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    A northern Illinois auto museum has no plan to stop displaying a Dodge Charger from the “Dukes of Hazzard” television show with the Confederate battle flag painted atop the vehicle. Statues of Confederate generals and soldiers are being taken down across the country, NASCAR has banned the flag from its races and the Confederate emblem is being removed from the Mississippi state flag. But the Volo Auto Museum about 50 miles (80 kilometers) northwest of Chicago says the famed “General Lee” from the first season of the TV show isn’t going anywhere, according to a weekend report in the Crystal Lake-based Northwest Herald. “We feel the car is part of history, and people love it,” museum director Brian Grams told the newspaper. “We’ve got people of all races and nationalities that remember the TV show and aren’t offended by it whatsoever. It’s a piece of history and it’s in a museum.” Since the museum acquired in 2005 what it says is the last surviving 1969 Charger from the first season of the television program, Grams said nobody has complained. And the museum has continued to hear from people supporting the decision to keep the car as the push to rid the landscape of what is increasingly viewed as a symbol of racism, Grams said. “Several people have reached out with positive comments about us leaving it on display,” Grams said, “complimenting us for leaving it there and not having a knee-jerk reaction to remove it like a lot of places are.” Grams says the General Lee is a piece of history and the museum would not remove it any more than it would think of removing the Nazi memorabilia displayed in parts of the museum’s military section. “If we’re going to get complaints about the General Lee being here, we’ve got much worse items over in our military building,” he said.
  • Nine musicians from the Syrian diaspora in Europe are playing Sunday in the 24th friendship concert conducted by Riccardo Muti, this year at the Paestum archaeological site in southern Italy, but the coronavirus pandemic blocked others from arriving directly from Syria. The concert Sunday by the Luigi Cherubini Youth Orchestra founded by Muti, part of the Ravenna Festival summer series, is dedicated to Syrian archaeologist Khaled al-Asaad and Kurdish-Syrian politician Hevreen Khalaf, both of whom were slain during Syria’s ongoing civil war. “These concerts give to Ravenna the possibility to be an important ambassador of peace and brotherhood from Italy,” Muti told The Associated Press earlier this month in Ravenna. Khalaf was killed by Syrian fighters trained by Turkey 2019, and al-Asaad was beheaded in 2015 by fighters of the Islamic State group after he refused to aid their destruction of the ancient Roman city at Palmyra, a U.N. world heritage site. Muti launched the Roads of Friendship concert series in 1997 in Sarajevo, shortly after Bosnia’s 1992-1995 civil war ended, and has since traveled to cities wounded by war, including Beirut, as well as in ancient and historic sites to “reestablish ties” with places that have made history, including the ancient Roman amphitheater in the southern Syrian city of Bosra. “We can build bridges between civilizations, between people, with music,” said Karoun Baghboudarian, a cellist living in the Netherlands who is playing in Sunday’s concert and who sang in the chorus during the 2004 concert in Bosra — before Syria devolved into war, a period when she said musicians’ lives flourished. Her brother, Missak Baghboudarian, conducts the Syrian National Symphony Orchestra and had hoped to travel to Italy to conduct a concert in Ravenna and attend the Paestum concert of Beethoven’s Symphony No. 3, known as the “Heroic,” but was unable to travel because of travel restrictions imposed by the coronavirus. Instead, the Syrian National Symphony Orchestra streamed Beethoven’s “Heroic” from Damascus on July 2. Karoun Baghboudarian said she hoped the concert would renew attention on Syrians’ suffering. “We hope that Syria will come through the war and all the difficult situations as heroes, and that they can live normally,” she said by phone from Paestum.
