Film star, accepting award at Sarajevo film festival, says Republican candidate shouldn’t be running for president

Robert De Niro has become the latest celebrity to criticise Donald Trump, whom he said should not run for president because he was “totally nuts”.

The Republican candidate has been widely criticised for claiming the US president, Barack Obama, “founded” the terror group Islamic State with help from Hillary Clinton, Trump’s Democrat opponent. Trump later claimed he was just being sarcastic with his comment.

De Niro, who was speaking in Sarajevo at an event marking the 40th anniversary of Taxi Driver – the Martin Scorsese film in which he starred – described what Trump has been saying as “ridiculous” and his nomination by the Republican party as “crazy”.

The actor and producer said: “I don’t know, it’s crazy that people like Donald Trump … he shouldn’t even be where he is, so God help us,” the oscar-winning actor said to wide applause in the Sarajevo national theatre. “What he’s been saying is really totally crazy, ridiculous … he is totally nuts.”

De Niro added: “But I think now they are really starting to push back, the media … finally they are starting to say, ‘come on Donald, this is ridiculous, this is nuts, this is insane.’” Trump has blamed US news media for taking many of his comments out of context.

De Niro joins a long list of celebrities who have spoken out against the presidential hopeful. Jennifer Lawrence recently told BBC1’s Graham Norton: “If Donald Trump is president of the United States, it will be the end of the world.”

Prof Stephen Hawking was asked by a chat show host to explain the popularity of the former reality TV star. The scientist replied: “I can’t. He’s a demagogue who seems to appeal to the lowest common denominator.”

Author Stephen King has described Trump as a “rabid coyote with bad hair”, while singer Cher described him as “an arrogant asshole” with an “ego the size of Texas”.

De Niro was given the lifetime achievement award for his contribution to film on Friday night at the Sarajevo film festival, which was founded as an act of defiance towards the end of the city’s 1992-1995 siege during the Bosnian war.

“I will treasure this award – my Heart of Sarajevo – because I don’t think there is another city in the world that has shown such heart in the face of so much tragedy,” De Niro said as he accepted the award.

The 3ft 8in actor, who starred in six Star Wars films as well as Time Bandits and Flash Gordon, was 81

Kenny Baker, actor behind R2-D2, dies
Kenny Baker starred in the first six Star Wars films, from 1977 to 2005. Photograph: Rory Gilder/Rex Shutterstock

The British actor who played R2-D2 in the Star Wars films has died at the age of 81 after a long illness. Kenny Baker, who was 3ft 8in tall, shot to fame in 1977 when he first played the robot character.

He went on to play the character in The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi, as well as the three Star Wars prequels from 1999 to 2005. He also appeared in a number of other much loved films in the 1980s, including The Elephant Man, Time Bandits and Flash Gordon.

His niece, Abigail Shield, paid tribute to her uncle. She told the Guardian: “It was expected, but it’s sad nonetheless. He had a very long and fulfilled life. He brought lots of happiness to people and we’ll be celebrating the fact that he was well loved throughout the world. We’re all very proud of what he achieved in his lifetime.”

Baker and Shield’s father, Ian, grew up in Birmingham. She said: “When he was a child, he was told that he probably wouldn’t survive through puberty, being a little person in those times, they didn’t have a very good life expectancy. He did extremely well in his life. He was very ill for the last few years so we had been expecting it. He had been looked after by one of his nephews, who found him on Saturday morning.”

Baker met his wife Eileen after an appearance on the Michael Parkinson TV chat show. She wrote in and said she was a little person too and wanted to meet him. “They got married soon after,” Shield said. “Sadly she died of epilepsy about 20 years ago.”

Shield added: “He had problems with his lungs and was often in a wheelchair. He was very poorly for a long time. He was asked to go out to LA for the new Star Wars premiere, but he was told he was too ill to travel. Luckily he did manage to meet George Lucas again when he came to Manchester.”

Baker’s agent, Johnny Mans, said he had known him since the 1960s when they were both club entertainers. “He was part of a double act called the Mini-Tones, his partner being Jack Purvis, who sadly died after an accident with his car. We worked together in summer shows and charity events before I went on to become his agent, and his then wife Eileen and Kenny also became great friends with my own family, with Kenny visiting my home on numerous occasions.

“Kenny also went on as a solo artiste and then eventually moved into films. Kenny was truly a great friend, one of the nicest guys you could ever wish to meet, and a fabulous and talented performer. My wife and family will miss him terribly.”

Actor Ewan McGregor, who appeared in three Star Wars movies, tweeted:

The film company that made the movies, 20th Century Fox, posted a photograph of C3PO standing next to Baker’s Star Wars character, and wrote: “Rest in peace, Kenny Baker, the heart and soul of R2D2.”

Mark Hamill, who played Luke Skywalker in the original Star Wars film trilogy, paid tribute on Twitter, writing:

This article was amended as Kenny Baker’s age was originally incorrect.

