Legendary producer George Martin unfortunately passed away on March 8, 2016, at the age of 90. Best known for his work with The Beatles, Martin would be the glue that held the band’s music together, challenging the group to explore new directions with each passing record.While Martin worked with countless others in his prolific career, including Jeff Beck, Celine Dion and more, his role as the “fifth Beatles” cannot be understated. He signed the band to a record contract in 1962, and worked with them tirelessly to create hit record after hit record. In his reflections, Paul McCartney shares the story of how Martin’s decision to add strings to the song “Yesterday” shaped its success.“His idea obviously worked because the song subsequently became one of the most recorded songs ever with versions by Frank Sinatra, Elvis Presley, Ray Charles, Marvin Gaye and thousands more.”Martin would be the driving force behind some of the Beatles’ later albums, especially when the band members were not on speaking terms. Martin literally held the band together, having the musicians record tracks on each other’s songs, and even going as far as to arrange the final medley on Abbey Road. Without Martin, the Beatles catalog would have stopped short much, much sooner.George Martin’s role in shaping music history cannot be understated. While the Fab Four were at the forefront, George Martin was sitting in the control room, making sure the band’s albums were works of perfection. In doing so, George Martin will go down as one of the most legendary producers of our time.Read Paul McCartney’s full reflections on Martin, below, written after the news of his passing:I’m so sad to hear the news of the passing of dear George Martin. I have so many wonderful memories of this great man that will be with me forever. He was a true gentleman and like a second father to me. He guided the career of The Beatles with such skill and good humour that he became a true friend to me and my family. If anyone earned the title of the fifth Beatle it was George. From the day that he gave The Beatles our first recording contract, to the last time I saw him, he was the most generous, intelligent and musical person I’ve ever had the pleasure to know.It’s hard to choose favourite memories of my time with George, there are so many but one that comes to mind was the time I brought the song ‘Yesterday’ to a recording session and the guys in the band suggested that I sang it solo and accompany myself on guitar. After I had done this George Martin said to me, “Paul I have an idea of putting a string quartet on the record”. I said, “Oh no George, we are a rock and roll band and I don’t think it’s a good idea”. With the gentle bedside manner of a great producer he said to me, “Let us try it and if it doesn’t work we won’t use it and we’ll go with your solo version”. I agreed to this and went round to his house the next day to work on the arrangement.He took my chords that I showed him and spread the notes out across the piano, putting the cello in the low octave and the first violin in a high octave and gave me my first lesson in how strings were voiced for a quartet. When we recorded the string quartet at Abbey Road, it was so thrilling to know his idea was so correct that I went round telling people about it for weeks. His idea obviously worked because the song subsequently became one of the most recorded songs ever with versions by Frank Sinatra, Elvis Presley, Ray Charles, Marvin Gaye and thousands more.This is just one of the many memories I have of George who went on to help me with arrangements on ‘Eleanor Rigby’, ‘Live and Let Die’ and many other songs of mine.I am proud to have known such a fine gentleman with such a keen sense of humour, who had the ability to poke fun at himself. Even when he was Knighted by the Queen there was never the slightest trace of snobbery about him.My family and I, to whom he was a dear friend, will miss him greatly and send our love to his wife Judy and their kids Giles and Lucy, and the grandkids.The world has lost a truly great man who left an indelible mark on my soul and the history of British music.God bless you George and all who sail in you!-Paul
Topics : Kluge called on “all countries” to strengthen their efforts in three main areas.Firstly, protecting health service workers, including training and making sure they have the necessary support structures.Second, authorities needed to focus on stopping and slowing the spread of COVID-19 by using public health measures aimed at separating “healthy people from suspected and probable cases”.Third, governments and authorities had to continuously communicate with communities to make people conform to “current and possible future measures”. Several European countries have announced plans to start easing the restrictive measures introduced to curb the spread of the disease.On Monday, Austria announced plans to start opening some businesses and public parks from April 14. Denmark and Norway, who have both adopted strategies of “semi-confinement”, have also signaled loosening some measures later in April.WHO Europe noted that while cases in Spain and Italy — Europe’s worst hit countries — were still increasing, the rate of increase seemed to have slowed following the introduction of restrictive measures and lockdowns.It also noted progress in Austria, Germany, the Netherlands and Switzerland.But Kluge expressed alarm at the “dramatic increase in virus spread” in Turkey over the last week, and said a fresh surge had been observed in Sweden.Cases in Israel, Ukraine, Belgium and Norway were also still on the rise.WHO Europe reported that a total of 687,236 confirmed cases had been reported across the continent, with 52,824 deaths. Despite “positive signs” from some countries, it is too early to scale back measures aimed at containing the spread of the coronavirus, the World Health Organization’s European office said Wednesday.”Now is not the time to relax measures,” WHO regional director for Europe, Hans Kluge, told a news conference.”It is the time to once again double and triple our collective efforts to drive towards suppression with the whole support of society.”