  • The Black national anthem was born more than a century ago, but the popular hymn within the African American community called “Lift Every Voice and Sing” has resurrected a beacon of hope during nationwide protests. In recent weeks, countless rallies were held from D.C. to Seattle with arm-locked protesters of different races reciting the song’s lyrics while marching against police brutality of unarmed Black people. The demonstrations throughout the U.S. were ignited after George Floyd, who died after a Minneapolis police officer pressed a knee into his neck for several minutes. Some marches were peaceful, while others turned violent. But one common thread at protests were people chanting the anthem‘s long-lasting message of faithfulness, freedom and equality. “I saw whites singing that song saying ‘No justice, no peace’ and ‘’Black Lives Matter.' It's something I didn't see early in my career or even 15 years ago,' recalled Rev. Al Sharpton while protesters in Minneapolis in the aftermath of Floyd's death. “You got to see people other than us appreciating our song, our anthem. This is just not a moment. This is a real movement.” Growing up, Sharpton said he learned self-identity through the anthem, which was written as a poem by James Weldon Johnson before his brother, J. Rosamond, turned it into music. The song was performed for the first time in 1900, not long after it was written. The NAACP dubbed “Lift Every Voice and Sing” as the Black national anthem in 1919. The decision came more than a decade before “The Star-Spangled Banner” was adopted as the national anthem of the U.S. During the civil rights movement, the song was popular during protests with the likes of “We Shall Overcome” and “Amazing Grace,” which was written by former slave trader John Newton but his song helped define racial equality. Sharpton said the ability of “Lift Every Voice and Sing” enduring several generations speaks volumes. “The fact that this song could survive us going from the back of the bus and the outhouse to the Truman Balcony at the White House, it shows that this song really resonates in our hearts,” he said. “Very few songs would last through those kinds of changes in Black America. That’s why it’s a great barometer to the cultural shift.” Protesters are certainly making the song heard. In Dallas, hundreds flocked to the plaza where John F. Kennedy was shot in 1963 to march before collectively taking a moment to sing the song. Protesters sang the song last month at the historic Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D.C. The same happened in Los Angeles, Chicago, Baltimore and Minneapolis. “The song is a refreshment and renewal of my faith,” said Young, the civil rights leader and former Atlanta mayor and U.S. ambassador to the United Nations. He said the singing of the song at protests shows how “desegregation of America is really the integration of cultures, ideals, energies and spirituality.” Young has known the song’s lyrics since kindergarten and even recited every word during a recent interview. He believes the Black anthem is a more “powerful and patriotic” song than America’s national anthem, which was written by a slave owner who made a painful reference to slavery in its little-known third stanza. “It’s much more applicable to the United States as we would love it to be more than the ‘Star-Spangled Banner,’” Young said of the black anthem. Along with the protest, the staying power of “Lift Every Voice and Sing” into broader audiences can also be credited to the biggest entertainers and political figures who have referenced it. Beyoncé performed the song in front of a mostly white audience at the Coachella Valley Music & Arts Festival in 2018. The late Rev. Joseph Lowery began his benediction reciting the song’s third verse at the inauguration for President Barack Obama in 2009; and musicians Mike Phillips and West Byrd sprinkled in snippets of the song while playing the national anthem at NASCAR’s 2020 Pocono 350 on Sunday. The NFL will play “Lift Every Voice and Sing' before each game during Week 1, a person familiar with the discussions told The Associated Press. It’ll be played first when the Super Bowl champion Kansas City Chiefs host the Houston Texans to kick off the NFL regular season on Sept. 10. Last month, Democratic presidential hopeful Joe Biden released the “Lift Every Voice” plan, which is a reference to the song. The plan proposes to address issues in the black community, including “systemic misconduct” in police departments and prosecutors' offices. Rev. Markel Hutchins said Biden's reference to the song and hearing white Americans singing the lyrics has given him “hope and confidence, although we’re in a dark place as a nation today.” “There’s new inspiration and motivation in America today for people of every walk of life, every race, every culture and every orientation,” he said. Some NBA and collegiate teams played the song at games during Black History Month years ago, thanks to Eugene Williams. The retired Howard University professor lobbied for teams to play the song in February. Williams wants the song to be played in all U.S. sporting venues, but Young and Hutchins are unsure if that should be the case. Hutchins thinks the song should be sung with pride and not taken lightly. “I think the song is just too sacred to be reduced to what the ‘Star-Spangled Banner’ is,” he said. “The ‘Star-Spangled Banner’ is patriotic and inherently and uniquely American. It represents the complexities of America. But ‘Lift Every Voice and Sing’ is much more sacred on my view and should be handled as such.” Sharpton confidently said the song should be performed at big venues for sporting events and beyond. “It should because it recognizes the heritage and the true authentic America struggle,' he said. “There's always been the controversy about race being involved in the national anthem. Here's an authentic anthem coming out of the American experience that does not denigrate the country, but also uplifts the struggle and affirmation of people that have been part of this country.' ___ Follow AP Entertainment Writer Jonathan Landrum Jr. on Twitter: http://twitter.com/MrLandrum31