The 3ft 8in actor, who starred in six Star Wars films as well as Time Bandits and Flash Gordon, was 81

 

The British actor who played R2-D2 in the Star Wars films has died at the age of 81 after a long illness. Kenny Baker, who was 3ft 8in tall, shot to fame in 1977 when he first played the robot character.

He went on to play the character in The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi, as well as the three Star Wars prequels from 1999 to 2005. He also appeared in a number of other much loved films in the 1980s, including The Elephant Man, Time Bandits and Flash Gordon.

His niece, Abigail Shield, paid tribute to her uncle. She told the Guardian: “It was expected, but it’s sad nonetheless. He had a very long and fulfilled life. He brought lots of happiness to people and we’ll be celebrating the fact that he was well loved throughout the world. We’re all very proud of what he achieved in his lifetime.”

Baker and Shield’s father, Ian, grew up in Birmingham. She said: “When he was a child, he was told that he probably wouldn’t survive through puberty, being a little person in those times, they didn’t have a very good life expectancy. He did extremely well in his life. He was very ill for the last few years so we had been expecting it. He had been looked after by one of his nephews, who found him on Saturday morning.”

Baker met his wife Eileen after an appearance on the Michael Parkinson TV chat show. She wrote in and said she was a little person too and wanted to meet him. “They got married soon after,” Shield said. “Sadly she died of epilepsy about 20 years ago.”

Shield added: “He had problems with his lungs and was often in a wheelchair. He was very poorly for a long time. He was asked to go out to LA for the new Star Wars premiere, but he was told he was too ill to travel. Luckily he did manage to meet George Lucas again when he came to Manchester.”

Baker’s agent, Johnny Mans, said he had known him since the 1960s when they were both club entertainers. “He was part of a double act called the Mini-Tones, his partner being Jack Purvis, who sadly died after an accident with his car. We worked together in summer shows and charity events before I went on to become his agent, and his then wife Eileen and Kenny also became great friends with my own family, with Kenny visiting my home on numerous occasions.

“Kenny also went on as a solo artiste and then eventually moved into films. Kenny was truly a great friend, one of the nicest guys you could ever wish to meet, and a fabulous and talented performer. My wife and family will miss him terribly.”

Actor Ewan McGregor, who appeared in three Star Wars movies, tweeted:

The film company that made the movies, 20th Century Fox, posted a photograph of C3PO standing next to Baker’s Star Wars character, and wrote: “Rest in peace, Kenny Baker, the heart and soul of R2D2.”

Mark Hamill, who played Luke Skywalker in the original Star Wars film trilogy, paid tribute on Twitter, writing:

This article was amended as Kenny Baker’s age was originally incorrect.

Offer values each Pinewood share at 560p and gives film studio – home of James Bond franchise – funds for expansion plans

Pinewood Studios to be taken private in £323m deal with Aermont Capital
Sean Connery as James Bond and a gold-painted Shirley Eaton being photographed on the set of Goldfinger at Pinewood Studios. Photograph: Paul Popper/Popperfoto/Getty Images

Pinewood Studios is to be taken private in a £323m deal as the studio where James Bond is filmed seeks financial firepower for its expansion plans.

The film studio has said it needs to go private to fund ambitious plans to expand the historic complex in Buckingamshire, which opened in the 1930s and went on to shoot long-running series such as the Carry On films and James Bond franchise.

The offer from Aermont Capital, a London-based asset manager, values each Pinewood share at 560p..

Lord Grade, chairman of Pinewood, said the takeover was an attractive offer for investors that would give Pinewood “the platform required for future growth”.

Grade, a former chairman of the BBC and of grocery delivery firm Ocado, added: “The Pinewood Group has been transformed in recent years, but has been somewhat constrained in realising its ambitions due to the lack of share liquidity.”

Shareholders will also get a special dividend of 3.2p per share, making the deal for Pinewood, where the Star Wars series is also made, worth £323.3m.

Pinewood’s directors stand to make a combined £1.82m if they sell their entire holdings, including a £1m windfall for the chief executive, Ivan Dunleavy.

Aermont said on Friday that it had secured financing from Perella Weinberg, the private equity group from which it was spun off and whose real estate funds it now advises.

The price tag is a 31% premium on Pinewood’s average closing share price of 430p in the three weeks before they hired investment bank Rothschild to perform a strategic review signalling a likely sale of the business.

Aermont said 14% shareholder Aviva had joined Goodweather Investment and Warren James Holdings in undertaking to sell their shares, meaning the deal is all but certain to proceed.

Pinewood is listed on the AIM junior stock market and did not have a large enough free float – shares available to buy – to meet requirements to move to the main market, where it would have been able to raise more cash from investors.

Grade said: “Pinewood and clients will benefit from greater opportunities in the years ahead and the board intends to recommend the offer unanimously.”

Léon Bressler, managing partner of Aermont, said Pinewood was “an iconic brand at the heart of the global creative industries”.

The writer’s home was a regular haunt of African-American cultural giants

€10m fight to save James Baldwin’s Provençal home
James Baldwin in his home in Saint-Paul-de-Vence in 1979. Photograph: Ralph Gatti/AFP/Getty Images

In the Provençal town of Saint-Paul-de-Vence, the picturesque stone house beneath the medieval ramparts is known as “la maison de Jimmy”. The official records office lists it as the ancienne maison Baldwin.

