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R&B star R. Kelly is a predator who lured girls, boys and young women with his fame and dominated them physically, sexually and psychologically, a prosecutor said Wednesday, while a defense lawyer warned jurors they'll have to sift through lies from accusers with agendas to find the truth.
The differing perspectives came as the long-anticipated trial began unfolding in a Brooklyn courtroom where several accusers were scheduled to testify in the next month about the Grammy-winning, multiplatinum-selling singer whose career has been derailed by charges that have left him jailed as he goes broke.
Jerhonda Pace, the first government witness, told jurors Wednesday that she was a 16-year-old virgin and a member of Kelly's fan club when he invited her to his mansion in 2010. He immediately told her to take off her clothing, Pace said.
"He asked me to continue to tell everyone I was 19 and act like I was 21," she said. Kelly responded "that's good" when she revealed her virginity, said that he wanted to "train her" sexually and ordered her to call him "Daddy," she said.
They continued to see each other for another six months, with Kelly growing more and more controlling and erupting in violence when she broke what she called "Rob's rules."
One time he grew so angry, "He slapped me and choked me until I passed out," she said with no hint of emotion.
Afterward, he spit in her face and forced her to have oral sex, she said. She kept a blue T-shirt from the episode that has provided DNA evidence of the misconduct, prosecutors said.
The Associated Press doesn't name alleged victims of sexual abuse without their consent unless they have spoken publicly extensively. Pace has appeared in a documentary and participated in media interviews.
Prior to Pace's testimony, lawyers gave jurors an outline of the trial in their opening statements.
"This case is not about a celebrity who likes to party a lot," Assistant U.S. Attorney Maria Cruz Melendez told the jury as she explained the evidence to be revealed at his federal trial. "This case is about a predator."
She said he distributed backstage passes to entice children and women to join him, sometimes at his home or studio, where he then "dominated and controlled them physically, sexually and psychologically."
Courtroom sketch of R. Kelly's trialvoa
The prosecutor said Kelly would often record sex acts with minors as he controlled a racketeering enterprise of individuals who were loyal and devoted to him, eager to "fulfill each and everyone one of the defendant's wishes and demands."
"What his success and popularity brought him was access, access to girls, boys and young women," she said.
But Kelly's attorney, Nicole Blank Becker, portrayed her client as a victim of women, some of whom enjoyed the "notoriety of being able to tell their friends that they were with a superstar."
"He didn't recruit them. They were fans. They came to Mr. Kelly," she said, urging jurors to closely scrutinize the testimony. "They knew exactly what they were getting into. It was no secret Mr. Kelly had multiple girlfriends. He was quite transparent."
It would be a stretch to believe he orchestrated an elaborate criminal enterprise, like a mob boss, the lawyer said.
Becker warned jurors they'll have to sort through "a mess of lies" from women with an agenda.
"Don't assume everybody's telling the truth," she said.
The remarks fit a theme set by the defense in court papers prior to the trial describing Kelly's alleged victims as groupies who turned up at his shows and made it known they "were dying to be with him." The women only started accusing him of abuse years later, when public sentiment shifted against him, they said.
Kelly, 54, is perhaps best known for his smash hit "I Believe I Can Fly," a 1996 song that became an inspirational anthem played at school graduations, weddings, advertisements and elsewhere.
The openings and testimony came more than a decade after Kelly was acquitted in a 2008 child pornography case in Chicago. It was a reprieve that allowed his music career to continue until the #MeToo era caught up with him, emboldening alleged victims to come forward.
The women's stories got wide exposure with the Lifetime documentary Surviving R. Kelly. The series explored how an entourage of supporters protected Kelly and silenced his victims for decades, foreshadowing the federal racketeering conspiracy case that landed Kelly in jail in 2019.
Prosecutors in Brooklyn have lined up multiple female accusers — mostly referred to in court as "Jane Does" — and cooperating former associates who have never spoken publicly before about their experiences with Kelly.
They're expected to offer testimony about how Kelly's managers, bodyguards and other employees helped him recruit women and girls — and sometimes boys — for sexual exploitation. They say the group selected victims at concerts and other venues and arranged for them to travel to see Kelly in the New York City area and elsewhere, in violation of the Mann Act, the 1910 law that made it illegal to "transport any woman or girl" across state lines "for any immoral purpose."
An anonymous jury made up of seven men and five women was sworn in to hear the case. The trial, coming after several delays due mostly to the pandemic, unfolds under coronavirus precautions restricting the press and the public to overflow courtrooms with video feeds.
