the first time, with her latest album, "A Seat at the Table," edging out new records from Bon Iver and Van Morrison.

Knowles' third record, "Seat at the Table," sold 46,000 albums, 26,000 songs and was streamed 35.7 million times in the week ended Oct. 6, totaling 72,000 album units, according to figures from Nielsen SoundScan.

The album has garnered strong praise from critics, and features 21 tracks that touch on race and femininity, fusing R&B, soul and funk sounds.

Grammy-winning Bon Iver's latest album, "22, A Million," came in at No. 2 with 58,000 albums, 10,000 songs and 17.5 million streams, totaling 71,000 album units.

The Billboard 200 album chart tallies units from album sales, song sales (10 songs equal one album) and streaming activity (1,500 streams equal one album).

While Bon Iver's record sold more physical albums, it was edged out by Knowles' album on the strength of streaming.

Veteran Irish singer-songwriter Van Morrison was the only other new entry in the top 10 of the Billboard 200 chart this week, debuting at No. 9 with "Keep Me Singing."

On the Digital Songs chart, which measures online single sales, The Chainsmokers' catchy summer song "Closer" featuring Halsey continued to reign as No. 1, selling 123,000 copies in the past week.

(Reporting by Piya Sinha-Roy; Editing by Steve Orlofsky)

Read more

Body-building site: Shi the laborer swings to China online fame

By Thomas Peter and Joseph Campbell | BEIJING

BEIJING On most construction sites, lunch would be a welcome break to rest and refuel. Not for Shi Shenwei.

The 23-year-old laborer spends his midday break swinging from scaffolding poles on a building site, a gymnastics routine that has made him China's latest social media sensation.

"While other people are eating and singing karaoke, I'm whole-heartedly focused on what I want to do," Shi told Reuters inside the dusty temple where he works in southern Fujian province.

Shi's videos - filmed from multiple angles with four smart phones operated by his cousin - are posted on Kuaishou, a mobile video app in China. His nearly 1.2 million followers know him as "Brick Carrier Little Wei".

"You are no longer a master, you are a god!" one fan wrote after watching a high-bar routine which ended with Shi hanging by his arms in the plank position.

"You are my role model," gushed another online fan.

After leaving school due to an addiction to online games, Shi joined his uncle's construction crew. He was a skinny kid and the work was hard.

"I was very feeble back then, too weak to tie up a chicken," he said, using a Chinese phrase for a weakling.

One day, Shi watched an online video promoting street workouts, a type of free body weight exercise that can be done anywhere. He was hooked.

"I found another self through body-building, a source of energy that came from within," he said. "Online gaming could never give me that."

His first video post in 2015 - a handstand push up - attracted 7,000 followers.

"I was so excited that I thought I must keep practising," he said.

His trademark combination of flips, jumps and gymnastic stands are all self-taught, he said, and mostly imitations of videos he has seen online.

Shi's bemused co-workers, most of them relatives from his hometown, wonder where he gets the energy during a 10-hour work day.

"Most people would be tired and go home and sleep, but he's at it every day, around noon or at night after work when everyone else is eating, he's playing around at the site," said Shi Dachen, a 52-year-old bricklayer.

His fame has led to appearances on Chinese talent shows, talk of a possible part in a movie and support from gymnasts and exercise enthusiasts across the country.

"He’s a real inspiration for us and he inspires more and more young people to do what they like, like working out," said Bi Zhenbo, a Beijing-based personal trainer. "I think he’s doing something very meaningful."

Shi hopes to open his own gym one day and help young people avoid the problems he faced in his youth.

"They should strive for what they are interested in and should not give up easily," he said. "This is what I want to convey through my videos - a positive mind that enjoys life."

(Editing by Darren Schuettler and Nick Macfie)

Read more

Hundreds stranded in North Carolina floods after Hurricane Matthew

By Jonathan Drake | LUMBERTON, N.C.

LUMBERTON, N.C. Hundreds of people were rescued by boat and helicopter as floodwaters inundated North Carolina towns on Monday in the wake of Hurricane Matthew, and officials warned that life-threatening flooding from swollen rivers would continue for days.