Here in the hills behind the Côte d’Azur, the Harlem-born writer and social critic James Baldwin lived, composing his later works on a clackety old typewriter and entertaining friends including Harry Belafonte and Sidney Poitier, Simone Signoret and Nina Simone. It was here he died of stomach cancer in 1987, aged 63.

For 17 years, the local people adopted the African American author as one of their own. He was often seen chatting in the bar of the local Colombe d’Or hotel, and the affection was reciprocal. Today campaigners are battling to secure the future of his 17th-century house and its grounds, which have been earmarked for development into 18 luxury €1m flats. Two wings of the property on the 10-acre plot have already been demolished, including one in which he wrote.

The Paris-based American novelist Shannon Cain, who is leading the fight to save the property, recently squatted in the surviving section of the house for 10 days in an attempt to stop further development. “Apart from his books, the house is all that remains of Baldwin’s physical presence,” she told the Observer. “It was his dream that the property should become an artists’ colony or residence, and it would be a tragedy to let it go.” Neighbour Hélène Roux remembers “Jimmy”, the kind, lively American who was a larger-than-life presence at Colombe d’Or, run by her late mother, Yvonne. “He was a big presence in my childhood. Jimmy used to write at night and pop up to the village each day around 4pm to come and sit and chat with my mum. Every day he would show up, so he was always there when I came back from school.

“At first he seemed intimidating, then you saw the life in his eyes and the smile that illuminated his face. And every day he would ask how my day at school had been. My mother held him in high esteem and vice versa. She was his great friend; it was a lovely relationship.” The pair were so close that Baldwin named the main character in his 13th novel, If Beale Street Could Talk, Clementine “Tish” Rivers; Clementine was Yvonne Roux’s middle name.

“It was no coincidence,” Roux said. “The degree of generosity and affection he showed with his time and incredible intelligence was wonderful. He followed us through childhood; through adolescence, the tribulations, boyfriends … Jimmy was there.”

Baldwin bought a one-way ticket to Paris at the age of 24, despairing of American prejudice against African-Americans and gay people, and was soon adopted into the cultural mêlée of the French capital’s Left Bank. In 1970 he settled in Saint-Paul-de-Vence, where American painter Beauford Delaney, a regular guest, set up his easel in the garden, and Josephine Baker, Miles Davis and Ray Charles visited.

This is a passion project for me. I cannot let it go

Shannon Cain

In his autobiography, Miles Davis wrote that he and Baldwin would “get comfy in that beautiful, big house and he would tell us all sorts of stories … he was a great man”.

The town, a few minutes from the Côte d’Azur, has long been a magnet for the rich and famous. Picasso and Chagall worked here, Jacques Raverat and his wife Gwen – Charles Darwin’s granddaughter – lived here, Yves Montand and Lino Ventura visited, Rolling Stone Bill Wyman has a nearby property, and the actor Donald Pleasence died in Saint-Paul-de-Vence.

After Baldwin’s death, there was a dispute over the ownership of the house. The Baldwin family fought a long legal battle, which it eventually lost. The house has since been sold three times.

Cain is now back in Paris after the developers took advantage of her absence from the house to remove her belongings to a nearby hotel (they paid for two nights) and brick up the doors and windows.

She wants to persuade France’s culture ministry to declare the house part of the country’s heritage and take it over. Failing that, she says she will try to raise more than €10m to buy it. “The plan is the same as it’s been from the outset – to work with the ministry of culture to seize the house on the grounds that historic preservation laws were violated, and if that plan fails to raise the money to purchase the house from the developer,” she states on the campaign website.

“The aim for this startup phase is to establish an organisation with the capacity to raise a significant amount of money – in the neighbourhood of €10m – to purchase and/or renovate this house, as well as to establish a permanent endowment that will support an artist residency in perpetuity.”

Baldwin’s literary estate has stopped Cain using his name for her campaign site and has been “like many literary estates … uncooperative and recalcitrant”, she says, but she is hoping to bring relatives on board and begin negotiations with the property developer next month. “This is a passion project for me. I cannot let it go.”

Hélène Roux says it would be a tragedy if Baldwin’s last home were lost. “This is where Jimmy wrote and lived and died. If this house is lost, there would be absolutely nothing left of James Baldwin in this village, a place where he was very happy and where we were happy to see him,” Roux told the Observer.

“It would be heartbreaking for it to disappear. What is really devastating is that very often my doorbell rings and people ask where they can find James Baldwin’s house, and I have to direct them to this devastating sight.”

€10m fight to save James Baldwin’s Provençal home
The house where James Baldwin lived, pictured in 2009. Photograph: Daniel Salomons

Cohen’s letter to Marianne Ihlen said ‘our bodies are falling apart and I think I will follow you very soon’

So long, Marianne: Leonard Cohen writes to muse just before her death
Leonard Cohen wrote So Long, Marianne about Marianne Ihlen, whom he met on the Greek island of Hydra. Photograph: K & K Ulf Kruger OHG/Redferns

Leonard Cohen penned a poignant final letter to his dying muse Marianne Ihlen, a longtime friend of hers revealed on Canadian radio.