  • In a nearly empty Philadelphia courtroom in June 2015, a lawyer for Bill Cosby implored a federal judge to keep the comedian’s testimony in an old sexual battery lawsuit under wraps. It was sensitive. Embarrassing. Private. U.S. District Judge Eduardo Robreno had another word for it. The conduct Cosby detailed in his deposition was “perhaps criminal,” Robreno wrote five years ago Monday, in a momentous decision that released the case files to The Associated Press, reopened the police investigation, and helped give rise to the #MeToo movement. Cosby, the Hollywood paragon of Black family values, was convicted of sexual assault in 2018 as the movement exploded and women across the globe shared personal histories of sexual harassment and abuse. He is serving up to 10 years in prison. And now in the midst of another historic reckoning — this time addressing the treatment of African Americans and other people of color by police and the criminal justice system — the 82-year-old Cosby has won the right to an appeal. He hopes to use the moment to his advantage. “The false conviction of Bill Cosby is so much bigger than him — it’s about the destruction of ALL Black people and people of color in America,” Cosby spokesman Andrew Wyatt said when the court accepted the appeal late last month. ___ Cosby, who grew up in public housing in Philadelphia, has a complicated relationship with the Black community. He earned acclaim for his groundbreaking (and intentionally race-blind) performances on television in the 1950s; mingled, but rarely marched, with civil rights leaders and the Black elite in the 1960s; and solidified his wealth and power with his star turn as “America's Dad,” on “The Cosby Show” in the 1980s. All the while, he promoted education and gave millions to historically Black universities. But his increasingly jarring comments on poverty, parenthood and personal responsibility offended younger Blacks in his later years, most famously in his 2004 “Pound Cake” speech — which he gave just months after the sexual encounter that would prove his downfall. As he toured the country, Cosby argued that “the antidote to racism is not rallies, protests, or pleas, but strong families and communities,' as the essayist Ta-Nehisi Coates noted. “Cosby’s gospel of discipline, moral reform, and self-reliance offers a way out — a promise that one need not cure America of its original sin in order to succeed,” Coates wrote in his 2008 piece in The Atlantic, ''This Is How We Lost to the White Man': The audacity of Bill Cosby's Black conservatism.' ___ The appeal issues the court accepted don't directly include racial bias, which Cosby’s legal team raised more often on the courthouse steps in Montgomery County than inside the courtroom. His defenders, however, say race permeates the case. Cosby’s celebrity “does not change his status as a Black man,' said appellate lawyer Jennifer Bonjean, the latest of more than a dozen criminal lawyers on the case. “It would be naïve to assume that his prosecution was not tainted by the same racial bias that pervades the criminal justice process in both explicit and insidious ways,” she said last week. Cosby's wife of 56 years has been more blunt. In an interview last month with ABC-TV, Camille Cosby said the #MeToo movement ignores “the history of particular white women” who have “accused Black males of sexual assault without any proof.” “We know how women can lie,” said Camille Cosby, who made only brief appearances at her husband's trials, for defense closing arguments, and has not visited him in prison. She declined to speak to the AP last week. The appeal hinges on two questions that have shaped the case from the start: — Did Cosby have an ironclad deal with District Attorney Bruce Castor that Cosby could never be charged after Castor declined to arrest Cosby in 2005? Defense lawyers say Cosby relied on such a promise when he gave the 2006 deposition later unsealed in accuser Andrea Constand’s lawsuit — and used against him at trial. Castor agrees they did. But it was never put in writing, and Castor’s top deputy at the time, Risa Ferman, who helped run the initial investigation and reopened it in 2015 when she was district attorney, seemed not to know about it. — And, how many other accusers should be allowed to testify before the scales of justice tip against the accused? Cosby’s trial judge allowed just one other accuser in the first trial when the jury deadlocked, but five at the retrial a year later. The jury convicted Cosby on all three sex assault counts. The state's intermediate appeals court seemed unimpressed by either issue, rejecting Cosby’s first appeal. “The reality of it is, he gives them drugs and then he sexually assaults them,” Superior Court