Matthew, the most powerful Atlantic storm since 2007, was downgraded to a post-tropical cyclone on Sunday.

The hurricane killed around 1,000 people in Haiti and United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said on Monday some Haitian towns and villages had just about been "wiped off the map."

In the United States, the number of fatalities rose to at least 23, with nearly half in North Carolina.

North Carolina's skies were clear on Monday after the state received as much as 18 inches (39 cm) of rain from Matthew over the weekend, but raging rivers and breached levees posed major problems.

“This storm is not over in North Carolina," Governor Pat McCrory told reporters in Fayetteville. “It’s going to be a long, tough journey."

Eleven people have died in the state, officials said. With rivers rising, the governor said he expected deaths to increase.

The flooding prompted President Barack Obama to declare a state of emergency in North Carolina on Monday, making federal funding available to affected individuals in 10 counties hit by the storm, the White House said in a statement.

Some 2,000 residents were stuck in their homes and on rooftops in Lumberton, off the Lumber River, after the city flooded suddenly on Monday morning, McCrory said. Air and water rescues would continue throughout the day, he said.

Many of the homes and businesses in Lumberton were flooded with several feet of water on Monday afternoon and residents were seen paddling about the town in small skiffs.

Major flooding was expected this week in central and eastern towns along the Lumber, Cape Fear, Neuse and Tar rivers. The National Weather Service said the Neuse River would crest on Friday night and forecast "disastrous flooding."

Emergency officials in North Carolina's Lenoir County issued a mandatory evacuation order on Monday afternoon for residents and businesses along the Neuse River.


Many coastal and inland communities remained under water from storm surge or overrun rivers and creeks.

McCrory told reporters that he had met an elderly woman at a shelter on Monday who lost everything to floods.

“She’s sitting in a school cafeteria at this point in time crying and wondering what her life is going to be all about,” he said. "It breaks your heart."

In neighboring South Carolina, Governor Nikki Haley warned that waterways were quickly reaching capacity around the state.

"What might not be flooded today could be flooded tomorrow," Haley told a news conference.

She said there had been at least three storm-related deaths, including one in which a person in a vehicle was swept away by floodwaters.

Warnings were also issued over downed power lines. An 89-year-old man was killed in Florida on Monday after touching a downed line, officials said.

About 715,000 homes and businesses were without power on Monday night in Florida, Georgia, North and South Carolina and Virginia.

A federal judge on Monday granted a request from Florida's Democratic Party to extend the state's voter registration deadline by one more day, through Wednesday, because of the hurricane. Republican Governor Rick Scott had rejected demands from Democrats to extend the deadline.

A hurricane watch was issued for Bermuda, which could be threatened by another tropical system, Nicole, that is expected to reach the Atlantic island later this week, the U.S. National Hurricane Center said.

(Additional reporting by Letitia Stein in Tampa, Florida and Gene Cherry in Raleigh, N.C.; Writing by Timothy Mclaughlin and Laila Kearney; Editing by Colleen Jenkins, Tom Brown and Paul Tait)

Read more

Samsung scraps Galaxy Note 7 over fire concerns

By Se Young Lee | SEOUL

SEOUL Samsung Electronics Co Ltd (005930.KS) scrapped its flagship Galaxy Note 7 smartphone on Tuesday less than two months after its launch, dealing a huge blow to its reputation and outlook after failing to resolve safety concerns.

Samsung announced the recall of 2.5 million Note 7s in early September following numerous reports of the phones catching fire and on Tuesday it finally pulled the plug on the $882 device in what could be one of the costliest product safety failures in tech history.

The decision to scrap the Note 7 came after fresh reports of fires in replacement devices prompted new warnings from regulators, phone carriers and airlines.

"(We) have decided to halt production and sales of the Galaxy Note 7 in order to consider our consumers' safety first and foremost," the South Korean firm said in a filing to the Seoul stock exchange.

Samsung said earlier it asked all global carriers to stop sales of the Note 7s and the exchange of original devices for replacements, while it worked with regulators to investigate the problem. The company is offering to exchange Note 7s for other products or refund them.