Ihlen, whom Cohen wrote about in So Long, Marianne and Bird on a Wire, died in Norway on 29 July, aged 81.

Cohen met her on the Greek island Hydra in the 1960s and they became lovers. So Long, Marianne appeared on his 1967 album Songs of Leonard Cohen.

Her close friend Jan Christian Mollestad got in touch with Cohen to tell him Ihlen was dying.

“It took only two hours and in came this beautiful letter from Leonard to Marianne. We brought it to her the next day and she was fully conscious and she was so happy that he had already written something for her,” Mollestad said.

Mollestad, a documentary maker, read Cohen’s letter to her before she died. “It said well Marianne it’s come to this time when we are really so old and our bodies are falling apart and I think I will follow you very soon. Know that I am so close behind you that if you stretch out your hand, I think you can reach mine.

“And you know that I’ve always loved you for your beauty and your wisdom, but I don’t need to say anything more about that because you know all about that. But now, I just want to wish you a very good journey. Goodbye old friend. Endless love, see you down the road.”

Mollestad told CBC that when he read the line “stretch out your hand,” Ihlen stretched out her hand. “Only two days later she lost consciousness and slipped into death. I wrote a letter back to Leonard saying in her final moments I hummed Bird on a Wire because that was the song she felt closest to. And then I kissed her on the head and left the room, and said “so long, Marianne.”

Leonard Cohen’s Facebook page also marked Ihlen’s death. “The death last week of Marianne Ihlen, the woman immortalized in So Long, Marianne, has evoked an overwhelming response from those who knew Marianne well, those who knew her only as Leonard Cohen’s muse, and even those who previously didn’t know there was a real Marianne,” a post said.

Ihlen’s funeral was held in Oslo on Friday.

Hyde Park Picture House wins £2.4m grant while William Morris’s country home in Oxfordshire is one of 11 other recipients

Gas-lit Leeds cinema among sites to receive heritage lottery cash
The auditorium at Hyde Park Picture House in Leeds. The money will be spent restoring historic features and opening up the cinema’s archives. Photograph: Tom Joy/Heritage Lottery Fund/PA

A tiny cinema that opened in Leeds within months of the outbreak of the first world war, now believed to be the only one in the world still lit by gas, has won a £2.4m heritage lottery grant to restore historic features and open up its archives.

The Hyde Park Picture House is among a dozen sites receiving major grants, including William Morris’s beautiful Oxfordshire country home, Kelmscott Manor, where the flowers and wildlife inspired many of his designs.

Now owned by the local authority, the Grade II-listed Hyde Park still has 11 working gas lamps, though the imposing lantern on the facade, which is separately listed, was converted to electricity. Its single-screen auditorium shows films every day, having seen off the competition of the giant jazz-age cinemas with their thousands of seats and luxurious facilities, the coming of television, and the more recent rise of out-of-town multiplexes.

Gas-lit Leeds cinema among sites to receive heritage lottery cash
Kelmscott Manor will receive £4.7m in lottery funding. Photograph: Heritage Lottery Fund/PA

Its records include decades of weather reports kept daily until 1958, original programmes and posters, back to the newspaper announcements of the cinema’s opening in November 1914, buried in columns of war news. The cinema made the best of having only 400 seats by boasting of being “the cosiest in Leeds”. It now has even fewer, having replaced the original hard narrow seats a few years ago with more comfortable ones for the bigger bottoms of the 21st century.

In its earliest years Hyde Park showed morale-boosting patriotic films including An Englishman’s Home, and newsreel of the war in which 6,000 local men had enlisted. The gas lights were turned down but kept on during the screenings, to combat reports of disgraceful carryings on in the back rows of darker cinemas.

Kelmscott, a Grade I-listed medieval house in an idyllic Cotswold village, now owned by the Society of Antiquaries, was Morris’s dream house, the rural retreat he described as the “loveliest haunt of ancient peace”. It is still full of pieces he, members of his family and circle of artistic friends owned or made, including curtains for his bed embroidered by his daughter May who lived there for many years after his death. Morris and his family are buried in Kelmscott village churchyard.

Gas-lit Leeds cinema among sites to receive heritage lottery cash
St Albans Cathedral has been given £3.9m to tell the story of England’s first martyr. Photograph: Graham Turner for the Guardian

The £4.7m grant is intended to restore and reopen historic rooms and buildings on the site, and increase visitor numbers. Conservation issues, space, limited parking and access through narrow country roads mean the house is currently open only two days a week in the summer.

Other grants include £4.7m to the National Maritime Museum in Greenwich, south-east London, to create new galleries telling the story of polar exploration; £14.8m for a new history centre in Plymouth bringing together collections presently scattered across the city; £3.9m to tell the story of England’s first martyr at St Albans Cathedral; and £3.6m to rescue a magnificent Victorian gothic church in London, St Mary Magdalene in Paddington, which is Grade I listed, and frequently used by film-makers for its soaring interior, and spectacular later crypt chapel designed by Sir Ninian Comper. The church needs major restoration work and is on the national register of historic buildings at risk.