The New York case is only part of the legal peril facing the singer, born Robert Sylvester Kelly. He also has pleaded not guilty to sex-related charges in Illinois and Minnesota. (VOA/RN)
Keywords: Trial, Abuse, Crime, Singer R. Kelly
By- Jake Melnik
With the accessibility to high-speed internet, affordable OTT platform subscriptions, the popularity of binge-watching culture is at its peak. Now, we get unlimited shows to watch every day. In fact, it has brought entertainment to our fingertips. Among the popular platforms, Netflix is one of the favourite names for binge-watchers.
However, if you want to have the best streaming experience, then try out these five hacks and make the most of the Netflix streaming service you use:
Get access to different countries' Netflix shows that aren't available in your location
There are so many incredible movies and shows on Netflix that are sometimes not available in specific locations. If you also have a show or a list of shows that you eagerly wanted to watch but couldn't, then this hack is made only for you. You can use unblockers such as smartflix, or any other unblocker that is accessible for free to change your Ip address and make the site think you belong to a different location. This way, you will be granted more Netflix shows which otherwise you would have missed. Remember that these unblockers may contain security issues; hence ensure you choose the best and reliable unblocker and access the US Netflix library with a free VPN.
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Get better video quality with a super Netflix extension
If you use google chrome to access Netflix, then you must use the free extension given in the browser known as Super Netflix. This extension is basically provided to give users an enhanced video quality. You just have to install the free extension and select the video streaming quality you want in place of letting Netflix do it for you. This option is convenient when you often shift between your mobile data and wifi connection.
Other advantages of Super Netflix involve:
- Automatic skipping of show intros.
- Speeding up video.
- Managing color contrast and video brightness.
Also, super Netflix keeps you from getting spoilers by blurring out the plot description and show thumbnails.
In addition, try to watch your shows early in the morning or late at night as with fewer people engaging on the platform, speed, and quality automatically improve.
You just have to install the free extension and select the video streaming quality you want in place of letting Netflix do it for you.Unsplash
ALSO READ: Tips To Stream Better On Netflix In 2021
- Watch Beyond Netflix Original Shows
There is no doubt that Netflix originals are way too engaging and filled with pure entertainment. However, there is no harm in watching something that is not produced by Netflix yet is something worth watching.
In case you already have a few shows in mind you would want to stream on Netflix other than Netflix originals, then use the Google Chrome extension named no Netflix original. It removes all the Netflix-produced shows from your list and introduces many other great pieces to watch.
- Binge-Watch With Your Friends And Family
Watching any shows or movies with loved ones adds to the excitement and joy of the moment. Unfortunately, due to the current world situation, people are stuck at their homes or may live too far to hit a movie night with you. But, using a tool called Teleparty, you can virtually host binge-watching sessions along with your friends and family. This tool will let everyone on your list get engaged virtually at the same time to watch a movie together.
- No More "Are You Still Watching?"
If you are also tired of tapping on the "next episode" option and want to binge-watch a show without any disturbance. Then here is another Google Chrome extension for you. Get an extension of Never-Ending Netflix from chrome and remove anything that comes between long hours of binging. This extension will automatically play the next episode, lets you skip the sequence, and most importantly, keeps the prompt of "are you still watching?" from popping up every now and then. You can also search shows by genre on Netflix using this extension.
When it comes to binge-watching shows and movies, Netflix indeed pops up in the mind of serial streamers. After all, Netflix has it all, from the latest seasons of money heist to all the episodes of the 90s as well as today's people's favourite show, "Friends." Hence by using the hacks and tricks mentioned above, you can go for your non-stop binge-watching mode along with better quality and convenience.
Disclaimer: (This article is sponsored and include some commercial links)
In the era of computers and smartphones, it is hard to imagine a task that hasnt been made easier by some sort of technology. You all may know how harmful the blue light emitted by computers, smartphones, tablets, televisions, and other electronics is for your eyes. Since the inception of the pandemic, the use of these electronic devices has increased, and we all know it can have multiple undesirable effects on the eye.
Dark circles are formed mostly due to the reflection of the dark maroon underlying orbicularis oculi, a circular muscle around our eye. The dark pigmentation gives you an exhausted look which makes you seem sick or sleep-deprived. The skin around the eye is the thinnest, results in reflection of the said dark maroon underlying orbicularis oculi. The artificial light from the screen of your electronic devices causes a lot of drying, as it steals the moisture from the skin and also causes a breakdown of collagen
Reduce overhead lighting to minimize screen glare. | Photo by Quinten de Graaf on Unsplash
How can you deal with the undesirable effects?
