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Portraits

Ed Sheeran volunteers at a charity shop

Hashtag portrait - March 22, 2017

Everybody loves Ed Sheeran, he was voted the biggest male pop star on the planet by GQ magazine, he’s been ruling the charts all over the world with his new album, he is about to guest-star on the next season of Game Of Thrones … AND, his involvement with charity in England proves that he has a big heart. We love you, Ed <3

#DressLikeEd: In 2014, the singer started to get acquainted with charity shops in his small hometown of Framlingham, England, by sending several bags of clothes that belonged to him. An initiative that has inspired fans to make donations to similar stores.

#Break: In late August 2015, after selling nearly 6 million albums worldwide, Ed Sheeran was at the height of his glory. Yet the famous British singer-songwriter clearly didn’t let it go to his head. Instead of capitalizing on his success, he decided to take a break and volunteer in one of Framlingham’s charity shops.

#BridgetJones: As a volunteer at the charity shop, Ed Sheeran seems to have found a true vocation. Recently, for example, he gave away to Framlingham’s St Elizabeth Hospice a shirt his fans saw him wearing during his cameo in the movie Bridget Jones Baby, as well as 13 bags of clothes that belonged to him.

#GoT: While it has just been announced that Ed Sheeran will have a role in the next season of Game of Thrones, we have every reason to think that, within a few months, we’ll be able to find an armor, a coat of mail or an elf outfit at the singer’s favorite charity shop. To be continued!

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No words on whether he washed his shirt before giving it away 😀 © Drew de F Fawkes

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Tracy Zhang, owner of Cat Flower Garden, the first cat café in the world

Who's who - March 15, 2017

19 years ago in Taipei, Taiwan, the first cat café in history opened its doors. Like many other cafes in the country, Cat Flower Garden is a family affair, run in principle by Tracy. This Noah’s Ark is welcome to cats big and small, giving them the space to explore the tables, eat their fill, sleep on a lap or two and generally run the show.

What sets Cat Flower Garden apart from the rest, aside from it being the first of its kind, is that the owners refuse to buy their cats, adopting them from the streets or locals instead. The 15 in-house cats attract customers from miles around but if they want to stay, they have to order any of the café’s specialities, be them cappuccini, cakes, fruit juices or desserts!

While the Cat Flower Garden has been the beating heart of the Zhang family for 20 years, Tracy is dealing with a troubling future. With the rise of the cat came the rise of the cat café and now Taipei is home to more than a dozen other varieties of the place. From Tokyo to New York, by way of Paris, Vienna and Montreal, cats are brightening up cafés across the world!

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Tracy Zhang keeps her lodgers well fed © Clarissa Wei

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The Nigerian Director Rahmatou Keita

Who's who - March 08, 2017

Starring figure in cinematic circles, Rahmatou Keita is yet to crack the grand public. It could all be about to change, though; champion of untold stories, this director has an eye on her continent, capturing the beauty of Africa on the big screen like no other.

Starting life in Niger, Rahmatou Keita has been living in France since her student days, living her life between the two cultures. Balancing multiple careers, the director has worked as a journalist, radio and television presenter, reporter and cinema critic, and now, she’s taking a crack at life behind the camera.

Her first feature, “Zin’naariyâ – The Wedding Ring”, was a success from the off, presented at the Toronto International Film Festival, the London Film Festival and the Africa in Motion festival in 2016; how’s that for starters? The film is a tour de force, telling the story of a young girl sent to live with an aristocratic family in Nigerian Sahel. A love story of the highest rank, the film shows off the beauty of the African country and its people, plunging the audience into the thick of it.

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Inspirational and hypnotic, we’re hooked on Rahmatou Keita © Amun – Film Africa

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Pamela Baketana, the diva of the African version of The Voice

Who's who - March 01, 2017

Every country or region has its own franchise of The Voice, the Dutch reality singing show that’s branched out all over the world. The Voice launched an African version of the show in October, covering much of French-language Central and West Africa. It’s fair to say that on its very first show it launched the career of a spell-binding diva!

Hailing from the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Pamela Baketana started out singing in choral groups in Kinshasa, where she was spotted by veteran star Lokua Kanza, who took her under his wing. At the green age of 21, she stole the show with a riveting version of Toni Braxton’s Unbreak My Heart. Newly crowned, Africa has a new diva!

 

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Taneli Armanto, the legendary creator of Snake

Who's who - February 22, 2017

You could credit Nokia engineer Taneli Armanto with starting the whole mobile gaming craze. This visionary genius created the famous Snake in 1997, fathering a genre and sending cell phone sales sky-rocketing. A fair share of the credit for the off-the-charts success of Nokia’s famous 3310 with young people was due to Snake’s popularity. And Taneli Armanto hasn’t been resting on his laurels: his firm Rumilus Design just launched a modern version of his cult game, called Snake Rewind. The Snake is back!