Judge John T. Bender said at the arguments. “That’s the pattern, is it not?” But Cosby appealed again, setting up the state Supreme Court arguments expected sometime next year. ___ Constand knew Cosby from her job at Temple University, where Cosby was a booster, alumnus and longtime trustee twice her age. Her trial testimony matched his deposition in many respects, the key distinction being her consent to what happened at his suburban Philadelphia estate. Both say that Cosby gave her three pills for stress before Cosby, in his words, engaged in “digital penetration.” Constand, a former professional basketball player, who is white, said she was left semi-conscious and could not fight him off. (She thought she was taking a homeopathic supplement; Cosby later said it was Benadryl, while acknowledging he once gave a 19-year-old Quaaludes before sex.) More than 60 women, mostly white but a few women of color, have made similar accusations against Cosby. Cosby lawyer Bonjean, though, believes the #MeToo movement is fading, and that Cosby, if he wins a new trial, might avoid what she called “the mob-justice standards of a hashtag movement.' ___ Not long after the encounter with Constand, Cosby gave the “Pound Cake” speech to the NAACP, riffing about a scenario in which the Black community complains when someone is shot by police over a stolen piece of cake. “Then we all run out and are outraged, ‘The cops shouldn’t have shot him.’ What the hell was he doing with the pound cake in his hand?” Cosby asked. A decade later, Black comedian Hannibal Buress took Cosby to task for his scolding. “You rape women, Bill Cosby, so turn the crazy down a couple notches,' he said onstage in 2014. Former prosecutor Kristen Gibbons Feden, who gave closing arguments at Cosby’s retrial, recognizes the good Cosby did for the Black community. She also believes that racial bias exists in the criminal justice system. “It doesn’t make Cosby innocent,” said Feden, who is Black. “It means we need to fix the criminal justice system.” Wake Forest University Dean Jonathan L. Walton, who teaches about African American social movements, said that Cosby undeniably boosted the representation of Blacks in American culture. Yet Walton said Cosby might not be the best messenger for today's moment. “One should agree with him as it relates to systemic racism and the injustices of the ‘justice system,’' said Walton, the divinity school dean, 'while also being suspicious of what seems to be a pattern of his, of only identifying problems when they personally benefit him.” ___ This story has been corrected to reflect that the federal court hearing with Judge Eduardo Robreno was in June 2015, not July 2015.
  • It seems to have been more like a typical Saturday night than a drunken New Year's Eve. The reopening of pubs in England does not seem to have overwhelmed emergency services as many had feared ahead of the biggest easing of Britain's coronavirus lockdown. But one senior police officer said Sunday it was “crystal clear” that drunk people struggled, or ignored, social distancing rules. For the most part, people appeared to abide by the rules and rejoiced at the chance Saturday to lift a pint in the company of their mates. but in some places large crowds raised concerns that the deadliest outbreak in Europe may find fresh legs. Chris Newell, a 33-year-old courier, traveled to trendy Shoreditch in east London to see friends. 'As long as everyone’s keeping their distance, we’re going to have a few drinks and just enjoy it and try and get back to a bit of normality,” he said. Health Secretary Matt Hancock said the vast majority of people did 'the right thing” and abided by social distancing rules to stay at least one meter (over 3 feet) apart from members of another household if other safety measures were in place such as hand sanitizers. “It was really good to see people out and about and largely, very largely social distancing,” he said on Sky News. Police forces across the country said on the whole there were no significant issues. “It’s vital that we don’t lose track of how far we have come and all act responsibly and play our part to minimise the spread of coronavirus,” said Bas Javid, a commander at London's Metropolitan Police. John Apter, chair of the Police Federation, who was on patrol in the southern England city of Southampton, said it was a busy shift, one that saw officers having to deal with naked men, “happy” drunks as well as “angry” drunks. He said the shift “managed to cope” but it was “crystal clear” that those who have imbibed one too many cannot, or won't, socially distance. Pubs and restaurants worked hard to get ready for the moment, spacing tables, putting some staff behind plastic counters and registering customers upon arrival. The wearing of masks is optional though, even for staff. Rafal Liszewski, a store manager in the London district of Soho, voiced concerns about the swelling crowds on Saturday. “Quickly everything got out of control and by 8-9 p.m. it was a proper street party with people dancing and drinking,” he said. “Barely anyone was wearing masks and nobody respected social distancing .... to be honest with that many people on one street it was physically impossible.” Some fear the British government is being overly hasty, even reckless, in sanctioning the changes. The U.K.'s confirmed virus death toll of 44,220 is the third-highest in the world, behind the United States and Brazil. The reopening of