*Follow a proper skincare regimen, use a moisturiser rich in vitamins especially C,E, and K. Massage it gently in clockwise and anticlockwise gentle circular movements.
*Apply under-eye cream 40 minutes before going to bed.
*Green tea bags can also help to shrink the blood vessels that will lessen dark circles.
*Catching up on sleep can help reduce the appearance of dark circles.
*Take frequent breaks while using digital devices.
*Reduce overhead lighting to minimize screen glare.
*Keep your eyes an arm's distance away from the screen.
Vivek Singh, CEO and Co-founder of Anveya Living says, "People spend a large portion of the day straining their eyes on computers, phones or tablets. Our eye muscles try to focus and refocus on and off screens which causes strain. There are a few solutions to this problem. Dehydration plays a big role, especially in the area around the eyes. Make sure you pick an eye cream that suits your eye concerns. For example, Anveya has an under eye cream with Vitamin C that helps to reduce puffiness, wrinkles and pigmentation. It basically provides intense hydration, nourishes and protects the thin skin around the eyes".
Apply under-eye cream 40 minutes before going to bed. | Photo by Humphrey Muleba on Unsplash
Commenting on the same, Shilpa Rathi Maheshwari, Founder of I AM LOVE, a Nutraceutical Health and Skincare Brand, said, "Screen time is the latest plague that has been going around and everyone has fallen victim to it; the young and the old. Too much eye strain affects the skin around the eyes, it causes them to age at an accelerated rate. While curbing screen time is one solution, it can't be a solution for people whose livelihood depends on it. Well, you don't have to worry when you have enough protein and collagen in your body. You might need to supplement your body with an increased amount of collagen and protein to negate the damage being done."
(Article originally written by: N. Lothungbeni Humtsoe) (IANS/ MBI)
Keywords: under-eye, skin, treatment, eye-cream, dark circles, sleep, routine, self-care
Some women say they experienced period changes after getting a Covid-19 vaccination. While the reported changes are short-lived, research into this possible adverse reaction remains critical to the success of the vaccination programme, according to an editorial published in The BMJ.
"A link between menstrual changes after Covid-19 vaccination is plausible and should be investigated," wrote Dr Victoria Male, a reproductive specialist at Imperial College London, in the editorial. Reports of menstrual changes after Covid-19 vaccination have been made for both mRNA and adenovirus-vectored vaccines, she added, suggesting that, if there is a connection, it is likely to be a result of the immune response to vaccination, rather than to a specific vaccine component, she said.
While changes to periods or unexpected vaginal bleeding are not listed as common side effects of Covid-19 vaccination, more than 30,000 such reports have been made to the UK Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) surveillance scheme for adverse drug reactions till September 2. However, most people find that their period returns to normal the following cycleand, importantly, there is no evidence that Covid-19 vaccination adversely affects fertility, Male said.
Most people find that their period returns to normal the following cycleand, importantly, there is no evidence that Covid-19 vaccination adversely affects fertility, Male said. | Photo by Hakan Nural on Unsplash
The MHRA states that its surveillance data does not support a link between changes to menstrual periods and Covid-19 vaccines, since the number of reports is low in relation to both the number of people vaccinated and the prevalence of menstrual disorders generally. However, the way in which data is collected makes firm conclusions difficult, Male noted.
She argued that approaches better equipped to compare rates of menstrual changes in vaccinated versus unvaccinated populations are needed, and pointed to the study that the US National Institutes of Health (NIH) has undertaken. Indeed, the menstrual cycle may be affected by the body's immune response to the virus itself, with one study showing menstrual disruption in around a quarter of women infected with SARS-CoV2.
If a link between vaccination and menstrual changes is confirmed, this will allow individuals seeking vaccination to plan in advance for potentially altered cycles, Male contended. In the meantime, clinicians must encourage their patients to report any changes to periods or unexpected vaginal bleeding after vaccination. And anyone reporting a change in periods persisting over a number of cycles, or new vaginal bleeding after the menopause, should be managed according to the usual clinical guidelines for these conditions, she suggested. (IANS/MBI)
Keywords: vaccine, menstrual cycle, period, covid, women, health