 

Actor says experience ‘really, really sucks’ after being detained for a third time in seven years, this time in LA

Bollywood star Shah Rukh Khan detained at US airport again
Shah Rukh Khan said in 2012: ‘Whenever I start feeling arrogant about myself, I always take a trip to America.’ Photograph: Matthias Balk/EPA

The Bollywood star Shah Rukh Khan has expressed annoyance about being detained by US airport immigration authorities for a third time, saying the experience “really, really sucks”.

The last time Khan, 50, was detained by immigration officials, in New York in 2012, it sparked uproar among his Indian fans who accused the US of racial profiling, and led Washington to apologise.

“I fully understand and respect security with the way the world is, but to be detained at US immigration every damn time really really sucks,” Khan tweeted after he was pulled aside at Los Angeles airport on Thursday.

“The brighter side is while waiting caught some really nice Pokémons,” he added.

As news of Khan’s detention broke on Indian television channels, the US assistant secretary of state, Nisha Biswal quickly expressed regret.

“Sorry for the hassle at the airport, @iamsrk – even American diplomats get pulled for extra screening!” Biswal tweeted.

Washington had previously denied allegations that Khan was singled out because his name denotes him as a Muslim. Someone with the same name is reportedly on a US no-fly list of 80,000.

After the 2012 incident, Khan joked in a speech to Yale University that he was accustomed to such hassles. “Yes, it always happens. Whenever I start feeling arrogant about myself, I always take a trip to America,” he told students. “The immigration guys kick the star out of stardom.”

In 2009 Khan was detained for more than two hours at Newark airport outside New York, prompting a similar Indian outcry and a US apology.

The rapper and the doyenne of domesticity will host new unscripted show for VH1, which will see the pair hosting dinners attended by celebrity guests

Dogg's dinner? Snoop and 'homegirl' Martha Stewart make dinner party TV
Martha Stewart and Snoop Dogg: joint dinner party – with joint being the operative word. Photograph: Chris Pizzello/AP

In what’s surely one of the unlikeliest pairings to ever grace the small screen, Martha Stewart and Snoop Dogg have been brought together to co-present VH1’s new unscripted series, Martha & Snoop’s Dinner Party.

The weekly series, of which a full season has been commissioned, according to the Hollywood Reporter, will see the two throw a joint dinner party each episode with surprise celebrity guests.

VH1 describes the 10-episode series as a “half-baked evening of cocktails, cooking, conversation and fun where nothing is off limits”.

In a statement, Stewart also hinted that show will have a competitive element, saying that it “will redesign the traditional food competition shows in a new, different and very funny way”.

Martha & Snoop’s Dinner Party marks the duo’s first collaboration, but the pair have been featured together before.

Most recently, they competed on ABC’s gameshow $100,000 Pyramid. The two also took turns mocking Justin Bieber on a Comedy Central’s roast, (“I taught Snoop that the most important thing in business is diversification,” Stewart joked during the show); while Snoop Dog once appeared as a guest on Stewart’s now defunct talk show, Martha.

“My homegirl Martha and I have a special bond that goes back,” said Snoop Dogg, in a statement.

The show is set to debut this fall. The guests have yet to be announced.

London nightclub suspends operations amid investigation into recent deaths of two teenagers

Fabric to close this weekend after drug-related deaths
Fabric nightclub in Farringdon, London. Photograph: Sarah Lee for the Guardian

The London nightclub Fabric is to close this weekend after the drug-related deaths of two teenagers.

The most recent incident took place on Saturday, when an 18-year-old male collapsed outside the venue at 8.20am and was pronounced dead shortly after.

Another 18-year-old died after he fell ill at the 2,500-capacity club in Farringdon on 25 June. Neither death is being treated as suspicious.

The club said on its website: “For the past two years Fabric has operated without incident, but tragically in the past nine weeks two 18-year-old boys have died as a consequence of drug overdoses.

“In order to understand how this has happened we have agreed with the police and other agencies to suspend our operation while we investigate. The club will therefore be closed this weekend.”

It said it would make a further statement next week and that all tickets for this weekend would be refunded.

Over the past three years, Fabric has struggled to maintain its licence amid increasing pressure from the Metropolitan police and Islington council over drug-related incidents.

In December 2014, the police requested the council “seriously consider” revoking the club’s licence, citing four deaths in the previous three years and eight other incidents in which clubbers collapsed.

Fabric was able to remain open, though the council imposed strict licensing conditions, including sniffer dogs and ID scans, but in December 2015 it won an appeal against these conditions, on the grounds that they undermined efforts to confiscate drugs at the door.

The news follows a growing number of cases in which people have died after taking ecstasy. One of the most recent cases was 22-year-old Will Moss, who died in July after collapsing outside the Chameleon nightclub in Southend.

