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Ten projects chosen for ‘once-in-a-lifetime’ UK festival of creativity

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Ten projects chosen for ‘once-in-a-lifetime’ UK festival of creativity

Unboxed: Creativity in the UK – formerly known as Festival 2022 and derided by some as a “festival of Brexit” – draws on arts, science, engineering, technology and maths in a government-backed £120m celebration of ingenuity.

An epic scale model of the solar system and an “almost indescribable” artwork that is seen with closed eyes are included in a highly ambitious programme of live and digital events in UK towns and cities next year.

Ten projects selected from nearly 300 submitted ideas form a “once-in-a-lifetime” extravaganza, according to Martin Green, Unboxed’s chief creative officer, who was the head of ceremonies for the 2012 London Olympics.

He said it was the UK’s “biggest and most ambitious public creative programme to date. Unboxed represents an unprecedented and timely opportunity for people to come together across the UK and beyond and take part in awe-inspiring projects that speak to who we are and explore the ideas that will define our futures.”

The festival was commissioned in 2018 under Theresa May’s premiership. It has been endorsed and funded by Boris Johnson’s government and the devolved administrations in Edinburgh, Cardiff and Belfast.

Free events will take place “from the Outer Hebrides to Dover, and from Omagh to Swansea, right across the UK” between March and October next year, said Green. Thousands of schoolchildren will take part in competitions and educational programmes, and hundreds of jobs and “opportunities for emerging talent” will be created.

“The future of creativity is about the combination of science, tech, engineering, arts and maths. Frankly, a lot of kids have been doing it already, it’s only the grownups that put walls around it,” Green added.

Unboxed will start with a journey through 13.8bn years of history, from the big bang to the present day. About Us, which begins in Paisley on 1 March before moving on to other towns and cities, incorporates live performance, multimedia installations, animation, poetry and music.

Another project, Our Place in Space, is a scale model of the solar system that combines 10km sculpture trails in Northern Ireland and Cambridge with an interactive augmented reality app.

Dandelion reimagines the traditional harvest festival for the 21st century, with miniature vertical farms in light cubes placed in urban and rural locations across Scotland. PoliNations is a pop-up forest of real and fabricated trees in the centre of Birmingham celebrating the multicultural origins of the UK’s people and plants.

Dreamachine is an immersive environment of light and sound creating vibrant imagery and kaleidoscopic patterns behind closed eyes. “People that have experienced the prototype have said how extraordinary and almost indescribable it is,” Green said.

Twenty thousand people will help create Green Space Dark Skies, a chain of lights across national parks and areas of outstanding natural beauty. See Monster is a decommissioned North Sea offshore platform transformed into a public art installation in Weston-super-Mare that celebrates British weather and the repurposing of redundant structures.

Galwad, meaning “call” in Welsh, combines television drama, live performance and an immersive app to tell a story set 30 years in the future. Augmented reality and 3D technology will be used to bring to life stories of the past and present in StoryTrails.

Tour de Moon is a “cosmic night-time adventure … an after-party of immersive experiences, new technologies and science innovation”, according to its director, Nelly Ben Hayoun-Stepanian.

Green said Johnson had been briefed on the designs. “The project is supported and funded by all four governments of the UK, not an easy feat these days. But once they saw what we were trying to do, they absolutely all bought into it.”

Dame Vikki Heywood, the chair of the Unboxed board, said: “The programme will support economic recovery in the UK by reanimating towns and cities and expanding our connectivity through new online communities. As the programme unfolds, it will both entertain us and inspire us to imagine what the future might hold.”

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Burna Boy did not pay all patients’ bills’- UPTH clarifies

The University of Port Harcourt Teaching Hospital (UPTH) has faulted reports that musician, Burna Boy, covered all medical bills for patients during a recent visit to the hospital.

The hospital clarified that the music icon only settled the bills of selected patients at the facility, contrary to claims of covering all outstanding bills.

Mrs Elabha Meni, the institution’s spokesperson, made the clarification in a statement in Port Harcourt on Friday.

“We commend Burna Boy’s kindness in financially assisting select patients in our hospital to offset their bills during his visit on June 11.

“However, contrary to reports stating that all patients bills in UPTH were paid during the visit, only selected patients received cash gifts or donations.

“The hospital did not receive direct payments from the musician and his team on behalf of patients to support this worthy course of reducing healthcare cost,” Meni clarified.

Meni lauded the musician’s charitable act in helping those in need in the society.

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Kanayo O Kanayo calls out teen actress, Angel Unigwe, mother over alleged breach of contract

Veteran Nollywood actor and producer, Kanayo O. Kanayo, has called out teen actress, Angel Unigwe, and her mother over an alleged breach of contract.

The filmmaker claimed that Unigwe breached a filming contract with his production firm after her mother came and took her home before the expiration of the duration of the contract.

He called on Nollywood producers to boycott the teen actress, threatening that he would come to disrupt any shoot involving her.

Speaking in a video message shared via his Instagram page on Friday, Kanayo said, “A particular woman has been holding producers to ransom. And this is unfortunate; it has happened to me. Unfortunately, she is Angel Unigwe’s mother. A contract is reached by every producer, whether written or orally. But we found out that immediately after this woman takes money from you, everything changes. I’ve gotten reports from people before it happened to me.