bars and restaurants in the United States and elsewhere has been blamed for a spike in new infections. David King, a former chief scientific adviser to the British government, criticized the latest lockdown easing. He said it looked like the strategy is to “maintain” the current level of about 3,000 new coronavirus infections per day across England in order to open up sections of the economy. “We need to look at the fastest route out of COVID-19 and that is not the current route, and that means a better economic recovery as well,” he told Sky News. The four nations of the U.K. — England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland — are moving at different speeds out of the coronavirus lockdown. The restrictions in England, with a population of around 56 million, have been lifted the most, triggering concerns that Conservative Prime Minister Boris Johnson is being unduly influenced by a desire to kickstart Britain's ailing economy. Johnson’s office at No. 10 Downing Street, among many other places across the U.K., was lit up blue overnight to celebrate the 72nd anniversary of the formation of the country's beloved National Health Service, which gives free health care to residents. People across the country paid tribute to the NHS at 5 p.m. to say “Thank you” to the hundreds of thousands of staff who have worked selflessly throughout the coronavirus pandemic. A Spitfire, the iconic World War II fighter plane, flew over several eastern NHS hospitals, finishing over Cambridge, with the message “Thank U NHS” painted on its underside. After coming down with coronavirus himself, Johnson credited NHS workers with saving his life. He was hosting a garden party for the NHS later Sunday. ___ Follow AP coverage of the pandemic at https://apnews.com/VirusOutbreak and https://apnews.com/UnderstandingtheOutbreak
  • Earl Cameron, who was one of the first Black actors to perform in mainstream British films and played supporting roles to enduring entertainment icons such as James Bond and the title character in “Doctor Who” before appearing in the U.N. thriller “The Interpreter” in his 80s, has died. He was 102. Cameron died Friday, according to The Royal Gazette, a newspaper in his native Bermuda. The British newspaper The Guardian, quoting the actor's agent, said he died at home in Warwickshire, England. Cameron stumbled into acting as a way to earn money during World War II and kept at it with repertory theater roles and training from the granddaughter of Ira Aldridge, an American who became a renowned Shakespearean actor in England, according to Cameron's British Film Institute biography. His break into movies also broke barriers for British cinema. Cameron was cast in one of the starring roles in “Pool of London,” a 1951 crime noir movie that was the first British film to feature an interracial relationship. His character, Johnny Lambert, is a merchant seaman who meets a white woman while on shore leave. Cameron worked steadily making movies throughout the 1950s, sometimes in stereotyped roles such as a witch doctor and a murderous rebel leader in British Kenya, and sometimes in roles designed to confound stereotypes, such as his portrayal of a doctor in “Simba,” a 1955 film that also dealt with the Mau Mau uprising in Kenya. He earned his 007 stripes in the fourth James Bond film, “Thunderball,” in 1965, playing an intelligence operative in the Bahamas opposite Sean Connery. During the 1950s and 1960s, he supplemented his film work with frequent British TV roles, including two episodes of “Doctor Who” in 1966. “Unless it was specified that this was a part for a Black actor, they would never consider a black actor for the part. And they would never consider changing a white part to a Black part,' Cameron told the Guardian in a 2017 interview. “So that was my problem. I got mostly small parts, and that was extremely frustrating — not just for me but for other Black actors. We had a very hard time getting worthwhile roles.” In 1972, Cameron got to work alongside another Bahama-born actor who broke barriers for Black film actors. Sidney Poitier cast Cameron to play the ambassador of an African country in “A Warm December,” in which Poitier starred and directed. Born in Bermuda in 1917 as the youngest of six children, Cameron arrived in England in 1939 after joining the British merchant marine. After Britain entered World War II that same year, “it was almost impossible for a Black person to get any kind of job,” and he didn't have any qualifications, Cameron would recall. “Coming from Bermuda in 1939, which was a very racist island, the degree of racism in England didn’t surprise me. I had grown up with it,” he told The Royal Gazette in a 2018 interview. Cameron appeared in a number of major Hollywood and British films late in his life, including “The Interpreter” with Nicole Kidman and Sean Penn (2005); “The Queen” with Hellen Mirren (2006) and “Inception” (2010). Queen Elizabeth II named him a Commander of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire in 2009 for his contributions to British entertainment. “At a time when the whole world is examining the history of people of color, Earl Cameron’s life and legacy makes us pause and remember how he broke barriers and refused to be confined to what his humble beginnings may have dictated as his path,” David Burt, the premier of Bermuda, told The Royal Gazette late Friday. Cameron is survived by his wife, Barbara, and his children.