In May, Faye Allen, 17, from Liverpool, died after taking ecstasy while at a nightclub in Manchester.

According to ONS statistics released last year, deaths caused by ecstasy or MDMA – the active ingredient in ecstasy also sold in powder form – rose from eight in 2010 to 50 in 2014. This follows a spike in the purity of the drug, which is at its strongest in years.

Harm reduction charities such as The Loop, which conducts drug testing and offers advice at festivals, has found pills containing up to 250mg of MDMA, more than double the average quantity found in pills during the late 90s.

Common harm reduction advice is for users to test their reaction to a pill by taking half, or a quarter, and waiting before taking more.

The Loop’s CrushDabWait campaign encourages users to consider the way they consume MDMA, advising those who want to take it to crush it into a fine powder, take a small finger dab and then wait one to two hours before considering taking more.

This article was amended on 12 August to correct a sentence that said Faye Allen died after taking ecstasy at a nightclub in Liverpool. The nightclub was in Manchester.

The pair, who last collaborated on The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, are in talks to work together again on follow-up to the 2013 zombie thriller

David Fincher set to reunite with Brad Pitt for World War Z sequel
David Fincher and Brad Pitt in 2009. Photograph: Jun Sato/WireImage

David Fincher is in talks to direct Brad Pitt in a sequel to the 2013 zombie thriller World War Z.

According to Variety, Pitt is courting the Gone Girl film-maker after The Orphanage director JA Bayona left the project to take on the sequel to Jurassic World. The film would mark the pair’s fourth collaboration after previously working together on Seven, Fight Club and The Curious Case of Benjamin Button.

Pitt, who will star in and produce World War Z 2, has reportedly met with a number of directors but talks have been advancing with Fincher, despite his weariness over sequels after the troubled production of Alien 3.

Fincher’s last film was 2014 thriller Gone Girl which became his most profitable movie to date, making $369m (£284m) worldwide. He has also recently shot the pilot for Netflix series Mindhunter, produced by Charlize Theron. It focuses on two FBI agents in the 1970s who use convicted serial killers to help them with ongoing cases.

World War Z suffered from a difficult production period, with drastic reshoots and rumours of on-set problems between Pitt and director Mark Forster. Despite delays, the film was a hit, making $540m worldwide.

Pitt will next be seen opposite Marion Cotillard in Robert Zemeckis’s second world war thriller Allied and in Animal Kingdom director David Michôd’s Netflix comedy War Machine.

Rapper, now 29-years-old started working aged 13, has made $20m and will turn his attention to acting and TV production

Hip-hop artist Bow Wow to retire as he can't see himself rapping aged 30
Rapper Bow Wow has said he will retire from music because it is time for a new adventure. Photograph: Danny Moloshok/Reuters

US rapper Bow Wow has announced he is retiring from music, saying he just doesn’t see himself rapping as a 30-year-old.

Bow Wow, 29, found fame at the age of 13 as Lil’ Bow Wow but has lately been going by his real name, Shad Moss.

He said in a series of posts to Twitter on Sunday and Monday that his final album will be the upcoming “NYLTH”. He did not give a date for the release.

“I always said I’d retire from music before 30,” the musician tweeted. “I just can’t see myself at 30 years old rapping.”

“Made over 20 million off rap. Why be greedy? Im good with everything I accomplished. I made it to the white house,” added the Ohio-born rapper.

As Lil’ Bow Wow, the musician released his first album Beware of the Dog in 2000. He has also launched a career as an actor, appearing in movies such as Madea’s Big Happy Family and the TV crime series CSI:Cyber.

He said on Twitter he planned to focus on acting in the future and is also producing two TV shows.

More than a decade on from his biggest hit (Like You with Ciara in October 2005), news of Moss’ retirement was met with indifference, amusement, and in some cases cruelty on social media.

https://twitter.com/laribeey/status/762380269718532097

Moss did not respond to the Guardian’s question, posed over Twitter: why can’t you be a successful rapper at 30?

But he did appear to have embraced family life.

“Nothing like landing 12 hours later on your way to surprise your daughter at camp and she has no clue,” he tweeted on Monday evening.

At 46, Jay-Z is likely the oldest most successful rapper, though he does seem to be putting more of his energy into business pursuits such as his streaming service, Tidal, than music. Kanye West turns 40 next year.

It’s possible the seed for Moss’ retirement could have been planted by Drake, the hugely popular Canadian rapper, who at 29 is the same age.

Drake rapped in a recent song that he intended to retire before 35.

“The most successful rapper 35 and under/I’m assumin’ everybody’s 35 and under/That’s when I plan to retire, man it’s already funded,” goes the lyric, in Weston Road Flows.

Ramin Djawadi, composer of the score of the HBO hit, is leading an orchestra on an audiovisual tour of the US that promises to ‘bring the Seven Kingdoms to life’

Game of Thrones concert experience hits the road in 2017
Uplifting … Emilia Clarke as Daenerys in Games of Thrones. Photograph: HBO/PA

A live Game of Thrones concert experience has been announced. The 28-day tour, featuring music from the HBO television series, has been described as a “music and visual experience that will bring the Seven Kingdoms to life on a scale never seen before.”