“It happened last night that she took her daughter at 9 pm, when a particular day we agreed had not expired. 12 midnight is expiring into another day. She came and took her daughter at 9 pm.

“This is a clarion call for every producer. Please, I beg you, in the name of professionalism and all that unites us, from this moment, the 21st day of June 2024, any set that employs the services of Angel Unigwe, I will come to that set and make sure filming does not hold. You guys know what it is for an artiste to walk out on a set. There was no issue. I want to assure all of you, we had very good working relationship with Angel. [But] Her mother has been threatening many producers. So please, from this moment on, I will monitor every filming schedule. Any set where I found Angel Unigwe would be disrupted.”

Angel Unigwe has not yet responded to the allegations and neither has her mother.

 

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Mohbad’s family rejects autopsy report, seeks proper investigation

The legal team representing the family of Ilerioluwa Aloba, popularly known as Mohbad has expressed dissatisfaction with the toxicology test results concerning the late singer.

The legal practitioners Wahab Shittu SAN and Taiwo Odumosu, Esq., in a press statement jointly signed, faulted the handling of the procedures, adding that it raised serious concerns about the integrity and thoroughness of the investigation by the police and the medical team into Mohbad’s death.

The family also challenged the Lagos State Government to confirm the autopsy’s authenticity because of the public’s doubts and conflicting reports.

Recalled that a US-based lab had refuted the claim by the Lagos State Government that the toxicology test was conducted at its facility.

The revelation was in response to inquiries made by our correspondent, who embarked on a fact-finding mission to ascertain the musician’s cause of death.

The state Commissioner for Information and Strategy, Gbenga Omotoso, while responding to inquiries via a live telephone call with Ahmad Isah, the anchor of an Abuja-based online programme, Brekete Family, sometime in February 2024, had said the toxicology test was being conducted at the NMS Labs in Pennsylvania, USA.

However, a pathologist, while testifying before the Coroner’s Court on May 15, revealed that an autopsy couldn’t determine Mohbad’s cause of death due to the decomposition of his body.

While citing the report, Shittu stated that the silence that followed from the government made a review of the toxicology test a necessity.

Shittu, who claimed there were discrepancies regarding the involvement of NMS Labs alleged that the letterhead and address of the facility appeared on the toxicology report despite conflicting statements from the laboratory regarding their actual role in the testing process.

He said, “We, the legal representatives of the Aloba Family, express our projfound dissatisfaction and disappointment with the recent announcement regarding the toxicology test results of the late Ilerioluwa Oladimeji Aloba, which have been declared ‘inconclusive’ by the pathologist.

“This outcome is entirely unacceptable to us and the Aloba Family and raises serious concerns about the integrity and thoroughness of the investigation by the police and the medical team into the untimely death of their beloved son, brother, and friend. The Aloba family and, indeed, the whole world demand to know where the toxicology test was carried out as this has impugned the integrity.

“Following the news report in the Punch Newspaper of 31 May 2024 titled ‘US Lab Denies Conducting Poison Test on Mohbad’ and the silence that followed from the government, a review of the toxicology test must be necessary. The legal team wonders how the letterhead and the address of the National Medical Services Laboratories in Pennsylvania, USA appeared on the toxicology test report if the test was not truly carried out in the USA.

“The legal team is puzzled more given the discrepancies in the further response given by the NMS laboratories ascribing the test to another sister laboratory.

“The conflict of interest that bothers on professional integrity. The public is interested in knowing the relationship between the Lagos State DNA and Forensic Laboratory, NMS in the USA and ITSI Biosciences who allegedly completed the toxicology test on behalf of the Lagos State government.”

While describing Mohbad as a vibrant and promising young individual whose sudden demise left an indelible void, Shittu said the declaration of the autopsy as ‘inconclusive’ failed to provide the clarity needed and undermined the public as well as his family’s faith in the investigative process.

The legal team however demanded a fresh examination of the toxicology samples by an independent and reputable forensic laboratory, ensuring transparency throughout.

The team also called for a thorough review of testing protocols to prevent procedural errors or contamination, just as it urged the involvement of international forensic experts to oversee and validate the re-examination process.

It insisted on complete transparency in sharing all findings and reports related to the toxicology tests, urging expedited efforts to re-examine the samples and deliver definitive answers promptly.

Furthermore, the legal team criticised the Nigeria Police for what they deemed insufficient effort in the investigation while calling for the intervention of the Inspector General of Police, Kayode Egbetokun.

“The Aloba Family remains steadfast in their pursuit of truth and justice for Ilerioluwa. They deserve clear, definitive answers regarding the cause of his death, and it is the responsibility of the investigative bodies to provide them with such clarity. The current ‘inconclusive’ results only serve to prolong their agony and uncertainty, which is both unfair and unjust.

“Considering the Coroner Inquest, we appeal to the presiding Magistrate to ensure that an independent toxicology report is submitted to the Coroner’s Court before submitting the final report to the authorities.

“Presently, we have an application before the Coroner Court seeking approval to conduct an independent autopsy and toxicology test. We call on the presiding magistrate in the matter to expedite a hearing on the independent autopsy and toxicology application. That is the only way justice can be served in this case,” the statement added.

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