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Keith Flint, singer of electronic band The Prodigy, dies

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  • LONDON — Keith Flint, the fiery frontman of British dance-electronic band The Prodigy, was found dead Monday at his home near London, the band said. He was 49.

    Prodigy co-founder Liam Howlett said in an Instagram post that Flint killed himself over the weekend.

    “I’m shell shocked … confused and heart broken,” he wrote.

    Police confirmed that the body of a 49-year-old man had been found at a home in Brook Hill, northeast of London. They said the death was being treated as non-suspicious and a file would be sent to the coroner — standard practice in cases of violent or unexplained deaths.

    Flint was the stage persona of the band, whose 1990s hits “Firestarter” and “Breathe” were an incendiary fusion of techno, breakbeat and acid house music.

    He was renowned for his manic stage energy and distinctive look: black eyeliner and hair spiked into two horns.

    “A true pioneer, innovator and legend,” the band said in a statement confirming his death. “He will be forever missed.”

    The Prodigy sold 30 million records, helping to take rave music from an insular community of party-goers to an international audience. They had seven No. 1 albums in Britain, most recently with “No Tourists” in 2018.

    The band attracted criticism for the 1997 single “Smack My Bitch Up,” and the accompanying sex- and drug-fuelled video. The National Organization for Women accused the song of encouraging violence against women, and it was banned by the BBC.

    The band denied misogyny, pointing out that the song’s protagonist is revealed in the video to be a woman.

    Born Keith Charles Flint on Sept. 17, 1969 in east London, he moved to east of the city to Braintree, Essex as a child, where he met Howlett at a nightclub.

    The Prodigy was formed in the early 1990s, with Howlett as producer and Flint originally employed as a dancer before becoming singer and the onstage focal point.

    The band’s rise coincided with soul-searching in Britain over electronic dance music and its related drug culture, and the Prodigy became known as much for its anti-establishment stance as for its songs. The band members were vocal critics of the U.K.’s Criminal Justice and Public Order Act 1994, which banned the raves popularized in the late-1980s during the so-called Second Summer of Love.

    Electronic duo the Chemical Brothers tweeted that Flint “as an amazing front man, a true original and he will be missed.”

    Grime musician Dizzee Rascal said he had opened for The Prodigy in 2009, “and he was one of the nicest people I’ve met and always was every time I met him, the whole band were. When it comes to stage few people can carry a show like him I’m proud to say I’ve seen it for myself.”

    ___

    Jill Lawless contributed to this report.

    Danica Kirka, The Associated Press









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    Loughlin, Giannulli plead not guilty in college scam

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  • BOSTON — Actress Lori Loughlin and her fashion designer husband, Mossimo Giannulli, are pleading not guilty to charges they took part in the sweeping college admissions bribery scam, according to court documents filed Monday.

    Loughlin and Giannulli said they are waiving their right to appear in Boston federal court for their arraignment and plead not guilty to the two charges against them. The judge must approve their request for a waiver to appear.

    The couple is charged with paying $500,000 in bribes to get their daughters admitted to the University of Southern California as crew recruits, even though neither is a rower.

    Loughlin, who played Aunt Becky on the sitcom “Full House,” and Giannulli haven’t publicly addressed the allegations against them.

    They are among 50 people charged in the nationwide scam, which authorities say also involved rigging college entrance exam scores.

    It’s the biggest college admissions case ever prosecuted by the Justice Department. The scandal embroiled elite universities across the country and laid bare the lengths to which status-seeking parents will go to secure their children a coveted spot.

    The couple and more than a dozen other parents were hit last week with a money laundering conspiracy charge on top of the mail fraud conspiracy charge they were already facing. Several other indicted parents have also filed court documents entering not guilty pleas.

    Fellow actress Felicity Huffman, who starred in ABC’s “Desperate Housewives” and 12 other parents have agreed to plead guilty . Huffman is scheduled to appear in Boston on May 21 to enter her plea.

    Rick Singer, the consultant at the centre of the scheme, pleaded guilty to charges including racketeering conspiracy on March 12, the same day the allegations against the parents and coaches were made public in the so-called Operations Varsity Blues investigation.

    Alanna Durkin Richer, The Associated Press



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    National Entertainment

    Guess who’s moving?Burton Cummings complained of noise from dance studio

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  • MOOSE JAW, Sask. — A Saskatchewan fitness studio is moving after multiple noise complaints from Canadian rock legend Burton Cummings.

    Kyra Klassen, who owns Dance Fitness with Kyra in downtown Moose Jaw, says she’s ready for a fresh start and the studio is changing locations May 1.

    “It’s disappointing it had to escalate to this. However, we are super thankful and feel blessed by the outpouring of support from our community,” Klassen said in a message Friday.

    “We are excited to be able to move forward and get back to doing what we love to do: serving the fitness needs of Moose Jaw and area.”

    Klassen said she moved into the mixed-use building nearly one year ago. The Guess Who singer lives in a neighbouring residential building.

    There were no problems for the first five months, but then Klassen said she started to get messages, complaints and visits from Cummings himself.

    Klassen has said she worked with her landlord to add soundproofing to the studio and didn’t think she was breaking any laws.

    Police eventually laid six noise bylaw charges. She is to appear in court April 18.

    The dispute also led city council to look at zoning in the area. During a council meeting March 11, a motion was unanimously approved to prepare a report re-evaluating how business licences are issued in areas of the city’s commercial district where there are also residential properties.

    A manager for Cummings has said the musician had no comment on the situation.

    Klassen said she was shocked the dispute went so far. To keep everyone’s best interest at heart, she realized she couldn’t share the land with the singer.

    “We are moving and super excited about it,” she said.

    “Moving forward and starting fresh!”

    Kelly Geraldine Malone, The Canadian Press


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