Ambulance sirens wail almost incessantly, the hospitals are swamped and the sports stadium has been turned into a 250-bed field hospital.Antananarivo, the capital of Madagascar, is grappling with a flood of coronavirus cases — a surge starkly at odds with the country’s flamboyant claim to have devised a herbal cure for COVID-19.On Tuesday, the impoverished Indian Ocean island passed the symbolic threshold of 10,000 recorded cases, 93 of which have been fatal. Presidential push CVO was launched to the world in April by Rajoelina himself. “This herbal tea gives results in seven days,” he said, sipping a dose. “I will be the first to drink this today, in front of you, to show you that this product cures and does not kill.” The drink is prepared with artemisia, a plant with proven efficacy in malaria treatment. But there is no scientific evidence to back the claims — and a host of medical experts, led by the World Health Organization (WHO) and US Centers for Disease Control (CDC), have loudly warned of the risk of taking concoctions that have not been vetted for safety.Many in Madagascar clearly have doubts of their own.”To see whether CVO works, all you have do to is look at the number of cases,” said Mirato Rabearson Mahefamanana, a general practitioner. “Why are there so many right now?”Former education minister Paul Rabary told AFP he had scrupulously drunk CVO — and still caught the virus.”I consulted four private doctors, and none of them prescribed me with Covid-Organics.”Marcel Razafimahatratra, a sociologist, said: “If I am unfortunate enough to catch this disease, I prefer to be treated by doctors who don’t use CVO.” Today, the caseload is rising by between 300 and 400 each day, nearly triple or quadruple that of a few weeks ago.The authorities have several explanations for the phenomenon. One is that a rise in testing has uncovered more positive cases. A second is that infections are being driven by the capital’s dense population. And then there is a third explanation: that people fell sick because they failed to drink Covid-Organics — the concoction, also called CVO, that President Andry Rajoelina is controversially pitching as a cure for the virus.”The number of cases is rising more and more… We are only admitting the seriously ill,” the director of the city’s Andohotapenaka Hospital, Nasolotsiry Raveloson, told AFP. Health Minister Ahmad Ahmad sounded the alarm last week — but at a political cost to himself.He sent out a letter to international aid donors, saying the trend was now “very critical… with notable flare-ups in certain regions, particularly in Antananarivo.”Urgent needs included 337 ventilators, 2.3 million face masks, 697,000 pairs of gloves, 533,200 medical blouses as well as oxygen bottles.The government reacted tartly, describing the appeal as “a personal initiative”, taken “without consulting” either the government or Rajoelina.”It is clear that many crucial points in the management of this health crisis have escaped the vigilance of the minister of public health,” it said scathingly. Less visible Yvonne Ravaoalisoa, a 60-year-old trader who lives with her two nieces, disagreed.”Since we’ve been taking CVO, none of us at home has fallen sick,” she said.Opposition MP Liantso Bina Andriamanjato is also a fan. “It’s a simple but effective remedy, which cured me,” he insisted.After its blockbuster introduction, CVO was sold in retail outlets, given to schoolchildren and distributed to health centers, although its visibility has discreetly declined in recent weeks.Madagascar dispatched the drink to several African countries, but doubt about its claims prevail there too.In the Republic of Congo, “test results point towards limited effectiveness,” said Alexis Elira Dokekias, a senior official in charge of coronavirus admissions.In Nigeria, the national drugs watchdog found no evidence of curative properties, according to the health ministry, and stocks of the drink sent by Madagascar remain in storage. Topics :
The South African athlete Oscar Pistorius is to seek an appeal against his conviction for murdering his girlfriend, Reeva Steenkamp.Pistorius killed Ms Steenkamp in February 2013 after firing four times through a locked toilet door.A manslaughter verdict was overturned last month and a murder verdict introduced in its place.The athlete’s defence has lodged papers at the Constitutional Court, urging a review of his murder conviction.He is currently under house arrest after spending one year of his original five-year sentence in jail.South Africa’s Supreme Court of Appeal ruled in December that the lower court had not applied correctly the rule of dolus eventualis – whether Pistorius knew that a death would be a likely result of his actions. Last month, Justice Eric Leach said that having armed himself with a high-calibre weapon, Pistorius must have foreseen that whoever was behind the door might die, especially given his firearms training.Pistorius has always maintained he believed he was shooting at an intruder.His lawyers say the appeals court made fundamental errors, claiming in appeal papers that the court “acted unlawfully and unconstitutionally when it rejected the factual finding of the Trial Court and replaced it with a contrary factual finding of its own”.Pistorius’s lawyer, Andrew Fawcett, says the appeal is now in the hands of the director of public prosecutions, who must decide whether there are grounds for appeal. If so, the case will go before the Constitutional Court.The South African made history by becoming the first amputee sprinter to compete at the Olympics, in London in 2012. He competed in the 400m, wearing carbon-fibre blades to run against able-bodied athletes.