Led by the show’s composer Ramin Djawadi, the North American tour will enlist a full orchestra, choir and themed visuals, to bring the TV show’s score to life. The music will also be accompanied by key scenes from the series and additional footage shot specifically for the live dates.

“The idea is to showcase how the music enhances those experiences for the audience,” Djawadi told Time magazine. “There’s some great, big exciting moments, like for example Mesa, which was when Daenerys frees all the slaves, and people will remember that very uplifting moment, but then we will perform some of these heartbreaking moments with real musicians. That’s always very special too, because when you see live musicians perform music they put their own emotion into it, and you see a violinist and how their body moves. I think that’s so powerful.”

The 360-degree set design will include LED screens and flaming towers, which will double up as a platform for the choir and orchestra.

The tour begins on 15 Feb 2017 in Kansas City, before taking in arenas and venues such as Madison Square Garden in New York, until May.

Abel Tesfaye joins list of stars – including Beyoncé, Jay Z and Drake – who are making their support for the movement a matter of record

The Weeknd gives $250,000 to Black Lives Matter
The Weeknd … pledging his support. Photograph: Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images for NARAS

R&B star the Weeknd has donated $250,000 (£193,000) to the Black Lives Matter network. The Fader reported the donation, which was later confirmed by his representatives, according to other US reports.

The Weeknd – 26-year-old Abel Tesfaye – had previously Tweeted his support for the movement. Last month he told his followers: “Enough is enough. It’s time to stand up for this. We can either sit and watch, or do something about it. The time is now.”

Earlier this month the musician, whose parents emigrated to Canada from Ethiopia, had donated $50,000 to the University of Toronto to establish an Ethiopic studies course.

The focus on US police violence against people of colour and the rise of the Black Lives Matter movement has become an increasingly important topic for some of US music’s biggest stars over the past year. Kendrick Lamar’s album To Pimp a Butterfly and Beyoncé’s Lemonade both addressed, with varying levels of directness, issues of black identity. Beyoncé also put the topic front and centre before the US’s biggest TV audience in February, when she performed her single Formation at the Super Bowl half-time show with dancers paying tribute to the Black Panthers.

https://youtu.be/7p9WxPdcL5w

Last month, both Beyoncé and her husband Jay Z responded to the shootings of Alton Sterling in Louisiana and Philando Castile in Minnesota. Jay Z released a song called Spiritual, along with a quote from the 19th-century abolitionist Frederick Douglass: “Where justice is denied, where poverty is enforced, where ignorance prevails, and where any one class is made to feel that society is an organised conspiracy to oppress, rob and degrade them, neither persons nor property will be safe.”

Beyoncé said in a statement posted online: “We don’t need sympathy. We need everyone to respect our lives … These robberies of lives make us feel helpless and hopeless but we have to believe that we are fighting for the rights of the next generation. This is a fight for anyone who feels marginalised, who is struggling for freedom and human rights … The war on people of colour and all minorities needs to be over.”

At her concert in Glasgow in July, she called for a moment’s silence and used the giant screens on stage to display the names of black people killed by US police.

Drake, too, commented on the killings, posting a statement to Instagram in which he said: “It’s impossible to ignore that the relationship between black and brown communities and law enforcement remains as strained as it was decades ago. No one begins their life as a hashtag. Yet the trend of being reduced to one continues.”

Group of more than 30 documentarians, including eight Oscar winners, has called on the justice department to investigate ‘harassment’ of citizen journalists

People who film police violence are citizen journalists. We stand with them

Film-makers demand inquiry into 'targeting' of people who record police
The undersigned filmmakers include Citizenfour director Laura Poitras, Going Clear director Alex Gibney, Cartel Land director Matt Heineman and The House I Live In director Eugene Jarecki. Photograph: Grant Lamos IV/Getty Images

A group of more than 40 documentarians, including eight Oscar winners, has called on the justice department to investigate the “harassment” and “targeting” of citizen journalists who record episodes of police violence.

Noting that the citizens who filmed the deaths of Alton Sterling, Philando Castille, Freddie Gray and Eric Garner were all subsequently arrested, the film-makers wrote in an open letter that it is “vital we defend the rights of these individuals to use video as a means of criticizing unjust police activity.”

The undersigned filmmakers include Going Clear director Alex Gibney, Citizenfour director Laura Poitras, Cartel Land director Matt Heineman and The House I Live In director Eugene Jarecki.

“Mainstream media has paid ample attention to the images captured by these citizen journalists. Largely, it has ignored the methods in which they were recorded and distributed, and the penalties for those involved,” the letter states.

Like in other high profile police killings from the last two years, the cases of Sterling and Castile, which inspired nationwide protests throughout much of July, both gained attention largely through the release of bystander video.

