So much for saying you want a quiet life, Meghan Markle | Stuff.co.nz

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COMMENT: ​So Meghan Markle is reportedly attending the Met Gala in May. Because where better to celebrate your newfound privacy and “space” than at “the Oscars of the East Coast”, “the Super Bowl of red-carpet events”?

What could be more perfectly suited to anyone fleeing “intense scrutiny” and “commoditisation” than a mega-bash to which anti-commodification activist Kim Kardashian once turned up dressed in a nude-effect wet-look dress? A celebrity Pavlova, where the 225 photographers will take an estimated 50 shots a minute, before blasting millions of images out into the ether? Although why this is more appealing than a royal visit to the Mumbles Lifeboat station in South Wales is anyone’s guess.

Anthony Devlin
Has Meghan Markle lost the sympathy of the public?

According to sources at the weekend, Markle is to leave Prince Harry at home for the night, so “she can establish herself once more in Hollywood”, apparently attending the Met Gala with Vogue’s editor, Edward Enninful. This makes about as much sense as a woman who craves the quiet life asking her LA agent to find her a leading role in a superhero film, “something that pays big” – which is exactly what one Sunday paper claims Markle has done.

As the Sussexes fly back to Britain to complete their final engagements as working members of the Firm – and face the Royal family for the first time since The Statement, the petulant Instagram post from a fortnight ago in which they whined about being made to drop the “SussexRoyal” brand despite there being nothing legal to stop them using it – the pair may have no choice but to brazen it out.

I’m not sure the Sussexes will understand just how colossal a miscalculation that statement was. After all, you have a young man and his wife turning on a 93-year-old grandmother at one of the toughest moments of her life. You have them disregarding the pain and sadness prompted by Prince Philip’s ill health, Prince Andrew’s involvement with a paedophile and her beloved grandsons falling out – all because they have a brand to promote. Is there any way back from that?

Had you asked me a month ago, I would have said yes. Despite the acts of clumsiness and the missteps we’ve witnessed over the past two years, I would still have said yes. So they invited a bunch of A-listers that they’d only met once to their wedding. How many of us would do the same if we knew George and Amal would actually come? Was their dispensing of certain royal traditions really so bad? The insistence on Archie’s christening remaining private and the setting up of their own “breakaway” website?

Harry has always been his own person. At this point, one could still push a convincing narrative that these two were “breathing new life” into an outdated institution.

But the precise moment the couple began to lose the public’s sympathy wasn’t when they chose the hospitality of a billionaire in Vancouver Island over that of the Queen at Christmas, or indeed when they decided to make the desired “break from royal duties” permanent. No – that moment can be charted back to a lament the misty-eyed Duchess of Sussex made in the ITV documentary charting the couple’s African tour last year: “Not many people have asked if I’m OK.”

Because that single sentence managed to eclipse everything the couple were in southern Africa to highlight – from the 1,000 minefields that have yet to be cleared in Angola, to the abject poverty in Malawi and HIV-hit children in Botswana – and make it all about Markle.

Prince Harry Meghan Markle met with crowds when they visited Auckland.

It may be unfair to blame Meghan any more than Harry for these recent missteps. But one thing is certain: neither the words nor the sentiments in The Statement appear to be those of a happy young couple, revelling in the joy of each other and their nine-month-old baby.

And I worry that something is unravelling behind the scenes. Because if their intention were really to enjoy a quiet life, why would they care about a title that can only ever be used for professional profit and status?

Why would the team of LA-based agents, lawyers and publicists be necessary and the showbusiness parties and blockbuster film roles so appealing?

You don’t need those things or grand branding to live a serene and peaceful life. But solid family relationships? They’re essential.

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Why Catholic Church May Bar Mbaka From Preaching – Archbishop

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Adewale Martins, the Catholic Archbishop of Lagos, has said Rev. Father Ejike Mbaka, the Spiritual Director of the Adoration Ministry, Enugu, may likely be barred from preaching if he continues to deviate from the doctrines and tenets of the Catholic Church.

Martins, in a recent interview with BBC Igbo, said Mbaka was under the Diocese of Enugu and did not report to him, adding that if he continued in the manner he was doing things, the Catholic Church may bar him from ministering.

Martins was appointed Archbishop of Lagos by the Pope in 2012.

Mbaka had on New Year’s Eve prophesied that Uzodinma would emerge as governor in 2020, a prophecy which came to pass on Tuesday when the Supreme Court sacked Emeka Ihedioha and named Uzodinma as the duly elected governor.

