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UCLA basketball players arrested in China

Reuters

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Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY

Three UCLA men’s basketball players were arrested in China for shoplifting on Tuesday, media said, a day before U.S. President Donald Trump arrived on his first official visit.

The players arrested were freshmen LiAngelo Ball, Cody Riley and Jalen Hill, according to USA Today, the Los Angeles Times and ESPN, all of which cited unnamed sources familiar with the incident. Ball is the younger brother of National Basketball Association rookie Lonzo Ball of the Los Angeles Lakers.

Reached by telephone at a hotel in the eastern city of Hangzhou on Wednesday, Ball declined to comment. ESPN said the three had been picked up by police at their hotel on Tuesday and released on bail early on Wednesday. They were confined to their hotel pending legal proceedings, it said.

The University of California, Los Angeles, declined to confirm the arrests but said it was “aware of a situation involving UCLA student-athletes in Hangzhou, China”.

“The university is cooperating fully with local authorities on this matter, and we have no further comment at this time,” UCLA Athletics said in a statement provided by spokeswoman Shana Wilson.

The UCLA team had arrived in China on Sunday with plans to play Georgia Tech in both teams’ regular-season opener on Saturday, according to statements from both teams.

It traveled to Hangzhou, about three hours by bus from Shanghai, to visit the campus of e-commerce giant Alibaba Group Holding Ltd <BABA.N>, sponsor of the annual Pac-12 games in China.

The three players were questioned about stealing from a Louis Vuitton store next to the hotel where the team is staying, ESPN said. UCLA representatives, including coach Steve Alford, were at the police station while they were there, it said, citing an unidentified source.

Pac-12 Commissioner Larry Scott said in a statement the conference was “disappointed by any situation that detracts from the positive student-athlete educational and cultural experience that this week is about.”

“Whether in the United States or abroad, we expect our student-athletes to uphold the highest standards. We will continue to closely monitor the situation,” he said.

Chinese foreign ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying said on Wednesday the Chinese government had reported the case to the U.S. side in accordance with consular agreements.

“China is handling this case in accordance with the law and will guarantee the lawful rights in accordance with the law of those involved in this case,” she said.

In a video posted on Twitter on Wednesday by Arash Markazi, a senior writer at ESPN, LaVar Ball said his son, LiAngelo, would be fine.

“He’ll be fine. Everyone’s making it a big deal. It ain’t that big a deal,” said Ball, the outspoken CEO of athletic apparel maker Big Baller Brand.

Chinese President Xi Jinping led Trump on a private tour of the Forbidden City to kick off his visit on Wednesday.

White House officials could not be immediately reached for comment. Alibaba declined to comment, as did the Hangzhou police.

A U.S. State Department official said the department was aware of reports of three citizens arrested in China and stood ready to provide assistance but had no further comment due to privacy considerations.

Three players from Georgia Tech were questioned by the authorities in China on Tuesday at their hotel in Hangzhou but were later released by police, Georgia Tech athletics spokesman Mike Flynn said in a statement.

“During the questioning, it was determined that Georgia Tech student-athletes were not involved in the activities being investigated. They have resumed their scheduled activities,” Flynn said.

 

(Reporting by John Ruwitch in Shanghai and Suzannah Gonzales in Chicago,; Editing by Ben Klayman, Matthew Lewis and Nick Macfie)

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Pop Culture

Eeeeooowwww! Cardi B Just Shattered Two of Beyonce’s Biggest Records

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Cardi B has her finger on the pulse of her success. Fresh off her debut album drop, a Saturday Night Live pregnancy reveal, a special co-hosting gig on The Tonight Show and a Coachella performance that was straight fire, the 25-year-old is finding new ways to outdo herself. This time, she shattered two of Beyonce’s Guinness World Records. Truth.

The Invasion of Privacy rapper now holds the titles for most simultaneous Billboard Hot 100 entries by a female and the most simultaneous Billboard Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Top 10 entries by a female. (Get it, Cardi B!)

Queen Bey previously held the title with 12 tracks all charting at the same time following the release of Lemonade in 2016. Cardi B now has 13. Eeeeooowwww!

So, Nicki Minaj, what’s good?

On another note, Cardi B’s rise is bustling beyond Friday night playlists, too. Even Bernie Sanders is a fan. Cardi recently weight in on Social Security during an interview with GQ, telling the mag she felt President Franklin Delano Roosevelt was “the real ‘Make America Great Again,’ because if it wasn’t for him, old people wouldn’t even get Social Security.”

Sanders tweeted about it.

So again, Nicki, what’s good?

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Avicii Is Dead at 28, Here’s What We Know

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Swedish artist, DJ and producer Avicii, real name Tim Bergling, died April 20 according to a statement from his rep. He was 28.

“It is with profound sorrow that we announce the loss of Tim Bergling, also known as Avicii,” the statement reads. “He was found dead in Muscat, Oman this Friday afternoon local time, April 20th.  The family is devastated and we ask everyone to please respect their need for privacy in this difficult time. No further statements will be given.”

Avicii retired from live performing in 2016, citing health reasons. He had suffered from health problems for several years, including acute pancreatitis, in part due to excessive drinking. He had his gallbladder and appendix removed in 2014.

Last year, Avicii posted the following message to his website:

“WE ALL REACH A POINT IN OUR LIVES AND CAREERS WHERE WE UNDERSTAND WHAT MATTERS THE MOST TO US.
For me it’s creating music. That is what I live for, what I feel I was born to do.

Last year I quit performing live, and many of you thought that was it. But the end of live never meant the end of Avicii or my music. Instead, I went back to the place where it all made sense – the studio.

The next stage will be all about my love of making music to you guys. It is the beginning of something new.

Hope you´ll enjoy it as much as I do.”

Gone too soon, his music will live on for generations. Here’s one of Better than the Weekend’s favorite Avicii hits from back in the day, blasting all day in honor of his contribution to music.

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MTV Is Bringing Back ‘YO! MTV Raps’ In a Big Way

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Thirty years after its premiere on MTV, “YO! MTV Raps” legacy continues to have a lasting influence on hip-hop and pop culture.  To celebrate this milestone anniversary, MTV will reinvent the franchise for a new generation as a both a linear and digital series across its platforms. To kick things off, show alumni, artists and fans will gather for the “YO! MTV Raps: 30th Anniversary Experience” on Friday, June 1st at Brooklyn’s Barclays Center, which will be live streamed by MTV.

After its debut on August 6th, 1988, “YO! MTV Raps” became the premiere source for all things hip-hop.  The advent of the series was crucial to the rise of hip-hop, and created a worldwide appreciation of the genre, which has since become one of the most influential in mainstream music.

The “YO! MTV Raps: 30th Anniversary Experience” will bring together an all-star line-up of the series’ alumni and hip-hop legends including Big Daddy Kane and the Juice Crew, Eric B & Rakim, Doug E. Fresh, KRS-One and Boogie Down Productions, Fat Joe, Yo-Yo, Onyx, EPMD, Flavor Flav, YBT Tap the bottle reunion, Black Sheep, DAS EFX, Special Ed, Pharcyde, Brand Nubian, Nice & Smooth, Melle Mel & The Furious Five, Kid Capri, DJ Skribble, Red Alert, Chuck Chillout, Fab 5 Freddy, Ed Lover, Doctor Dré, T-Money and others for a night to remember.

The event will also feature special tribute videos from Eminem, Method Man, Redman and more.

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