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Derry Girls don't just show up for their friends on-screen; the cast have now joined the protest outside Westminster to try and change Northern Ireland's archaic abortion laws.

Nicola Coughlan and Siobhan McSweeney have long been outspoken for their desire to reform the state's justice system when it comes to reproductive rights, and they're women of their word.

In 2018, Lisa McGee's Channel 4 comedy Derry Girls attracted well-earned praise for it's hilarious antics, and fast became the biggest show ever to emerge from Northern Ireland. They're back for season two, and some serving of rights while they're at it;

The show is gearing up for it's return on March 5, and now that the cast have gained a high profile, they intend to use their platform for human rights issues.

Two of the shows leading actors are now in Westminster to march hand-in-hand with Amnesty International, delivering a petition asking for the Northern Irish Secretary of State to change the abortion laws.

Karen Bradley is under the spotlight today, as hundreds gather to support the protest. Polls consistently show that the residents of the province want reform, but politicians up North have refrained from speaking out.

The protest shows women marching across Westminster bridge with 28 suitcases; one for each of the women who still have to fly from the North to Great Britain every week to access abortion in the NHS system.

Protesters have delivered a petition with 62,000 signatories, and are on the Prime Minister and Northern Ireland Secretary Karen Bradley to bring abortion rights to Northern Ireland.

Unless there is a serious risk to a woman's life or health, abortion is illegal in Northern Ireland. Unlike other parts of the Britain, the 1967 Abortion Act does not extend to the North.

Feature image: Instagram/@nicolacoughlan

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Colombian pop star Shakira has been summoned to appear in a Barcelona court following allegations that she illegally avoided €14.5 million in taxes.

Spanish media reports claim the singer and philanthropist has been accused of tax evasion since December of last year.

Prosecutors argue that she falsely claimed to live in the Bahamas when she lived in Catalonia, and is due in court on June 12 over the claims.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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In Spain, only trials are public, therefore her hearing will take place privately behind closed doors.

Spanish state prosecutors accused the mother-of-two of fraud last year, claiming she had pretended to live abroad and use an existing complex offshore corporate structure to prevent herself meeting tax obligations between 2012 and 2014.

She began dating former Manchester United defender Pique in 2011 and moved back to Barcelona, so should supposedly have paid taxes on her worldwide earnings to Spanish tax services.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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Shakira was previously a tax resident in the Bahamas but only registered in 2015 as a full tax resident. Those who spend over 183 days in a given calendar year in the country are obliged to pay tax as Spanish residents.

Tax inspectors have been following Shakira's finances for years, and she appeared in an investigation carried out by the Guardian in 2017 on offshore corporate finance. The Paradise Papers was carried out by other news organisations alongside the Guardian.

Despite paying the €14.5 million debt settlement, she hasn't been able to stop the case from going to court. Her lawyer insisted she had always fulfilled her tax obligations in accordance with the advice of her financial advisors in every country.

Feature image; Instagram/@shakira

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It was announced yesterday that upskirting will become a criminal offence in England, carrying a two-year prison sentence.

The offence of taking photos under a person's clothing without their permission is currently still legal in Ireland, but is illegal in Scotland. 

Gina Martin has been an ardent campaigner for the criminalisation of upskirting for over two years, and said she was exhausted and happy after it was decided the offence became illegal.

The bill passed its third reading in the House of Lords yesterday, meaning upskirting is to be a criminal offence. 

In June, the Ministry of Justice claimed it would support the ban which formed an aspect of the Voyeurism Offences Bill.

Gina Martin, a freelance writer from London, has headed the campaign since her own experience as a victim of upskirting herself at a music festival in 2017.

"I am over the moon. Upskirting will be illegal. After becoming a victim and recognising a gap in the law, I partnered with Ryan Whelan of Gibson Dunn and began 18 months of exhaustive, emotional and life-changing work."

"Now? We have changed the law! I always thought politics was impenetrable but with the right help and willpower you can do it. We did it. We made upskirting a sexual offence!"

"I am exhausted and so so happy!"

Gina said she spotted one of the men who upskirted her sharing the image on his mobile in front of her. Despite grabbing the phone and showing it to police, four days later the case was closed.

The offence will gain a two-year sentence; victims previously had to try other avenues to get justice, such as outraging public decency.

We think it's high time this became a legal offence in Ireland. Congrats Gina, you're one badass lady.