Martins said, “Fr. Mbaka falls under the authority of the Bishop of Enugu Diocese and therefore he has the responsibility of cautioning him. I can imagine that this must be giving the bishop some challenges.

“It must be giving him a bit of a headache and I feel sorry for him and I hope he will find some way of dealing with this matter that has been recurring. Of course, what could be done in the end is either to say, ok you receive the sanction of being stopped from public ministry. That is a possibility. If it is not done, there must be a reason.”

Martins, who was ordained a priest in 1983, said the Catholic Church does not engage in partisan politics.

He said even if Mbaka received a prophecy from God, he ought to ensure that his conduct corresponds with the scriptures and the doctrine of the Catholic Church.

The archbishop added, “It is utterly surprising that Fr Mbaka would go as far as naming one person as governor against another. It is embarrassing when you hear of priests or people in position of authority making statements that are clearly partisan.

READ ALSO: Cobbler Shares Lady’s Nude Pictures After Raping Her 

“The position of the Catholic Church on matters that have to do with politics is not to be partisan. Of course, we as a church cannot be oblivious to political events and happenings in the country or the world at large and therefore we must speak from the point of view of principles.

“The priest who believes he has a gift of prophecy has to test whatever has been told to him in the light of the scriptures, in the light of the teachings of the church and in terms of the authority that has been given to leaders in the church.”

Martins said Mbaka’s behaviour was at variance with the teachings of the Catholic Church and he had fallen below the standard expected of priests.

Mbaka, who was ordained a Catholic priest in 1995, has been known to give many controversial prophecies.

In 2002, he prophesied that the then Governor of Enugu State, Chimaroke Nnamani, would not return to office in the election but the governor won a second term.

In 2015, Mbaka prophesied that President Goodluck Jonathan would lose to the current President, Maj Gen Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), which came true.

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Busted: Church Protocol Officer blackmailing girls with their nude pictures arrested | P.M. News

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The suspect

A church protocol officer in the habit of luring church girls to hotels and taking their nude photographs and subsequently using the photographs to blackmail them in exchange for money has been arrested in Lagos.

The suspect, Victor Duru, a Madonna University drop out was arrested in Surulere, after repeatedly blackmailing his church members and girlfriend.

One of his girlfriends (name withheld) whose pictures he had taken in conjunction with his friend at gunpoint while lodging her in an hotel in Ijeshatedo called at the Rapid Response Squad, RRS headquarter to report her experience.

Duru, 23 years old and a protocol officer at a new generation church (name withheld) based in Oregun, Ikeja, Lagos was investigated and discovered to have been using the nude photographs of his girlfriend to blackmail her in exchange for money.

It was also discovered that the suspect was keeping the nude photographs of other girls while lodging them in hotels and his apartment in Ijeshatedo.

Sources revealed that the suspect obtained the nude photographs of the victim with the assistance of a third party at gunpoint while there is a growing suspicion that Duru also laced the drink of another girl with sleeping drug as the photographs obtained from one of his mobile phones revealed.

The suspect, in his disclosure stated “she was my girlfriend. We are same church member. We have been dating for almost two years. We were having break up issues.

So, I invited her to an hotel in Ijeshatedo. I excused myself and invited my friend, Frank Obinna, to meet me in the hotel. Obinna and I had this planned together.

“The gun was a toy gun. He entered the hotel room and held the lady at gunpoint. I told her to cooperate, naked her for Obinna to take her pictures. We took seven different shots of her in the nude with my phone. I discharged her that day. This was in September.”

He continued, “by early October, 2019, I called her to give me N80,000 or I would throw the nude photographs online. She was only able to offer me N10,000, which she transferred into my brother’s account.

“Last week, Obinna called her again and requested for N40,000. She promised to send something. She was a wonderful girl that had been assisting me before the problem started. On many occasions, she has assisted me financially.”

Duru, it was gathered attempted to escape from police custody in handcuffs while police were trying to effect the arrest of his accomplice, Frank Obinna in Ijeshatedo.

The victim, in her statement to the police alleged that she thought Duru’s friend was a waiter when he entered their hotel room. “He brought out his phone, I was asking my boyfriend what was going on, he slapped me telling me to remove the blanket covering my body.

“I refused. He dragged it out my body telling me to cooperate. I refused again. He asked his friend for the gun threatening that I cooperate. His friend took several shots of my nude body. Both of them abandoned me at the hotel room after. I asked him almost a week after what he wanted to do with my photos and he told me that it was the beginning.