  • Johnny Depp's lawyers have failed to stop the American actor's ex-wife, Amber Heard, from attending his libel trial against the British tabloid newspaper The Sun until she is called to give evidence. In a court order published on Saturday, trial judge Andrew Nicol said that excluding Heard from the London courtroom before she testifies in the case “would inhibit the defendants in the conduct of their defense.' Depp, 57, is suing The Sun’s publisher, News Group Newspapers, and Executive Editor Dan Wootton over a 2018 article claiming the actor was violent and abusive to Heard. He strongly denies the allegations. Depp's lawyers had asked the judge to keep Heard from attending the trial until the 34-year-old actress and model appears to give evidence, arguing that her testimony would be more reliable if she were not present in court when Depp was being cross-examined. The judge noted it is News Group and Wootton, and not Heard, that are defending the claim, while conceding they will be relying “heavily” on what Heard says. The trial, which was postponed from March because of the coronavirus pandemic, is scheduled to start Tuesday and to last three weeks. Other witnesses are likely to include Depp’s ex-partners Vanessa Paradis and Winona Ryder, who have both submitted statements supporting the “Pirates of the Caribbean” star.
  • The pints were supped and the unkempt hairdos cut and styled as England embarked Saturday on its biggest lockdown-easing yet, one that many think came too soon given still-high levels of coronavirus infections and deaths. In addition to the reopening of much of the English hospitality sector, including pubs and restaurants, for the first time in more than three months, couples can tie the knot once again, though wedding guests are limited to 30, and film buffs can go to the cinema. Whatever is being permitted again has to abide by social-distancing rules. Museums and libraries also got the green light, but gyms, swimming pools, theaters and nail bars remain shut. Restrictions on travel and social contact were loosened as well; people from different households can now go into each other's homes and even stay the night. Overall, it's the most dramatic easing of the lockdown and one gleefully taken up by those despairing in front of a mirror over the state of their hair. “It was doing my head in to be honest, I’m just glad it’s gone now,” William Brown, a 25-year-old plant engineer, said at Headley’s Barber Shop in Blaby, central England. Owner Stephanie Headley, 35, was equally relieved to be back in business for the fist time since the full lockdown was announced on March 23. Headley said she was a “bit anxious' and has been inundated with appointment requests since the British Prime Minister Boris Johnson confirmed the latest easing of the lockdown last week. 'I can’t wait to see all the dodgy haircuts that have come out of quarantine,” she said. Though the easing of the lockdown was warmly welcomed by many, there are concerns the British government is being overly hasty, even reckless, in sanctioning the changes. The U.K. has experienced one of the world's worst outbreaks so far; the official coronavirus death toll of 44,198 is the third-highest behind the United States and Brazil. Critics point to the experience elsewhere, particularly in some U.S. states, where the reopening of bars and restaurants is blamed for a spike in infections as drinkers abandon social distancing after imbibing a few of their favorite tipples. The four nations of the U.K. — England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland — are moving at different speeds out of the lockdown. The restrictions in England, with a population of around 56 million, or 85% or the U.K.'s, have been lifted the most, triggering concerns that the Johnson government is being unduly influenced by economic factors. Johnson says the decision to ease the lockdown is based on the scientific evidence that people are “appreciably less likely now to be in close proximity” with someone with the virus than at the height of the pandemic. “This is a big turning point for us,” he said Friday. “We’ve got to get it right.” One pub stood out in Saturday's reopening. The Swan Inn in Ashford, in southeast England, managed to welcome customers even after a car crashed into its front in the early hours of the morning. Ray Perkins, who runs the pub, said it was “absolutely devastating” but that after a long night he didn't want to let anyone who had pre-booked down. Though the lockdown has posed an existential threat to England’s 37,500 pubs, not all that could reopen did. Nik Antona, chairman of the Campaign for Real Ale, said early indications were that around half opted against as “they want to see what’s going to happen.” The Tyne Bar in Newcastle, northeast England, questioned why the easing took place on a Saturday, traditionally the day of the week when most alcohol-related incidents take place. The establishment said it is “genuinely concerned that this could be a day of total chaos' and that it's “not worth the risk.” It is set to open on Monday instead. The social-distancing guidelines inevitably mean that going to pubs and restaurants is