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Beyoncé's father and former manager of Destiny's Child, Mathew Knowles, is claiming that he did everything possible to protect the girlband from R Kelly.

After hearing "some of those things" about the notorious sexual predator, he deliberately kept Destiny's Child away from him for their safety.

He also admits that hearing about Kelly's horrendous reputation for sexual, mental and physical abuse played a role in stopping the R&B band from collaborating with him.

A criminal investigation into dozens of allegations against R Kelly is now underway in Chicago and Atlanta following the Lifetime documentary Surviving R Kelly.

The Ignition singer, real name Robert Kelly, is accused of holding numerous women in a dangerous 'sex cult' in his homes, as well as having abusive, sexual relationships with underage girls as young as 12. He strongly denies this.

Rumours of his behaviour have been rampant since the early 1990s, after he forged singer Aaliyah's documents to allow her to marry him aged just 15, while he was 27.

Knowles claims that he originally turned down offers for Destiny's Child to collaborate with Kelly at first because he "didn't think it was a good song", according to Metro.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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The 67-year-old, who is the father of Beyoncé and Solange, commented that he never let the band members out of his sight;

"I was there, and my former wife Tina was there. The thing with R Kelly was, he liked to record late at night, around midnight. And what was different with his studio was that one room had a recording suite, and next door was a club, with 40 or 50 people dancing."

He continued; "R Kelly was managed by Sony, by someone I won’t name, and at that time, they would almost force you to record with their artists. R Kelly wasn’t cheap – it was $75,000, plus travel costs, so we’re talking $100,000 for a song."

He added that Kelly's negative reputation was in it's early stages, "I personally rejected the song, because I didn’t think it was a good song. Not just because of his reputation – this was around 1998, we had just begun to hear some of those things."

Mathew later said that the rumours surrounding Kelly's deplorable behaviour played a part in his choices for the girlband from then on, he said;

"Certainly, it was both of those things. The girls were 15, 16. When they went to the bathroom, Tina would go with them. They did not leave our eyes." They were allegedly under strict supervision, and were protected from him.

Another source for Metro claims that;

"Record labels would ask R Kelly to write songs for emerging artists as a way to help them break into the industry and he made several requests for Destiny’s Child," the source suggests.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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"Mathew and Tina rejected all of them because they didn’t want him anywhere near the band which is why they are one of the few acts to debut in the 90s without an R Kelly song in its official discography," they added.

Only one Destiny's Child song is associated with R Kelly, Stimulate Me, which appeared on the soundtrack for Eddie Murphy's film Life in 1999.

Apparently Kelly did not work in the studio at the same time as the group, and the song never actually appeared as an official Destiny's Child release, so the gals are off the hook. 

We're glad Mathew Knowles had the ability to keep the group protected from him, sadly other women weren't as fortunate.

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An Irish native is set to face charges of animal cruelty after he allegedly tormented his roommate's cat Lucy for several weeks. 

Declan Garrity, who works as a financial analyst for Barclays bank in New York, was arrested earlier this week on several counts of abuse towards the defenceless animal. 

According to the Irish Independent, the 24-year-old Northern Irish man has been accused of tearing out the cat's nails, breaking numerous bones in her body as well as burning her, all since he moved into the apartment in November. 

The complaint was lodged after Declan's roommate and the owner of Lucy, returned home to find the animal cowering in fear covered in blood. 

"[Lucy was] hiding in her carrier [with] her rear foot facing in the wrong direction," said the roommate, who wishes to remain anonymous, to the New York Daily News.  

The owner also claims to have found paper towels covered in cat hair and blood on a dresser in the bedroom. 

According to the vet who examined Lucy following the incident, the animal suffered numerous broken bones including broken ribs, broken teeth, burns and broken claws. 

A police statement revealed that the owner noticed changes in the cat's behaviour ever since the Irish man took lodgings at the apartment. 

"The individual observed Lucy's behaviour change, including hiding in the individual's bedroom closet, not eating and constantly licking her paws."

The suspect claimed that an iron had fallen on the pet when questioned over burns found on the animal back in January. 

"It's nauseating," continued the owner.  "I've been disgusted with everything … I thought he was the best roommate I ever had. It's bizarre."

Meanwhile, a Go Fund Me page dedicated to the recovery of Lucy has already raised over two thousand euro at the time of writing. 

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