“The following Saturday, he threatened to put the photos online unless I pay N80,000 in order to delete them. I paid N10,000 with a promise to pay the balance afterwards.”

She added “after a week, his friend called me offering another option for me to pay him N40,000 and a night with him. I refused. He threatened that I would hear from them very soon.”

A source added that some of the ladies whose nude photographs were found on his phone when contacted by the police to come forward in order to prosecute the suspect declined to push for a case.

The suspect along with some of the exhibits recovered from him (toy gun, mobile phones containing the nudes of the ladies have been transferred to the State Criminal Investigation Department (SCID), Panti for further investigations.

Commenting on the development, Commissioner of Police, CP Zubairu Muazu urged parents to warn their wards to watch the kind of company they keep.

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Forget Succession, Because Watchmen Has ArrivedAnd It Is GOOD

This is a preview of our pop culture newsletterThe Daily Beasts Obsessed,written by senior entertainment reporter Kevin Fallon. To receive the full newsletter in your inbox each week,sign up for it here.

Youre Going to LoveAnd Be So Confused ByWatchmen

Remember when everyone was like, Whats going to happen to HBO when Game of Thrones ends? And, like, Is TV dead as we know it?

I mean, I guess its understandable to want to stage a funeral for great television while watching that final season of Thrones. (Burn!) But two drama series have aired on the network in the time since Kings Landing fell, each of which I would rank leagues above Thrones on any year-end Best of TV list: Years and Years and the second season of Succession.

The former found a near-miraculous way to be topical about todays rabies-ridden sociopolitical discourse, while the latter took the mantle when it comes to watercooler buzz and, especially, with media and Twitter obsession. In addition to those two, the second season of Big Little Lies was a major ratings and press boon.

But with Watchmen, theres not just a third drama series of excellence entering the mix, but one that I think will, if not quite have the same reach as Thrones, fuel a fanbase of people who just will not stop talking about it.

Watchmen premieres Sunday and shares two unmistakable characteristics with that show: It is visually astonishing, with each frame more ambitious, stunning, and remarkable than the one before. You also have no idea what the hell is going on at any given moment. If you liked that about Game of Thrones, youll LOVE it about Watchmen.

That a series which poses such a fascinating narrative conundrum would count Damon Lindelof as its creator should come as no surprise; as the man behind Lost and The Leftovers, hes proven a penchant for a certain kind of dazzling befuddlement that evolves into brilliance. The series is an adaptation inspired by the revered DC Comics 12-part series from writer Alan Moore and artist Dave Gibbons, but which the HBO creative team involved refers to as more of a remix.

I have not read the comic series, so I have no idea what that means, but I can say that I didnt feel like I needed to have read it to enjoy the episodes of the HBO show that I watched. I also saw the notoriously maligned 2009 Zack Snyder film adaptation, but dont remember anything about it besides its insane sex scene: as Patrick Wilsons legendary bottom thrusts and a fully-nude Malin Ackerman gyrates, Leonard Cohens Hallelujah plays.

Anyway, what I am getting at is that you dont need to be familiar with these things to watch the show.

The show itself presents a sort of sci-fi alt-history, set in a contemporary America where Robert Redford is serving the longest presidential term in history. He has signed into law reparations for black Americans. Vietnam is a state. Things are…different. But as a jolting reminder of how not-different things are, or at least have been through history, the series starts with a violent, brutal dramatization of the very real 1921 Tulsa massacre, in which as many as 300 black citizens were killed.

That real history haunts the shows alt-history, where, in the present day, white supremacists are hunting down police officers. These officers now wear masks to conceal their identities for their own safety, and are working alongside masked vigilantes, like Regina Kings Sister Night, who is a former cop named Angela.

Theres a lot to say and untangle about the ties between white supremacy and institutions like the police force, as well as the very ideas of policing and justice in general, which are coming untethered among escalating racial tensions. What lands and what doesnt land is subjective in Watchmen, and you cant shake the feeling that you need to watch the series unfold entirely before ruling one way or the other.

Of course, the journalists and critics (hi!) telling you to watch this because its really damn good have had the luxury of seeing six full episodes. Id go ahead and comfort you by saying if youre intrigued enough by all of the huh? in episode one, you get many answers in episode twothough, my god, not all, not even close. Quote Kings Angela after a particularly baffling, though thrilling, moment: What the fuck?

