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BTS to take time out for military service

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The world’s biggest boy band BTS will be abandoning their fandom “army” to join the South Korean military for national service, their agents say.

The confirmation ends years of debate over whether the K-pop stars might be exempted from military duties.

In South Korea, all able-bodied men aged 18-28 must serve about two years.

The seven BTS members had been allowed to put off starting their military service until they turned 30. The oldest, Jin, is currently 29.

He will begin preparations next month, the band’s management revealed on Monday. All seven members of the group – the youngest of whom is 24 – also plan on following through with their service, it said.

South Korea retains compulsory military service mainly because the country is still technically at war with its nuclear-armed neighbour, North Korea.

The band had previously won a deferral – when in 2020, South Korea’s parliament passed a bill allowing the biggest K-pop stars to delay their duties until the age of 30.

The announcement by BTS comes just months after the band announced they would be taking a break, with some members pursuing individual projects.

The K-pop group have been the world’s best-selling artists for the past two years – known for catchy, upbeat hits like Dynamite and Butter. They’ve also been praised for their advocacy on young people’s mental health.

Viewed by many South Koreans as national treasures – some lawmakers had suggested the band could be granted an exemption so they could keep performing. Such exemptions have been given to Olympic medallists and other high-achieving sports stars, classical musicians and dancers.

However, the statement from the band’s managers on Monday said the musicians were content to carry out their duties. Jin – who had originally applied for his service start date to be delayed – had cancelled that request, their agency said.

The announcement suggests the band would probably not get back together for at least a couple of years.

“Both the company and the members of BTS are looking forward to reconvening as a group again around 2025 following their service commitment,” said their management company in a statement.

South Korea’s defence minister, in discussing the band’s prospects in August, had suggested the group could still perform while being enlisted.

“There would be a way to give them a chance to practice and perform together,” said Lee Jong-sup.

(BBC News)

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Alka Yagnik diagnosed with “rare sensory hearing loss

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Veteran Bollywood singer Alka Yagnik, who revealed that she has been diagnosed with a “rare sensory hearing loss” due to a viral attack, has suffered a type of hearing loss caused by damage to the inner ear or the nerve pathways that transmit sound from the ear to the brain.

According to Dr Manish Munjal, Vice Chairman, ENT, Sir Ganga Ram Hospital, Delhi, sudden sensory hearing loss is a medical emergency as it can become irreversible if not aggressively treated in 48-72 hours.

“The centre of the problem is the inner ear organ called Cochlea, where it happens due to damage to the hair cells,” Munjal told IANS on Tuesday.

The causes may range from simple viruses like Herpes, Varicella, and Mumps or sudden loud exposure to noise levels above 85 decibel (dB).

Munjal also mentioned that this disorder may also result from more serious causes like painkiller overdose, chemotherapy, tumour compression, meningitis and stroke.

“The need of the hour is usually to rush to an ENT specialist to get the necessary ear examination done as well as get an audiometry test. Once diagnosed, the treatment may require a cocktail of antivirals, oral and intratympanic steroids, as well as rest from noisy environments,” he stated.

According to the doctor, once the treatment is initiated, the chances of recovery are usually 70 per cent and above.

The disorder affects only 1 per cent in bilateral ears as compared to single ear, Munjal noted.

(IANS)

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Senaka Batagoda further restrained from singing 7 songs

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The Colombo Commercial High Court has further extended a court order preventing popular singer – Senaka Batagoda from singing 07 songs.

The order was issued after the relevant case was taken up again yesterday (June 18).

The seven songs which was restrained under the enjoining order are “Api Kavuruda”, “Api Senasille”, “Alu Yata Gini”, “Rastha”, “Heena Walata Panak Thiyenawa”, “Senasuma” and “Hodama de”.

The case is over a complaint filed under the Intellectual Property Act by musician Janath Kulathilake who was the combined lyrics, melody and music composer of those seven songs sung by Senaka Batagoda.

The case will be taken up again on August 23.

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Court restrains Senaka Batagoda from singing 7 songs

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Pixar’s Inside Out 2 sees record opening weekend

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Pixar’s Inside Out 2 has broken box office records over the weekend as it brought in an estimated $295m (£232.6m) around the world.

That makes it the strongest global opening by an animated film of all time, parent company Disney said.

In North America, ticket sales hit about $155m, dethroning Dune: Part Two as the holder of this year’s top box office opening weekend.

It marks a big win for cinemas, which have seen lacklustre box office takings for some new movies this year.

Inside Out 2’s first weekend was much stronger than the original movie, which brought in $90m in its opening weekend before going on to gross $858m worldwide.

It was the second-best opening for the company in the North American market, just behind the 2018 release of The Incredibles 2.

The blockbuster opening weekend is a boost for Pixar after relatively weak opening performances from some of its recent releases.

Inside Out 2 is the first sequel of the 2015 Oscar-winning hit, which focused on the emotions of a young girl called Riley.

While the original was about feelings like joy, fear and anger the latest instalment tackles issues such as envy and anxiety.

Inside Out 2’s successful opening is a bright spot in what has so far been a slow start to summer for film companies.

A large part of annual ticket sales usually take place in the period from the first weekend in May to the start of September.

However, strikes by actors and screenwriters last year has meant that fewer films were ready for release this year.

The industry has also had to contend with streaming services for both content and customers.

The number of cinema tickets sold in North America so far this year is down by almost a quarter compared to the same period in 2023, according to media market research company Comscore.

(BBC News)

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