going to be a different experience to the one enjoyed pre-lockdown. An array of operating regulations have to be observed, from registering customers upon entrance to making sure people are spaced at least one meter (3.3 feet) apart from the members of another household if other measures to keep people safe are in place, such as using hand sanitizers. The wearing of masks is optional, even for staff, Still, customers said the rigmarole was worth it even though the weather was damp and drizzly across the country. Doug Evans, a 62-year-old retired oil explorationist, said most of the village of Burpham in southern England appeared at some point during the afternoon at the reopening of The George. “Initially, it felt really odd walking into a pub, but within five minutes the world seemed normal again,” he said. One city that is not participating in the easing is Leicester, in central England. The government reimposed lockdown restrictions there, including the closure of schools and nonessential shops, after a spike in new infections. Police are out in force in the city to make sure people adhere to the local lockdown. One local resident, Ali Patel, said some people just hadn't taken the virus as seriously as they should have and that's why Leicester is in lockdown again. “Some people took it seriously and other people didn’t, and it just shows that the people who didn’t turned out to spread it more,' he said. ___ Jo Kearney in Blaby and Leicester in England contributed to this report. ___ Follow AP coverage of the pandemic at https://apnews.com/VirusOutbreak and https://apnews.com/UnderstandingtheOutbreak
  • Grammy-winning singer Kacey Musgraves and her musician-husband, Ruston Kelly, have filed for divorce. Representatives for both singers confirmed the news Friday to The Associated Press. In a joint statement, Musgraves and Kelly said “we’ve made this painful decision together.' “With heavy but hopeful hearts we wanted to put our own thoughts into the air about what’s happening. These kinds of announcements are always met with scrutiny and speculation and we want to stop that before it even starts. We believe that we were put into each other’s lives for a divine reason and have both changed each other infinitely for the better. The love we have for each other goes far beyond the relationship we’ve shared as husband and wife. It’s a soul connection that can never be erased,' the emailed statement read. “We’ve made this painful decision together — a healthy decision that comes after a very long period of trying the best we can. It simply just didn’t work. Though we are parting ways in marriage, we will remain true friends for the rest of our lives. We hold no blame, anger, or contempt for each other and we ask for privacy and positive wishes for us both as we learn how to navigate through this,' the statement continued. Musgraves and Kelly, both 31, were married in 2017. Musgraves has been a success since releasing her major-label debut album, “Same Trailer Different Park,” in 2013. It won her the best country album Grammy and one of its singles, “Merry Go ‘Round,” won best country song. At the 2019 Grammys, the superstar's critically acclaimed pop-leaning country album, “Golden Hour,” won all four awards it was nominated for, including the coveted top prize, album of the year. At the show, she thanked Kelly in her acceptance speech: “I really believe I wouldn’t have this album if I hadn’t met you and you didn’t open my heart like you did, so thank you so much.” Musgraves and Kelly have worked together musically. In 2018 they appeared on the song “To June This Morning” from the album “Johnny Cash: Forever Words,” a compilation project created from Cash’s unknown poetry, lyrics and letters set to music. Musgraves also sang background vocals on Kelly’s 2018 full-length debut album, “Dying Star.” Kelly will release a new album, “Shape & Destroy,” on Aug. 28, and it will include background vocals by Musgraves. Kelly’s father and sister are also featured on the album. Kelly has also written songs for other artists, including Tim McGraw, Hayes Carll, Lucie Silvas and Josh Abbott Band. Musgraves co-wrote Miranda Lambert’s 2013 country hit, “Mama’s Broken Heart,” earning herself a Grammy nomination as a songwriter.
  • Willie Nelson’s annual Fourth of July Picnic is going ahead this year, but to reduce concerns about the coronavirus the event will be virtual. Fans can tune in to the nearly 50-year-old music bash Saturday via luck.stream and williepicnic.com. Tickets for the picnic are on sale at williepicnic.com. Other performers expected to play include Sheryl Crow, Ziggy Marley, Steve Earle and Nelson’s fellow Texas-based singers Lyle Lovett, Robert Earl Keen and Kinky Friedman. Some of the artists will perform at Nelson’s Luck Ranch in Spicewood, northwest of Austin. Others will stream live from elsewhere. Nelson’s event started in 1972 and has been held most years since, moving around Texas and occasionally outside the Lone Star State. It typically draws thousands. The 87-year-old Nelson’s 70th album was released Friday. “First Rose of Spring” features two new tunes plus Nelson’s take on songs by Toby Keith and Chris Stapleton.