Same, girl. And often. But by the time Jean Smart enters in episode three, you know I was on board, full-stop. She gives one of my favorite performances of the year as a former superhero-turned-FBI agent, a perfect complement to my nightly bingeing of her work as Charlene Frasier on Designing Womena TV series I have mentioned in this newsletter far more often than I really should.

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The NXIVM Sex Cult Gets the Lifetime Movie Treatment

The chilling story of cult leader Keith Raniere and his network of sex slaves, hidden behind the front of a self-help program called NXIVM, is the latest sensational crime story to get the Lifetime movie treatment. Escaping the NXIVM Cult: A Mothers Fight to Save Her Daughter, which premiered on Saturday, follows the true story of 80s soap actress Catherine Oxenbergs attempts to loosen her twentysomething daughter India from NXIVMs grasp.

Oxenberg played an important role in exposing Ranieres horrific crimes through her attempts to save her daughter. She interviewed former members of the cult, compiled a report for the FBI, and spoke with the New York Times. Raniere, 58, was convicted of sex trafficking, among other charges, in June and faces 20 years in prison. The 90-minute TV movie offers PG recreations of the most disturbing details of the NXIVM case, including the branding of female members with Ranieres initials.

Escaping the NXIVM Cult shows its cards early, leading with a scene straight out of a (very tame) horror movie. Shots of a shadowy suburban neighborhood, complete with cul-de-sacs and neat rows of townhouses, convey that the extraordinary horrors of NXIVM occurred behind closed doors in an ordinary town.

From the outside, it all looked so normal, says fictionalized Catherine Oxenberg (Andrea Roth) in voiceover. Not like anything youve read about or seen in the movies. There was no creepy compound behind a fence. That would have been a dead giveaway. Instead, the houses were embedded into suburban neighborhoods. A pause, and then: Just like yours and mine.

Through gauzy curtains obscuring the windows of one house, we see a group of women in various stages of undress crowded around a massage table. The glowing, white-hot tip of an iron signals what is to come. A disembodied female voice whispers, Time to meet your sisters. The cult members restrain a writhing, screaming young woman as the iron makes contact with the flesh just above her pelvis.

Later, we see this scene again, in context, but by then the movie has gone so stale that it doesnt pack the same punch. The fact that they use the same scene twice, not to mention showing it almost in full as the centerpiece of the trailer, should tell you everything you need to know about how (un)interesting the rest of the film is.

The poor girl strapped to the massage table in suburban New York hell is India Oxenberg (Jasper Polish), the college dropout daughter of Dynasty actress Catherine. Roth, best known for playing Janet Gavin in FXs Rescue Me, does her best impression of Nicole Kidman in the Big Little Lies therapy scenes as Catherine, a distressed mother and survivor of childhood sexual abuse.

Catherine initially invites India to accompany her to an NXIVM Executive Success Program seminar in Albany, but she soon begins to take issue with some of the misogynistic messages preached by the programs teacherslike the ideas that men are more loyal than women and that men never enjoy true sexual intimacy in the way that women do. She first grows suspicious when the member questionnaire includes queries like, What is the worst thing thats ever happened to you? and What have you done that youre most ashamed of? What on earth do these questions have to do with being successful in business? she murmurs to her daughter.

From the outside, it all looked so normal

India, however, who is struggling to launch her career as a baker and dreams of owning her own caf, is entranced by NXIVMs promise to help her learn all the tricks in the book so you can stop getting in your own way all the time. Enter Smallville actress Allison Mack (Sara Fletcher), whom India immediately and excitedly recognizes. Mack takes a particular interest in India, exploiting the young womans vulnerability.

To the dismay of Catherine, India decides to stay in Albany. She is soon inducted into a cult of sex slaves for NXIVM founder Keith Raniere, branded with his initials, forced to starve herself to adhere to his sexual preferences, and blackmailed with personal information and nude photos referred to as collateral.

We first meet Keith Raniere, an L. Ron Hubbard-type self-styled genius and the villainous mastermind behind it all, about 25 minutes into the movie. Played by Peter Facinelli, Lifetimes Raniere wears thick-framed spectacles, is a sore loser in volleyball matches, and greets female NXIVM members with kisses on the mouth.

In Escaping the NXIVM Cult, the very real torture endured by NXIVM members is often undermined by cheesy, on-the-nose dialogue and over-acting. In one scene, for example, Fletchers Allison Mack disturbingly reveals to India that she limits her daily calorie intake to 800 because it hurts [Keith] when Im heavier.