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Taneli Armanto, the snake man © Rumilus Design

 

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Jimmy Buzz, the loopy marionette from Top Streaming

Who's who - February 15, 2017

Jimmy Buzz broke the TV host mold. Contrary to Alicia Fall, his co-host on Top Streaming sur Cstar, he’s all peps and flex. “Jimmy’s the epitome of the TV host. He’s cheeky, charming, and cheerful,” declared Christophe Albertini in Le Parisien, May 2015.

Yes, Jimmy and Christophe are one and the same, the latter is Jimmy’s puppetier. Christophe Albertini appears on the French satirical show Les Guignols and The Muppet Show.

The show is a review of the week’s best streaming moments, dissected with a mix of humor and gravitas. Jimmy Buzz knows a thing or two about off-beat interviewing. His chat with French afro trap phenom MHD, is a gem!

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Jimmy Buzz, the marionette who’s shaking up music streaming, with rapper MHD © CStar

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Florence Omagbemi, coach of Nigeria’s unstoppable women’s eleven

Who's who - February 08, 2017

Nigeria has always been a football powerhouse. But when it comes to women’s football, Nigeria is THE powerhouse. Of the 12 Women’s Africa Cup of Nations since the event’s inception in 1991, Nigeria has won 10 of them. Their dominance is due in large part to Florence Omagbemi, both as a player and now coach.

Two months ago she brought home another title, as Nigeria bested Cameroon in the final. “Going into this thing, my goal wasn’t to make personal history but to advance women’s football in Nigeria,” she declared with modesty to the local press after her team’s victory. Florence Omagbemi for president!

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Florence Omagbemi’s game face © africapresse.com

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Warren Ellis, the eccentric writer who gave us Transmetropolitan

Who's who - February 01, 2017

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Warren Ellis, maestro of cyberpunk comics © J. Longo

Literature and cinema are ideal media for science-fiction, but author Warren Ellis discovered another vehicle that’s perfect for sci-fi: comics. Of all his books, Transmetropolitan is his crowning achievement. Throughout the 60 issues published from 1997 to 2002, gonzo journalist Spider Jerusalem, avatar of the one-and-only Hunter S. Thompson, chronicles the myriad abuses of power in his futuristic postcyberpunk city. Injustice and corruption flourish in a city drowning in information pollution, personalized advertisements, floating road signs and wall-sized screens. It’s a vision of sensory overload that looks a lot like Beijing, Tokyo, New York, Stockholm, and Shanghai… And Warren Ellis saw it coming, 20 years ago.

He made plenty of other predictions, too. In an issue published in 1997, Spider Jerusalem even wrote an article by using a series of tweets. His signature colored glasses have a built-in camera, so he can film and photograph whatever he’s looking at. He’s got a 3-D printer at his pad for making whatever the wily reporter needs.

Our intrepid reporter rubs shoulders with humanoids, robots, mutants, and humans endowed with enhanced technologies. Transmetropolitan is the vision of a cloud-based society where transhumanism and cryonics are the new normal, where science-fiction is reality: a reality that now faces scientists and citizens alike.

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Regina Dugan, the DARPA alum who nudged Google into research

Who's who - January 25, 2017

Basically, if it weren’t for Regina Dugan, Google may never have even gotten into research and development. It’s not a stretch to say that this New Yorker is one of the Web’s key historical figures. This science whiz joined DARPA (US defense project launched in 1958 that was the Web’s precursor) and became its first woman director, then headed over to Google in 2012 where she then set up Google ATAP (Advanced Technology and Projects), the lab responsible for many of Google’s innovations.

Regina’s the Queen of Google tech: we have her to thank for most of their ground-breaking inventions. Regularly head-hunted, she wound up at Facebook last year. Zuck knows a thing or two about talent-scouting brainy women!

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Google’s Regina Dugan, innovation is her game © Virginia Tech University

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Tim Urban, the author and procrastinator Musk has taken a shine to

Who's who - January 18, 2017

Tim Urban, an expert in the fine art of procrastination:

The site Wait But Why, cofounded by American Tim Urban, offers long articles, sometimes whimsical, sometimes tongue-in-cheek, on subjects like artificial intelligence, exploration of deep space, and his most disruptive inventions (the ones that change the world)… Another of his favs is procrastination, the art (or compulsion) of putting off until tomorrow what you could do today. He’s even given a TED talk on it.

So what does Elon Musk see in Tim Urban? Certainly not procrastination. Musk probably doesn’t even know the word. In addition to being one of the 4 people Musk follows on Twitter (of his total 38 subscriptions), Tim Urban is a sort-of conscience the engineer/entrepreneur has hired to assess his projects and companies – an ethical mirror. His 4 articles (complete with analyses, interviews, illustrations, videos, and plenty of rapier wit) are a useful warning light for Musk, keeping his projects on the straight and narrow.

  1. Article 1 introduces you to Elon Musk, the man, his background, his ambitions and his conception of Humanity.
  2. Article 2 is all about how Tesla is going to revolutionize the world.
  3. In Article 3, Tim Urban zooms in on Elon Musk’s most ambitious project, the colonization of Mars.
  4. Finally in Article 4 the author elucidates Musk’s method, deepest motivations, and the nuts and bolts of guiding projects and running companies.

Everything you ever wanted to know about Elon Musk, and more.

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