After Sterling was shot by Baton Rouge police officers during a struggle, the two men who posted viral video of the incident, Chris LeDay and Abdullah Muflahi, were both subsequently detained by police. LeDay did not record the video, but was one of the first people to post it to Facebook and was arrested and shackled the day after posting the video for “fitting a description”, according to the 34-year-old Air Force veteran. He was later released after paying more than $1,200 in fines for an earlier traffic violation.

Muflahi, the proprietor of the convenience store where Sterling was killed on 5 July, was also detained for four hours in the back of a police car while officers searched his store. Muflahi uploaded the second video that depicted Sterling’s death.

Diamond “Lavish” Reynolds, the fiance of Philando Castile, who was killed by an officer during a traffic stop just days after Sterling, was also detained by police after the fatal shooting. Reynolds broadcasted the immediate aftermath of the incident on Facebook Live from the front seat of the couple’s car as she spoke with the Minnesota police officer who fired at Castile. He was legally carrying a concealed weapon in the vehicle.

Reynolds was held overnight by police for questioning, sparking outrage on social media with activists using the hashtag #whereisLavishReynolds to call attention to her detention. “They treated me like a prisoner,” Reynolds said the following morning after being released.

The letter to the DoJ calls actions like this, “evidence of a pattern of systemic and vindictive targeting by law enforcement,” adding that the efforts “reveal an intention to suppress footage, intimidate witnesses, control narratives, obscure brutality and punish”.

The film-makers, said that citizen journalists like Reynolds and Muflahi “have made it impossible for white Americans to continue ignoring a truth our leaders have spent centuries obfuscation: black lives matter”.

In 2015, Kevin Moore who filmed the Baltimore police tacking Freddie Gray and pulling him into a police van was also arrested, and released without charges. Moore alleges that police continue to harass him, “they ride past me taunting me with their phones up”, Moore told Vice News in an interview.

Ramsey Orta, who filmed the fatal chokehold arrest of Eric Garner in Staten Island in 2014 also faced repeated interaction with police after the incident, culminating in an arrest on weapons charges. Orta is currently serving a four year sentence on a plea deal and claims police targeted him, and, like Moore, approached him with their phones out on one occasion as a taunt.

The letter calls for more people in the documentary community to join the case, declaring that while “the nature of documentary truth may be slippery”, “the one captured by LeDay, Muflahi, Reynolds, Moore, Orta and so many many more is immutable”.

The justice department did not return a request for comment on whether it would answer the filmmakers’ call for investigation.

Artists, poets, film directors and musicians call on Brazilian government and European companies to recognise the rights of the Munduruku people

Paul McCartney and Ranulph Fiennes back Amazon tribe threatened by dams
The Munduruku have welcomed a decision last week by Brazil’s environment protection agency to reject plans for what would have been one of the world’s largest-ever dams on the river. Photograph: Fábio Nascimento/Greenpeace

Some 48 musicians, poets, chefs, artists, film directors and other celebrities including Sir Paul McCartney, Sir Ranulph Fiennes and Mark Rylance have called on the Brazilian government and European companies to recognise the rights of an Amazonian group whose territory is threatened by a large complex of dams.

In a letter to the Guardian, the group says Brazil’s plan to build four large and many smaller dams on the Tapajós river and its tributaries could destroy thousands of square miles of forest and imperil the Munduruku indigenous people.

A delegation of Munduruku chiefs will arrive in Britain this week to seek a formal meeting with European technology giant Siemens, which has been part of a consortium bidding to win contracts to build the dams.

Chief Arnaldo Kabá Munduruku and his senior adviser will ask Siemens in Britain to publicly state that they will not participate in plans for new dams on their ancestral lands.

The Munduruku have welcomed a decision last week by Brazil’s environment protection agency to reject plans for what would have been one of the world’s largest-ever dams on the river. But they say that the complex of many smaller dams will devastate the forest and their people’s way of life.

“The Brazilian watchdog’s decision marked a turning point in the struggle to protect this corner of the Amazon, but the fight isn’t over yet. The cancelled dam is one of five planned for this highly sensitive area, and the environment agency’s powers to defend the rainforest are now under threat,” the signatories write.

A spokeswoman for Siemens said: “We’re talking with Greenpeace and other stakeholders, and we’re assessing the issues intensively – as we strive to help secure a sustainable, reliable and affordable supply of power for the people of Brazil.

“Should any representatives from the Amazon tribe wish to meet representatives from Siemens while they are in the UK we will welcome them to one of our sites. However Siemens UK is not involved in any hydroelectric power projects in Brazil.”

Greenpeace has been calling on the engineering giant to rule itself out of any further hydroelectric projects in the Amazon rainforest, but the company’s leaders have so far refused to do so.

The group of 48 include Anish Kapoor, Charlotte Church, Grayson Perry, Sir Roger Moore, Michael Palin, Lord David Puttnam and Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall.

Western celebrities have championed saving Amazonian forests ever since rock star Sting lobbied the president of Brazil in 1989 to stop goldminers decimating the Yanomamai tribe.

Since then, many A-listers including Meryl Streep, Tom Hanks, Sir Elton John, Prince Charles and Bill Clinton have added their voices. In the same period, around 350,000 square kilometres of forest has been destroyed.