Samsung's decision to pull Note 7s off the shelves not only raises fresh doubts about the firm's quality control but could result in huge financial and reputational costs.

Analysts say a permanent end to Note 7 sales could cost Samsung up to $17 billion and tarnish its other phone products in the minds of consumers and carriers.

Investors wiped nearly $20 billion off Samsung Electronics' market value on Tuesday as its shares closed down 8 percent, their biggest daily percentage decline since 2008.

The premium device, launched in August, was supposed to compete with Apple Inc's (AAPL.O) latest iPhone for supremacy in the smartphone market. Well received by critics, its first problem was a shortage as pre-orders overwhelmed supply.

But within days of the launch images of charred Note 7s began appearing on social media, in the first sign that something was seriously amiss with the gadget.

"This has probably killed the Note 7 brand name - who knows if they’ll even be allowed to re-release it," Edward Snyder, managing director of Charter Equity Research, said before Samsung announced it was halting sales and production of the smartphone.


The South Korean firm did not comment on whether it had identified the cause of the fires in the replacement devices, although officials in Seoul said it was looking at several possibilities including the batteries.

"It is more difficult to analyze the cause of the accidents this time because of various patterns of the accidents," an official with the Korean Agency for Technology and Standards, which met with Samsung and experts on Monday, told Reuters.

China's quality watchdog said Samsung would recall all 190,984 Note 7s sold in the mainland.

The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission said Samsung was making the right decision by halting sales and exchanges of the device.

"No one should have to be concerned their phone will endanger them, their family or their property," CPSC Chairman Elliott Kaye said in a statement.

The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration and South Korea's transport ministry added their voices to concerns from the aviation industry, saying no Note 7s should be used or charged inside airplanes.

Verizon Communications Inc (VZ.N), the largest U.S. wireless carrier, said it may shift marketing away from the Note 7 heading into the critical holiday selling season.

"We have the new iPhone, we’re about to launch the new Google (GOOGL.O) Pixel, which is exclusive to us. We’ve got great phones from Motorola as well," Verizon spokeswoman Kelly Crummey said.

"I think you’ll see our marketing focused on those devices because there is certainty on those at this time."

($1 = 1,114.7500 won)

(Additional reporting by Deborah Todd in NEW YORK and Hyunjoo Jin in SEOUL; Writing by Lincoln Feast; Editing by Stephen Coates, Miyoung Kim and Muralikumar Anantharaman)

Read more



Educating for the Future:
Linking People, Nature and History through Interpretation

Northwest Interpretive Association (NWIA) is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit "cooperating association." We assist our partners by operating retail bookstores on their behalf and then using the proceeds to fund their interpretive and educational projects. We also help them publish various trail guides and other interpretive books and pamphlets. We have over 150 sales outlets scattered across public lands in Washington, Oregon, California, Idaho, and Montana. (See our locations for a list.) For a copy of our Annual Report, please call 206.220.4140.

NWIA was founded in 1974 by combining the book sales operations of the Mount Rainier National History Association, Northwest Historical Association, Olympic Natural History Association, and Waiilatpu Historical Association. Then known as the Pacific Northwest National Parks Association, we originally provided funding and interpretive sales assistance to only the National Park Service, though we eventually partnered with the U.S. Forest Service as well as the Bureau of Land Management so that we had over 70 outlets across five western states by 1987.

The eruption of Mount St. Helens in 1980, and the subsequent building of major Forest Service visitor centers there, dramatically expanded our operatons. In 1990, we changed our name to Northwest Interpretive Association and opened two outlets at US Army Corps of Engineers sites. In 2002 we added three more partners: Washington State Parks, Seattle Department of Public Utilities and The Museum of History and Industry.

Today we operate more than 150 sales areas in Washington, Oregon, Idaho, Montana and Northern California. Since our founding, we have distributed more than 10 million dollars to our partners for use in funding park newspapers, displays, living history events, and many other interpretive projects while providing the public with the highest quality books and other educational materials in our sales areas.

To find out more about other cooperating associations like NWIA, please visit the Association of Partners for Public Lands web site. Read more

Older PostNewer Post