As Allison pulls a bowl of assorted vegetables from the fridge, India suggests, I could make us a really good honey mustard dressing. Mm, too fattening, girl! Allison replies, biting into a piece of raw broccoli with a noisy crunch. We are never going to get to 106 like that. NXIVMs abusive pattern of starving members is only referenced on one other occasion, when Catherine remarks that she is concerned by Indias weight loss.

Essentiallyand unsurprisinglyLifetimes stab at telling Catherine and India Oxenbergs story does not offer anything new to the narrative surrounding the highly-publicized criminal case. In a few years time, it will probably be adapted into an HBO miniseries with the budget, talent, and unflinching gaze required to do the terrifying story justice.

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Euphoria review so explicit it makes Skins look positively Victorian

Zendaya is astonishing as the self-destructive Rue in a teen sexndrugs drama that hides hidden depths behind the Instagram angst

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Few new series have achieved such notoriety with quite the same speed as Euphoria (Sky Atlantic), the teen-populated US drama that is so explicit in its weary portrait of drug use and sex that it makes Skins look positively Victorian. This pilot episode serves as both a taste and a warning: if you can accept that it depicts its world with the flippancy of an Instagram scroll, then its rewards are vast, particularly in terms of its emotional depth. But early on it brims with pills, drink, apps, erect penises, loving sex, cruel sex and nude pics, ever present and lurking, but horrifyingly casual, as if they are an inexorable part of these particular fictional, middle-class, suburban teenagers existences.

Euphoria is far better than its surface look-at-me neediness, though. It opens with a heavy teen-angst monologue that points out one of the most horrifying aspects of the whole affair, at least for this particular viewer that its protagonists were mostly born after 9/11. Rue is our lead, an omniscient narrator who weaves with us in and out of her peers lives. She has mental health issues that have been variously diagnosed and medicated, but which she prefers to address with her own risky prescription of illegal substances. I know it may all seem sad, but guess what? I didnt build this system. Nor did I fuck it up, she intones, with all the wisdom of a wordy 16-year-old trying on her own maturity for size. The former Disney star Zendaya is reinvented as the self-destructive, self-loathing Rue, in what is a truly astonishing, mesmerising performance, upending every expectation of what she could do.

Rue has been in rehab for the summer, following an accidental overdose, and after a period of being clean, her first mission at home is to get as high as she possibly can once more. She does so with the precision of a professional. Euphoria has a tendency to go off on dream-like tangents, which is both self-conscious and charming. One of Rues drug dealers is a child with a tattooed face and a vocabulary made almost entirely of chemical formulas; he is yet to be explained, but his presence adds to the overall woozy feel. Every character here is hyper-articulate, quippy and analytical, using glibness as a defence against the many wounding experiences with which they are not yet able to cope. Once he tried to finger me on the dancefloor without my permission, but, its America, says Rue, drily, of the furious jock Nate, a sinister presence for whom the words daddy issues do not even come close.

The controversy that accompanied Euphorias debut on HBO centred on the assumption that it was aimed at teenage viewers, and perhaps even younger. If that were the case, it makes substance-fuelled house parties look as appealing as following that paper boat down the drain just because a clown told you to, so Im not sure there is much to worry about. But Im also not even sure that it works as well for a young audience as it does for those of us who can look back with relief that this painful, dramatic part of life is over.

Euphoria will certainly not appeal to all tastes, but it is far less brash than it has been made out to be. There are deep sophistications hidden within its more straightforwardly angsty digressions. When Rue meets her new best friend, Jules (Hunter Schafer), who has just moved to the suburbs, it becomes a semi-romantic adventure and the series ability to conjure up the intoxicating vitality of relationships like that is remarkable. When Jules meets an older man for sex, the abuse of power is complicated and the show is all the more powerful for resisting the urge to be didactic about it. Rue is a scammer and a hedonist, but she still feels guilty about what she is putting her family through. The heroically droll Kat promises hidden depths. For all of its bleak vision, sympathy is not in short supply, and it is hard not to begin to root for these kids to fight their way through to the other side.

Regardless of whether your teenage years were spent drinking cider in a field, playing video games online with friends, studying hard to master a musical instrument or, as here, dissecting brutal sexual experiences in a culture of constant surveillance, there is a fundamental truth shared by almost everyone: adolescence is horribly cruel, and sweetly naive, in ever-shifting combinations of the two. If theres one thing Euphoria understands perfectly, its that.

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